The U. S. and China agreed to a trade war truce in Buenos Aires (CNBC). President Trump agreed to postpone raising tariffs (scheduled to begin Jan. 1) on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports for 90 days. Chinese President Xi agreed to purchase a substantial (unspecified) amount of U.S. agricultural, industrial, energy and other products from the U. S. China will also declare Fentanyl a controlled substance.
President Trump warned that if the two countries did not come to agreement in the 90 days, he would raise the tariff rate to 25 percent (The New York Times). He would also consider imposing tariffs on an additional $267 billion worth of their exports. If the latter materialized, it would include all Chinese exports into the U.S.
The friction between China and the United States is broader than trade. According to the founder (Ray Dalio) of the world's largest hedge fund (Bridgewater Associates), the U.S./Chinese tension is a classic example of a Thucydides Trap (CNBC). Harvard's Graham Allison described a Thucydides Trap as the situation when an established superpower is challenged by an emergent power and often results in conflict. A Thucydides Trap has resulted in conflict in 12 out of the last 16 times it has happened during the last 500 years. He believes that current trade tensions can be resolved.
A Bloomberg article reasons that China is inching away from a Thucydides Trap. World War I was a result of a broader conflict between a current superpower (Britain) and an emergent power (Germany). Many believe that World War I could have been avoided. Germany did not understand "the consequences of its militarism, never grasped the resentment its economic rise was causing, and found itself short of friends." Application of lessons learned from history could prevent future conflicts.
Bloomberg argues that the Chinese are students of history and policy-makers are well-read. China has been recently arguing for a rule-based trade order using the World Trade Organization, that opening up its economy is in its best interest and that it will need outside capital in moving its economy into a services-oriented consumer-based economy. This month is also the 40th anniversary of when China opening its economy to the outside world, and that could provide commemorative reforms. Patience and popularity are important when determining winners without conflict.
In this world, we will have wars and rumors or wars (Matt. 24:6). But Christians can have peace regardless of circumstances. This Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace. When the angels announced to the shepherds that their Messiah had been born, they praised Him for peace on earth among men with who He is pleased.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6).
"Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, and good will toward men" (Luke 2:13-14).
The Father loved us enough to send His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus paid the price for our peace. If we have a saving faith in Jesus, we are justified. If we are justified, we have peace with God. In Him, we have peace.
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1).
"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace" (John 16:33a).
Although our peace is fully paid for, some Christians don't feel peace. Why? The Scriptures give insight into what we can do to fully experience the peace for which our Savior paid most dearly. Some of these principles are included below.
Principle 1. Repent.
The Lord preached repentance, for the kingdom of heaven was near. The Bible teaches that the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Even though we are believers, if we are not experiencing kingdom peace, perhaps we need to repent.
"From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, 'Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (Matt. 4:17).
For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
Principle 2. Pray.
We are told to take any concerns that we have to God in prayer. There is no need to be anxious, but we do need to be thankful. If we will make our requests to Him, we are promised a peace that surpasses our ability to comprehend.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7).
Principle 3: Seek the help of the Holy Spirit.
If we think about the Spirit instead of the flesh, we are promised life and peace. In Paul's letter to the Galatians, he compares the deeds of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16-26). Part of the fruit of the Spirit is peace. If we want more peace, we must choose to walk more by the Spirit.
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6, NASB).
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23, MEV).
Principle 4: Pursue peace.
If we want peace, we must pursue it with faith. We must choose to be thankful and let the peace of God rule in our hearts.
"Let the peace of God, to which also you are called in one body, rule in your hearts. And be thankful" (Col. 3:15).
By faith, let us appropriate the peace that has been paid for. Let us repent of anything amiss, pray, walk in the Spirit and pursue peace until it is ours.
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess. 3:16).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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