Margaret Thatcher: Her Real Legacy

Thousands of Britons attended the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher today. The ceremonial funeral was attended by dignitaries from 170 countries, including 11 serving prime ministers and 17 serving foreign ministers. The gathering of 2,300 mourners was led by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. It was the first time the Queen has attended the funeral of one of her prime ministers since Sir Winston Churchill died in 1965.

The bishop of London delivered an address at Lady Thatcher’s funeral, and actively avoided the political controversy surrounding the nation’s first female prime minister, who was a staunch conservative.

In his address at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Bishop Richard Chartres called Thatcher a “symbolic figure—even an ism.”

But what is Margaret Thatcher’s most powerful, lasting legacy—the one thing she will be remembered for most?

At a meeting in 1995 with former French President Francois Mitterrand, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Lady Thatcher underlined one of her most adamant policy beliefs—opposition to German reunification and European integration.

“To unify Germany would make her the dominant nation in the European community. They are powerful, and they are efficient,” she warned.

“Mitterrand and I know. We have sat there at the table [with Germany] very often indeed. Germany will use her power. She will use the fact that she is the largest contributor to Europe to say, ‘Look, I put more money in than anyone else, and I must have my way on things which I want.’”

Thatcher continued. “Some people say you have to anchor Germany to Europe to stop these features from coming out again. Well, you have not anchored Germany to Europe, but Europe to a newly dominant Germany. That is why I call it a German Europe.”

Lady Thatcher’s words were prophetic!

Almost two decades later, as Britain buries one of its best prime ministers, Europe is experiencing exactly what she warned against. Germany is dominating the Continent—economically, financially and politically.

The “Iron Lady” was right.

But now she is gone. And with her has died the final example of real, courageous British political leadership.

Sadly, the Bible says that the quality of British leadership will decay further, until the return of Jesus Christ. Read our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for an astounding exposé of the true history of Britain and the future of greatness that yet awaits its peoples.

A German-Israel Economic Love Affair

A German-Israel Economic Love Affair

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Intimate fiscal bond with a price?

Recently, the German and Israeli governments jointly made the sixth “call for proposals for joint R&D projects” from companies in their nations. All proposals must be submitted by June 17, “focusing on developing innovative products and applications in all technological and application areas.”

As in the past, the Israeli Center for Research and Development and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology will grant public funds for the joint projects. This initiative will continue to subscribe to guidelines from the 1985 EU-originated Europe-wide Network for Market-Oriented Industrial Research and Development and Innovation.

The modern-day bond this project reflects was foretold long ago to be fulfilled in our time today (Hosea 5:13). Germany is one of Israel’s largest trading partners and has sought to expand that trade relationship, as evidenced by increased air transport between the countries and cooperative agreements across the fields of entertainment, medicine, science, technology, biotech, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and the military.

“On Jan. 31, 2011, Angela Merkel traveled to Israel, accompanied by eight ministers of her cabinet,” recounted The Israel Project. “The meeting with Israeli government officials was dominated by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt in particular. Academic cooperation, cooperation in disaster control and a deepening of economic ties were also discussed. Merkel highlighted once more the close ties between both countries, while at the same time calling for progress in the peace process with the Palestinians.”

It was only last year that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Europe asking for the bloc’s aid to deal with the ongoing nuclear threat from Iran and incessant summer rocket attacks from Iran’s allies just across Israel’s border. He was encouraged by the German chancellor’s past and present statements regarding the country’s moral duty to protect Israel. By the end of the year both the chancellor and the EU foreign policy chief had issued statements in support of Israel’s right to protect itself from attack.

“Why go to Germany?” asks editor in chief Gerald Flurry in his compelling booklet Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind. He explains “Already the European Union has been mentioned publicly as a protector to Israel as the U.S. grows weaker. Germany has grown more and more active in the region. It sent observers to look after the border with Egypt after Israel vacated the Gaza Strip; it sent peacekeepers to Lebanon after the Hezbollah-Israel war in the summer of 2006; for some years there has been talk of German troops helping to secure the Golan Heights should Israel give this strategic area back to Syria.

“Germany now has its navy deployed throughout the whole of the Mediterranean, one of the world’s most strategic waterways, from Gibraltar to Suez. Relations between German and Israeli politicians are the best they have been in decades.”

