EU Trade Spat Shows German ‘Soft Power’

EU Trade Spat Shows German ‘Soft Power’

Sideka Solartechnik

In May the European Commission announced it wanted to impose a hefty tax on Chinese solar panels entering the European Union. Germany, with its robust trade with China, was not impressed.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang that she promised that “Germany will do what it can so that there are no permanent import duties and we’ll try to clear things up as quickly as possible.”

What could Ms. Merkel do? In theory, very little. The European Commission has sole control over trade policy.

The earliest chance she’d have to overturn the ruling would be December. If she could convince half of the other countries in the European Council to block the tariffs they’d be overturned. Such an overturn has never happened before.

Meanwhile, EU officials were talking tough. Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said it was a “waste of time” for China to pressure EU nations. The Chinese “are not going to impress me by putting pressure on member states,” he said.

But the EU gave in to Germany and China.

De Gucht announced that the EU had reached an “amicable solution” with China, July 29. Initially the Commission said it wanted China to increase the cost of its solar panels by about 88 percent. Under the new deal, China has to increase the price of its solar panels by roughly zero percent. That’s not a deal—that’s surrender. “EU Pact on Chinese Solar Panels Marks Beijing-to-Berlin Win,” was Bloomberg’s headline.

The bulk of Chinese solar panels will not be subject to tariffs, providing they sell them for above a minimum price. That minimum price is around what China sells its solar panels for anyway.

In the grand scheme of things, solar panel exports are a pretty minor issue. But the incident demonstrates an important point. The Trumpet often states that Germany is the effective leader of Europe. There’s no treaty or charter to point to to say “this proves Germany runs the show.” But events like this clearly prove it’s true.

On paper, there’s nothing Germany could have done to resolve what Bloomberg called “the EU’s biggest dispute of its kind” so quickly. But Germany won, and won fast.

It also sends a powerful message to China. Back in May, Ms. Merkel said she wanted this dispute fixed in six months. She got it. Who do you need to call to speak to the leader of Europe? Merkel just proved that the answer is Germany. Who will the Chinese call next time they want something done?

German/Chinese trade is very important to Germany and it wasn’t about to let European officials spoil it. Germany doesn’t need a piece of paper saying “we rule Europe.” It just quietly goes about getting what it wants.

A Climate for Negotiating Peace

A Climate for Negotiating Peace

JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

The hostile atmosphere in the Middle East will not help foster meaningful negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Middle East is becoming an ever worsening storm. After the initial breeze of the Arab Spring, the violent winds of insurrection and uprising have driven much of the region into a state of mass bloodshed. Yet, in the midst of the fray, the United States is working to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The peace process is a storm by itself, whipped up long before the Arab Spring. Adding one storm to another leaves only the smallest glimmer of hope for a successful negotiation.

The peace talks, which remained stalled throughout U.S. President Barack Obama’s first term in office, restarted after some aggressive pushing and shuttle diplomacy from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. While talks have collapsed every time since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the U.S. has remained determined to force a negotiation in Israel. America’s intentions may appear sincere, but the timing borders on ridiculous.

During his first term, President Obama did little to restart negotiations, but now that the region has descended into chaos, the U.S. has started to call the players back to the negotiating table. Peace was nigh on impossible in the early ’90s, a time similar to Obama’s first term. But today, the region is even more unstable, making negotiations even more likely to fail.

Without even having to look too closely at the region, plenty of issues work against a peace deal. Consider the geopolitical map. To Israel’s north, Hezbollah (an Iranian-sponsored Lebanese organization) is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad in Syria against a variety of other Israel-hating terrorist groups. The potential for conflict to reach Syria’s border with Israel is high, as is the chance of further conflict with Hezbollah at the Lebanese border. With Arabs right on Israel’s doorstep in the West Bank, and violence on the rise in neighboring Arabic countries, now seems like a terrible time to negotiate national lines for a Palestinian state.

Next there is the storm brewing in Egypt. The Egyptians recently stationed a large number of troops in the Sinai—and the country is currently in the midst of massive political and social upheaval. With Egypt possessing one of the largest militaries in the region, instability in that country means uneasiness in Israel.

Just west of Egypt, Libya is experiencing bombings and increased terrorist activity on a regular basis. It is now a hotbed for terrorism.

