China Tests ‘Game-Changer’ Hypersonic Missile

China Tests ‘Game-Changer’ Hypersonic Missile

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America is no longer the only power potentially capable of piercing missile defense shields with nuclear-armed rockets.

For a missile to be considered hypersonic, it must travel between Mach 5 and Mach 10, which is 3,840 to 7,680 miles per hour. To understand how insanely fast that is, compare it to modern cruise missiles, which travel about 600 miles per hour.

Reports have long shown that Russia, India and China have been trying to develop hypersonic missile capability, but for years, the United States was the only power that had successfully tested the technology.

That changed on January 9 when China conducted a successful test flight of a hypersonic missile system. The U.S. military detected the vehicle flying over China at 10 times the speed of sound, and some say it may be capable of delivering nuclear warheads at speeds too fast for any existing defense systems to block them.

“It makes China the second country after the U.S. to have successfully tested a hypersonic delivery vehicle capable of carrying nuclear warheads at a speed above Mach 10,” Stephen Chen wrote for the South China Morning Post. “Such a weapon has long been seen as a game-changer by security experts as it can hit a target before any of the existing missile defense systems can react.”

Though few details have been released about China’s test and how it compares to America’s military innovations, three members of the U.S. Congress have said that it means the Chinese “appear to be leaping ahead of [the United States]” in the realm of military technology development. Howard McKeon, Randy Forbes and Mike Rogers—all members of the House Armed Services Committee—issued a joint statement expressing their concerns over the implications of the test, in light of the U.S.’s deprioritization of military power:

While round after round of defense cuts have knocked America’s technological advantage on its back, the Chinese and other competitor nations push toward military parity with the United States; in some cases, as in this one, they appear to be leaping ahead of us. … We have dithered for three decades now, delaying badly needed replacement equipment for our troops, relying on hardware that was built during the Reagan years.

Meanwhile, a report published this week shows that China is developing its air power faster than any other nation on the globe, due largely to its special mission military aircraft and its newest jet fighters. China is also currently developing the world’s largest amphibious plane, and is set to become the world’s number one missile producer this year.

The hypersonic missile test and these other developments represent significant leaps forward in Beijing’s overall military might. These trends are part of a tectonic geopolitical shift now underway. As those congressmen pointed out, the U.S. is “dithering” in some key security areas. America is rapidly succumbing to its moral and economic diseases, and is striving to appease the growing chorus of voices calling for an end to the U.S.’s “policing” of the world.

Bible prophecy confirms that the time will soon be here when the U.S. will be removed from the picture and China and other Asian nations will rise up powerfully. Scripture makes plain that rather than go it alone, several Asian juggernauts will pool their resources, consolidate their power and form a military force of proportions the world has never seen.

Revelation 9:16 shows that the combined armies of these “kings of the east” will number a jaw-dropping 200 million soldiers. The jaw drops even further when we consider how many people were on the planet in a.d.  90 when God inspired the Apostle John to record that prophecy (Revelation 1:1). Population estimates calculated by author John Tanton show that at that time there would have been only a little over 150 million total people alive. That is convincing evidence that this prophecy came from the mind of an Almighty God who truly is able to foretell the future (e.g. Isaiah 55:11)—and that it is for our day!

China’s military rise, and other trends that we now see quickly gathering momentum were prophesied to happen some 2,000 years ago, and the fact that we are alive to see them unfolding should stir us toworkto understand where it is heading!

To begin or to continue that rewarding labor, carefully read Russia and China in Prophecy.

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Russian Trade to Empower Iran

Russian Trade to Empower Iran

MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/AFP/Getty Images

Sidestepping sanctions, undermining upcoming nuclear talks

Upcoming nuclear negotiations are being threatened by an oil-for-goods deal between Russia and Iran. The deal severely undermines the current sanctions on Iranian oil, granting Iran major pressure relief and strengthening its negotiating position.

