New Chinese President Honors Russia With His First International Trip

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Friday for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The trip to Russia is Xi’s first international visit since taking office on March 14.

The scale of Friday’s reception underlined the close ties between the two Cold War-era rivals. The countries now cooperate closely on energy interests and their shared aspiration to curtail the influence of the United States around the world.

Putin was quick to stress the “development of Russia-China relations” ahead of the negotiations.

Xi echoed Putin’s sentiments, adding that his visit would “help to reach certain results that will benefit our relations and countries.”

The negotiations are set to focus on oil and gas as China seeks to secure new energy resources to fuel its growing economy. Russia is interested in securing a share of China’s giant energy market.

Bilateral trade between the Asian giants has been steadily growing, reaching $88 billion last year. Weapons trade between the two may also be set to increase. Russian arms trade officials said they have recently signed a tentative deal with China to deliver a batch of Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

The Trumpet has long predicted that the relationship between Russia and China will grow close. Watch for Moscow and Beijing to cooperate more and more, economically, politically and militarily. As they do, expect Europe to unite around Germany. These geopolitical trends are leading to a clash between these two power blocs. For more information, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Cyprus a Vassal State of the German Empire

Cyprus a Vassal State of the German Empire

PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images

The new bailout agreement has destroyed Cyprus’s economy, leaving the nation dependent on Germany for years to come.

During the early hours of Monday morning, EU leaders agreed to another bailout for Cyprus. The island will receive the €10 billion (us$12.9 billion) it needs to avoid collapse without most Cypriots having money removed from their bank accounts. But Cyprus’s economy has been destroyed. The nation is left as a vassal state of the new German empire.

Cyprus’s second-largest bank, Laiki, also known as the Popular Bank of Cyprus, will be split up. The profitable parts of the bank will merge with the Bank of Cyprus. Those with less than €100,000 in Laiki will not lose any money. The unprofitable parts will be used to create a “bad bank,” which will gradually be put out of business. Depositors with over €100,000 in Laiki will lose a lot of money. No figures have been announced yet, but they could lose everything above €100,000.

Those with under €100,000 in Cyprus’s biggest bank—the Bank of Cyprus—will also be protected. But those with more will also lose a lot of money—perhaps 40 percent, although figures have not yet been announced.

The deal will be painful for the whole economy. Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Cyprus “must realize its business model is dead.” The latest bailout has ensured that realization.

The Financial Times reports that the Russian businessmen who have poured so much money into Cyprus’s economy are packing up. With all the talk of Russian mafia money, some may say “good riddance,” but their exit will have a dramatic impact on the economy.

The Financial Times quotes Fedor Mikhin, who owns a Russian international shipping company. Although not directly affected by the bailout, the new instability of the financial system means he is thinking seriously about leaving. “The locals should understand: As soon as the money leaves, the people who go to restaurants, buy cars and buy property leave too. The Cypriots’ means of living will disappear,” Mikhin said.

“When the Russians leave, who is going to stay at the Four Seasons for $500 a night?” he asked. “Angela Merkel?”

Think tank Open Europe writes that “the collapse in gdp could be anywhere between 5 percent and 10 percent this year …” (March 25). The bailout has destroyed the engine of Cyprus’s economy. Its only option is to be towed along by Germany. The new deal “offers no way out of the economic ruin that the single currency has visited on the island,” wrote Jeremy Warner, assistant editor for the Telegraph.

“Under this deal, Cyprus is, in effect, kissing goodbye to one of the mainstays of its prosperity and growth—finance,” Warner wrote. “It’s a bit like saying that closing down the City of London would put the UK on a sustainable path to recovery. Many might welcome the death of finance, but the impact on output, tax revenues, employment and public services would be devastating. The same is likely to be true in miniature of Cyprus.”

As Tacitus said, “They make a desert and call it peace.” Cyprus’s economy hasn’t been fixed. It has been destroyed.

Like Greece, Cyprus seems doomed to depend on Germany for one bailout after another, making painful concessions every time. “There is a strong chance Cyprus could become a zombie economy—reliant on eurozone and central bank funding, with little hope of economic growth” (Open Europe, op. cit.).

But the most poignant analysis comes from Charles Moore, the official biographer of Margaret Thatcher and former editor of the Spectator and the Daily Telegraph. His article “Southern Europe lies prostrate before the German imperium” is worth reading in full. Germany, he argues, is now an imperialist power.

The Germans “are perfectly genuine about wishing to overcome what is euphemistically called ‘the problem of history,’” he writes. “So they are obsessed with the importance of rules, of obeying them and being seen to obey them.” He continues:

But as they have grown stronger, their love of rules has turned into an instrument of their power. We are good European citizens, the Germans argue, and we have done well. So the answer is for everyone in the eurozone to behave just like us and they will do well too. One size must fit all, and that size is made in Germany. What the Germans leave out of account is that the single currency which, for them, is artificially low in international value is, for most of the rest of the eurozone, punitively high. What helps them crushes others. After victory in 1945, Churchill broadcast that Germany “lies prostrate before us.” Today, most of southern Europe lies prostrate before Germany.

