A Lesson for President Obama From an Ancient King

A Lesson for President Obama From an Ancient King

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If he were willing to learn from history, President Obama could understand the danger in inviting the Chinese military onto U.S. soil.

For the first time in U.S. history, Chinese Communist troops conducted exercises on U.S. soil. The administration says this was an important opportunity for America and China to get to know each other better and build trust. But is inviting your enemies into your house really such a good idea?

The Chinese troops took part in joint “disaster relief” drills with U.S. soldiers in Hawaii on November 11-14. The operations simulated a joint response to a disaster striking a third party nation. It was billed as a lesson for the Chinese to learn about America’s ability to be “flexible” in disasters.

Besides being the first on U.S. territory, it was also the largest cooperative to date between the two armies.

Xinhua Agencies reported U.S. military Pacific Commander, Samuel Locklear, saying that the joint maneuvers will help “improve the relationship between the United States and China” and that “this kind of exercise gives us a place to start, and get into the rhythm of understanding and trusting each other.”

Although the joint excises may be the first with Chinese troops on U.S. ground, it is not the first time the U.S. has invited less-than-friendly foreign militaries to train with and observe its forces.

Last year, for the first time in history, America invited Russian airborne assault special forces to conduct operations on U.S. soil. Those “joint terror” war exercises took place at the Fort Carson, Colorado, Army base.

The Navy is increasingly training with less-than-friendly nations too. In September, Chinese and American naval forces conducted joint disaster response maneuvers with the Chinese Navy off the coast of Hawaii.

In 2012, America invited Russian naval vessels for the first time in history to participate in the Rim of the Pacific war games exercises of Hawaii. The military drills, described as the world’s largest maritime exercise, was originally intended to illustrate the naval power that could be used against Communist Russia. Last year was also the first time that U.S. ships in the rimpac war games sailed under foreign direction. At Washington’s request, China will participate in rimpacfor the first time next year.

U.S. policy makers see these military exercises as a way to foster trust between nations. They see them as a critical first step in reducing the chances of international accidents and eventually turning these nations from enemies to allies. But inviting enemies into your house in an attempt to make them friends, or even just to learn more about their capabilities, is a dangerous game. Just ask King Hezekiah.

Hezekiah was considered one of Judah’s greatest kings. Under his rule, God blessed the nation. The population of Jerusalem quintupled under Hezekiah’s reign. It was a time of expansion of power. Archaeologists note dramatic population growth, major building and construction projects, and large increases in literacy and written works.

Yet despite all of the advances, the king also set in progress a series of events that would lead to the nation’s destruction.

During Hezekiah’s reign, the Assyrian empire was sweeping south toward Judah. The Assyrians, known for their exceptional brutality, had already destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, carrying them away into captivity.

The book of Isaiah describes the Assyrian rival, the king of Babylon, sending emissaries with presents to King Hezekiah. “And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not” (Isaiah 39:1-2; emphasis added).

It appears Hezekiah was beginning to look to men for safety instead of God. He was vainly showing the Babylonians his fantastic wealth in an attempt to convince them to form a military alliance with him. He took them into his house, blindly trusting that they would never use what they saw against him. But was that a good idea?

Look how it turned out. As Gerald Flurry wrote in his booklet Isaiah’s End-Time Vision,

Isaiah did not trust the king of Babylon. He recognized that Hezekiah was getting too close to Babylon. … Isaiah showed that this relationship would prove to be fatal, not only for Hezekiah’s descendants, but for the nation of Judah as well. “Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah … Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon” (Isaiah 39:5-7).

This action by Hezekiah—inviting a foreign nation pretending to be a friend into his house—was the beginning of the undoing of his family and of the nation of Judah. Not long after, the king of Babylon—Hezekiah’s supposed ally—destroyed God’s temple and carried the nation of Judah away captive.

But lessons from the Bible don’t carry much weight with America’s leaders today.

If you can believe it, America is even set to allow the Russian space agency Roscosmos to set up half a dozen monitoring stations within the United States. These monitoring stations, according to Russian officials, will be used to improve the accuracy and reliability of Russia’s Global Navigation Satellite System—the same system used to guide ballistic missiles and military attack aircraft to their targets.

The U.S. State Department is set to allow Russia to build the stations despite protests from the cia and Pentagon. U.S. counterintelligence officials worry that the stations could be used to spy on the U.S. The State Department doesn’t think that is too much of a threat. To them this is a more important opportunity to help mend the Obama administration’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the New York Times.

