Australia—Germany’s Strategic Pacific Partner

Australia—Germany’s Strategic Pacific Partner

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

Germany strengthens its ties with Australia as its springboard for projection of power in the Pacific.

Students of Bible prophecy are aware that in the latter days a northern power is set to spread its imperial reign “south and east” and ultimately into Jerusalem (Daniel 8:9).

Yet, just how far south and east will this monolithic power project its influence?

Perhaps we can catch a glimpse of that by observing a seemingly unusual strategic alliance that is forming between Germany and Australia.

For the third time since the signing of the initial trade alliance between Germany and Australia in 1995, that agreement has been recently updated and strengthened.

In 1995 Australia and Germany signed the Australia-Germany Partnership 2000 Action Plan. This agreement, vigorously supported by Australia’s prime minister at the time, Paul Keating, and the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, mapped out Germany’s future in Australia.

The Germans wanted to use the Western outpost of Australia as their regional headquarters of operations, in a cash-for-power-base deal. To Australian leaders, the deal sounded almost too good to be true. Sorely in need of foreign capital investment, like a kid in a candy store they agreed to the deal.

As a result, German investment in Australia more than doubled between 1995 and 1997. Germany began to flood Australia with goods and services, becoming the country’s third-largest importer behind the United States and Japan.

Then, in February 1999, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in cooperation with Australia’s Liberal-National government, revised the Australia-Germany Partnership 2000 Action Plan, expanding economic relations between the two countries significantly. The revamped deal covered a huge array of industries, from trade, investment, tourism, education, the environment and science to technology, culture and the arts.

Deutsche Bank soon decided to establish its regional Asia-Pacific headquarters in Sydney for euro currency trading. Deutsche then purchased Bankers Trust Corp. Australia, becoming the country’s largest foreign bank.

In late 1999, Deutsche Bank turned over its Australian-based Bankers Trust Corp. for au$2.1 billion, netting a handsome profit. In the meantime, the Munich-based Allianz AG, the world’s largest insurer, increased its stake in Australian insurance giant mmi Ltd. to take control of that company.

As time progressed, Thyssen, Daimler-Benz, Hochtief, Lurgi, Bilfinger, Berger, vdo, Hoechst, Siemens and Hella all created networks of partnerships throughout the country, and the German airline Lufthansa established its Asian booking headquarters in Melbourne.

Considering the outcome of World War ii, it is an intriguing paradox that Germany now exports more material to Australia than does Australia’s founding mother country, Britain. Not only that, German-dominated Europe now exports more to Australia than does the United States.

In 2011, Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle visited Australia, and at that time discussions took on a tone more geared to mutual cooperation in security and defense matters.

“Germany and Australia are both members of the international group to support nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Kevin Rudd took part in the most recent meeting of this group in Berlin at the end of April. Additionally, the two countries are both represented in the Libya Contact Group and their foreign ministers will likely encounter each other again in the coming week at the group’s next meeting. Events in North Africa and the broader region, including the brutally suppressed unrest in Syria, were thus also on the agendas of both foreign ministers in Canberra” (German Embassy, May 31, 2011).

Last week it was Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s turn to visit Berlin and shore up the agreement of cooperation between the two countries.

During their meetings, the two foreign ministers addressed questions relating to the further expansion of bilateral, regional and security policy. In the process they signed the Berlin-Canberra Statement.

So it is that, using its classic postwar tactic, Germany first established a dependency by Australia on the provision of needed services and sources of capital and trade, only to then turn to the real motivation behind such moves, which is to establish a strategic platform from which to extend its political influence throughout a wider region.

Berlin is preparing itself for the decentralization of world politics from the Atlantic to the Pacific and is strengthening its position in Australia. The land is a ‘strategic trampoline into the Asian-Pacific room,’ explained Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle while signing a ‘declaration of intent on a strategic partnership’ with Canberra at the beginning of this week in Berlin.

The ‘strategic partnership’ will make it possible for Germany to take much more influence over Australia than before in the immediate environment of the unbroken rising People’s Republic of China and so play a more active role in future central conflicts between the West and Beijing. This document includes references to specifically military and political measures in the planning for a ‘strategic partnership’” (German-Foreign-Policy.com, January 31; translation ours).

