By Matt Ward
What are Vladimir Putin’s intentions?
This is the question currently vexing the most experienced military and political minds in the United States and Europe.
While the Russian economy teeters on the brink of complete collapse, Vladimir Putin is frantically assembling a set of alliances that are formidable; alliances that would stand in direct opposition to the West. Behind the glare of the international mainstream media, Russia’s Foreign Ministry is working overtime cementing old alliances and building new ones. While Putin is being vilified by the West, many leaders are actively embracing him.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis Russia has accelerated relations with North Korea and Kim Jong Un was recently confirmed an attendee at the annual Victory day Celebrations in Red Square on May 9th. A public backer of Bashir al-Assad in Syria for many years, Western governments openly suspect that the Russians are supplying all the arms Syria would ever need to successfully defeat ISIS and all opposition groups. The concern is that Russia is also arming Assad so that he can filter weapons to proxy organizations such as Hezbollah so that they, in some future contest, can open a front against Israel.
Venezuela, a country openly hostile to the United States has run with open arms into Putin’s outstretched embrace. Moscow invests billions of dollars annually in Venezuela’s oil industry. Venezuela serves one of Russia’s main arms contractors in 2014-2015. The prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, has openly hinted his desire to return to Soviet rule, provoking wide scale domestic disturbances.
Russia and Putin have also been cozying up to Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza Party in Greece, the fledgling Greek government, which is a powerful opponent of European Union imposed sanctions against Russia. They have strangely become immediate and close allies.
All this may be dismissed as world leaders doing what world leaders do, but there are darker, more ominous signs that something is afoot. A dangerous game of brinkmanship is being played out.
Russia is proactively testing out NATO defenses, both in Western Europe and in mainland America.
In the last few months, in Europe alone, Russian military aircraft have disrupted civilian flights over sovereign Irish territory when two Russian Tu-95 Nuclear Bombers flew into and through Irish controlled airspace, causing two civilian airlines to reroute to avoid potential collisions. Both Russian aircraft were flying “dark,” meaning their identifying transponders had been turned off.  This was on February 18th.
On the same day, February 18th, the British R.A.F, CAP (Combat Air Patrol) was scrambled to intercept two different Tu-95 Bombers off the coast of Cornwall, England.  In the previous week the Royal Navy intercepted, along with the French Navy, a Russian Naval Frigate operating and sailing in the English Channel; a highly unusual move in a very narrow stretch of water separating France from England.
On January 30th Russian Tu-95 Bombers were intercepted by UK Typhoon Jets over the North Sea on route to Sovereign British airspace. This is apparently only one, “…of many other encounters between Russian bombers and UK jets over the North Sea.” 
Elsewhere, in the Black Sea, Russian military Jets are openly practicing attacking US led NATO ships.
“Sputnik News reports the aggressive maneuvers over the Black Sea yesterday involved a formation of three Su-30s and four Su-24s. The American USS Vicksberg, a Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser, and the Turkish frigate Turgut Reis were both the subject of mock attack runs on March 3, the news agency reports.”  The Russian Air Force openly admits they are using these convoys as live practice for future war against NATO led forces.
In the Arctic several Russian Borei-class ballistic missile submarines are drilling and conducting exercises beneath the North Pole. These boats are amongst the most sophisticated and advanced in the Russian Naval arsenal and are at the very forefront of providing a nuclear deterrence against Russia’s enemies. These fourth generation submarines are fearsome weapons. They are designed as stand-alone war machines and can deliver up to 16 ICBM’s.
Each ICBM has a speed and maneuverability rating of 10 (out of 10). What makes them deadly though is that these subs employ revolutionary Hull technology, not shared by America, which allows them to run super deep and super silent, enabling them to approach the shoreline of a target and deliver a strike without being detected. They are an unassailable first strike weapons and they are vigorously drilling as we speak. 
Russia’s missile command has also just begun testing its Strategic Nuclear Weapons Readiness. This, in a highly unusual move, is completely unannounced and without precedent.
Putin has also signed off on a new set of Soviet military doctrines that have enshrined NATO as Russia’s main existential rival.  This taking place on December 26, 2014 and Putin himself has declared that the Russian military strength is now “unmatchable.”
Putin genuinely believes that the Russian army is the best in the world, and to that end he is spending vast amounts of money. Their economy does not have a militarization upgrading existing infrastructure and active military campaigns (such as Crimea and Ukraine). Indeed, Russia has just completed an upgraded state of the art command and control centre underneath Moscow at an estimated cost of billions of U.S. dollars.
All this is quite literally killing the Russian economy.
There is historical precedent for what Russia is doing. In 1939, Europe wrongly believed that Adolf Hitler was an economic genius. Within just six short years Hitler had transformed the German economy and reduced the number of unemployed from 6 million to a little under half a million German men. Germany had been transformed by an economic miracle.
The trouble was, it was all based on a lie.
The economic recovery was false. In 1936, Hitler had appointed Herman Goering as Reich Economics Minister and together they hatched a secret plan, called the Four Year Plan. The simple aim of this plan was “Autarky,” to ensure that the German nation would be ready and able to fight a war within four short years, by 1939, regardless of the financial costs.
To accomplish this, Hitler spent billions of Reich marks that Germany did not have. The German government expenditure, 1932 to 1938, began at around 7 billion Reich marks per year and ballooned to over 30 Billion Reich marks per year by 1938!
This ensured the imminent collapse of the German economy. Hitler knew this though and was nonplussed.
Hitler was nonplussed because all his economic decisions were predicated upon the sure knowledge that he would pay these huge sums back through war. Hitler’s plan was to launch Blitzkrieg, “Lightening War” against his European enemies and then simply consume host nations’ economies into Germany’s; thus nullifying the huge amount Germany had spent preparing for war.
The condition of the German economy actually guaranteed war.
When we look at Russia and its own ruined economy, an economy that is dying a little more each and every day, I question whether the condition of the Russian economy at this point also guarantees war. The Rubble is so weak it is near collapse, yet Russia continues to spend vast, huge sums of money that the economy simply cannot accommodate. None of this spending is underpinned by Russia’s oil reserves (as the bottom has fallen out of the Russian oil market).
Could Russia be actively preparing for an imminent war, in much the same way that Germany and Hitler did during the mid-1930s?
Fortunately, we do not have to rely upon historical precedent or detailed real time analysis to understand what is going to happen for, “The Lord GOD does nothing without revealing His counsel to His servants” (Amos 3:7).
We have the Bible and it tells us clearly what the motivation is for Gog when he begins to make his moves: “‘Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?’” (Ezekiel 38:13).
This short sentence on its own fits so neatly into the current geopolitical Russian situation that it is simply mindboggling to consider it was written thousands years ago.
Russia comes to “…take a plunder,” in much the same way that Hitler did with his “Blitzkreig” of Europe.
“And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:And thou shalt say, ‘I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land’” (Ezekiel 38: 3-12).
The prophesied alliances are all in place, all the actors involved seem to be making themselves ready. All we await is for the hook to be placed into the jaw of Gog and then for the Lord to, “…bring thee forth.”
Russia is coming to “…take a plunder,” and we know ultimately where this will end. It will end on the mountains of Israel with Russia’s utter destruction.