Morsi’s gone. What now?
The course of a true revolution never did run smooth. In Russia, when the tsar was deposed in March 1917, the revolution had only begun. It wasn’t until November that the October Revolution saw the Bolsheviks, under Vladimir Lenin, take charge.
The French Revolution may have seemed over in October 1789 when revolutionaries captured the king and forced him back to Paris. Then it “ended” again three years later, when the king was executed. And again in 1793, when Maximilien Robespierre came to power. And then again the next year, when Robespierre was executed. And so on, until Napoleon steadied things for a while. Even in the American Revolution, the final Constitution wasn’t adopted until 1787, several years after the first one proved unsuitable.
So it should be no surprise that Egypt’s path isn’t entirely straightforward. President Mohamed Morsi was arrested on July 3, and the chief justice of Egypt’s constitutional court, Adly Mansour, was sworn in as interim president in the wake of protests larger than those that brought down Hosni Mubarak 2½ years before.
Mr. Mansour is expected to lead the country toward another election, in which the Muslim Brotherhood will be allowed to participate. Many in the West are hoping for a secular liberal democracy to result. But a sober look at the facts shows that isn’t where Egypt is heading.
In April, Pew published a report (including data from a 2011 poll) showing that there is no secular majority: 95 percent of Egypt’s inhabitants are Muslim, and 74 percent of them want to make sharia the state law. Roughly 86 percent say those who convert from Islam to another religion should face the death penalty.
In other words, Egypt’s recent protests weren’t against Islamism, they were against Morsi, and perhaps also the Muslim Brotherhood. The grievances revolved around Morsi’s failure to fix Egypt’s economy, not his religion.
This is the major feature the Egyptian revolution has in common with the French and Russian revolutions: bread. Poverty, high food prices and unemployment were instrumental in getting these revolutions going and prolonging them.
The upheaval lasted until either the food shortages were fixed, or a government came to power that was so brutal that none dared resist, no matter how hungry they were.
Egypt can’t solve its food problem without the help of an outside power. It currently imports around 40 percent of its food. It needs foreign cash to buy the food. But since the revolution, Egypt’s tourism industry has collapsed and its income has dried up. The nation has been burning through its foreign currency reserves quickly. In early 2011, the Central Bank of Egypt had $36 billion worth. By the end of March this year, it was down to $13.4 billion. At this rate, Egypt can’t last another year. It would have already run out without Qatar’s help. Qatar is helping it stay afloat, but even its funding isn’t assured after this latest revolution. How long Qatar’s help will last now that Morsi is gone is another big unknown.
Clearly, Egypt needs the help and money of an outside power. The International Monetary Fund has offered to step in, but its terms are so harsh that they would probably destroy any government that accepted them.
No matter who comes out on top in the latest coup, Egypt cannot stabilize until its finances and food supply are fixed (unless the army addresses the problem Communist-style and simply uses massive brute force to quell the protests—in spite of widespread starvation). Without that core problem addressed, the new government will be overthrown the same way the old one was.
These trends show that Egypt will continue as an Islamist state in turmoil and in desperate need of a foreign patron, a reasonably successful war to unify the country, or both. Biblical prophecy foretells its final destination more specifically: an alliance with Iran. Even now, Egypt is much closer to that destination than it was under Mubarak.
Egypt could take a number of paths to reach that point. If Iran found a way to bail out Egypt, it would be richly rewarded. Not only would doing so put Tehran right on the border with its archenemy Israel, but it would also give it control of the Suez Canal and smooth the way for it to influence radical Islam throughout Africa.
There may be other twists and turns as this journey unfolds. But you can be sure of the final outcome.
UN: Expect nuclear terrorism
At a conference on enhancing global nuclear security efforts on July 1, the director general of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea), Yukiya Amano, warned of the possibility of terrorist attacks involving radioactive material. Amano’s chief concern was the potential use of a crude nuclear device—a “dirty bomb.” Such a bomb may be less a weapon of “mass destruction” and more one of “mass disruption.”