On Israel’s east, Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a beating from the winds of building Arab storms. Fighting among Sunnis and Shiites has left both nations in a situation as violent as before the U.S. invasions. And Iran is becoming increasingly involved. Does any of this foster ideas of peace with Israel?

In the midst of all this, the U.S. is withdrawing its Middle East forces, one of the few bulwarks that kept the region at a certain level of stability over the last decade. With the withdrawal, sectarian violence and volatility inevitably wlll increase, undoubtedly putting Israel on edge. The hope of meaningful negotiations move even further out of reach.

Increasing instability surrounds Israel. While it might seem contained to the neighboring countries, most of the revolutions and revolts have the potential to threaten peace in Israel, be it in the short term or long term. Imagine being surrounded by enemies and then being told that in order to have peace with just one of those enemies, you must release dangerous criminals, give up land that makes your country defensible and sacrifice other national projects. This is what the U.S. and the world expects of Israel.

These are the demands of the Palestinian Authority, which is calling for peace talks to center around 1967 borders and ending all Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and Jerusalem within a certain time frame. Returning to the 1967 lines would leave Israel in a nearly indefensible position in Jerusalem.

At a time when the surrounding nations are exploding in violence, reason would suggest that strong borders would be better than allowing enemies to walk up to your capital city. However, this is the climate in which the U.S. believes Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will thrive.

Kerry has run back and forth between Israel and the West Bank, calling on the two parties to just come to the negotiating table. That in itself has been a struggle. Now, with the demanded release of 104 Arab prisoners, the Palestinian Authority finally agreed to come to the negotiating table. Talks commenced on July 29.

How well can relations thrive when the surrounding nations are falling apart and radical Islam is on the rise? Just look at the success of the peace process during times of relative stability in the region.

Following the Yom Kippur war in 1973, the process faltered with the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. In the late ’70s there was hope for the peace process when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat visited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. That failed as well when Sadat was assassinated in Egypt. U.S. President Ronald Reagan tried to start up the process once more in 1982, this time bringing Jordan into the mix, but talks were once again fruitless. Following the Gulf War, U.S. President George H.W. Bush brought together a number of Arab nations to negotiate with Israel. The talks fell flat, leaving little more than a framework for future talks. These were all in times after violence, yet they all failed. Now the U.S. is pushing for peace talks at a time when security is a primary concern for Israel. Anyone want to guess what the outcome will be?

Despite the overwhelming circumstances working against a peace deal, the U.S. is forging ahead, seemingly unaware of the gargantuan Arab Spring headwind blowing against it. Of course, Israel is highly unlikely to agree to relinquish its land at such a volatile time. The whole scenario will only serve to portray Israel as unwilling to meet any demands set forward by the Palestinian Authority.

The truth is that the climate in the Middle East is set to bring down the peace process again, not give it room to grow.

The U.S., failing to gauge the “weather” in the Middle East, is setting up negotiations destined to fail. Not only that, Bible prophecy foretells a time coming when Israel once again will be at war with the Arabs. This is all explained in the booklets History and Prophecy of the Middle East and Jerusalem in Prophecy.

Mankind is struggling to find peace in the world. The Middle East is but one example on the gargantuan list of proofs that man cannot rule man. And yet, there is a time of peace coming. Order a free copy of the aforementioned booklets and read for yourself the incredible future that lies ahead for the Middle East and the world. It is not coming through man’s peace process, but God’s.

Herbert W. Armstrong’s Electrifying Interviews With Sheikh Hafiz Wahba

Herbert W. Armstrong’s Electrifying Interviews With Sheikh Hafiz Wahba

Stone Richard

Arabian emissary discussed Mideast peace and biblical ownership of Palestine.

During the San Francisco Conference of 1945, Herbert W. Armstrong, as founder and editor in chief of the Plain Truth magazine and presenter of the World Tomorrow radio program, was approved within 48 hours to interview the famed Arabian diplomat Sheikh Hafiz Wahba at the Fairmont Hotel. Dressed in a suit rather than his traditional robes, the sheikh, the man in charge of Palestine relations for the Saudi Arabian government, was accompanying Prince Faisal, later to become King Faisal, and spoke in English throughout the meeting.

