WorldWatch

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WorldWatch

From the July 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Asia

Japan

Going nuclear?

Japan is gearing up to open a massive nuclear reprocessing facility in Rokkasho, northern Honshu. Analysts are concerned about what the Japanese government will use it for, since it appears that it may be capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Japanese officials and nuclear-industry experts claim that the Rokkasho plant could produce an annual output of nine tons of weapons-usable plutonium—enough to build up to 2,000 bombs—within five months of opening, according to the Wall Street Journal (May 1).

The $21 billion-plus plant is “the world’s most expensive nuclear facility” (Asia Times, Sept. 9, 2005). Construction began 20 years ago. “Within Japanese ruling circles … there has been a barely concealed ambition to have a nuclear arsenal,” Global Research claims. “Japan’s extensive nuclear industry was established in part to ensure that the country had the capacity to build such weapons” (May 7). Three of Japan’s neighbors—China, Russia and North Korea—have nuclear weapons. In spite of its World War ii history, it appears that it was just a matter of time before Japan proceeded to develop its own nuclear defensive capability.

“Japan is dependent on imports for almost all of its raw materials,” George Friedman and Meredith LeBard write in The Coming War With Japan. “The more it produces, the more raw materials it needs to import …. In order to import raw materials, Japan must have access to the country that supplies them, as well as secure sea-lanes for transporting the goods. Securing these resources and the sea-lanes is both a political and a military problem, one that Japan has depended on the U.S. to solve. The issue is whether Japan can continue to rely on the United States and if not, how it can go about securing these supplies itself.”

Japan’s conservative leader, Shinzo Abe, has worked for years to remove the pacifist clause in Japan’s constitution and formalize the country’s right to a strong military. (This is largely symbolic, since Japan’s military forces are already larger than Britain’s.) During his first term as prime minister, Abe quickly elevated the Japanese Defense Agency to full ministerial status. Now, early in his second term, he continues a more aggressive, nationalistic—even militaristic—foreign policy than Japan has known since World War ii. Domestically, activists say Abe is proposing widespread changes that would assault civil rights, muzzle Japan’s media and swing the doors open for a return to authoritarianism. Yet he enjoys increasing support from Japan’s ruling elite.

The Japan Atomic Energy Commission estimates that the Rokkasho plant could begin its reprocessing work as early as October. This raises the stakes considerably. Should Japan indicate further that it intends to build a nuclear arsenal, “it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. A nuclear-armed Japan would dramatically alter relations in Asia, as it would be less dependent on the U.S. militarily and more able to independently prosecute its economic and strategic interests” (Global Research, op. cit.).

Shinzo Abe could prove to be the wild card in Japanese politics that could reset Japan back to its pre-war, imperialist foreign policy. Friedman and LeBard observe that “Japan’s need for physical security requires that it take control of its regional environment, the Northwest Pacific …. Japan’s need for raw materials demands that it adopt a much broader policy, reaching far beyond the confines of the northwestern Pacific” (op. cit.; emphasis added). This is the conundrum that led industrialized Japan to become an imperial power before World War ii.

In light of its foreign-policy imperatives and the “precarious” nature of continuing reliance on the U.S. as its protector, Friedman and LeBard observe that “Japan must return to history and live in the place assigned it on Earth, living by its own wits and its own powers ….”

That is exactly what your Bible prophesies will happen to Japan.

The Bible—and current events—indicate that we are about to see a grand clash of powers. The new Holy Roman Empire in Europe, led by Germany, will crash into an alliance of three dominating Eastern powers (Revelation 16:12). Ezekiel 38 identifies these powers as an alliance of China (Gog) and Russia (Meshech and Tubal), joined by Japan (the house of Togarmah of the north quarters) and its imperial possessions (Gomer and all his bands—Southeast Asia). Together, these Asian giants will muster a military force of 200 million soldiers (Revelation 9:16).

What will a nuclear-armed alliance of Russia, China and Japan unleash on the world?

China

Philippines

Taiwan, we’ve got your back

The Philippine Coast Guard fatally shot a Taiwanese fisherman on May 9 in disputed waters south of Taiwan, setting off a chain of events that could mend the breach between Beijing and Taipei. After the shooting, China’s Global Times urged Manila to apologize, and Taiwan recalled its Philippine envoy and froze the hiring of Philippine workers. Manila apologized, but Taiwan and China rejected the apology as “insincere.” Taiwan warned its citizens against traveling to the Philippines and announced plans to hold military exercises in the disputed waters. China applauded Taiwan’s measures as a “second front” for China to stand up to neighbors in territorial rows. If Taiwan gets used to relying on China, it could unite the two nations and bolster China’s power in the Pacific.