In exchange for undisclosed goods and equipment, Iran will sell Russia an estimated 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The deal emphasizes Russia’s foreign policy of constant opposition to Western policies, particularly in the Middle East. It also shows that while sanctions did have Iran in a tight position, the notion of now threatening Iran with more sanctions may be futile.

Good for Iran

U.S. and European sanctions had cut Iran’s oil exports by more than half over the past 18 months to roughly one million barrels a day. It was these heavy sanctions that helped draw Iran to the negotiating table in November. With its economy being pushed to the brink, Iran needed a deal that would lighten its economic burdens—or its economy would collapse.

The West has repeatedly employed sanctions when dealing with Iran, but more and more often, Iran is finding its way around them.

Russian purchases of 500,000 barrels of Iranian crude oil per day would increase Iran’s oil exports by 50 percent and provide a major boost to its struggling economy. It would negate many of the sanctions the U.S. and Europe have been using to keep Iran in check. With current oil prices near $100 a barrel, Iran would earn about an additional $1.5 billion a month from the oil-for-goods deal.

While the amount is small compared to Iran’s budget of $36.25 billion per month last year, it is substantial when compared to the recent sanctions deal. Iran will receive $4 billion over the next six months because of the first Geneva deal. If Iran fought so hard to gain that amount in Geneva, gaining $9 billion from Russia over that period is significant. In a year, Iran will be raking in an extra $18 billion on top of sanctions relief.

The diplomatic implications are immense. If Iran is earning an extra $1.5 billion per month by selling oil to Russia, it has much less to fear from U.S. and European sanctions. Suddenly Iran isn’t being forced into any decisions at the negotiating table, and can more readily afford simply walking away and accepting the consequences from the West.

Good for Russia

The benefits of the deal are obvious for Iran. But what does the deal give Moscow? Russia is the largest oil exporter in the world, so on the surface, the move might not seem to make sense. What does Russia need with Iranian oil?

On January 2, the Russian energy ministry released data showing that the country’s oil output had risen to a post-Soviet high of 10.51 million barrels per day in 2013, up almost 1.4 percent from 2012. Almost all large Russian oil firms increased output in 2013 as they boosted drilling. Even Lukoil, Russia’s second-largest oil producer and top non-state oil company increased output, despite logging declines in the previous three years. Russia has no need to buy oil off anyone. It is the equivalent of Cuba importing cigars.

But the move is quite financially savvy for Russia. Russia will undoubtedly resell the Iranian oil, so it will regain most, if not all of its cost. More importantly, it will get to dictate where the oil goes. In other words, Russia plays the role of a middle man for an even greater portion of the world’s oil supply. It is ironic that the oil may even find its way to Europe, which is currently sanctioning Iranian oil.

Russia is competing with the U.S. for dominance in the Middle East. Buying the oil empowers Iran ahead of the Geneva 2 talks. Iran is Russia’s key ally in the Middle East and serves as the main counter to American influence. Iran exports terrorists, funds coups, incites sectarian conflicts and zealously undermines the interests of America and its allies. This all plays into Russia’s broader goals, which it has held since the days of the cold war.

Russia’s antagonism with the West is also obvious in Syria, where Moscow has stepped into the lead role with the disarmament process. Russia is also building ties with Egypt, until recently a key U.S. ally. Russia is building its presence in the region.

Russia’s deal with Iran is designed to strengthen Tehran’s negotiating position, which in turn weakens its opponents, the United States and Europe.

Bad for the U.S. and Europe

If the deal goes ahead, Iran will be far less concerned with the threat of looming sanctions at the end of the current six-month deal. The U.S. and Europe may soon find Iran more willing to walk away from the negotiating table, or face more pointless and frustrating delay tactics.

If Iran does remain in negotiations, it will have a far stronger position than it had during the first Geneva talks. It would have less to lose from walking away than would the U.S. and Europe, which would then face having to address the military option or live with a nuclear Iran.

The tension in the Middle East is growing, alliances are forming and the balance of power is shifting. When observed carefully, these geopolitical shifts run right in line with Bible prophecy. Many of the events unfolding today were prophesied thousands of years ago. The Trumpet explains many of these news events and their biblical origins as they unfold. Request a free copy of our booklets The King of the South and The History and Prophecy of the Middle East for more understanding of the earthshaking current events in the Mideast.