As Mideast tension flared again during 1979, the Plain Truth’s founder recounted that electrifying 1945 interview to his millions of magazine readers in that year’s February edition:

“Why do the Arabs oppose the Jews in returning to Palestine?” I asked.”We do not oppose the presence of Jews in Palestine,” he corrected me. “We only oppose further and unlimited immigration of Jews into Palestine.””But the Jews claim Palestine as their Holy Land,” I said. “They believe Almighty God promised that land to Abraham, and that they are the children of Abraham, and therefore that Palestine belongs to them by divine right. Now I understand the Arabs are also the children of Abraham, descended through Ishmael. Do you believe that, and claim the right to possess Palestine on those grounds?””We are the children of Abram,” he replied, pronouncing it “Uhbrahm,” with the accent on the last syllable, “and we are descended through Ishmael, yes, and Ishmael was the firstborn son of Abram and therefore the rightful birthright holder and heir to the land promised Abram. But, and he emphasized the point, “we do not present our claim to Palestine, or oppose further and unlimited Jewish immigration, on those grounds.”Then he explained the Arab position—and he gave me an unanswerable argument—yet the Zionist director in New York later gave me a sizzling answer to the unanswerable argument! “Let me put it this way,” the sheikh continued. “How long have you Americans been here in California—when did your first white men come here?””Only some three or four hundred years ago,” I replied.”Exactly! And you have only been established as a government here a much shorter time than that. Now you are still at war against Japan. [This was in the spring of 1945.] A considerable number of Japanese had immigrated into California before the war and established homes here. You did not object or fight against this limited Japanese immigration and residence here, just as we did not, for a long time, against the Jews’ immigration into Palestine. But now suppose the Japanese wanted to increase their immigration into California until there would be more Japanese than Americans here, and then they also demanded that you let them take over the State of California and set up a new Japanese nation here on your soil. Tell me, would you oppose that? Would you call out your armed forces to fight against it?””There was only one answer to that! Of course the United States would fight to prevent it, with all the power and resources of the nation, if need be!””Would you think you were right in doing so?” he asked.We would!”Well,” he explained, “the Arabs have lived in, and had possession of Palestine, for thousands of years. Our homes are there. We didn’t object to a few Jews coming into our land. We know they have brought us many benefits. They have brought with them money, energy, industry. Our people have benefited by the additional prosperity and other advantages they have brought us. That we welcomed, as long as they were a beneficial minority in our midst. But now Jewish immigration has been increasing at such a rate that soon there will be more Jews than Arabs. Now the Jews want to take our land away from us and make it their own nation! That land has belonged to us many times longer than California has belonged to Americans. You say you would oppose and fight against Japanese immigration flooding California with more Japanese than Americans, taking your fair state away from you and turning it into a new Japanese nation. Well, that is exactly why we oppose further Jewish immigration and will fight to the last man against the Jews setting up a nation on our land!”There is his “unanswerable argument”!Can you answer it? Of course, in due time, when God Himself steps in to take rule away from men and to rule the Earth by divine fiat through Christ as King of kings, it will be different. But, from the standpoint of the present time and the present world, I had no answer! “But,” I questioned “His Excellency” further, “what about the pitiful condition of hundreds of thousands of persecuted homeless Jews driven out of Europe by Hitler? Can you deny these poor refugees a home in what they consider as their own ancient homeland?””Why should the Arabs be called upon to bear all the burden of sheltering homeless Jews?” he asked in reply. “Why do America and Britain expect us to accept them when you yourselves refuse them? You could absorb them and they would only be a small and unnoticed addition to your famous ‘melting pot.’ But every other nation on Earth turns these homeless Jews away from its borders and then expects the Arabs to take them all into Palestine, where they would then outnumber Arabs and take our country away from us! Is that right? Is that international justice?”

Two years later, in February, while in London, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong attended a royal reception in honor of the Crown Prince Emir Saud, the eldest son of King Ibn Saud. Following their formal presentation to the king, they spoke once more with the sheikh about Mideast peace.

“If only Great Britain, America, and all the other nations would quit interfering and stirring up all this emotional feeling in favor of more and more Jews going to Palestine until they drive our people out, we would have no troubles at all in Palestine. The fires of trouble are being fanned by the interference of other nations and their sentimental and unthinking emotion about Jews becoming a nation in Palestine. Stop all this propaganda and interference by so many nations not directly concerned, and the Arabs and the Jews will get along all right together in Palestine.”And there, again, he put his finger directly on the source of the trouble: so many nations not personally concerned burdening themselves with Palestine!

“Do you know the prophesied fate of these nations who interfere in a quarrel not their own?” the Plain Truth editor in chief asked his February 1979 readers.