India

The world’s top consumers

The Asia-Pacific region has overtaken all other regions of the world in terms of materials consumption and is expected to keep dominating world material flows, according to an April 24 UN report. As populous nations like China and India transition from agrarian to industrialized economies, Asia’s drive for resources will intensify. Asia’s growing global footprint will prompt European leaders to take a more combative stance in securing resources for themselves.

Russia

Here’s what concessions to Moscow gets you

Russian strategic Bear bombers flew inside America’s defense zone near northern Alaska on April 28, the fifth incident of Russian bombers flying against the U.S. since June 2012. Analysts say it is part of Moscow’s efforts to sway America’s missile defense plans. Russia has long opposed U.S. plans to complete a Europe-based missile defense system, and, in March, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the cancellation of the final stage of the program. Since this was the very stage Russia had most fiercely opposed, pundits viewed the cancellation as a significant concession to Moscow. At a meeting last March, a live microphone picked up President Obama attempting to privately tell outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on missile defense after his reelection. He has since been reelected, and is fast making use of the increased “flexibility.” Incidents like the April 28 bomber flights show that concessions to Moscow will only spur the Russians to push harder against the U.S.

China

Targeting GPS

China’s military conducted the first test of an advanced anti-satellite missile on May 13, a significant step in Beijing’s strategy of developing asymmetric military programs for use against the United States. The new DN-2 asat system could give the Chinese military the ability to “degrade or severely damage” the U.S. Global Positioning System (gps), said Rick Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center. “This is not merely a threat against some American military satellites, but a threat to what has become a vital part of the global electronic infrastructure, affecting global commerce and financial flows, to your personal finances that contribute to personal freedom.”

Japan

China

Beijing wants Okinawa too?

China’s main state-run newspaper said on May 8 that Beijing is unsure of Japan’s sovereignty over the island of Okinawa, which is home to key U.S. military bases. People’s Daily said China may rightfully own the Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa. The Ryukyu chain was a kind of vassal state to China before Japan annexed it in 1879. The article also reiterated China’s historical claims over a group of small, uninhabited islets in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. If China pressures Japan to make concessions, it would accelerate the shifting balance of global power in favor of an ascendant China.

Russia

A study in contrasts

As Russia upgrades it nuclear forces, the U.S. is preparing to make more nuclear missile cuts. Moscow announced in April that it will deploy the new intercontinental ballistic missiles that can penetrate U.S. missile defenses. Russia is also developing new rail-mobile icbms, submarine-launched missiles and strategic bombers. By contrast, the American military is short $1 billion to $1.6 billion that policymakers had allocated for nuclear modernization. President Barack Obama is expected to soon announce plans to cut U.S. nuclear stockpiles to as few as 1,000, which could undermine U.S. ability to extend a nuclear umbrella to its allies in Europe and Asia. Some analysts believe even more drastic cuts to America’s arsenal lie in store.

Europe

Serbia 

We surrender

On April 19, Serbia finally stopped fighting and surrendered to Germany. Attacked by its historical allies and demonized in the public press the world over, Serbia had no hope of winning. Now Serbia is on its way to joining the EU and being welcomed back into the fold of Western democracy. Negotiations centered on northern Kosovo, where areas inhabited predominantly by ethnic Serbs and currently under Serbia’s control were turned over to Kosovo. In return, the areas will be given considerable self-government. Serbia has done a deal with Kosovo—or rather, with its backers in Germany and elsewhere—that offers some recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Serbia’s leaders are basically admitting they can no longer stand in the way of German dominance of the region.

Germany

A rising military power

Germany should station troops in troubled European countries in order to quickly quell unrest, a report from the European Union Institute for Security Studies recommends. It advises the European Union to develop “capable and well-functioning armed forces with extended regional (if not global) reach.”

Despite German and foreign press reports that Germany’s military is stagnant or depleted, the reality is that the High Command is increasing its aggressive, strategic planning, and Germany’s gargantuan military industry is more active than in decades.