Does allowing Russia to set up military installations in the U.S. really seem like a good idea?

It is bad enough that America already allows Germany—its old World War ii adversary renowned for surprise blitzkrieg attacks—to train forces and operate fighter/bomber aircraft in the U.S. The German Air Force has been training its aircrews on various bases in the United States since the late 1950s. But in 1996, the U.S. government gave the German government permission to permanently station fighter aircraft at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The base now holds about 600 personnel and 21 fighters. With the March announcement that German Air Force units at Fort Bliss will transfer to Holloman, the numbers at this base may swell further. Up to 900 German personnel and 42 fighter aircraft are allowed at the base.

“Right now, Germany seems to be an ally of the United States. But what if this nation—our archenemy in World Wars i and ii—turned against us in the next war?” Gerald Flurry wrote in the latest print edition of the Trumpet. “We want to trust Germany, but history screams that we shouldn’t! Yet, not only do we equip the Germans with our weapons, but we train their air force on American bases. … What the U.S. is doing is absolutely condemned by the Bible. Why? Because it is trusting other nations rather than trusting God.”

Our gamble with China, Russia and Germany is going to go deadly wrong.

In recent years, China has engaged in rampant intellectual-property theft through cyberattacks. It has led the world in industrial espionage. Chinese agents have been caught stealing military secrets. It has sold arms to the Taliban. It has attacked U.S. satellites with lasers. It helped North Korea transfer missile technology to Iran and Pakistan. It has helped Iran with its nuclear program. And made known its ability to crash the U.S. dollar by selling its massive stockpile of U.S. treasuries.

In October, Chinese state media for the first time released maps detailing nuclear strikes against U.S. cities. The articles boasted that China’s nuclear armed submarines could wipe out Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle and spread the nuclear fallout as far as Chicago.

Does this sound like a nation we should be trusting? Or more like a nation that is waging war against us?

How about Russia? Just this past month it blackmailed Ukraine into staying out of the EU by threatening to cut off gas and oil supplies. It punished tiny Moldavia for the crime of seeking more economic ties with Europe. And only a few years ago, it invaded U.S. ally Georgia. Now it is harboring whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Does this sound like a nation we should be opening our doors to?

And then there is Germany. Although Germany seems like a friend now, can you guarantee it will always be so? Bible prophecy says that America’s friendship with Germany will not last for long (you can read about that in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire), and the end result will be devastating.

Inviting enemies into your house is the type of mistake you only make once! It opens up the potential to be attacked and destroyed from within.

Is this really a risk worth taking? History shows it can be a deadly one. Just ask King Hezekiah.

USA for Sale

USA for Sale

VCT Style/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The shocking reality of household names in foreign hands

Sold! That’s the chorus of many American companies. From transport to food, aerospace, hospitality, sports and utilities, America’s economic decline is providing competitor countries a shopping spree with far reaching implications.

Most Americans are oblivious to the ongoing sell-off of institutionalized names. Many take for granted that these companies are still under the Stars and Stripes. Advanced and emerging foreign markets are exploiting this fiscal weakness, as their businesses establish distribution routes and introduce domestic brand names to the United States consumer marketplace.

Below is a sample of corporations that were once American, but are now owned by foreign companies.

Europe

  • Budweiser – Belgium
  • Alka-Seltzer; Dial Soap; Trader Joe’s – Germany
  • Flatiron Building; Sunglass Hut – Italy
  • Chicago Skyway; Indiana Toll Road – Spain/Australia
  • Gerber Products; Toll House – Switzerland
  • Frigidaire – Sweden
  • Good Humor-Breyers – Britain/Netherlands
  • French’s Mustard; Holiday Inn – Britain
  • Asia

  • amc Theater; Smithfield Foods, Inc. – China
  • 7-Eleven; Firestone – Japan
  • Pierre Hotel – India
  • Nets NBA team – Russia
  • North and South America

  • Entenmann’s Chocolate – Mexico
  • Citgo Oil – Venezuela
  • John Hancock Life Insurance – Canada
  • Mideast

  • Chrysler Building – Abu-Dhabi
  • Plaza Hotel – Israel
  • Caribou Coffee; Church’s Chicken – Bahrain
  • Additionally, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Chicago’s Midway Airport, and Washington’s Puget Sound Energy are under consideration for foreign ownership highlighting the desperation filling city governments and communities.