In 2012, the world witnessed the expansion of radical Islam, led by Iran, across the Mideast and North Africa. This resulted in the collapse of a 30-year peace period between Israel and Egypt and cast the region into tumult. With U.S. foreign policy historically insular and the country’s military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel is left more vulnerable than ever. Its current economic partnership with Germany appears set to expand to a military one under the auspices of peacekeeping (Daniel 11:40).

While the Jewish people would feel secure from their regional enemies under German-EU protection, they would be shocked to read the ancient Prophet Obadiah’s declaration of a modern-day deceptive peace agreement set to impact them (Obadiah 7).

Furthermore, Bible prophecy foretells grave consequences for the American, British and Jewish peoples in Israel as a result of this perceived comfort in the arms of Europe’s economic powerhouse (Hosea 5:5). So what is the outcome of this intimate German-Israel affair? For the vital answer, read Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind.

Cyprus Bailout Gets Even Worse

Cyprus Bailout Gets Even Worse

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Southern Europe is stuck in a trap that forces it to give up power to Germany.

The amount Cyprus will have to pay to fix its financial sector jumped by €6 billion, Cyprus announced April 11. Originally, Cyprus was going to receive €10 billion from international lenders, and raise €7 billion itself. Now, the latter figure is €13 billion.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades wrote to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy pleading for more money, but he was ignored. Germany made it clear it was not willing to give any extra.

If Cyprus cannot come up with the extra cash itself, “the assent of the German Bundestag next week is out of the question,” said Christian von Stetten of the German Parliament’s finance committee.

To fund this, an estimated €8.3 billion will be taken out of bank accounts in Laiki and the Bank of Cyprus, Reuters reported April 15, citing a leaked European Commission document.

As agreed earlier, those with money in Laiki have lost everything above €100,000. Depositors in Cyprus’s largest bank, Bank of Cyprus, face an uncertain future. They will definitely lose 37.5 percent of everything over €100,000 that they’ve deposited. They will have to keep another 22.5 percent in their bank account for two or three months, just in case the government needs to take more. Depositors will receive no interest on this. And the remaining 40 percent must be kept in the bank account for six months, to stop a run on the bank. During that time, the government could decide that it needs some, or all, of this money too.

So those with deposits in the Bank of Cyprus have effectively also lost all their money above €100,000. They just have to wait to find out if they will get any of that money back.

This means a huge number will be losing their savings. Thirty-eight percent of all of Cyprus’s bank deposits were in these two banks.

This isn’t something that affects just Russian mafia bosses. It is crippling the whole island. One hundred thousand euros is not a great deal of money to retire on. Many pensioners could have savings above this amount.

It isn’t a lot of money for a business either. Entrepreneurs who worked hard their whole lives are losing everything. Companies and even charities and universities could be forced to close down. People are already losing their jobs.

The Cypriot Mail reports that orphans who lost both their parents in a plane crash in 2005 are losing their compensation money.

This affects the whole economy. Even those who weren’t directly affected could be put out of business in the aftermath, as all those newly unemployed people or those who have lost their savings stop spending.

Last week, EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn admitted that the annual output of Cyprus’s economy could fall by 15 percent this year. That’s a huge figure.

This is the reason why the total amount Cyprus needed jumped from €17.5 billion to €23 billion. The bailout conditions were so harsh and did so much damage, that the economy now needs a larger bailout. But Europe is forcing Cyprus to come up with that extra money itself, making the bailout terms even harsher. This is a vicious cycle that can never lead to recovery. Cyprus will be left permanently dependent on Germany, forced to hand over more and more sovereignty each time it needs more money.

This same pattern is under way in both Greece and Portugal. Both their economies are now in a worse condition than when they received their bailout. Portugal needs to borrow more money to keep itself going than it did before the EU stepped in to “help.”

Yet Germany is examining even harsher bailout conditions. Its council of economic experts, knows as the “Five Wise Men,” has suggested a wealth tax to pay for future bailouts. They argue that it is easy for the rich to move their bank accounts around Europe. Wealth that is tied up in things like property is much harder to move, making taxes on it harder to avoid.

Germany feels justified in making this proposal, as a recent survey by the European Central Bank found that the average household wealth in southern Europe is much larger than in Germany.

Part of this is because Germans tend to rent their homes instead of owning them. It’s also due to inflated house prices in southern Europe, fueled by the cheap credit that used to come with being in the eurozone.

But no matter how justified the Germans may be in making this demand, it will do even more to trap southern Europe in dependence on Germany. The Telegraph’s assistant editor, Jeremy Warner, concludes that a new wealth tax would end up “trapping the periphery in even deeper depression.”