EU Investigating German Export Domination

EU Investigating German Export Domination

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Has the country been exploiting Europe?

Germany is using its export-driven economy to profit from its neighbors. That is the assertion from Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commission president.

The crisis has prompted an unprecedented review of the German economy by the EU. Barroso pointed to the consistent and increasing level of excess income generated by the bloc’s most prosperous and prominent country. He identified Europe’s economic imbalance rests upon “whether Germany could do more to help” in sharing the wealth.

Last year saw the EU combined economies surface from a drowning recession only to stall overall, except Germany. The investigation into the export exploitation of member states, which Germany has encouraged to join the expanding group of nations, will reportedly release its findings between March and April this year.

Not surprisingly, in 2012 Germany and the EU dominated global exports with combined totals above China and the United States. However, in October, Germany received criticism from America that its powerhouse export-led economy is hurting the economies of the continent and the world.

“Exports in Germany increased to €99.1 billion [us$134.4 billion] in October of 2013 from €94.7 billion in September of 2013,” reported tradingeconomics.com. “Exports in Germany averaged €56.15 billion from 1991 until 2013, reaching an all time high of €99.1 billion in October of 2013 and a record low of €23.4 billion in January of 1993.”

The prime wares exported are automobiles, machines, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics and weapons. The majority of sales are to European countries with other large customers such as Russia, China and the U.S. contributing to its almost 7 percent surplus of gross domestic product.

How has Germany come to this height of modern European and global trade? Over 35 years ago, the Plain Truth magazine foretold the strategy: “by always espousing the common European cause, she is less suspect of nationalistic motivations” (October 1976).

That publication’s founder Herbert W. Armstrong, relentlessly warned for over 50 years that this nation would rise from its ashes of the Second World War to lead, under spiritual oversight, the seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire (Daniel 2, 8, 11; Nahum 1-3; Revelation 12-13, 17-19).

Continue to watch Germany as it pushes economically, politically and increasingly militarily full-steam ahead on an apparent collision course with the dynamic duo of Russia and China, which are increasingly flexing their economic and military muscles.

Also, download Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany. Written by our editor in chief, this booklet reveals God’s captivating use of Germany in both the short term and long term.

Herbert W. Armstrong Forecast Peace for Bolivia

Herbert W. Armstrong Forecast Peace for Bolivia

German Federal Archive

The war-torn country received the plain truth of the World Tomorrow.

In 1825, Simon Bolivar rebelled against Spanish overlords and ignited a quest for independence. La Paz, the name of Bolivia’s capital, means peace. Yet over the past two centuries, the history of Bolivia has been punctuated by social upheaval, poverty, drug crises and hundreds of coups.

After World War ii, Herbert W. Armstrong was concerned with the impact of Nazism and fascism in South America. The May 1957 Plain Truth reminded readers, “As early as 1925 and even before, top-flight members of the German General Staff were dispatched to South American countries to become advisers, to influence the officer corps of South and Central American Republics, and to spread hatred of the United States.

“Capt. Ernst Roehm, organizer of the Nazi Storm Troops, showed up in Bolivia in 1925 as ‘special adviser’ to the Bolivian Army.” The safe haven for axis power criminals was geographically landlocked, with illiteracy at 60 to 70 percent, and the majority of its 5 million citizens speaking the Inca language. As such, getting the good news of the gospel of Christ into the country faced many obstacles.

On Feb. 3, 1976, at a testimonial dinner in Israel, the internationally recognized ambassador for peace personally delivered the Matthew 24:14 commission message to 170 dignitaries made up of ambassadors from 17 countries—judges, lawyers, educators, Knesset members and government ministers.

“The 17 countries represented were England, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Holland, Finland, the United States, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Mexico, Romania, Japan, Greece, Turkey, Haiti and Burma. Also present were outstanding Arabs from the West Bank, including the mayor of Bethlehem” (Worldwide News, Feb. 16, 1976).