    Herbert W. Armstrong foretold this decline and present sale into foreign ownership in his blockbuster book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Millions worldwide have requested this book, which relies upon revealed Bible truth as its guide, outlining the choicest blessings of economic supremacy afforded the United States as a result of its forefather’s obedience and America’s tragic end-time choice to reject THE source of those blessings. The effect of that cause is a broken pride in a fallen world power resulting in foreign economic subjugation (Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 28; Hosea 7:9-10).

    “Are you concerned about where the current administration is leading this country? Whether the nation can survive the next four years? It’s worse than you think, and there is only one way to solve this gigantic problem.” These hard questions are asked and answered by Gerald Flurry in his latest booklet, America Under Attack. Download your free copy of our most popular publication of the year.

    Xi Jinping: An Aspiring Vladimir Putin?

    Xi Jinping: An Aspiring Vladimir Putin?

    ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

    China’s president tightens his grip on power.

    In his first year in office, Chinese President Xi Jinping has amassed a level of individual power not seen among Chinese leaders in decades.

    Perhaps the most striking evidence of this power grab was the recent announcement of the establishment of a new state security committee, almost certain to be headed by Xi.

    As the Wall Street Journal reports, this new security committee is likely to cement Mr. Xi’s control over China’s military, domestic security and foreign policy and “help establish him as the country’s most individually powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping.”

    The Telegraph writes: “The president appears to have navigated a treacherous path past his rivals inside the Communist Party to emerge at the end of his first year in power with a firm grip on all the levers of power” (November 12).

    Xi’s success in consolidating power stems in part from his own ambition and shrewd maneuvering. But he has also been aided by a sense of crisis among China’s senior leaders. As the New York Times wrote, “Xi’s leadership style reflects … what appears to be agreement among many senior officials that they need a more agile and forceful leader to cope with difficult economic restructuring, foreign policy pressures, and domestic challenges to one-party rule, said watchers of Chinese politics” (November 15).

    Mr. Xi is maneuvering to meet these challenges with an authority that is, to some analysts, suggestive of another powerful Asian leader. “Xi Jinping has now consolidated all relevant power bases in China” writes Forbes Asia, “drawing parallels to … his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.” Putting it more bluntly, “He wants to be Putin,” political commentator Rong Jian recently told The New York Times.

    That comparison should be unnerving to anyone.

    “In his first year in office, Mr. Xi has revealed himself as a stern authoritarian,” writes the Wall Street Journal. Like Putin, “He is haunted by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ‘color revolutions’ that toppled the regimes in former Soviet republics ….” Xi’s power grab reflects his determination to keep the Chinese party-state from suffering the same fate. But it also reflects Xi’s mission to return China to the golden era of “wealth and power” it enjoyed before its “century of humiliation” by imperialist powers (ibid).

    The potential ramifications of Mr. Xi’s power grab are profound.

    China’s military power continues to grow, underpinned by an economic might that is on course to surpass the U.S. by 2020. With the increasingly provocative stance China has taken in regional conflicts, its insistence on its “peaceful rise” is beginning to wear thin.

    At the helm of this Asian juggernaut now sits a strongman wielding nearly total political control—an ambitious leader, already showing his authoritarian stripes and imbued with a mission to restore China to glory. Now wielding the power to brush aside the bureaucracy that has traditionally constrained China’s leaders, Xi has a free hand to pursue his vision.

    It’s therefore not hard to envision China, under Xi’s leadership, acting out more forcefully in regional conflicts and competing more aggressively for resources. In fact, with Xi positioned to remain China’s leader for nearly another decade, it is possible he will preside over the most powerful, yet destructive period in China’s history.

    Bible prophecy shows America’s weight in global affairs will continue to diminish rapidly in coming months and years. In its place will rise two competing power blocs: one European, operating in the tradition of the Holy Roman Empire; the other Asian, referred to in Bible prophecy as the “kings of the east,” and dominated by Russia and China. Conflict between these two regional consortiums will culminate in the most deadly military conflagration in Earth’s history.

    Xi’s success in cementing power over his nation’s military and foreign policy is worth watching closely, as it may provide an important clue about how China will be steered onto its prophesied collision course with Europe—and how close this conflict could be. For any nation destined to play a decisive role in shaping history, an ambitious leader with the power to steer his nation is key. China’s dominant role in these end-time prophecies indicates that such a man could rise on the scene to lead it to rally behind Russia.