Langley Intelligence Group Network published a report on April 24 describing the nation’s boost in weapons sales to Persian Gulf nations (whose anti-Iran intentions are described in our article on page 1). This trend portends a shifting military culture that could soon mean Germany rearming itself, the report said. “Merkel may be sensing a change in the mood of the electorate and adopting a new German national security strategy in an effort to be seen as a modern Bismarck,” the group reported. “Germans are generally beginning to accept that their government needs to take a more muscular role in foreign policy.” The group warned that “German views on war and peace are slowly evolving, and the higher rate of arms sales to the Middle East is pushing a reluctant public to confront its fears of militarism.”

Though Germany’s military might not seem superpower-grade, its leaders and its tool-makers are. Bible prophecy indicates this trend will culminate in a German-led European force that will put its military muscle to fearsome use.

New book shows Nazi cover-up

German authorities went to great lengths to protect a former Nazi who infiltrated every level of German society, according to a book published by journalist Malte Herwig on May 13. “I found the biggest postwar cover-up imaginable,” he wrote; “it went all the way to the top of the state. … Every German cabinet, every federal government cabinet, from Adenauer to Kohl, contain former NP [Nazi Party] members right up to 1992.” He said the names he uncovered “were the last people you would have expected to be members of the Nazi Party”—including “leftists, Communists after the war, very educated, upright democrats.”

In May 1945, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “We don’t understand German thoroughness. From the very start of World War ii, they have considered the possibility of losing this second round, as they did the first—and they have carefully, methodically planned, in such eventuality, the third round—World War iii! … [T]he Nazis have now gone underground. … They plan to come back and to win on the third try.” Herwig’s revelation provides yet more proof that Mr. Armstrong was right.

Cyprus 

Sell us your gold, thank you

As part of its economic bailout package, Cyprus will have to sell around three quarters of its “excess gold reserves” (us$523.7 million). This stipulation was imposed by Germany and its international banking allies. It’s almost certain the buyers will be the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are—with Germany’s sanction—bailing out Cyprus. The imf and the ecb possess about 2,814 and 502 tons of gold respectively. Germany has 3,391 tons. Together, this equals about 82 percent of America’s gold supply—and that excludes the gold reserves of other individual European countries. Don’t be shocked if Germany and the ecb make a play for gold owned by other ailing European economies.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia

UAE

Iran

U.S. arming the Middle East

A secretive arms deal between the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates has come to light at a time when Iran appears closer than ever to obtaining nuclear weapons. The proposed deal, which amounts to $10 billion in military sales, was announced to Congress April 18. The three nations that will benefit from this deal are all “pro-Western,” seen as key players in counterbalancing the rise of Iran to the east. It is no secret that the U.S. wants to build tangible resistance against the increasingly belligerent Iranians. But the deal, which includes long-range weaponry, also sheds light on U.S. weakness. Unwilling to use its own military might, the U.S. is arming “pro-Western” nations and hoping they will solve the problem. In one sense, Washington holds the gun, with Iran firmly in its sights, but rather than take the shot, it is giving the weapon to others, hoping they will shoot in the right direction. All of these countries are compromised by internal instability and, in some cases, even ties with terrorist groups. They have variously shown themselves more than willing to transact deals with Iran and to otherwise defy U.S. interests. The U.S. is playing a dangerous game by putting weapons into the hands of such governments.

Qatar

The cost of supporting Israel

The tiny, natural-gas-rich country of Qatar made a bold bid in April to have the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (icao) moved from Montreal, Quebec, to Doha, Qatar. It set off a firestorm in Canada, with many calling it an attempt by Arab states to punish Canada for its stance on Israel and the Palestinians.

The current Canadian administration is an unapologetic supporter of the tiny nation of Israel, a position that has raised ire among many Arab and Muslim nations. Arab ambassadors at the United Nations in New York met on April 23 to discuss Canada’s perceived bias toward Israel. The icao has over 500 employees and contributes approximately $119 million annually to Montreal’s economy. Losing this organization would be a political kick in the teeth for Canada’s Conservative government and the economy in general. For the bid to succeed, Qatar will need a minimum 60 percent approval from the 191 member states.

The nation of Israel and those that support it are increasingly being isolated and even reprimanded for doing so. Bible prophecy indicates that anti-Israel sentiment will increase to the point that it will break the brotherhood between Canada and Israel.

Israel

A new peace broker

Israeli President Shimon Peres met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on April 30 to talk about peace negotiations with the Palestinians. He also planned to discuss the status of church properties in the Holy Land. Palestinians hope Pope Francis will discourage Israel from extending its West Bank separation barrier through the village of Beit Jala. The planned fence would affect some Vatican properties.

