New Chapter of Cooperation for Russia and China

New Chapter of Cooperation for Russia and China

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Among the primary results of the Russian minister of defense’s November visit to China was writing “a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation” between Beijing and Moscow, the People’s Daily Online said on November 28.

Sergey Shoigu met with Qian Lihua, China’s director-general of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defense, in order to enhance mutual trust and deepen cooperation between the two sides.

The foundation of the improving Russo-Chinese ties, according to the Chinese publication, is military cooperation. “The further improved cooperation mechanism between the two militaries has built a solid framework for the bilateral cooperation,” the report said.

In recent years, the general staff headquarters of the two militaries have held 15 rounds of strategic consultation, and three bilateral joint military exercises.

Besides being global titans in terms of population and territory, both Russia and China are also permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which gives them considerable weight on the global stage.

For these reasons, Europe is watching the Russo-Chinese strides toward economic, political and military cooperation warily. European states know that, to be able to counter the Asian bloc that’s now solidifying, they themselves must be united. Likewise, as the European states take steps toward integration, Asian nations accelerate their own measures toward cooperation.

As such, the increased cooperation of Asia and the uniting of Europe are mutually perpetuating trends, and Bible prophecy makes plain that these developments will lead to a colossal confrontation between the two sides. To understand the details of these prophecies and what they mean for you, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Law—and the Best of the Human Spirit

Law—and the Best of the Human Spirit

Getty Images

There is good in this world. Too often it’s hard to find. There’s a reason for that. It all centers on law.

“The real value of a human life … lies solely within the human spirit combined with the human brain,” Herbert Armstrong observed in his book Mystery of the Ages. “It should be stated at once that this human spirit is not perceived by the most highly educated psychologists, yet it is the very essence of the human mind.”

This is a tremendous reality that truly opens up our understanding as to how our God-given human potential can be released and fully developed in association with the Spirit of God—the very mind of our Creator!

Yet, even without the Spirit of God’s own mind in association with it, that human spirit is capable of greatness.

Witness God’s observation at Babylon that, having obtained earthly unity, “Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” (Genesis 11:6). The trouble at that time in history was that, though the unity of command the human leadership enjoyed was unfettered, it was a unity born of a wrong spirit—a spirit channeling human endeavor into a direction diametrically opposed to the development of man’s God-given human potential.

So God put a stop to it all (verses 7-8).

But Herbert Armstrong recognized that it was possible—through the careful education of the human mind and the development and fine-tuning of skills and talents—for a single human being to reach great heights of expressing the very best that the human spirit was capable.

To showcase this, he created the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. Under the auspices of aicf, Herbert Armstrong brought the very best of human talent to Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, that many might benefit from enjoying and being inspired and uplifted by such talent.

Based on that precedent, Gerald Flurry established the Armstrong International Cultural Foundation, which continues the legacy of showcasing world-class talent at the gemlike Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, Oklahoma.

The two most recent performances at Armstrong Auditorium happened to feature America’s own unique contribution to world music—jazz. World-class saxophonist Branford Marsalis and his quartet recently gave a scintillating performance at Armstrong. A week later, one of our own faculty musicians, pianist Mark Jenkins, featured together with a lineup of Edmond jazzmen and some of our own college talent in a performance rated highly by the audience.

As a lover of the jazz genre since my childhood, my mind was still dwelling on the success of those two concerts when news came this week of the death of my singular most outstanding hero of the American jazz scene, the venerable Dave Brubeck.

Brubeck became a household name following release of his iconic album Time Out in 1959. That was my final year at high school, and Time Out featured at just about every teen party as the year wound to a close.

The Dave Brubeck quartet had a profound effect on my own involvement in music at the time, and I formed a lifelong appreciation of the smoothly lyrical sounds of which a good quartet of the same makeup—piano/keyboard, bass, reed and drums—was capable of producing when obeying the God-breathed laws governing music.

My dad, when not backing a big band as drummer between the 1930s and ’50s, led a group of the same composition, based on an earlier example of the Benny Goodman small ensemble. For me, the Brubeck quartet took off from where the Goodman quartet left off.

The point is that, upon hearing of the death of Dave Brubeck on the eve of his 92nd birthday, I realized that one of the most influential of human spirits, especially in the jazz form of music, had ceased to be.