Before and after the Bolivian ambassador personally heard Mr. Armstrong, the Spanish-language Plain Truth, La Pura Verdad, addressed its drug production, trade relations, environment, national debt, natural resources, unemployment, inflation and international relations.

“At the end of 1980, there were only about 20 subscribers to La Pura Verdad there, but because of efforts of a Church member employed at the time by the U.S. government in La Paz, a series of newspaper ads were placed and several other promotions undertaken. The Pura Verdad list stands at 1,977, a hundredfold increase in three years” (Worldwide News, Jan. 2, 1984).

In 1983, Mr. Armstrong’s consistent warnings about the impact of German fascism on the sub-continent proved true as Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested in Bolivia. During the early to mid-1980s, he authorized repeated articles in his Pastor General’s Report mentioning the prophetic implications of Bolivia’s ties to communism, socialism, insurrections and coups.

By 1985, the impact of the fulfillment of God’s delivery of His gospel in the Philadelphia era was reaching its apex. At the year’s outset, Mr. Armstrong approved the first ministerial visit to the the country, ironically by a native, Bolivian-born minister based in Peru.

On July 26-28, three lectures followed in La Paz servicing a handful of Church members and growing interest in the Plain Truth. Magazine circulation was at approximately 2,700, with 1,285 subscribers invited to the lectures. “Most of the people were middle class professionals and there were some retired military men” (Worldwide News, Aug. 19, 1985).

History has proven that the solution Bolivians seek is not found in socialism, fascism, communism, dictatorship nor democracy. A stable government, with a lovingly administered law ensuring lasting peace, is soon to come to Bolivia. As sure as the setting and rising of the sun, that final solution is promised by the Almighty Creator in His Word.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

China Leapfrogs the U.S. in World Trade

China Leapfrogs the U.S. in World Trade

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Another indication of the decline of America’s economic and geopolitical influence

China overtook the United States in 2013 to become the world’s biggest trading nation, ending many decades of American trade dominance, according to data released by the two countries.

China’s total exports and imports of goods for 2013 hit $4.16 trillion. The U.S. hasn’t yet released its final figures for the year, but its trade of goods for the first 11 months totaled $3.5 trillion, which puts it considerably behind Beijing.

Since China’s exports and imports are growing much faster than those of the U.S., the gap between the two nations is likely to become even wider this year.

This is not Beijing’s first significant economic victory over other leading economies. Back in 2009, China overtook Germany to become the world’s largest exporter. Then, in 2010, Beijing eclipsed Washington to become the world’s thirstiest energy consumer, a milestone that reflected both China’s extraordinary economic growth and its multiplying clout as an industrial giant.

These trends confirm that a historic geo-economic shift is underway. But the U.S. is not yet overthrown. America’s economy is still almost double the size of China’s, with a gross domestic product in 2012 of about $15.2 trillion, compared to China’s $8.4 trillion for that year.

China’s economic might is rapidly growing. Its mushrooming influence threatens to unsettle regional trading blocs as it becomes the most important commercial partner for nations not only in Asia and Europe, but also in distant countries like Brazil, where the U.S. has played second fiddle to Beijing since 2009.

“For so many countries around the world, China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner,” said Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s asset management division.

This trend is yet another indication of the U.S.’s declining economic and geopolitical influence. For most of the past century, America was the world’s single greatest guarantor of global stability, and the primary player maintaining the system of open trade. “[T]he most unique and important feature of U.S. foreign policy over the last century,” Thomas Friedman wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, “has been the degree to which America’s diplomats and naval, air and ground forces provided global public goods—from open seas to open trade and from containment to counterterrorism—that benefited many others besides us.”

But now, in arena after arena, the U.S. is being overtaken and outperformed by nations like China, which do not prioritize maintaining global stability or operating in ways that benefits other nations the way Washington long did. For understanding about the rapid shift that is now underway, and what to expect in the wake of America’s decline, read our article “What Happens After a Superpower Dies?