Experts believe dirty bombs are far likelier to be detonated than actual nuclear bombs because of the relative ease of obtaining radioactive materials. While there hasn’t yet been a terrorist attack involving nuclear bombs or dirty bombs, Amano cautioned that “this must not lull us into a false sense of security. If a ‘dirty bomb’ is detonated in a major city, or sabotage occurs at a nuclear facility, the consequences could be devastating.” Many experts say such an attack is only a matter of time; some are surprised it hasn’t already happened.
The world remains vulnerable to nuclear terrorism, and the United States, Britain and Israel face the greatest risk.
The air force that can’t fly
The United States is outfitting the Afghan Air Force with a new, highly trained air wing to transport its special operations forces after nato goes home. But no matter how many aircraft are put at the Afghans’ disposal, the planes will stay grounded until airmen are taught how to fly them. Estimates are that the air wing needs 806 people to be effective. As of January, it had only 180 personnel. Candidates for the program must go through an 18-to-20-month vetting process, then complete a slow, laborious training process. U.S. contractors and military personnel have also admitted that “the Afghan government will not be able “to independently perform maintenance and logistics support functions for at least 10 years,” according to a report by the U.S. government’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Still, the U.S. is determined to arm it with more aircraft. This shows just how desperate the U.S. is to get Afghanistan fighting on its own. Washington has been furiously selling the idea that Afghanistan is a “mission accomplished,” but with Afghan forces lacking the skill to operate advanced equipment, America’s impact in Afghanistan could be reversed quickly. The situation highlights how America has truly lost this war.
What’s at stake
In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is one of the most outspoken and proactive supporters of Syrian opposition forces. The Saudis fear Iran, which has been increasingly aggressive in establishing its presence across the region and throughout North Africa since the “Arab Spring.” Were Saudi Arabia to allow Iran to have its way in Syria, it would risk facing a sweep of Iranian influence stretching all the way to the Mediterranean coast. To prevent the “Shia crescent” from forming a guillotine over their heads, the Saudis are trying to separate Syria from its neighboring Iranian proxies. The Saudis’ goal aligns with that of Europe, which is significant from a prophetic perspective. Europe voted in May to lift the ban on arming Syrian rebels, a clear sign that it intends to play a greater role in Syria and in the fight against Iranian influence. Watch as this goal draws Europe and Saudi Arabia together in an alliance to counter Iran and the spread of its version of Islam.
Will Vatican disregard mass exodus of Christians?
Across the Islamic world, an exodus of Christians is under way. Muslims have been driving Christians from the Middle East for centuries, and the fall of the region’s dictators in recent years has ignited a new wave of persecution and displacement. A century ago, Christians still made up 30 percent of the region’s population; now that number is around 3 percent and falling. But from the Vatican’s perspective, most alarming is the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land, which is due almost entirely to Muslim persecution. The history of the Crusades demonstrates that both Catholics and Muslims are savagely determined to control the Holy Land and surrounding regions. Bible prophecy informs us that Vatican-guided Europe will soon resurrect the specter of those gruesome Crusades once again.
Youth unemployment—history repeating itself?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on July 3 that money was not the main obstacle to solving Europe’s high youth unemployment. Chancellor Merkel was addressing labor officials from EU member countries who had gathered in Berlin to discuss how to end the high youth joblessness across the Continent. EU leaders have allocated over €20 billion (us$26 billion) to tackle the problem, but Merkel said money alone could not fix it and that Europe’s economy must be reformed.
Youth in Spain and Greece suffer the highest unemployment, with rates over 50 percent. Germany’s rate is only 7.6 percent.
Merkel’s main political opposition, the Social Democratic Party, protested the conference in Berlin. Its chairman told German television that Europe’s politicians have failed its young people. He blamed the nation’s youth unemployment on Chancellor Merkel. Europe’s employment problems could affect Merkel’s chances for reelection in September. Her opponents are loudly blaming her austerity policies for the youth jobless crisis.
In the 1930s, German youth unemployment led to the rise of extremist parties before World War ii. Is history repeating itself?
Court threatens euro again
Germany’s Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe began hearing a court case on June 11 that alleges the European Central Bank has exceeded its mandate. The ecb has taken significant steps to prevent the eurozone from collapsing. The German court is expected to rule on the issue after German elections in September.