As if to deliberately underscore Mr. Moore’s point, Germany’s parliament will soon vote on the new deal. Cyprus won’t. It already voted on these kinds of measures before the weekend—before it knew what the deal would be.

Another key part of the situation: Cyprus will have to introduce strict capital controls. These controls will prevent people from taking money out of Cyprus, or perhaps even out of their bank accounts. The fact that they have to be put in place is a symptom of how badly the banking system has been hit. But it also means that Cyprus is now halfway out of the eurozone.

If someone owns a large amount of Cypriot euros, they cannot easily exchange them for Spanish euros or German euros. It means that Cypriot euros are, de facto, a different currency. “[A]t this point in time, it’s hard to argue that a euro in Cyprus is worth the same as a euro elsewhere,” wrote Open Europe.

One final angle to watch is Russia. Russian businessmen could lose thousands, if not millions of euros. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the terms amounted to stealing. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not sounded so outraged. His spokesman has indicated that he may still make it easier for Cyprus to pay back the €2.5 billion that Russia loaned it earlier. Mr. Putin’s calm reaction indicates that Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser may be right in his suspicions that Germany and Russia have already done a deal over this.

Deal or no deal, there is no denying that Germany has just destroyed Cyprus’s economy and turned the nation into a vassal state, just as Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has forecast all along.

Why the Middle East Can’t Have Peace Today

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Wenjin Hosted by Herbert W. Armstrong

Chinese Ambassador Zhang Wenjin Hosted by Herbert W. Armstrong

PT

Offered logistical assistance for historic 1984 meeting with Deng Xiaoping

Herbert W. Armstrong, as chairman and founder of the Ambassador Foundation, was officially greeted at the White House on May 17, 1984. He arrived for meetings with government officials and to attend performances by the Little Ambassadors of Shanghai. The foundation had been working with the Little Ambassadors and sponsored their four-city U.S. tour that included performances at Ambassador Auditorium, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

At the White House, First Lady Nancy Reagan thanked Mr. Armstrong for sponsoring the tour of the Little Ambassadors in the U.S. Thereafter, they moved into the famed East Room, which was used for entertainment by presidents Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt. White House and Ambassador Foundation officials, along with over 400 guests from the Republican Women’s League, assembled for a special performance by the Little Ambassadors. After the entertainment, the children, first lady and Mr. Armstrong gathered for photographs. As he was departing the East Room, Mr. Armstrong noticed a piano and, to the delight of those present, sat down and performed a few pieces. Afterward, members of the Chinese media interviewed him regarding the Ambassador Foundation’s strong relationship with the Little Ambassadors of Shanghai, who by now were affectionately calling Mr. Armstrong “Grandpa.”

Two months later, on Aug. 13, 1984, Mr. Armstrong hosted Chinese Ambassador Zhang Wenjin at the Ambassador College Social Center in Pasadena, California.

The ambassador, born in Beijing, studied in Germany from 1927 to 1931. He returned home and was active in resistance to Japanese territorial claims. He engaged in further study at Qinghua University and later worked with the Red Cross. In 1944, Zhang began work in the field of foreign affairs, serving in various posts. He was particularly effective in the areas of language translation and border negotiations, notably throughout Asia.

Zhang served as Beijing’s ambassador to Pakistan from 1966 to 1967 and 1969 to 1971. From 1971 to 1973, he assisted in border negotiations with the ussr and normalization of relations with the U.S. From 1973 to 1976, he was ambassador to Canada, which engaged him in travels to Europe, then as deputy foreign minister from 1978 to 1981. Thereafter he served his country as a key representative to the United Nations in areas of economics, diplomacy and space exploration, which took him to Central America, South America and the Mediterranean. In 1983, he began his tenure as ambassador to the U.S.

On his visit to Ambassador College, Zhang was accompanied by his wife, Zhang Yin; Yang Jiechi, his second secretary; and Chinese consul from San Francisco, Tang Shu Bei.

“Conversation touched on China, the United States and the Ambassador Foundation,” reported the Worldwide News. “The guests visited Mr. Armstrong’s study, admiring his autographed portraits from world and civic leaders. They smiled appreciatively at the photograph of Mr. Armstrong and the Little Ambassadors from Shanghai” (Aug. 27, 1984).

After the group had enjoyed an evening meal, the ambassador was heard complimenting the work of the Social Center staff by stating the dinner “was more elegant than a state dinner in the White House” (ibid).

They retired to the living room, where Ambassador Foundation officials answered questions about the activities of the Church and Ambassador College. Before bidding their farewells, the Chinese offered Mr. Armstrong their help in logistical details for his upcoming trip to their capital.