    It could prove very significant that today we see power consolidating in the hands of Xi Jinping—an autocrat cast in the ideological mold of Vladimir Putin.

    The groundwork is now being laid. In his current position, Xi is poised to emerge as a political figure whose role in history outweighs that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping combined. In the coming months, watch for Mr. Xi to lead China toward a more confrontational foreign policy that heightens friction with Europe.

    Iran Claims to Have Designed Ballistic Missiles

    Iran Claims to Have Designed Ballistic Missiles

    Lou Oates/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

    What could Iran possibly want with ballistic weapon technology?

    Only days after a historic deal between Iran and the P5+1 nations, Iran has shown it has no intention of rejoining the international community as a “moderate” Islamic nation. If you listen closely over the sound of thunderous applause and gushing remarks in Geneva, you can still hear the sound of Iran beating the nuclear weapons drum.

    On November 26, Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, lieutenant commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (ircg), announced that Iran has developed “indigenous” ballistic missile technology.

    Ballistic missiles created at home rather than abroad—capable of dropping nuclear payloads—can only be found in Russia and the United States. Other nations have to purchase the weapons in order to obtain them. If what Iran now claims is true, it has joined an exclusive club and has taken another deadly step toward being a self-sustaining nuclear weapons producer.

    Of course, Iranian boasts should be taken with a few grains of salt. Iran has a history of faking technological achievements. Consider the stealth fighter jet made of plastic and missing basic components such as rivets; and monkeys being launched into space.

    Regardless of whether or not the stories prove true, the announcement serves as a reminder of Iran’s intentions.

    Hearken back to October 1, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United Nations. He put forward some compelling questions worth contemplating. “Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful nuclear energy … build hidden underground enrichment facilities? Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest billions in developing nuclear energy? Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the tremendous cost of crippling sanctions on its economy? And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program develop intercontinental ballistic missiles, whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads?” (emphasis added).

    Why indeed? After all, didn’t Iran just sign a historic nuclear deal with the West? Doesn’t Rouhani want to bring Iran back into the international community?

    The truth is that the “moderate” image is a ruse. As editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the December 2013 Trumpet print edition, “The facts are clear, and the truth is obvious. The Iranians have lied in the past, and they continue to lie. Yet, incredibly, Western leaders and many of our people simply believe the lies.”

    The West believes lies about Iran’s quest for nuclear-weapons-enforced dominance over the entire region.

    People can celebrate the negotiations in Geneva all they want, but when the ircg talks about obtaining weapons to carry a nuclear payload, we had better sit up and pay attention!

    In a region described as a “nuclear tinderbox,” the thought of Iran—the number one state sponsor of terror—obtaining devastating weapons of mass destruction, should cause people around the globe to react. People need to see the horrendous fulfillment of Bible prophecy coming to pass—and also the hope beyond that time.

    As Gerald Flurry wrote in that recent article:

    Open your eyes, and you know the world around you is falling apart. Time is short. However, there is still time for individuals to escape the coming nuclear destruction, when, as Amos says, there will only be “pieces” of the nations of Israel left.Also, understand that there is incredible hopebeyond the coming horrors of nuclear darkness. Don’t lose sight of the vision at the end of Amos. If you can grasp that vision, if you can avoid the distractions of our world and see beyond the terrible times to come. Then you can be sure to one day participate in the awesome world God has in store.

    For more understanding of Iran’s increasing belligerence in the Middle East, request and read our free booklet The King of the South.

    Europe’s Coming Big Ten

    Europe’s Coming Big Ten

    GiorgioMagini/iStockphoto

    Germany soon to form core bloc of East and West.

    From the first edition of The Plain Truth in February 1934, Herbert W. Armstrong told its audience that a union of 10 nations in Europe was to arise. It would have one government and one military force. Many mocked this assertion from a publisher of a magazine that began with about 250 copies printed on a hand-wound mimeograph.

    In an ever-developing technological world, the Plain Truth grew to a circulation of over 8 million by the year of his death in 1986. This was the pre-Internet age where publishing giants like Time and Life magazine were household names, yet the publication that began so humbly had grown larger than those famed names, reaching subscribers from all walks of life in all corners of the globe.

    Its readership had been repeatedly informed that Germany would rise from the ashes of World War ii and lead a United States of Europe. This union would feature a powerful 10-nation bloc of the select countries of the continent’s east and west, and be economically and militarily led by Germany.