“South and east”—one could hardly get further south and east on this planet when it comes to strategic possessions than Australasia.

Are we witnessing the leading EU nation setting up its farthest southeastern outpost as a springboard into Asia?

It certainly seems that’s the case.

This is a situation worth watching as the two great “marts” prophesied to dominate the globe at this time vie for influence in the Far East. It is but another powerful sign of the imminence of the fulfillment of a host of Bible prophecies leading up to the return of the world’s Savior in the very near future (Isaiah 23).

Study The United States and Britain in Prophecy and Australia—Where to Now? for a deepened understanding on this subject.


Europe Dominates South America’s Militaries

Europe Dominates South America’s Militaries

DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images

South America’s military is so closely tied to Europe that no South America nation could win a war without the EU’s support.

Half of all weapons imported by South American countries over the past decade came from one place. It’s not their close neighbors in North America. Nor is it Asia, despite Russia’s high-profile arms deals with Venezuela. It’s the European Union.

Europe’s military hardware is deeply embedded within South America’s armies.

Between 2002 and 2011, 49 percent of weapons imported by South American nations come from EU countries, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database. Here are the top 10 arms exporters to South America, along with the percentage of the region’s arms trade they’re responsible for:

  • Russia: 21.4 percent
  • United States: 15.1 percent
  • Germany: 9.5 percent
  • The Netherlands: 9.0 percent
  • Italy: 8.4 percent
  • Spain: 7.9 percent
  • France: 6.1 percent
  • UK: 5.6 percent
  • Israel: 5.6 percent
  • China: 2.4 percent
  • Almost all of Russia’s exports go to one place—Venezuela. Eliminate that, and it’s only responsible for 3.6 percent of all exports to the region—it drops to ninth place. Also note how Spain, with its close cultural ties to the region, does not lead European exports to the area. Instead, Germany’s on top.

    The Trumpet has closely followed German arms sales to the Middle East, as Germany strives to build an anti-Iranian alliance. A similar process of alliance building through arms trading is already well under way in South America.

    Argentina’s navy, for example, is mostly German. All its destroyers were built in Germany. So were its submarines. Most of its frigates were designed by Germany’s Blohm + Voss and assembled in Argentina. The rest of its frigates are French. Its main battle tank was jointly developed with the German firm Thyssen-Henschel and based on the German Marder. It also has over 100 light tanks from Austria, and a few from France. Then there’s a long list of guns, missiles, helicopters, radar and other miscellaneous military equipment that come from France, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as armed troop transporters built with German help.

    Bolivia’s small number of tanks all come from Austria. Brazil’s primary tank is the German Leopard 1. Its navy uses a French aircraft carrier, British frigates and German submarines. Chile’s tank force is made up entirely of Leopard 1 (this time a Dutch variant) and Leopard 2 tanks. Its armored infantry fighting vehicles are from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Its frigates come from the UK and the Netherlands and its submarines from Germany, France and Spain.

    Ecuador uses some Leopard 1s it bought from Chile, as well as some French tanks. Its navy was supplied mainly by the UK, Italy and Germany. Peru’s flagship is from the Netherlands. Its frigates are mostly Italian and its submarines German.

    You get the picture. South America is full of navies that have mostly been purchased from Europe and armies that rely completely on European tanks. All this hasn’t happened in the last 10 years. The robust arms trade goes back decades. As American power retreats and the world becomes more dangerous, who is South America’s natural ally? Europe.

    South America doesn’t build many of its own advanced weapons. It imports them. Its militaries are so tied to Europe it would be hard for any South American country, with the exception of Venezuela, to fight a war without European support.

    Take the Falklands War. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher bullied French President François Mitterrand into handing over the codes to disarm Argentina’s Exocet anti-ship missiles, which it had brought from France. She made sure France didn’t sell them any more of the missiles.

    When you look at the type of weapons South America is buying from Europe, its dependence is even clearer. Fifteen percent of its arms trade may be with the U.S. But South America hasn’t been buying the type of weapons from it that would make it dependent on America.

