Under Construction

How Germany is building a European army

“Berlin will not be able to overwhelm Iran in the near future unless it is working on a special strategy right now,” wrote Gerald Flurry in last month’s Trumpet.

That is a dramatic statement from one of the most dramatic articles we have published. For over two decades the Trumpet has been warning that the next world war would begin with German-led Europe attacking Iran. Last month Mr. Flurry exposed how Germany is planning for that very confrontation right now.

Some of this German strategy is well known. For example, the German press often writes about “the Merkel Doctrine”—Chancellor Angela Merkel’s attempt to create an anti-Iran alliance by selling weapons to Iran’s enemies. Mr. Flurry also explained that Germany is already surrounding Iran, establishing deployments and making deals across the Middle East.

But there’s more. European military planners are getting the Continent ready for a clash with Iran.

A Bold Report

The European Union Institute for Security Studies (euiss) is an official EU agency responsible for analyzing defense and security issues. In May, it published a report titled, “Enabling the future—European military capabilities 2013-2025: challenges and avenue,” with examples of threats it believes the EU needs to prepare to deal with. This is scenario number six (emphasis added throughout):

Aggressive regime in the Middle EastRisk/threat: An unpredictable but increasingly powerful regime in the wider Middle East conducts its first atomic test. A year later, the regime demonstrates that it has a working and deliverable nuclear capability to a range of 2,500 km: European territory could be directly threatened. The regime, feeling safe under its newfound atomic umbrella, becomes increasingly aggressive, harrying commercial vessels in the Gulf and supporting terrorist jihadi organizations throughout the Levant. The situation escalates when the country mounts incursions into a smaller pro-Western neighbor, whose freedom is deemed critical for the security of world energy supply.Response: Given the severity of the situation and the potential number of actors implicated, any response would likely be international in character. Europeans, however, would be expected to provide a substantial force component for large-scale expeditionary warfare, which would need to be backed up with tactical and strategic ballistic missile defenses.

The “unpredictable but increasingly powerful regime” is clearly Iran. The euiss sees that Iran may have to be dealt with, and it is recommending that Europe change its military in order to do so.

Think back to the early ’90s, when the Trumpet first began forecasting Europe’s clash with Iran. Iraq was the big worry. Germany had only just reunited. The euro was years away and the European Union was even more divided than it is today.

Two decades later, an official EU report is saying, We need a plan for confronting Iran!

Making predictions based on Bible prophecy is not fashionable, especially as so many other groups have gotten it so wrong. But have any other forecasters been this accurate? Our predictions were based on the last part of Daniel 11. Now you can see both sides preparing for that confrontation.

More Surprises

The Iranian scenario wasn’t the only one to stand out. Scenario five sees Islamist jihadists take control of the Suez Canal. Such an event could force the Europeans to launch an “extended” mission “to protect one of their most precious pieces of overseas infrastructure,” it states. According to EU strategists, the Suez already belongs to them.

The report argued that the EU needs to be willing and able to defend “zones of EU privileged interests”—areas around the EU such as the Mediterranean Sea or Indo-Pacific region. In an intelligence brief on May 8, Joe de Courcy wrote, “The use of such terminology is eye-catching not just because it is so unfashionable but because its very employment reveals the scope of the EU’s ambition to become, and to be seen as, a global power. This is the vocabulary of major sovereign powers, not trading blocs.”

The report is clear on the way to prepare for this confrontation. De Courcy summarized the report’s recommendations as “arguing for a maximum push towards military integration within a relatively short time span.”

The report noted that “contrary to current conventional wisdom and media reports, the European Union as a whole still is, de facto, the world’s second-strongest military ‘power,’” possessing “some of the most capable and effective armed forces in the world.” The key to Europe’s continued military prowess in a dangerous world, it concluded, is more cooperation among these forces.

One final, notable fact about this report is its authors. When putting the report together, the euiss says it sought out “a small task force of young experts—those who are likely to shape future debates.” These experts came from France, Germany, Belgium and Slovakia. You would think it would have wanted some input from the EU’s biggest military spender (based on 2012 data) and one of the EU’s only two nuclear powers, but no expert from Britain was invited. Europe’s military planners don’t care what Britain thinks. They are moving on with their agenda regardless.

A Military Union

Many of the components for a pan-European military that the euiss recommends are already in place, and have been for some time.

In an emergency, Eurocorps can deploy French, German, Belgian, Spanish and Luxembourg forces under a single command. Although in theory Eurocorps could command up to 60,000 soldiers, in practice no more than a few thousand have ever been mobilized at one time. At the heart of Eurocorps is a Franco-German brigade, over 5,000 strong, with the French and Germans sharing leadership positions.