    Through the intervening years, many thought this proclamation false and unfounded. As the decades passed from the 1930s to ’70s and into the new millennium, the world witnessed the establishment of a coal and steel union, later a community of countries, and today, bound by treaty, a full-blown European Union.

    Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and unification of its east and west, Germany has risen in power and influence to the very top of Europe. History’s lens now focuses on a continent in financial crisis. As the Plain Truth’s publisher and founder maintained, Germany was to be Europe’s most powerful nation economically, militarily dominating the weak, and partnering with the prosperous.

    How could Mr. Armstrong have known about this geopolitical exclusive? Was his calculation derived from insider information, think tanks, analysts or speculation? Trumpet readers know that the foundation he relied upon for this predictions was firmly grounded in the more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19).

    He wrote in a letter to his magazine readers on July 24, 1983: “The very first issue of the Plain Truth magazine appeared February 1934—just 50 years ago lacking about six months. The article starting on the cover page warned of a coming sudden appearance of a resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire’ in Europe—a union of 10 nations in Europe under one government, with one united military force. For 50 years I have been crying out to the world the Bible prophecies of this coming ‘United States of Europe’—a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!”

    Three years earlier he noted, “It now looks entirely feasible that Yugoslavia may be included in this revived Roman Empire. Also the pope’s native Poland and Romania, and possibly Hungary. Add Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. There will be a union of 10 nations in the general area of the medieval Roman Empire in the new united Europe. Probably Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden will not be included. But Ireland may. Britain will not! Ireland would make up the 10!” (co-worker letter, June 10, 1980).

    For those who were readers of the Plain Truth and now subscribe to its successor, the Trumpet, that warning continues as this prophecy unfolds. Despite the naysayers, world events play out precisely according to that more sure word.

    In the short term, the EU 28-member combine continues in crisis and disagreements until its members separate themselves into self-beneficial strategic alliances. Mr. Armstrong foresaw the collapse of the global financial system triggering the rise of the elite 10-nation “beast” (Revelation 13:16-17). With both sides of the Atlantic struggling to keep their fiscal heads above water, the pending economic sinking appears nearer than ever.

    Download a free copy of He Was Right. Directed by editor in chief Gerald Flurry, the Trumpet staff researched and published this collector’s item to provide you with a thorough analysis of the direction and outcome of current world prophecies.

    Russia Secures the Motherland

    Russia Secures the Motherland

    SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

    Russia is bullying Ukraine into submission, setting the stage for a more assertive Moscow.

    To Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine isn’t a foreign country—Ukraine is part of Russia.

    In his version of history, Russia traces its origins back to Kievan Rus—the first Slavic state that centered on Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. The Kievan Rus ruled Moscow and much of the area that is now Russia’s heartland.

    Today, many Ukrainians reject the idea that they and the Russians are one people. They find Putin’s description of Ukraine as “little Russia” offensive. Much of Ukraine’s youth would love to be rid of their self-proclaimed big brother, but they’re weighed down with one major curse: Russia still needs Ukraine.

    If Ukraine were to ally itself with an enemy nation, Russia can forget about being a world power. Ukraine is a dagger pointed at the Russian heartlands. There are no natural, defensible barriers to stop an invader from Ukraine.

    Add to that the fact that Ukraine wasn’t merely a member of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War—it was part of the ussr itself. Russia’s modern defense architecture was built to include Ukraine as part of the homeland.

    Some of that has been dismantled during Ukraine’s 20 years of independence. Ukraine inherited the world’s third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons from the ussr, for example. These have now been destroyed or sent back to Russia.

    But much still remains. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is stationed in Sevastopol, in Ukraine—its largest military base outside of Russia.

    In addition, the deeply connected business and financial interests means that if Ukraine were to open up to the West and adopt its standards of transparency, a lot of powerful Russians (and Ukrainians) could lose a lot of money.

    So when Ukraine appeared ready to sign an association and free trade agreement with the European Union, much was at stake.

    But all this interconnectivity gives Russia a lot of ways to prevent Ukraine from escaping its grip. President Putin quickly deployed the proverbial carrot and stick.

    Nearly a quarter of Ukraine’s exports go to Russia. Over 60 percent go to former Soviet countries. Russia threatened to interfere with these—raising tariffs, inventing health concerns and delaying trucks at the border for up to three days.

    Ukraine also imports 60 percent of its natural gas from Russia, effectively allowing Moscow to kill Ukraine’s economy at will. Completely shutting off Ukraine’s gas damages Russia’s reputation in the rest of Europe, pushing the Europeans to look for other suppliers. So instead, Russia charges Ukraine a high price.