Also on April 30, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas met with Austrian President Heinz Fischer in Vienna. The two leaders discussed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

These overtures from both Palestinians and Israelis indicate that both sides believe the United States is biased and untrustworthy. Although few analysts realize it, Catholic Europe is seeking to develop a dominant presence in Israel, especially in Jerusalem. The Trumpet has repeatedly warned that the U.S. will lose relevance in Middle Eastern affairs. Palestinians and Israelis disagree on almost everything, but they appear to agree that involving the EU and the Vatican might be the only solution to the Middle East peace process.

Israel

Egypt

Pushing into Jerusalem

A prominent Islamic extremist declared May 9 that Israel has no right to exist. “[W]e will never recognize Israel,” Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi said during a speech at the Islamic University of Gaza. “We are the owners of that right to own that land, and we will continue our work to restore our rights in this holy land.”

Al-Qaradawi traveled to Gaza in a landmark visit that was considered a boost of legitimacy for Hamas. While at the university, he and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh signed a document protesting Israel’s control of Jerusalem. Al-Qaradawi was banned from Egypt for 30 years under former President Hosni Mubarak, but he was welcomed back with open arms just seven days after Mubarak resigned in February 2011.

Al-Qaradawi’s visit to Gaza is another rotten fruit produced by the so-called Arab Spring. This revolution, pushed by Iran and supported by the U.S., has radicalized Egypt and now seeks to further overrun Gaza, with the ultimate goal of taking Jerusalem.

Latin America

Africa

Cuba 

Pope shows special affinity with Latin America

Many Roman Catholics believe their church’s future may depend on the ability of Pope Francis to revive the faith in his native Latin America. As the evangelical movement takes root across the region, the pope is moving to shore up the popularity of traditional Catholicism by appointing an increasing number of native Latin American saints. On May 12, Pope Francis canonized two long-dead nuns—one Mexican and the other Colombian—who together enshrine the church’s mission of defending the faith and nurturing hope. (The nuns were canonized alongside more than 800 Italian villagers murdered by Ottoman invaders in 1480 after refusing to convert to Islam.)

In related news, on May 8 Pope Francis granted an audience to Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of Ladies in White, in the Vatican. Soler is on a worldwide tour to publicize the plight of Cuban dissidents and to drum up support for an end to repression in Cuba. After her meeting in Rome, she told media that the pope had given her a blessing and asked her to continue her fight.

Expect the new Argentine pope to take a strong stance in turning Cuba and the rest of Latin America back to their Catholic roots. Biblical prophecy suggests that he will further the initiative undertaken by his predecessors, working to unify Europe and Latin America under the auspices of the universal church.

Mexico

Colombia

New turf for drug cartels

The decline and fall of Colombia’s drug gangs—once the undisputed masters of the illicit drug trade—has allowed Mexican cartels to move into the area and gain access to large supplies of cheap Colombian cocaine. In order to bypass the Mexican cartels and regain some of their lost profits, the remaining fragments of the Colombian cartels are starting to export more to Europe. Despite this move, however, Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel is swiftly becoming the dominant criminal force in Central America.

Brazil

Bypassing the dollar

China and Brazil met during the brics summit in South Africa in March and signed a major currency swap agreement. The People’s Bank of China traded 190 billion yuan for 60 billion Brazilian reals from the Central Bank of Brazil. The trade represents approximately us$30 billion. Officials say they hope the exchange will ensure normal trade between the two nations despite instability in the global economy. Brazil’s central bank president, Alexandre Tombini, said the deal represents “eight months of exports from Brazil to China and 10 months of imports to Brazil from China.” The arrangement represents another push by China to give the yuan a greater international role. Since the 2008 financial crisis, China has signed 15 currency swap deals. These types of deals reveal that the world is beginning to abandon the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency. As confidence in the dollar evaporates and China works to undermine America’s economy, the dollar’s value will plummet.

Nigeria 

‘Massive’ military campaign targets Islamists

Nigeria sent a massive deployment of men and resources into its three northeastern states in mid-May to combat Islamist militants. Fighters from the Boko Haram group have been blamed for a series of deadly terrorist attacks, prompting President Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa. The German military has been training Nigerian soldiers to fight radical Islamists since last August. Expect German military involvement in Nigeria and across Africa to increase as Berlin moves to counter the Islamist threat.