He implored them to listen to the Prophet Zechariah, who wrote in chapter 12, verses 1-3: “The burden of the word of the [Eternal] for Israel, saith the [Eternal] …. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah [the Jews] and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people [all nations]: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

It is truly illuminating to recount these historic interviews in light of the Mideast events that have unfolded in the ensuing years regarding the State of Israel and the Arabs, which we have repeatedly reported to Trumpet readers through the clear light of Bible prophecy.

Concluding his recount of these electrifying interviews, Mr. Armstrong made biblically clear to readers that Palestine belonged, by heavenly grant, to the ancient patriarch Abraham and his descendants. He made clear that God Himself had rejected the father of the Arabs, Ishmael, from this birthright promise and that it had passed to Isaac. That the same true God rejected Esau, eldest son of Isaac. He answered the unanswerable argument from God’s Word through the stunning sure word of prophecy declaring the land of Palestine was the possession of the descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob.

But, Mr. Armstrong continued, “Most people today do not seem to know that the Jews are not Israel, but only a part of Judah.” He went on to explain that it is the American and British peoples who are truly the national Israel today.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has repeatedly identified the Mideast peace process, citing the Prophet Hosea, as a deadly “wound.” In addition, he led the charge to preserve the very book offered by Mr. Armstrong to those millions of February 1979 Plain Truth readers. Through an out-of-court victory at the end of a six-year court battle, fought against those who sought to abolish its illuminating message of truth, we are able to offer to you, for free, a copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

America Prepares for a Violent Weekend

America Prepares for a Violent Weekend

SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images

After uncovering a suspected terrorist attack, 21 embassies in the Middle East will close their doors on Sunday.

The State Department announced Thursday that U.S. embassies throughout the Middle East and Central Asia would be closed on Sunday as a precautionary measure due to terror-related concerns. Twenty-one embassies, including the ones in Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and other Middle East nations, will be closed “out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. On Friday, the State department went a step further and issued a worldwide travel alert to all Americans which will last through August 31.

These announcements came as a result of an unspecified al Qaeda threat. “It’s my understanding that it is al Qaeda linked … and the threat emanates in the Middle East and in Central Asia,” Republican Ed Royce said Friday. nbc News reported that “officials said the threat appeared to be related to al Qaeda and tied to Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, which ends Wednesday.”

Consider this threat in light of what President Obama said during a speech on May 23: “Today the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us.” If al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, why is it that America is shutting the doors to 21 embassies and issuing a worldwide travel warning?

More proof exists that al Qaeda is far from defeated. Consider its most recent activity: On Tuesday, militants launched a raid on two high-security prisons on the outskirts of Baghdad that resulted in more than 500 inmates escaping. Hakim Al-Zamili, a senior member of the security and defense committee in the Iraqi Parliament, stated that “most of them were convicted senior members of al Qaeda and had received death sentences.” A coordinated attack like this on two high-security prisons certainly doesn’t sound like al Qaeda is thinking about its own safety. It sounds like it’s the one on the offensive.

Brookings Institute counterterrorism specialist Bruce Riedel said, “The prison break dramatically illustrates al Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq and that the gains of the [U.S. military] surge were temporary.” Is al Qaeda really on the path to defeat? Despite what the president says, al Qaeda is very much alive and flexing its muscles for all to see.

Note the laundry list of al Qaeda successes the National Review Online provided on August 1:

Since the waving of the “mission accomplished” banner last summer, al Qaeda affiliates have killed an American ambassador in Libya, and hoisted their flag above the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. They have taken the lead in the rebellion against the Assad dynasty in Syria. They have fought an American-backed government in Yemen, and they conquered much of Mali before French troops drove them back into the desert. They continue to slaughter Christians in Nigeria—more than a thousand last year. They have regenerated in Iraq since the departure of American troops …. They remain undefeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan, poised for the opportunity further American troop withdrawals will present. Last week, they attacked Turkish diplomats in Somalia. On Monday, al Qaeda’s close ally, the Taliban, attacked a jail in northwest Pakistan, freeing as many as 200 prisoners.

The U.S. may have declared victory in Iraq, but with over 1,000 civilians killed in Iraq last month—the deadliest month in five years—can it really be considered a victory? Afghanistan is following suit. With the 2014 withdrawal nearing, many question if the gains made by coalition troops can be held. “If all the troops come home, it could be disastrous,” said Ahmed Majidyar, an Afghanistan expert with the American Enterprise Institute. “The Afghan forces won’t be able to defend against the Taliban in some remote areas, especially in the south and east.”