Other multinational forces include the I. German/Dutch Corps, made up of one Dutch and one German division, acting as nato’s “High Readiness Force Headquarters” and serving in Afghanistan. The corps is a land force designed to deploy within 20 to 30 days. Brussels also has EU Battlegroups—a set of forces, each at least 1,500 strong and made up of multinational coalitions. Two are ready for deployment at any one time; they are designed to deploy within five to ten days.

The results of the cooperation is mixed. None of the battle groups has ever been deployed. Some appear to exist only on paper. When the soldiers from the Franco-German brigade actually hit the ground in Afghanistan, they split up—the Germans going north and the French east.

On the other hand, some multinational forces have been hugely successful. The Dutch and Belgian navies, for example, work so closely together that the two forces “have all but merged,” Reuters recently wrote. Across Europe there are small-scale success stories where two or more countries are training or fighting together.

Despite some failures, all these multinational military arrangements are a foundation for future cooperation. Politically, such ventures enable European countries to establish policy and procedures. Practically, they make the military personnel within Europe accustomed to working with each other. These groups are setting an important precedent, preparing the groundwork for something more.

And Berlin is pushing for much more.

Intensifying European Militarization

The euiss report drew attention to the way the eurozone has been forced to work together following the economic crash, calling for similar structures to be put in place for the military. But this is where, at first glance, Germany disagrees with the experts at the euiss. In his speech at the start of the 2013 Munich Security Conference in February, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière told the world’s foremost military leaders that Europe does not need “the vision of a joint European army.”

Why the difference? Not because of any fundamental disagreement. Germany is simply impatient. Grand agreements between EU nations on things like military cooperation take time, especially when Britain is doing all it can to slam on the brakes. Germany wants to take action now, and isn’t waiting for the EU to get its act together.

“Germany is driving the integration of European defense,” Deutsche Welle reported in May. “Germany is Europe’s biggest partner in military cooperation.” Berlin offers to do the jobs that smaller militaries can no longer afford, it said.

Germany made a monumental step forward in its push for defense cooperation in May. De Maizière signed an agreement with Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert on May 28 that puts Dutch paratroopers under the command of the German Army.

This isn’t a token gesture. The Dutch 11 Airmobile Brigade is 4,500 strong and designed to be at the front of any attack. It can deploy paratroopers, light vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons and artillery anywhere in the world within 20 days. These are the Netherlands’ only airmobile forces; they are twice the size of the Netherlands Marine Corps. Along with the Korps Mariniers, this is the branch of the Netherlands’ military that strikes first, that establishes the beachheads and landing grounds that allow the rest of the army to follow. Without these warriors, it is almost impossible for the Netherlands to launch an expedition.

And beginning in 2014, the Dutch military’s advance guard will be commanded by Germans. The Dutch will no longer begin a war without German permission.

The Dutch have crossed the Rubicon and handed over control of a vital part of their armed forces to Germany. Will it stop there?

These two militaries already work closely together, exchanging officers, conducting joint exercises and training together. The agreement signed in May will deepen this cooperation. They will work together in buying new equipment and developing new submarines.

A separate development indicates that the Dutch may continue to serve under Germany in Afghanistan. “The Netherlands will again opt to be active under German command in any nato mission in Afghanistan after 2014, should the decision for the Netherlands to participate be made,” wrote the General Dutch Press Agency, citing nato diplomats in Brussels. “In the current, soon-to-expire mission, Dutch soldiers also operated under German command” (June 10).

Also in May, de Maizière signed a memorandum of understanding with his Polish counterpart, Thomasz Siemoniak, for closer cooperation between the two countries’ navies. The agreement paves the way for 28 joint projects between Germany and Poland, including joint monitoring of the Baltic Sea, combined training missions and possible cooperation in shipbuilding. A statement on the Polish Navy’s website said it was the largest cooperation “by far” between the two navies.

Berlin and Warsaw are already working out the details for more concrete joint projects. Watch for German-Polish naval cooperation to continue along similar lines to the Dutch-German relationship.

Follow the Money

What could persuade one nation to sign over thousands of its troops to another? Money, or the lack thereof. The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf revealed that drastic cuts to the Dutch military budget were partially responsible for the merger. Even before the agreement, the Dutch were sending their tank units to train in Germany because they couldn’t afford to do so at home.

The Poles were also driven by finance. “Together we are stronger for sure,” Siemoniak said, adding that together the two nations could “better spend our taxpayers’ money on defense.”

