revolved around the status of Jerusalem. Copycat hoaxes turned up envelopes with white powder from South America to the Far East and from Europe to Africa.
America and coalition forces next attacked Iraq to depose the regime of Saddam Hussein, whose alleged weapons of mass destruction threatened the United States and its allies, most notably Israel. The Jewish state had sent attack aircraft to destroy an Iraqi nuclear facility in 1982, and one of Saddam's constant propaganda themes had been recruitment of an army of millions of civilians to "march on Jerusalem." Israel had been struck by several Scud missiles fired from Iraq during the Gulf War of 1992, and so was clearly within range and was a prime target. The Iraqi government had also been making cash payments to the families of suicide bombers who died attacking Jews in Israel. Some American critics of the George W. Bush administration blamed the president's push for war on his support for Israel and his determination to save Israel from attack by alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Nations throughout the world have been directly involved in all of these events, or at least have participated in the international debate and the political maneuverings relating to Afghanistan, Iraq and the war on terrorism. Nations everywhere have been forced to modify procedures relating to air travel, institute improved security measures, and keep track of suspected terrorists or terrorist support organizations within their borders.
The whole world has followed all of these developments on TV and on the Internet, and the whole world has been terrorized. Jerusalem has indeed become a problem for the whole world. Each time there was another suicide bombing in Israel, or another Israeli military incursion into Palestinian areas, the world shuddered and speculated on how the international terrorists would respond. Where would they strike next?
Yes, Jerusalem is now a problem 'burdening the whole world.' But, are the nations also uniting to impose a solution, as Zechariah foretold? (Zech. 12:2-3)
Prior to the twentieth century and the formation
of the League of Nations in the wake of World War One, it would have been difficult to conceive of all the nations of the world uniting to do anything at all, let alone uniting to send armies to Jerusalem. But, one of the earliest official acts of that League of Nations was to grant the British government a Mandate to rule over Palestine, including Jerusalem.
Prior to the late 1990's and the beginning of the new millennium, it would have been difficult to conceive of the League's successor, the United Nations, sending forces to Jerusalem. The prevailing concept had always been that national sovereignty trumped United Nations authority. United Nations peacekeepers generally assisted in conflicts between member nations, with the consent of both parties, but the world body scrupulously avoided interfering in the internal affairs of member states.
In fact, from the time of its founding at the end of the Second World War, the U.N. had been viewed as largely a debating society, when it came to issues of war and peace. As a world government, it had active social service agencies such as UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund), and it accomplished a lot in the way of promoting world communication and commerce, but it did not have a strong police force.
And it still does not. After all, how can a policeman armed with only a billy club subdue brawlers brandishing knives and guns? Comparatively speaking, that is what peacekeeping forces in white trucks marked "UN" would be up against, if they were to confront an uncooperative nation determined to use its jet fighters, bombers and tanks aggressively. United Nations peacekeepers have never been heavily armed by modern military standards.
The Korean War may come to mind as an exception. The United Nations organization was still in its infancy when, in 1950, the Soviet Union decided to boycott sessions of the Security Council. In the absence of a Soviet veto, the Council invoked military sanctions against North Korea and invited member states to come to the aid of South Korea. American troops then led those from many other nations