A key high point of Ambassador Foundation relations with China came two months later in the Great Hall at 10 a.m. on Nov. 7, 1984, as Deng Xiaoping greeted the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace. The visit to the world’s most populous nation was supremely historic—it was the first time a leader from Christianity had been invited to speak before leaders of the People’s Republic of China. 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.

Sadly, the death of Herbert W. Armstrong in January 1986 stalled the progress of his and Deng Xiaoping’s project set in motion at their meeting two years earlier: construction of the Golden Bridge Exchange Center in Beijing. A year before his death, Mr. Armstrong oversaw planning meetings conducted at Ambassador College with Chinese officials for the building to be modeled on the architecture and engineering of Ambassador Auditorium. The shelving of the project was exacerbated by the cadre that assumed control of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation. They ultimately destroyed its humanitarian endeavors, lacking both the vision and diplomacy to further the momentum of cultural humanitarianism worldwide as led by the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace.

At the time of Zhang Wenjin’s death in 1991, at the age of 76, he was serving as vice chairman on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, and president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship With Foreign Countries.

Six years later, in 1997, Deng Xiaoping died. He and the late ambassador would be pleased that Armstrong Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry followed in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps and took the time to review the blueprints of Ambassador Auditorium before authorizing construction of its successor, Armstrong Auditorium. Visit the Armstrong Auditorium website for a detailed look at the U.S.’s latest polished jewel, lifting the human spirit. Adorned with Swarovski-trimmed chandeliers, Baccarat crystal candelabra, American cherry wood veneers, Spanish marble and Azerbaijani onyx, the hall’s superb acoustics and soaring Swans in Flight sculpture combine to set Armstrong Auditorium apart as the jewel in the cultural crown of the Midwest United States.

The Armstrong International Cultural Foundation has continued the legacy of the internationally recognized ambassador for world peace and the efforts of the humanitarian Golden Bridge Exchange. This was clearly on display when on February 28 this year, China’s National Symphony Orchestra made its debut performance at Armstrong Auditorium in perpetuation of the spirit of the efforts of its namesake and China’s late leader 19 years ago. With each movement of the orchestral alchemy, the audience responded with avid applause, and as the final dulcet tones rang out, the adoring listeners responded with a standing ovation.

Obama in Israel

Obama in Israel

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The president and Israeli intellectuals agree: It’s ‘no fair’ that Palestinians have no state.

During his first term, President Obama spent considerable energy trying to build America’s relationship with the Muslim world. He never visited Israel, and repeatedly showed hostility toward the Jewish state. His reelection seemed to vindicate this approach.

This made his decision to take his first-ever visit to Israel this past week intriguing. It took place against a backdrop of increasing radicalism in the Arab world, a rise in Islamist authoritarianism, growing anti-Americanism among Muslims—and American retreat from the Middle East.

The president went out of his way to soothe the Israelis and say a lot of nice things. He made guarantees about Israel’s future, and about keeping Iran from going nuclear. He condemned groups that deny Israel’s right to exist. He was extremely friendly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, whom he repeatedly called “Bibi.”

However, President Obama refused to speak before the Knesset, opting instead to address a group of handpicked university students, symbolic of his wanting to reach the Israeli people directly. This set the stage for the most telling and remarkable moment in the president’s trip.

Most of the speech was champagne and chocolate: ingratiating, sensitive, appealing to the Jews. He acknowledged “the changes sweeping the Arab world … uncertainty in the region—people in the streets, changes in leadership, the rise of non-secular parties in politics.” Just listening, one would never know the role this administration has played in encouraging and fueling these dangerous changes. Then came the real point of the speech: admonishing the Jews to give the Palestinians a state. And among the Israeli intellectuals in the crowd, he found glowing support.

“The Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized.” Applause. “And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own.” Applause. “Living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people, but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished.” Applause. “It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank (applause begins) or displace Palestinian families from their homes.” Applause. “Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.” Cheering applause. “Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their homeland.” Applause.

These words characterize the Palestinians as yearning for peace through negotiations with Israel, if only Israel would cooperate. Apparently this view is shared by these Jewish academics.

They woefully ignore several pressing realities: that the Palestinian children of which the president speaks are being raised on virulent Jew hatred; that Arab leaders who support negotiations with Israel lose public support; that Arab leaders, whatever they may say to the international press, consistently speak to their own people in terms of war with the Jews; that when Israel ended its “occupation” of Gaza, that territory became a terrorist haven; that Israel’s “controlling” security measures are necessary to protect citizens from unprovoked terrorist attacks. The crowd’s applause signifies stubborn adherence to beliefs long proven false.

