PRAYER ALERT: The presidents of Russia and China are meeting in Shanghai with leaders from Iran and Central Asia. Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping seek to close decade-long negotiations over a multibillion-dollar sale of natural gas from Russia to China. Iran and Central Asia are potential partners in the deal. Russia’s gas now goes mostly to Europe. But Europe now seeks other sources of gas. Europe and the US want to isolate Russia economically after its takeover of Crimea from Ukraine.
If Russia and China —Russia’s longtime rival—were to join forces, the balance of power would shift away from the now financially-weakened West. China, having recently extended its air defense zone, poses a growing threat to American dominance over the Pacific. Russia could gain greater influence in the Middle East through its Shiite Muslim allies Iran and Syria.
In 2010 Syria agreed to build part of a natural gas pipeline that would ultimately connect Russia and Iran’s gas fields with Western Europe. That pipeline would compete with Sunni Muslim-financed Nabuco gas pipeline. Trillions of dollars of revenue are at stake in this Middle East pipeline tug-of-war. If the Syria’s government keeps prevailing in its civil war, the Russia-Iran pipeline will gain most of the revenue. Will Western Europe then refuse to use Russian and Iranian gas? Many doubt it can afford to.
Russia’s option for selling its gas is the biggest customer in the world—China. The US indictments of the five Chinese hackers may be a response to the current talks between Russia and China talks. The US may be using the year-old exposé of China’s cyber spying to discredit China as a trading partner. Who will want to do much business with a partner who cheats on you? But if China grows to dominate the Far East, and Russia the resource-rich Shiite nations of the Middle East, other nations will have less choice. And they will have far less choice if Russia and China combine forces.
PRAY WITH US: Father God, all authority and power is Yours. Yet You have established authorities in every nation for Your purposes. Work them all into conformity to Your will. For You have given ultimate authority on earth to Your Son Jesus. He sees far more than any cyber operation. He controls far more riches than any nation can ever possess. He holds far more power than the mightiest army. And He uses it to the good for all who love Him. Not only for them, but all who may come to believe in Him. We thank You that You so loved the world that You sent Him instead of judgment on us.
We ask that You set limits to every nation’s power to keep it from further oppression. Set limits to every nation’s wealth to keep it from further exploitation. Set limits to every nation’s surveillance to keep it from harmful knowledge. Use Your power and wealth and knowledge to lift up the weak, the poor and the unlearned. Show that Jesus came to save all of us. Show that only He can truly empower, enrich and enlighten men. Help them to overcome all the raging and plotting of the nations.
Cause the nations to cease striving with one another. Let them to know that You are God. Use the authorities You have established in the nations to establish right relations and trading practices. Do this so that Your people may live peaceful lives in all godliness and holiness. And cause Your gospel of peace and good will to increase in all the earth. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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