This is the result of the eurozone’s bailout: The southern half of the European continent is stuck, constantly needing more German money, and constantly giving up more power to Germany.

For more on this, see Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article on Cyprus in the latest print edition of the Trumpet, which will be published online shortly.

Is There Hope for Victims of the Boston Bombing?

Two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. Shattered glass and debris covered the ground, along with severed arms, legs and other body parts. Over 150 people were wounded and at least three people were killed.

No one has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, which occurred on one of the city’s most famous civic holidays, Patriots’ Day.

The Boston Marathon attracts competitors and spectators from around the globe. It is the oldest running marathon in the world. Each year, more than 20,000 people compete in the race, while about a million people gather to cheer them on.

Australians in Boston for the marathon described the moments when the two bombs detonated in the crowded streets near the finish line. Robert de Castella, a former world champion marathon runner from Australia, witnessed the explosions: “We heard these two booms; it sounded like, you know, enormous claps of thunder. You even felt them against your chest. And then, all hell broke loose, the sirens and people running and people crying—and it was really devastating for me, who loves marathons and loves Boston.”

The attack has raised fears for upcoming marathons in London, Belgrade and within the United States. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is scheduled for April 28. The OKC marathon memorializes the victims of a 1995 terrorist attack that killed 168 people and injured nearly 700.

Even in the bloody and terrifying aftermath of the Boston bombing, there is still a great cause for hope. The increasing violence we see in our world is actually a sign that Jesus Christ is about to return. In addition, the Bible reveals that those who died in this most recent attack on America will live again, along with all those who died in Oklahoma City and beyond.

In Luke 11, Christ admonished us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come quickly. That Kingdom is mankind’s only hope. To understand how you can have hope for mankind—both the living and the dead—please read Herbert Armstrong’s inspiring, free book The Incredible Human Potential.

U.S. Influence in Iraq Continues to Diminish

U.S. Influence in Iraq Continues to Diminish

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As the United States disengages from Iraq, Iran continues to connect.

After more than $1 trillion spent and a decade of war and occupation, the U.S. has lost almost total control of Iraq. The Shiite-ruled nation has drifted away from American influence, choosing instead to build relations with its neighbor Iran. Who would have guessed?

When the U.S. invaded and tore down the statue of Saddam Hussein, there were few that expected Iraq to turn away from its liberators, and join with radical Iran. Even the Iraqi people celebrated on the streets at first. There was, however, one man predicting a very different outcome. In the June 2003 edition of the Trumpet, editor in chief Gerald Flurry published an article boldly stating:

Now that Iraq has been taken out of the picture, Iran is even closer to becoming the reigning king of the Middle East. It may seem shocking, given the U.S. presence in the region right now, but prophecy indicates that, in pursuit of its goal, Iran will probably take over Iraq. At least, it will have a heavy influence over the Iraqi people.

This powerful article, “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?”, carried the same headline as an article written on the same subject back in the Trumpet of December 1994. Who else was making such statements so early in the conflict?

Now the mainstream media is coming to accept that the U.S. mission has failed. As Ernesto Londono from the Washington Post said, “Today, America’s voice here has been reduced to a whimper.”

There are still some who would cling to the belief that Iraq is not a failure. Mr. Londono wrote, “In some ways, two senior U.S. officials said, having a smaller mission in Baghdad, with no U.S. troops, has set the tone for a healthier relationship. They noted, for instance, that once American troops withdrew at the end of 2011, Shiite militias stopped lobbing rockets at the embassy.”

Read that again. American leaders call Iraq a success because the enemy stopped firing when U.S. troops left. Perhaps their enemies stopped firing because they won? The American troops withdrew. That is what the terrorists wanted, and that is what they got.

The shrinking embassy is a reflection of waning U.S. influence in the nation. Only one year ago, there were 16,000 workers at the embassy. According to U.S. Ambassador Robert Stephen Beecroft, today there are 10,500 workers, and by the end of the year that figure is set to be 5,500. Only 1,000 of those will be diplomats; the rest will be security personnel and outside contractors.

The heavily fortified complex is the largest American mission in the world. It is the size of the Vatican, and opened to the tune of $730 million. Today, it has been reduced to a shadow of its former self.