The president followed up these comments by encouraging the Israelis to demand their leaders make concessions for peace. “[L]et me say this as a politician, I can promise you this: Political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see.” But the fundamental change required for peace cannot take place in Israeli hearts. Who will change the hearts of the Muslims—not just those in Gaza and within Israel—but also in Egypt and elsewhere in the surrounding countries—who want to eliminate the Jews?

Some of the audience’s most enthusiastic applause came when President Obama spoke of some Palestinian youths he met. “I honestly believe that if any Israeli parent sat down with those kids, they’d say I, I want these kids to succeed. I want them to prosper. … I believe that’s what Israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them. I believe that.” Wonderful sentiment. Any right-thinking person would agree. But how many Muslims would think that about Jewish youths?

The president assured his listeners that peace is possible. He said they had a “true partner” for peace in the Palestinian Authority leadership—a notion that has repeatedly proven false. Several of the president’s statements were founded on the old belief—contrary to the reality of human experience—that, deep down, everyone wants peace.

Speaking of the Muslims who heard his speech in Cairo four years ago, he said, they’re basically like you: They want “the ability to make their own decisions; to get an education and a good job; to worship God in their own way; to get married; to raise a family.” It’s quite remarkable to invoke America’s involvement in Egypt as proof of the potential for peace. It was with Egypt that Israel had enjoyed a peace pact that lasted for three decades. But since President Obama’s speech there four years ago (a speech to which he invited the Muslim Brotherhood)—and thanks in no small part to America pushing Hosni Mubarak aside—Egypt has shifted dramatically toward radicalism, and that peace agreement is in tatters. The new Egyptian president has called the Jews “blood suckers … descendants of apes and pigs,” and said “we should employ all forms of resistance,” including military resistance, against the “criminal Zionists.”

President Obama’s handpicked listeners were cheering a fantasy. The peace they hope for simply cannot come by the means they wish for. “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:8).

Don’t be distracted by the attractive visuals of this visit. The underlying realities were only reinforced. Negotiations will not solve these problems. The threat to Israel’s security will increase. The limits of American support will be further exposed. And the need for another foreign advocate will become ever more painfully clear—an advocate to which the Jews will look, mistakenly, for salvation.

Voyager 1 Reaches the Edge of the Solar System

Voyager 1 Reaches the Edge of the Solar System

NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Voyager 1 spacecraft has just drifted beyond the reach of our solar system, according to a paper published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal on March 20. It will be the first man-made object to travel so far from home.

According to researcher Bill Webber, Voyager 1 passed through what is known as the “heliocliff” on August 25 last year, citing the detection of a dramatic fall in radiation emitted from the sun. Beyond the influence of the sun, Voyager-1 continues its voyage onward.

Speculation remains as to whether the Voyager 1 probe has arrived in interstellar space or an undefined region beyond the solar system. Upon its arrival on the edge, a change in the direction of the sun’s magnetic field should be observed as it is acted on by interstellar magnetic fields. This has not happened, leading some to speculate that the probe is now in a no-man’s-land between Earth and the vast emptiness that divides our solar system from the next one.

Voyager 1 has had a long journey. Launched in September 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Voyager 1 was sent to observe the outer planets and the interstellar region beyond the solar system. Following the completion of the first part of its journey, it set off for the far reaches of space and was followed by its counterpart Voyager 2.

The fact that the two probes are still traveling is a marvel in itself. They run off of basic 1970s equipment. Each one has 68 kilobytes of computer memory. An average iPod today has over 240,000 times that much memory. However, those 68K are still doing the job. Radio waves are still being bounced back across the solar system. It takes these waves 16 hours to traverse the distance between man and machine.

So far, Voyager 1 has traversed across 18 billion kilometers of space. It is powered by a plutonium power source which is set to stop generating electricity in 10 to 15 years. At that point, the probe will go silent and drift on through the darkness alone.

It is incredible to see what man has been able to achieve. He has sent out technology that broadcasts information back across the universe. Voyager 1 is a fantastic piece of technology. But it also raises a larger question.

Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God, wrote in his book Mystery of the Ages, “Why do we find a world of awesome advancement and progress, yet paradoxically with appalling and mounting evils? Why cannot the minds that develop spacecraft, computers and marvels of science, technology and industry solve the problems that demonstrate human helplessness?”

Though mankind has made amazing advancements across the fields of technology, we have yet to bring about world peace. War ravages the planet, millions live in poverty, and millions more go without basic education or a reasonable standard of living. Man finds it easier to peer over the precipice of the solar system than to solve the crisis that faces him on Earth.

But this world is not without hope. The galaxies that Voyager 1 is slowly drifting towards are directly connected to the future of mankind. Man has a potential that exists among the stars. In all reality, mankind will reach those distant solar systems before Voyager 1 ever will! It will be over 40,000 years before that probe will come even close to another star.

Read Our Awesome Universe Potential to see what God has in store for those who will heed his message. The Voyager 1 trip to the edge of the solar system doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.