    At the same time, Russia offered Ukraine several carrots: debt forgiveness, cheaper tariffs and even cheaper gas—if Ukraine joins Russia’s customs union.

    Meanwhile, Russia has been conducting a long-term offensive to win Ukraine’s hearts and minds. This offensive includes funding blockbuster movies that extol the two nations’ shared heritage. Such initiatives could give Russia a more enduring hold on the country than its promises of threats and bonuses. Roughly 30 percent of the nation speaks Russian, which already gives Russia a lot of cultural influence.

    One of Russia’s most important tools, however, is the Russian Orthodox Church. The head of the church, Patriarch Kirill, allegedly worked for the kgb during the Cold War. He makes frequent trips to Ukraine, trying to woo back part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church that broke away from Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Forced more by short-term threats than these long-term efforts, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met Putin at a military airport near Moscow on November 9. Shortly afterward, Ukraine’s agreement with Europe was over.

    Ukraine’s pullout turned Europe’s Eastern Partnership summit, held on November 28 and 29, into a failure. In fact, it has ruined the whole initiative, which was designed to bring former Soviet countries into Europe’s orbit.

    Moldova and Georgia both initialed agreements at the summit, but crucially they did not sign them (despite some news outlets reporting that they did). The difference is important. Ukraine had also initialed the agreement, but the deal is not done until it is signed. Georgia and Moldova have merely committed to working toward signing a deal at a later date.

    Besides, both of these countries contain breakaway regions occupied by Russian troops. They are all but defenseless against Russia. If Russia still wants to prevent them drifting toward Europe, it has plenty of time to “do a Ukraine” on them and persuade them against signing the association and free-trade agreements.

    The Eastern Partnership program was designed to bring six former Soviet nations into Europe’s sphere of influences. The states: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The score at the moment? Russia 6, Europe 0.

    This defeat could be deliberate. The Trumpet has speculated before that Germany’s and Russia’s interests overlap in so many areas—the Balkans, Cyprus, Syria, Eastern Europe, etc.—that they may have come to some kind of arrangement that the other European nations wouldn’t necessarily be in. Europe is so divided anyway that all Germany needed to do to prevent Ukraine’s participation in the Eastern Partnership program was refrain from giving Ukraine its wholehearted backing.

    Even without a deal, Germany and France probably didn’t want to anger Russia by competing too hard for Ukraine. Europe is undoubtedly worried about the rise of Russia. But with the euro crisis causing unprecedented levels of unemployment and civil unrest, now is not a good time to pick a fight with Moscow.

    And Europe’s defeat could still change. Europe may still manage to draw in Georgia and Moldova, leaving the two nations in an awkward limbo—oriented toward Europe, but with Russian soldiers within their borders.

    Hundreds of thousands may have turned out to protest in Ukraine. But this is unlikely to change Ukraine’s course. The protests are smaller than in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought a pro-European government to power. And the protesters don’t represent the whole population—they’re mainly students and Ukraine’s middle class. President Yanukovych will probably be able to weather the unrest.

    But his attempt to balance between Europe and Russia could soon be over. While Yanukovych has steered closer to Russia than his pro-European predecessors, he does not want to be demoted to Putin’s puppet. So he has tried to play Europe and Russia against each other, keeping Ukraine balanced in the middle.

    In the tussle over the past few months, Yanukovych has lost that balance. He could regain it, but it will be challenging. Ukraine’s financial situation is bleak. It has to pay the International Monetary Fund (imf) $3.7 billion next year. Without outside help, Ukraine is in for some trying times.

    Unless Ukraine makes a U-turn, that help won’t come from the EU or the imf. Which leaves Russia as the only option.

    Either way Russia has succeeded—for now—in its primary objective in preventing Ukraine from aligning with the West. It is also closer than ever to making Ukraine little more than a satellite state. If Ukraine joins up to Russia’s customs union, it must give Russia veto power over any other trade arrangements. Ukraine will be unable to form alliances with other nations without Russia’s permission.

    All of this leaves Russia more secure within its own borders than at any time since the 2004 Orange Revolution—perhaps even since the fall of the ussr.

    Russia still has some major economic challenges, but this extra security could give it greater freedom of action. Given its recent behavior, a more assertive Russia is not an exciting prospect. For a picture of what this could look like, read our article “Czars and Emperors” from the latest edition of the Trumpet magazine.