In August 2012, when the euro crisis looked like it could worsen, the ecb announced a program to help prop up indebted countries. If an indebted country first submitted to conditions set down by the European Union (actually Germany), the ecb would lend an unlimited amount of money to minimize its borrowing costs. (Implementing the plan and getting around EU rules is a little more complicated: The ecb can’t buy debt directly from a national government, for example.) Many Germans are understandably concerned by the ecb’s promise to essentially print money for governments that can’t pay their bills. The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, opposes the ecb in the court case. One court official told Spiegel Online that the “people at the ecb are really afraid” of the court’s decision.
Once again, the euro’s existence is threatened, and no one knows what its future will be. As the Trumpet has pointed out since the start of the crisis, the euro was designed to fail in order to force EU nations to unite. The deliberations in Karlsruhe are an important reminder that the drama in Europe is far from over.
Balkans conquest continues
At midnight on July 1, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union. It marked the first addition to the bloc since Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007. Serbia has also received the European Council’s support as it seeks EU membership. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said “a new chapter is being opened in this region of Europe.” “I trust that all the Balkan countries will feel inspired by these momentous steps, leave aside divisions and concentrate on common interests, common values and common laws,” he said. Other Balkan candidates for membership include Montenegro and Macedonia. In late June, Kosovo also began its first steps toward EU membership. It was primarily U.S. military power that was used to break up Yugoslavia. In 1999, editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned that the German-led EU would be the ultimate victor of the Balkan wars.
You call that a supercomputer?
China has surpassed the U.S. in the field of supercomputer technology, building the world’s fastest machine, according to the semiannual Top500 Supercomputers listing released on June 17. The Tianhe-2 was completed two years ahead of schedule and is about twice as fast as the American supercomputer that previously held the record. Supercomputers are instrumental in developing nuclear weapons, aerospace engines, vital chemicals and more. Beijing is leveraging speedy economic growth and sharp increases in research spending to join the global technology elite. Steady evidence of China’s burgeoning power will influence weaker Asian nations to rally behind Beijing.
Why is the Kremlin using typewriters?
Russia’s Federal Guard Service (fso), charged with protecting Kremlin communications, said on July 11 that it is transitioning from computers back to typewriters to create its documents. “After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G-20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents,” an fso source said. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said the vulnerability of America’s computer systems may be the nation’s “Achilles heel.” The spate of leaks and cyberattacks the U.S. has suffered in recent years reveals that this is indeed among the country’s most vulnerable points. Russian leaders see the urgent need to take action on this front. The U.S. appears much less concerned.
Guess who’s in charge here
Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted 91 to 5 on July 17 to kick the United States out of a key air force base in the city of Manas. The base has been a vital hub for the American and nato militaries since 2001, mostly for logistics transport to nearby Afghanistan. Russia initially welcomed America’s military actions in Afghanistan and encouraged Kyrgyzstan to host the Manas base. But as the U.S. withdraws its combat forces from Afghanistan, Russia is trying to prevent Western influence from remaining.
Also in July, Russia initiated a program to send $1 billion worth of weapons to Kyrgyzstan each year. A July 1 report by ponars Eurasia connected the dots: “Russia is now aggressively entering into a classical client-state relationship with Kyrgyzstan and, to a lesser extent, Tajikistan, the region’s smallest and poorest countries but also the ones where Russian influence has remained strong for 20 years. In exchange for supporting them materially and in their local rivalries, Moscow seeks closer ties and fealty to its foreign-policy directives.”
Kyrgyzstan’s decision to oust the U.S. from Manas shows that Moscow’s plan is working: Russian weapons have purchased Kyrgyz obedience to the Kremlin’s foreign-policy directives.
Faith in U.S. fading fast
A Japanese Defense Ministry white paper from July says escalating tensions with China and North Korea could end in war. The paper also says the Japanese military is the ultimate guarantor against invasion. China’s increasing power and aggression is raising questions in Japan about the reliability of American security promises. North Korea’s nuclear missile capability and its unpunished threats to preemptively strike the U.S. and its allies has raised even more questions about U.S. reliability. The new defense white paper, which was accompanied by a substantial increase in Japan’s defense spending, shows that Tokyo’s confidence in America guaranteeing its safety is fading fast.