“This is a sign the Americans have given up their promises to support Iraqis. The U.S. Embassy has failed to play the role of being a fair mediator among Iraqi political blocs,” said Ibrahim Hussein, a Sunni engineer from Baghdad. He is just one of many Sunnis living in Iraq who have become disenchanted with U.S. operations in the nation.

As U.S. influence evaporates, so does the influence of the Sunni population. The ruling government in Iraq is primarily Shiite. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki originally promised a fair government, but has systematically destroyed his opponents. Mr. Maliki has accused at least two key rivals of terrorism, driving them into exile. Whether the claims are true or not, they leave the Shiite government with little to no viable contenders for power in the country.

The Sunni population realizes that they are being marginalized, and they won’t be getting any more help from the U.S. “America could still do a lot if they wanted to. But I think because Obama chose a line that he is taking care of interior matters rather than taking care of outside problems, that made America weak—at least in Iraq,” said Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak.

Directly to the east of Iraq is Iran. The heavily Shiite-dominated Iran has had its eyes fixed on Iraq for years. Prior to the Gulf War, Iraq acted as a counterbalance to Iran. However, when the U.S. invaded and removed Saddam Hussein from power, it destroyed the strongest Iranian opposition within the region.

Now we see the current Iraqi administration taking on more and more of an Iranian appearance. The Sunni population can see this clearer than most. The Shiite government is manipulating the political landscape to ensure the Sunnis can’t rise up against the current administration. It sees the conflict in Syria, and undoubtedly fears it may spill over the border.

Iraq is doing its part to try to prevent the Syrian government from being ousted. Iranian planes regularly fly weapons across to Syria, straight through Iraqi airspace. This couldn’t happen when the U.S. controlled the nation’s airspace. Stratfor states that “it is an open secret that Iran has been funneling weapons and fighters in civilian aircraft primarily through Iraq to reinforce the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

As violence in Syria rages, Iraq seeks to stay close to Iran and the Syrian government to try to contain a Sunni uprising in its own country.

At this crucial juncture in the Middle Eastern political climate, the U.S. is high-tailing it out of there as fast as possible. Failure upon failure has made America weary of conflict. The easiest option now is to just pack up and leave, even after investing $1.7 trillion.

The police training program typifies this mindset of retreat. In May 2012, the New York Times posted an article explaining the downfall of the program. Even while it was still operating, it was seen as a failure:

The training effort, which began in October and has already cost $500 million, was conceived of as the largest component of a mission billed as the most ambitious American aid effort since the Marshall Plan. Instead, it has emerged as the latest high-profile example of the waning American influence here following the military withdrawal, and it reflects a costly miscalculation on the part of American officials, who did not count on the Iraqi government to assert its sovereignty so aggressively.

America cannot afford to keep making these blunders in the Middle East. It is playing right into Iran’s hands.

In the New York Times recently, Ramzy Mardini of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies assessed the situation bluntly: “A decade since the occupation of Iraq began, Baghdad still cannot be considered an ally of the United States. … An alliance today is beyond anyone’s reach.”

Why is it so hard for the U.S. to maintain its presence in the region? Prophecy indicates Iraq will join forces with Iran. As hard as America has tried to create an ally in Iraq, it is destined to fail. Likewise, no matter how hard Iran and Iraq try to aid Syria, the embattled nation is destined to turn against them. Washington doesn’t know this, and neither do any of the nations in the Middle East. You can. You personally have the opportunity to understand why world events are shaping up as they are right now. Study “Is Iraq About to Fall to Iran?” by Gerald Flurry and see for yourself how the puzzle pieces are falling into place in the Middle East as God prophesied, and as the Trumpet continues to proclaim.

China to Take Over U.S. Infrastructure

China to Take Over U.S. Infrastructure

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China is looking to finance ailing American infrastructure as the U.S. runs out of cash.

Secretary of State John Kerry met with top Chinese officials in Beijing on April 13 to discuss the growing threats from North Korea. However, when Mr. Kerry spoke with the press following the meeting, he said there were other discussions taking place. The U.S. and China discussed the possibility of China investing in U.S. infrastructure.

Yes, the potholes in the road you swerve to avoid on your way to work might soon be plugged with the aid of the Chinese. A lack of domestic funding has led the U.S. to look elsewhere for financing to pay for the most basic upkeep of the nation. “We welcome Chinese investment in the United States,” said a smiling Mr. Kerry, who suggested that China could play a big role building U.S. transportation infrastructure, water utilities and power plants.