After 12 years of bitter war, it is becoming abundantly clear that America’s efforts in the Middle East have been fruitless. As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote back in 2003,

The pride in our power has been broken!We must stop those powers that nurture terrorism. If we fail, our future is extremely black. On the other hand, the outcome could be the opposite. We could be a terror to any nation who dared sponsor terrorism against us and our allies. But those days are gone with the wind!So brace yourself for a terrifying future, unless our people awaken.

The fact that America is closing so many of its embassies this weekend proves that America is not the terror, but the terrorized. What is the cause for this? God says He has broken the pride of America’s power because we have rejected Him. Read Leviticus 26 to understand the terrifying future Mr. Flurry warned about. But recognize the hope in that chapter as well. God says that if you repent and turn to Him, He will forgive you and not bring all of these curses upon you. It’s in your hands.

To understand why America has failed to bring stability to the Middle East, be sure to read “Why We Cannot Win the War Against Terrorism.”

The Rise of Germany

God Himself is behind the rise of Germany. This is talked about in Revelation 17:7. Why would God be behind this nation’s rise?

The Plain Truth Behind Recent German-Israeli Trade Talks

The Plain Truth Behind Recent German-Israeli Trade Talks

World Economic Forum/Remy Steinegger

Why a 70-member government-led delegation visited the Holy Land

Recently, German Minister for Economy and Technology Dr. Philip Rösler visited California’s Silicon Valley to promote native start-up companies to U.S. investors. A special workshop was hosted by the German Silicon Valley Accelerator program located in America’s digital heartland.

The Trumpet has drawn specific attention to the European Union’s Digital Agenda and avowed goal to tackle U.S. domination of the Internet economy in pursuit of a “European Dream” to increase entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and international influence.

So it came as no surprise that Rösler, accompanied by more than 70 entrepreneurs, recently traveled to Israel’s Silicon Wadi. The German business executives hailed from a wide array of market sectors such as, e-commerce, entertainment, advertising, media, health care and biotech.

The sheer magnitude of the government-led delegation revealed the level of intent Europe’s strongest economy has in trade relations with the Jews. Israel’s Trade Center, Export Institute, Chambers of Commerce and Manufacturers Association worked together to host a special conference for their guests. The forum enabled key decision-makers to view firsthand the enticing start-up atmosphere and discuss future alliances with local businesses. “We hope that this visit will lead to many new partnerships and that the bilateral trade will extend to new areas and sectors,” said Hemdat Sagi, director Israel’s Trade Center.

Top of the daytime agenda for the German economic minister was a meeting in Tel Aviv with his counterpart, Naftali Bennett. Discussion centered on continuation and expansion of trade relations, with Dr. Rösler noting, “Israel and especially Tel Aviv are known worldwide for their strong founders scene–Germany for its powerful smes [small and medium enterprises]. Under these conditions, the bilateral cooperation will be a success.”

Evening hours were spent on the roof top of the famed Bar Valium. Hosted by the Trade Center, the informal setting enabled further establishment of contacts and closing of deals for more than 30 locally participating start-up companies.

Last year, the two countries traded over €5.3 billion, dominated by €3.7 billion in German exports to Israel, topped off by its €1.6 billion in materials to Germany. Chief items imported by the Jews were machines, vehicles, and chemical items, with exports featuring food, engineering, chemicals and electronics.

For Israel, as with continental Europe and pro-Western Mideast countries, Germany is the most vital regional economic partner. The economic fruit borne from this and future business trips will underscore the confidence expressed by the German economic minister that “bilateral cooperation will be a success.”

Why this increased economic bond? The answer is found in the inspired writings of Hosea the prophet. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). Both Britain and Judah are mentioned here, with the Hebrew translation revealing their respective overtures toward Germany as a result of their incurable “wound,” or peace pacts (Obadiah 1:7).

“Why does Judah go to Germany?” asks our editor in chief in his booklet Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind. “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.”

Expect more rapid political trust, and trade and military partnerships to be cemented between these two countries in fulfillment of this prophecy in Hosea. However, it may shock you to learn that this will lead to a double cross of historic proportions. Request Hosea: Reaping the Whirlwind to learn more of this and other unfolding and impending prophecies.