But why did the Dutch give the Germans command of their soldiers? We have no way of knowing what went on in those negotiations, but why didn’t they copy one of the many other European joint-command structures? Is money that tight for the Dutch?

Europeans everywhere are feeling heavy monetary pressure. Governments are stumbling under debt and pension obligations. Politically, it is easier to cut military budgets than many other areas of state spending. Cut the defense budget, and some people grumble. Cut social spending, and a lot of people riot.

But European nations are still keenly aware of the need for military spending. They see America retreating and radical Islam spreading in northern Africa.

France’s spending problems have made François Hollande the most unpopular president in that nation’s history, yet he still refuses to cut defense spending. President Hollande has committed to keeping France’s defense budget at €31 billion (us$41 billion) a year.

But the pressure on Hollande will only intensify. Saving money by sharing militaries will become an increasingly tempting “win-win” prospect. Each nation involved gets to cut its costs, while the resulting army is stronger than the sum of its parts. Ten 1,000-strong battalions from 10 different countries cannot be as effective as one 10,000-strong division—provided that division is well integrated. Not only can the larger division work better together, but all the support staff can be organized much more efficiently. Plus, you don’t have to worry about defending against those other nine countries.

As Germany is pushing Europe into military cooperation, economic constraints across the continent are accelerating the trend. This is another instance where Europe’s financial crisis, which was deliberately caused by design flaws in the euro, is forcing nations to relinquish their sovereignty and unite.

German diplomats are undoubtedly forging similar relationships with other countries. If Germany can prove that integration can work with the Netherlands and Poland—and they can save a lot of money doing so—other nations will want in. Once Berlin brings a few more countries online, this project will gain critical mass.

The result would be an EU army, or a very closely coordinated group of armies, centered on Germany.

This unified force will become a greater and greater priority for Germany as the confrontation with Iran becomes more urgent. France has got to be a key target for German strategists. Germany has roughly 500 soldiers stationed around North Africa. France has nearly 7,000, as well as several air bases. Those would be invaluable assets in confronting radical Islam’s spread across North Africa.

A New Military Power

Germany has proven adept at controlling the EU behind the scenes. But trying to negotiate a unified army through the European Union would be difficult. It would be hard to stop countries like France from gaining some control over a force formed through EU politics. Instead, by building the army itself, Germany gets to be the undisputed leader.

Of course, when Britain quits the EU and the whole system shrinks to 10 nations or groups of nations—as the Trumpet has forecast for years—Germany would not oppose a grand sweeping plan to create an EU army. It would probably lead the charge. But in the meantime, it will work on forming its own alliances, arrangements that will give the nation extra clout if the EU creates a new force.

Details of how this force will be created remain indefinite, but the Bible tells us what we can expect. It describes this power as a “beast” that will be made up of 10 kings ruling over 10 kingdoms. It says that these kings “have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Revelation 17:13). They will give their armies over to this beast power.

That is what the Netherlands is doing right now. More nations will follow—your Bible guarantees it.

The Trumpet has never identified exactly which nations will make up these 10. It could be 10 groups of nations. The Bible tells us that five will come from the east and five from the west.

Whatever the case, you don’t have to understand the Bible to be disturbed by Germany’s attempts to build a European military. Recent history should scream a warning.

In 1945, at Yalta, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin signed a declaration that stated: “It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm and disband all German armed forces; break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism, remove or destroy all German military equipment ….”

Now, major German newspapers talk about how Germany is leading Europe to unite militarily, the Dutch are putting their advance forces under German control—and the world simply isn’t interested. Those words from the Yalta Agreement, with their distinct Churchillian ring, are a warning for us. Germany consolidating Europe’s militaries should be deeply disturbing. For too many, it is not.

De Courcy is one of the few who sees the danger. If the EU were “to integrate in the way proposed, that would result in the UK’s ultimate nightmare: a single power dominating the continent,” he wrote (op. cit.).

The prophecies of the book of Revelation are being fulfilled before our eyes. Or, to put it another way, history is repeating itself. Germany is returning to its role as the premier military power in Europe.

In his article last month, Mr. Flurry wrote, “Daniel 11:40 is already in the early stages of being fulfilled!” We can also see what looks to be nations starting to “give their power and strength unto the beast,” just as Revelation 17:13 prophesied. These scriptures that the Trumpet has warned about for years are being fulfilled.

The bad news that the Trumpet has forecast is coming to pass. But that means that the good news is on its way too. The same scriptures that forecast this European-Iranian clash also prophesy that Christ will return soon afterward. The first part of the prophecy is beginning to be fulfilled. The second part is not far away.