My disc library is heavily dominated by Brubeck. The fascination of his music—which featured some quite unusual time signatures and effective use of harmonic dissonance—was his ability to experiment with the musical form but always stay within the laws that control listenable music that’s beneficial to the human spirit.

There is a reason for this.

Brubeck understood that to be beneficial, to be uplifting to the human spirit, music needed to synchronize with the human body’s natural rhythms.

In his obituary on Brubeck for the New York Times, Ben Ratliff commented that “Mr. Brubeck once explained succinctly what jazz meant to him. ‘One of the reasons I believe in jazz,’ he said, ‘is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born—or before you’re born—and it’s the last thing you hear’” (December 5).

We live today in a highly agitated and agitating society. Whole generations have grown up listening to music that is based on principles directly opposed to Dave Brubeck’s understanding that to be truly enjoyable, music must align with the beat of the human heart which controls the natural body rhythms necessary for true wellbeing.

Back in the 1960s, four young mop-haired Liverpudlian teens created a sound based on what is called the anapestic beat. That beat runs directly counter to the natural rhythms of the human heart. Ever since, the overwhelming majority of popular music themes has been set to that beat. How much has this contributed to the production of the most highly stressed, agitated and soulless generation in man’s history?

You see, it doesn’t matter what it is that man produces, if it is not in natural synchronization with the body rhythms that God placed within the human being for a purpose, the result will be negative.

Our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, wrote a booklet called No Freedom Without Law. In it he clearly exposes the principle that the absence of God’s laws in any endeavor mounted by man will produce catastrophe.

Be it music or man’s continually unsuccessful search for peace with his fellow man, unless those endeavors are underpinned by God’s immutable laws governing human behavior, they are destined to end in abject failure.

Dave Brubeck hit upon a marvelous truth that governed his musical compositions and playing. The result was the production of a pleasing harmony when he sat down to perform with a group of musicians. When dissonance occurred it always sought and found a resolution in the natural rhythm of the heartbeat.

That same degree of harmony, at a very minimum, is being enjoyed today in their human relations by those who truly understand and apply God’s laws in their lives. It’s the type of harmony that leads a person to truly experience the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

You too can extricate your mind from the natural agitation and stress that a lawless society produces by determining to simply obey God’s laws in every aspect of your life.

To find out how that is possible, study that booklet, freely available on our website, No Freedom Without Law.

Israel’s Plans for Settlements Stirs International Condemnation

Israel’s Plans for Settlements Stirs International Condemnation

Getty Images

Israel has drawn international condemnation for its announced plans to build settlements in East Jerusalem, further complicating an already fragile peace process.

The announcement, made last Friday—just one day after the United Nations elevated the status of the Palestinians by a resounding majority—is Israel’s retaliation for a resolution it views as “meaningless” and detrimental to peace.

Ironically, several countries—including those that voted against the resolution in favor of Israel, like the U.S. and Canada—have been “harsher than usual” in criticizing Israel’s actions as being detrimental to peace. On Monday, Britain, France, Spain, Denmark and Sweden summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their respective countries for rebuke and to demand explanations. Australia, Ireland, Finland, Brazil and Egypt took the same course of action on Tuesday, and the EU and Italy followed suit on Wednesday.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned in the British Parliament that the settlement plans make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, “almost inconceivable.” The White House has condemned Israel’s plans as “counterproductive.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the settlement plans would deal “an almost fatal blow” to the peace process. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the settlements as a “red line” that “must not happen.” A senior Abbas aide, Nabil Shaath, has even threatened to use the Palestinians newly established legal and diplomatic clout to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes.

While Germany did not summon Israel’s ambassador like several other European countries, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman did say that Germany is “worried” about the plans, ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Wednesday visit to Germany. Reuters reported that Germany is considered Israel’s closest ally in Europe.

Israel plans to build 3,000 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The most contentious are the “E-1” settlements in the city of Maale Adumim, which would be established between Palestinian settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The “E-1” settlements undermine a future establishment of East Jerusalem as a capital of the Palestinians. But they may also enhance travel of Palestinians between East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

So far, Israel has refused to yield to any pressure.

The groundwork is being set for an increasingly isolated Israel to lose all the support from the United States, and then turn to Germany in desperation. Today, this forecast is visibly becoming more plausible and likely. But Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has been making that forecast for two decades, based on the clear prophecies of the Bible. To understand this important biblical forecast—and the inspiring future of Jerusalem that lies beyond it—read or request your personal copy of Jerusalem in Prophecy.