Stocking up on warships
The Russian Navy will receive 36 warships in 2013, reports on July 8 said, marking the largest increase in the country’s history. Russian warships are undertaking missions in all oceans of the world; more than 60 combat ships are now at sea.
China and Russia are on course to meet their goal of $100 billion in bilateral trade volume in 2014, a year faster than planned. Sergey Tsyplakov, trade representative of the Russian Federation in China, stated on June 14 this goal is “completely within reach” by 2015 “and is expected to be realized in 2014 despite the downturn in the first quarter.” With $88.16 billion trade volume between the two in 2012, China is Russia’s largest trading partner, and economic cooperation between the Asian giants is steadily growing.
Another Central American canal?
In what is either the biggest megaproject Latin America has seen in over a century, or a massive political ploy, Nicaragua signed a $40 billion deal on June 14 that allows a Chinese company to dig a canal through the country and connect the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic.
The United States built the famous Panama Canal in 1914, a transoceanic waterway that has operated for 99 years and services more than 13,000 vessels a year. In 1999, the U.S. gave up its rights to the canal, and a Chinese firm signed an exclusive 25-year lease with Panama allowing it to operate the canal’s entry and exit points with an option to renew for 25 more years. The first term ends in about a decade. The anticipated time of completion for the Nicaraguan canal is 11 years or less.
Could Panama be resisting Beijing, somehow preventing the renewal from going the way the Chinese want? Some in Beijing say Panama is still too heavily influenced by America. What better way, then, for Beijing to pressure the Panamanians than with a threat to build a bigger, better canal just to the north?
Legitimate or not, the canal news will have one consequence Beijing may not expect. As in China, geographic constraints prompt Europe to reach beyond its borders to obtain resources needed to fuel its rise. The religion and languages shared by Europe and Latin America bind the two together as sister continents. But China has become the fastest-growing investor in Latin America.
As China’s footprint in Latin America grows, Europe will strive to bolster its own presence there. At present, the lack of cohesion among European nations hampers this, but China’s deepening inroads into places like Nicaragua will act as a catalyst for EU unity.
Rogue states thick as thieves
A secret shipment of missile components from Cuba on a North Korean ship was discovered on July 15. The seizure is raising new worries that the two Communist nations are covertly engaged in a ballistic missile trade. The shipment violates UN Security Council resolutions banning transit of military goods to or from North Korea. Richard Fisher, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the discovery should alarm Washington. “North Korea, a country soon to be in a position to export nuclear-warhead-armed ballistic missiles, now has a missile relationship with Cuba,” he said. “So in Latin America there is the prospect that North Korea, already a major missile technology partner for Iran, may become a competitor or partner for Iran in aiding the proliferation of missile and potentially nuclear weapons technology among the leftist, anti-American grouping of Latin states for which Cuba is a major leader.” The combination of Cuba’s proximity to the U.S. and North Korea’s threats to preemptively strike America with nuclear missiles makes the two nations’ cooperation potentially explosive.
How to stop a protest
In late June, Brazil saw its largest protests in a generation, with a total turnout estimated at 2 million people. The mass demonstrations saw Rio de Janeiro and dozens of other cities clouded with teargas and echoing with percussion grenades. The mayhem was ignited by public anger about a government decision to increase bus fares, but it spread rapidly to include an array of grievances. “Halt evictions,” “Stop corruption. Change Brazil,” protesters’ placards read. The demonstrations prompted President Dilma Rousseff to announce some modest political and public health systems reforms. However, tension remains high.
Then, with fortuitous timing, Pope Francis landed in Rio on July 22, where he began the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day. Of all institutions in Brazil, the church alone has the capacity to unite Brazil’s people. In its present discontent, Brazil is ripe for a revival of Catholicism. What adds to this prospect is that Francis is from neighboring Argentina.
Bible prophecy indicates that the Roman Catholic religion is the force that will bind regional kingships in Europe together in the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire (Revelation 13, 17). The Trumpet has long predicted that Latin America, sharing both language and religion with Europe, it will be attached to that empire. The empire needs Latin America’s raw materials to drive its economy forward. The pope’s tremendous popularity in Brazil, on display in this recent visit, portends the Vatican’s growing influence in Brazil.