If you are going to critique what governments do, it must be based on Biblical Law.
It is imperative that we get ourselves into the habit of doing everything by the leading of the heart. Never assume you already know the answer to anything. You may well proceed according to routine, but give room in your awareness for the heart to demand something different at any moment. This heart-led business is hard work at first because of all that we have to unlearn.
The lore of Enlightenment moral reasoning is a very heavy burden of deception, and not easily corrected. Worse, that same burden of lies teaches us to be fools about what the Bible says. The contradictions are not always obvious because of the inherent legalistic approach in Western thinking in approaching the Bible, which is a mystical book. In my experience, the popular American notions about foreign relations is one of the strongest conflicts with Biblical Law.
Keep in mind one critical factor previously mentioned: applicable Law Covenant. In this case, it’s the Covenant of Noah, a critical element in Biblical Law and moral reasoning. Now the Covenant of Moses is a specific example of Noah, so the extensive record in Moses exemplifies what we can know about how God works through Noah. At this point, Moses is closed. You can still obey it as an individual or as a community, and still reap most of the blessings. However, the specific provisions about nation and government are not so simple. Some of what was in Moses applied only to Ancient Israel, never to be seen again after the Cross.
For example, the issue of land grant and ownership was unique to Israel. There has only ever been one Promised Land in the sense of real estate; there will never be another. Once Moses was ended on the Cross, territory can never be viewed as sacred again. Under Biblical Law, it falls back to a matter of occupation: If you are using it and defending it, it’s provisionally yours. Whether God will let you keep it rests on the context of Noah’s Law. And Noah’s Law presumes the heart-led way, so you can’t read it as most Americans tend to read, say, the Ten Commandments. It has to be read with a mystical heart-led approach.
So let’s get one fundamental issue clear: war is normal. It’s popular in Western mythology to say that war is evil and chase all manner of utopian schemes to stop it or prevent it. Biblical Law dismisses this whole question; fallen mankind will go to war. Get used to it. The question is whether a particular war is justified. Discerning the answer must include both established precedent in Scripture and prophetic input, both of which require a heart-led approach. War itself is a part of the Curse of the Fall, so don’t waste time wailing over that.
The second fundamental issue is that without a covenant, nothing any government does is right. You cannot cheer them on or give direct enthusiastic support. The only question left is whether your mission and calling coincides with what government is doing. You can play along because it’s simply who God called you to be, but you do so with a full awareness of the moral consequences and how things are likely to turn out. We are seeking a big picture so that we can find our place and participate in God’s glory.
In broad terms, a war will tend to work out well if the government seeks to squelch a threat. We have to be generous here in assessing what constitutes a threat; keep in mind that shalom is the ultimate goal. This is balanced against a whole range of moral questions, not least of which is abuse of the natural world. Mistreating Creation is never lawful, but we can be sure the various Green groups have it all wrong. Your heart can tell you whether a use of nature is generally sane or foolish, but using it is why it’s here. Going to war over access to resources is not inherently wrong. Going to war because your government is simply unhappy with the price is generally stupid.
Empire building is not inherently evil. We can tick off two valid reasons: building a defensive buffer and taking tribute. These are things governments do, and they are generally valid. However, no imperial government is permitted to regulate its vassals beyond certain broad generalities. A valid empire is one government holding smaller governments accountable for taxes and participation in defense, and nothing more. There are requirements on both parties. The imperial government has no business poking into the daily life of subject citizens, nor taxing them directly. It rules the country as a whole, not the people. It is required to conduct all business through the subject governments. So, for example, the US Tenth Amendment isn’t strong enough; virtually the whole gamut of federalized regulation is inherently evil.
Just as evil is our entire US system of poking into the lives of allies and enemies alike. We can lobby their governments, but our government is wholly wrong for trying to leverage influence without a proper imperial relationship. If you examine the broad sweep of our current foreign relations and all the greedy bullshit our government does, we haven’t done anything right. Corrupting someone’s local culture and agitating for political changes that benefit only a few US plutocrats is sin. Those governments would be fully justified in executing outright our agents of agitation.
But on a related note, there is nothing inherently evil about invading and colonizing another country, if it is done honestly. Trying to manipulate someone else is wrong, but simply dispossessing them is not necessarily bad. There is a right way to do it. Then again, it’s never been done right in a very long time. A military invasion and occupation is always the wrong way to do it. It requires at a minimum the commitment of civilian lives moving into the area and building a stable society. If you don’t drive the natives out, you must either subdue them totally and merge them into your society as equals, or you must enslave them properly with all the heavy responsibilities that come with it. Hint: Prior to the latter stages of things, the manner in which the Egyptians enslaved Israel was more or less proper.
There were other tribes and nations in the Nile Delta at the time, and all of them were taxed under customary feudal obligations. The problem was that it slipped into excessive demand, and then Pharaoh refused to let them leave under the original terms of living in the delta region.
The matter of any subject population rising up is also a matter of context. It should be expected sooner or later, and it’s always a matter of sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Without a covenant, it becomes something random, and you cannot take it as a personal insult. At the point where government officials are, or have become, an alien occupying entity, rebellion is inevitable. External support for a rebellion is not inherently dirty or unfair, either, but the motives can make it evil.
On the basis of Biblical Law, let me offer a few observations about current events. The US is wrong about almost everything it is doing globally. We have no business in Syria now, and we wrongly started their trouble in the first place. The US created the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS, and has had a hand in provoking every other form of so-called Islamic terror.
Russia was generally correct in reabsorbing Crimea, and in assisting the eastern Ukrainian rebels. We were wrong to fund and agitate the breakdown of Ukraine’s elected government. We are wrong for harassing Iran; they keep the treaties we are violating. We are wrong for messing with North Korea. The Norks are wrong for trying to develop nuclear weapons, but there is already a good set of treaties on how to enforce that; we are ignoring them. If China can pull off their seizure of the islands in the South China Sea, more power to them. If we want to stop it, we cannot do so without strong control by the other parties involved. It’s their problem, not ours. The excuse of “free trade” and “free passage” is not supported by the Bible. There is no basis for “international law.”
Finally, the modern State of Israel is wrong on everything. Not simply because it exists, but that it has not once done anything according to the applicable Covenant of Moses. If they are going to claim the name Israel, they have to do Moses, not the Talmud. Further, they have to do Moses as Jesus taught it; He is still the one and only Messiah, the true King of Israel. The Covenant remains closed until they own Him as Lord.
Once you recognize what Biblical Law requires of governments, you are in a position to discern how things are going to turn out. Then you can discern your part in the grand scheme of things and obey your divine calling.