Pentagon Modernizing Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Pentagon Modernizing Nuclear Weapons in Europe

Torquetum/iStockphoto

Why this may end up being the worst money it ever spent

The military will upgrade its aging European nuclear weapons stockpile, it was announced on Tuesday. Pentagon officials indicated it was now or never for the upgrade. With a $10 billion price tag, this may be America’s costliest mistake ever.

According to military officials, the upgrade will include modernized delivery systems, refurbished warheads, and changes to the weapons’ production complex.

“Old parts mean less-safe nukes,” says John Noonan, a former nuclear missile officer and a spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee. “Sixty years without an accidental detonation. We have a keen interest in keeping that record going.”

Opponents of the upgrade cite America’s looming budget issues. With a defense budget facing billions of dollars’ worth of cuts, some people wonder why America would upgrade its European stockpile when its positioning has become somewhat redundant. America has thousands of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can deliver the bombs.

Yet this upgrade to the European nuclear weapons stockpile may prove costly in other ways too.

For years, the European Union has been lobbying to inherit nato weaponry based in Europe. EU officials want to capitalize on America’s shrinking military presence in Europe by taking control of equipment that is too expensive to ship back overseas.

The real cost to America may be that at some point America will decide to simply transfer responsibility for its nuclear arsenal to the EU as it takes a greater responsibility for defending itself.

The obvious risk, however, is that Europe will not always be America’s ally. Already many EU member states have close relationships with Russia, China and other U.S. competitors.

America should not put so much trust in Europe. For many years the Trumpet has warned that America will become a victim of a European double cross.

In a 1980 article titled “Where Does the U.S. Go From Here?” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about the risk America was taking with Europe:

You may be sure the West European leaders are conferring hurriedly and secretly about how and how soon they may unite and provide a united European military force so they can defend themselves! And so they will no longer have to give in meekly to Russia! And who will they blame for their humiliation and their necessity now to have a united Europe, with a united government, a common currency, and a common military force as great or greater than either the ussr or the usa? They will blame the United States!And when they are strong enough to assert themselves, Bible prophecy reveals a man will rise to take the helm in Europe and will first attack Britain for standing firm with the United States, and then they will return a lot of hydrogen bombs the U.S. has stored now in Europe!

Since Mr. Armstrong wrote that, Europe has united into a union, it has adopted a common currency, it has made huge strides toward a centralized overarching government, and now it is in the process of developing a united military force—it has already created rapid reaction forces composed of troops from various countries.

It will not be long before, as Mr. Armstrong warned, European states will be “strong enough to assert themselves.”

After that, as Bible prophecy indicates, a lot of nuclear bombs will be heading back toward America.

That $10 billion nuclear upgrade will be the worst money America ever spent.

Germany to Send Missiles to Turkey in NATO Mission

Germany to Send Missiles to Turkey in NATO Mission

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

The German cabinet approved the deployment of two Patriot missile systems to Turkey, with supporting soldiers, command staff, air crews and commandos on Thursday. The Netherlands and the U.S. are also expected to send a couple of Patriot batteries each.

The mandate will allow Germany to send up to 400 troops with the batteries. One hundred and seventy of these are required to operate the missiles. More will help man nato Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft (awacs) that are already stationed in the area. Dozens others will work on the nato command staff. The mandate also allows Germany to send 50 other soldiers.

The German parliament is expected to give its approval to the arrangement between December 12 and 14. They are expected to send the batteries by sea, arriving in around a month.

“Syria has a not insignificant ballistic missile capability,” said German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere. “A few hundred with a range of some 700 kilometers that could possibly hit a large part of Turkey. The Syrian government has shown no intention of using these rockets but we want it to remain that way.”

“Nobody knows what such a regime is capable of and that is why we are acting protectively here,” said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

German officials insisted that the missiles will only intercept Syrian weapons within Turkish airspace and are programmed not to cross the Syrian border.

Germany already has a military presence south of Syria in Lebanon, and its navy patrols off of Lebanon’s coast. Though small, this deployment expands Germany’s presence in the region, which increases the Germans’ knowledge of how to operate in it.

The Trumpet has long forecast that Germany would forge a strong alliance with Turkey.

For more information on Germany’s goals in the region, read our article “Next in Line, Please” from our December 2012 issue.

Reconfigure Your Life Around God

Four important keys to successful time management.