    Since 1960, over 60 percent of all radar equipment imported by South American countries has come from nations now in the EU. Nearly 90 percent of all anti-ship missiles and torpedoes have come from Europe, as well as over 65 percent of all air-to-surface missiles, and nearly half of their sonar systems. Sixty percent of all warships imported over that time have come from the EU. So have nearly 60 percent of their tanks, more than half of their armored vehicles, and nearly half of their anti-tank weapons.

    So what areas does the U.S. dominate? Mainly aerial warfare and especially reconnaissance—probably as part of U.S. efforts to stop drug smuggling. Most of South America’s light aircraft, training airplanes and transport planes come from the U.S.

    Most imports of fighter aircraft also have come from the U.S., but this was mainly in the 1960s. After that time, they have only sold a handful of planes.

    South America has clearly avoided being dependent on America for critical weapons systems. But it is dependent on Europe. That doesn’t happen by accident. National leaders evidently all came to a similar conclusion. They couldn’t afford to manufacture their own advanced weapons. They didn’t want to be dependent on the U.S. or Russia, so they chose to side with Europe.

    This reliance is both a symptom and a cause of South America’s closeness with Europe. They chose to buy from Europe because they trusted it, and it would be hard for them to break away now.

    This alliance is exactly what the Trumpet and its predecessor, the Plain Truth, have forecast all along. The May 1962 Plain Truth declared that “the United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.” In October 1957, it proclaimed that the EU and South America are “religious, commercial and political partners.”

    We see the results of that today. South America is welded to Europe’s military system. The alliance is secure. South America’s military is hugely dependent on Europe.

    For more information on this alliance, see the chapter “Europe’s Latin Assault” in our free booklet He Was Right.

    America’s Finances in Simpler, More Personal Terms

    America’s Finances in Simpler, More Personal Terms

    4774344sean/iStockphoto

    In our age of blitzkrieg media we are bombarded daily with evidence—reports, columns and studies, facts and statistics, pie graphs, line graphs, bar graphs, charts and tables, and figures with seemingly infinite zeroes—detailing America’s horrifying financial state. If you’re anything like me, some of this makes sense and some of it doesn’t.

    A friend and stalwart news-watcher recently e-mailed me the following explanation of America’s financial situation. It was originally published over at Townhall, and it exposes this historic crisis in simpler, more personal terms.

    The following is the financial statement of the United States:

    * U.S. tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000* Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000* New debt: $1,650,000,000,000* National debt: $16,571,000,000,000* Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000

    Now, what if we remove some zeroes and pretend it’s an annual household budget?

    * Annual family income: $21,700* Money the family spent: $38,200* New debt on credit card: $16,500* Outstanding credit card balance: $165,710* Total budget cuts so far: $385

    Not sure about you, but if my budget looked like this I’d be deeply alarmed and already in the throes of a thorough reevaluation and overhaul. And even then, it’d probably be too late to save my family from ruin.

    Herbert W. Armstrong Delivered Jesus Christ’s Gospel to Hong Kong

    Herbert W. Armstrong Delivered Jesus Christ’s Gospel to Hong Kong

    かがみ~/flickr

    Public lectures precede World Tomorrow broadcast in Hong Kong, while thousands request subscriptions to the Plain Truth.

    On the morning of Friday, Jan. 8, 1982, Herbert W. Armstrong was in the showroom of the Steuben crystal factory eagerly seeking the same Pillar of Griffin piece he had previously presented government officials and heads of state. To his disappointment, the piece had been discontinued and he was forced to make alternate selections. However, he was able to reference the factory list of items given to heads of state by other dignitaries. This enabled him to individually select unique pieces for officials he planned to meet in Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Hong Kong during his next Southeast Asian trip.

    After visits to surrounding countries, he wrote for the Feb. 1, 1982, Pastor General’s Report, “Sunday, the 24th, we flew on to Hong Kong, crossing the international dateline. Suddenly it was Monday. It was Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. All businesses and shops were closed. Wednesday evening I spoke about an hour and 20 minutes to about 200 readers of the Plain Truth.”

