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Two headlines are dominating today’s news. First, former NFL player Aaron Hernandez hanged himself and was found dead in his jail cell. Second, Democrat Jon Ossoff fell short in his quest to win a Republican district in Georgia, a race many viewed as a referendum on President Trump.
I will write on both stories tomorrow. For today, let’s focus on four questions of global significance.
One: Why does North Korea want nuclear weapons?
In a word, survival. The regime believes that a nuclear deterrent is its only way to maintain power and prevent invasion from America or South Korea. An editorial in North Korean media explained: “History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders’ aggression. The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programs of their own accord.”
Economic sanctions cause the North Korean people to suffer but do not threaten its leaders. Kim Jong-un knows that China will not let his regime fall, lest North Korean immigrants flood China’s borders. And he knows that China does not want his country to reunite with South Korea, as this would further America’s geopolitical interests in the region.
Two: What do last weekend’s elections in Turkey mean?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was able to win sweeping new powers, even though European leaders warned that he was turning from a democratic leader into a despotic dictator. Erdogan used such criticisms to advance his agenda, claiming that the West is plotting to keep his country from fulfilling her destiny among world powers.
“The crusader mentality in the West and its servants at home have attacked us,” he alleged during the campaign. Democracy is not yet a century old in Turkey, but the Ottoman Empire and its sultan still form the DNA of its culture. As a result, Erdogan is leading where many want to go.
Three: Why did British Prime Minister Theresa May call for early elections?
Her announcement “stunned the UK political world.” She told the BBC today that she wants a stronger mandate in talks over leaving the European Union. She will seek a vote on June 8, less than halfway through her government’s five-year term.
Four: What do these stories have in common?
They illustrate the fact that leaders act in what they claim to be their nation’s self-interest. Kim Jong-un and Bashar al-Assad claim that they must stay in power for the sake of their nation (no matter the devastation suffered by their people). Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin seek to reclaim their country’s status as a world empire led by a sultan and a tsar. Theresa May believes that the risk of disruptive elections is worth the chance to solidify her nation as it charts a post-EU future.
George Friedman is right: “In geopolitics, a nation has no permanent allies or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” The self-interests that drive nations make Jesus’ call to servant leadership even more unique and transforming. The most powerful Person who ever lived gave up all rights to himself when he washed his disciples’ feet and then died for their sins.
Now he calls us to do the same: “I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (John 13:15). The more sacrificial your service, the more powerful your witness. Whose feet will you wash today?