This is not an entirely new initiative. In January 2011, President Barack Obama met with Chinese businessmen to discuss deeper U.S. investments. During the meeting, President Obama said, “The United States is open for investment and would welcome it.”

The U.S. certainly would benefit from Chinese help. With crippling debt closing in on $17 trillion, and $3.86 billion being added per day, there is less and less money being spent on aging U.S. infrastructure. In January 2009, the New York Times released an article stating, “More than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Leaky pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water every day.” And that was four years ago.

The Times printed the article following the release of a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers which gave the nation’s infrastructure a D on a ranking of A through F. It estimated that it would cost $2.2 trillion over the next five years to bring it back into good repair. That hasn’t happened.

Enter China.

“The U.S.-China relationship is fast becoming the most important bilateral relationship for both countries, if it isn’t already,” said John Frisbie, director of the U.S. China Business Council.

But who is it really more important for? The U.S. cannot pay for its own infrastructure, the most basic of needs in America. So it is opening the doors wide for China to come in and spend money. In a sense, however, it is a win-win for both: China gets profits, and Americans get better infrastructure. And when foreign companies make the investments and are able to export the profits, wealth drains out of the nation.

The Trumpet wrote in 2011: “Washington’s move to yield strategic ground in these pivotal areas is designed to stave off the country’s demise, but it will only hasten America’s corrosion. Under the multiplying weight of debt, U.S. leaders are throwing open the nation’s doors for a Communist government to enter its borders and employ its citizens. America’s failure to control its spending is taking away its ability to control its course.”

This is evident with Washington’s dealings with North Korea. North Korea is utterly dwarfed by the power of the U.S., yet Korea continues to openly threaten America and its allies. It looks as if all the military might of America is virtually rendered impotent—and in a sense it is, because Washington is completely hamstrung by China. America recognizes that North Korea is a Chinese protectorate—and there is little it can do about it unless it wants to risk offending China. And this is not an attractive option when China is its most important lender and investor.

Following an address to the Edmond Chamber of Commerce on April 4, Congressman James Lankford was asked how dangerous America’s debt problem was. Lankford said that in his opinion, the more immediate threat was North Korea, but not because of its weapons. He said that if North Korea didn’t back down, and the U.S. was forced to mobilize troops, which costs money, China could refuse to buy up more U.S. debt. America would be without the funds to mobilize troops and check power in the Asia-Pacific region. Suddenly the U.S. could be facing an overnight interest rate hike on bonds.

America’s debt bomb could go off, he said. And it could happen “overnight.”

China holds over 7.5 percent of U.S. debt. America is so beholden to China, it has compromised its ability to act as a true superpower. Gone are the days that the U.S. could act with authority and real power—today the U.S. dances to the tune of its debtors.

As Trumpet columnist Robert Morley wrote last year, “[T]here is no doubt that China considers America’s debt as a weapon to be used. Back in 2007, Xia Bin, a cabinet-rank minister, stated that China’s foreign reserves should be employed as a ‘bargaining chip’ in trade talks with the U.S. That same year, as China and America hammered out a trade deal, He Fan, an official at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, went even further, warning that China could obliterate the greenback if it so desired. ‘China has accumulated a large sum of U.S. dollars. Such a big sum … contributes a great deal to maintaining the position of the dollar as a reserve currency,” he said. … In the past, [Chinese media] has referred to America’s debt pile as China’s ‘nuclear option,’ indicating Beijing could easily trigger a dollar meltdown of massive proportions if it needed to.”

As China continues to invest in the U.S., there may be some benefits domestically. Perhaps roads will improve, or you will get better Internet services. But such benefits come at a terrible national cost. The U.S. is living Proverbs 22:7. It is truly becoming enslaved to those it reaches out to for help. The U.S. was prophesied to be ensnared by its enemies. If China gains control of American industry, on top of its huge intake of U.S. debt, America will well and truly be besieged by trade warfare, just as is prophesied in Deuteronomy 28.

The time is almost on us when economic restriction will choke off the United States. It is a bleak outlook, but not one that should despair us. With such immense trial, there is opportunity for repentance. God doesn’t want to see the nations suffer, but He must bring people to see that their ways do not work. The U.S. doesn’t have it right, and neither does China. Both will soon be taught the right way to live, along with all other peoples and nations.

You don’t have to be ignorant of the troubles besetting this world. Read Russia and China in Prophecy and The United States and Britain in Prophecy to understand the plan God has for the forming Asian conglomerate and the West.