    This message was videotaped by the television crew for The World Tomorrow. As he spoke to the audience about the gospel message which Christ Himself declared would be delivered in the end time, he referenced the Savior’s words from Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

    “And God has sent me to preach this gospel,” he told the Hong Kong assembly. “The other ministers, the other churches are not preaching that gospel of Jesus Christ! They preach about Christ, but they don’t preach His message. They preach about the messenger, but they don’t preach the messenger’s message” (Behind the Work, 1985).

    He referenced Matthew 24:3, which reads, “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?”

    “They asked Christ what would be the end of the world. The end of the world is when this gospel of the Kingdom is preached, and you are seeing it. You’re seeing me here. I’m preaching it,” he concluded.

    Mr. Armstrong directed his media-purchasing staff to seek out air time on radio and television in an effort to not only preach the gospel message through those mediums, but also to grow the fledgling Church membership.

    An option swiftly opened up in the form of a 10,000-watt independent broadcasting station for him to consider. By the end of that same year, The World Tomorrow broadcast over radio twice a week at 6:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.

    In February 1983, Mr. Armstrong returned for another Plain Truth lecture for Hong Kong’s 850 subscribers. Television prospects opened up midway through 1983. “We are currently holding offers from Hong Kong television,” recorded the June 10 edition of the Pastor General’s Report, for “a 30-minute slot following the news on Sunday evening.”

    He then approved an advertising campaign in Reader’s Digest, which by the middle of 1984 had brought in 1,707 responses. China had long desired to see Hong Kong return to the dragon’s fold, and Mr. Armstrong’s trips to the region had not gone unnoticed.

    In China’s Great Hall at 10 a.m., Nov. 7, 1984, the world’s most populous nation’s leader, Deng Xiaoping, greeted the unofficial ambassador for world peace. After group photographs, the two sat together at the rear of the room and, as was Mr. Armstrong’s custom, Mr. Deng was presented with a piece of handcrafted crystal titled Winter Trees by the famed American artisans at Steuben.

    By early 1985 results of the continued media campaign had returned staggering increase in Asian readership of the Plain Truth. “Throughout the year, 30,356 new subscribers were added to the file, bringing our Asian subscription list to 55,651—a 59.9 percent increase over the previous year,” recorded the February 1 Pastor General’s Report. “New subscribers came onto the Asian Plain Truth mailing list mainly from advertisements in Reader’s Digest in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka. In addition, about one fifth of the new subscribers were added as a result of ‘word of mouth.’”

    A decade after the death of Mr. Armstrong, the geopolitical landscape had dramatically changed in the region, with the acquiescing of arguably one of the most notable sea gates on Earth.

    “Without a struggle, the British gifted this South China Sea prize to Communist rule in 1997,” the Trumpet reported in our special publication He Was Right. “In Hong Kong, China not only inherited one of the world’s richest trade centers, it also took over the $380 million naval base built by the British. ‘Never before has so much, used by so many, gone for so little,’ declared a member of Britain’s Ministry of Defense. ‘With the end of British rule in Hong Kong,’ the Trumpet wrote, ‘we see the final act performed in the closure of an empire—a God-given empire—and the hastening of the fulfillment of the prophesied curses upon a spoiled and ungrateful nation, the British people’ (June 1997).”

    The World Port Source reported that in 2010 alone, more than 211,800 vessels arrived at the port, including 30,300 cargo and 2,300 passenger crafts, and 91,000 river cargo and 88,100 passenger ships. The handover of Hong Kong as a sea gate and strategic military location firmly placed China as the dominant power of Southeast Asia and sank Britain into the deep waters of a geopolitical abyss.

    Trumpet founder Gerald Flurry has followed Mr. Armstrong’s legacy of humanitarianism and the pursuit of peace according to God’s Word and prophecy. Realizing that God has a plan for the peoples of the Far East that will play out in high profile in the very near future, he has directed the publishing and distribution of the booklet holding the prophetic keys to the future of these divided peoples, along with similar media initiatives throughout the region prophesying again the good news of the coming Kingdom of God (Revelation 10:11; Matthew 24:14).

    Request your free copies of Russia and China in Prophecy and The United States and Britain in Prophecy to understand what lies ahead for Hong Kong and the greater Asia region.

    Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Performed for Herbert W. Armstrong

    Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Performed for Herbert W. Armstrong

    Getty Images

    Sellout audience honored them with standing ovation, and in response received three encores.

    “What does a concert series, out to make a name for itself, offer the public after bringing the reigning Italian tenor (Luciano Pavarotti) to its stage? Reigning soprano of course, and her redoubtable musician husband,” wrote Donna Perlmutter of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.

    She concluded, “In the case of Sunday night it was Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge who honored Pasadena’s new Ambassador Auditorium in a recital of lightweight fare and heavy-weight talent.”

    On the evening of Oct. 5, 1975, the Australian duo, who played together as far back as their student days in their native Australia, delivered one of their most acclaimed performances.

    “The program, featuring the works of Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Massenet, Gounod, Tosti and others, was given a standing ovation from the capacity crowd (50 people were turned away at the door). Miss Sutherland sang three encores” (Worldwide News, Oct. 13, 1975).

    Richard Stiles of the Pasadena Star News noted, “Both artists expressed admiration for the beauty of Ambassador’s new hall and the piano. The acoustics flattered Miss Sutherland ….”

    After the performance, the duo enjoyed a special reception, during which they met with Mr. Armstrong, unofficial ambassador for world peace, founder of Ambassador College and president of the Ambassador Foundation, which sponsored the annual concert series hosted at the Pasadena auditorium.

    Sutherland’s appearance here was preceded by a blossoming musical career that began in Australia as far back as 1947, moving her to England with performances at the Royal Opera House and into a recording career during the 1950s, which saw her claim a Grammy award at the start of the 1960s for best classical performance during a foray onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

    In 1973, two years before this performance, she sang at the historic opening of the famed Sydney Opera House, which has since been renamed in her honor. Four years after her recital at ambassador, she was appointed dame by Queen Elizabeth on her New Year’s Honors list.

    Joan Sutherland had met Richard Bonynge back in the 1950s, and went on to not only marry but collaborate with him in one of the most notable classical cooperative relationships in modern history. Throughout the decades of the 1980s they continued to wow crowds across the globe. Dame Joan’s final performance brought her full circle from her first, both of which occurred in Sydney. It came in 1990 at its venerable opera house, conducted by her husband and accompanied by none other than her friend and famed tenor who had preceded her at Ambassador Auditorium, Luciano Pavarotti.

    Twenty years later, amid the seclusion and splendor of her home in Switzerland, Dame Joan breathed her last on Oct. 11, 2010. The voice of the soprano, dubbed by the Italian music world as La Stupenda (the stupendous one), would sing no more. Now in his 83rd year, her husband continues his musical pursuits as a conductor and pianist.

    Perhaps in his quieter moments at home or abroad, Mr. Bonynge may recall that special Sunday evening of Oct. 5, 1975, performing alongside his wife at Ambassador Auditorium, after which he was honored to meet the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace.

    Today, as the successor to Ambassador, located north of Oklahoma City in Edmond, Armstrong Auditorium is the country’s newest hall for performing arts.

    Should Mr. Bonynge visit, he will find performing arts program founder and president of its sponsoring foundation, Gerald Flurry, has followed in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps, having taken the time to review the exterior, interior and acoustical blueprints of Ambassador Auditorium to use as a model for construction of its $25 million successor.

    Increasingly, performers from around the globe are gracing its stage and enjoying the peaceful environs and one-of-a-kind hospitality. This polished jewel, lifting the human spirit, is adorned with Swarovski-trimmed crystal chandeliers, Baccarat crystal candelabra, American cherry wood veneers, Spanish marble and Azerbaijani onyx. The hall’s superb internal acoustics and the soaring Swans in Flight sculpture, designed by Sir David Wynn, whose sculptured Egrets fronted Ambassador Auditorium, combine to set Armstrong Auditorium apart in a class all of its own.

    Whether concert-goer, cultural buff, or admirer of humanitarianism, we encourage you to visit this performing arts jewel at the heart of the United States.

    Web Exclusive: Our Awesome Universe Potential—Part 3