Russia Deploys Troops Near Polish and Lithuanian Borders

Russia Deploys Troops Near Polish and Lithuanian Borders

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images

More than 3,500 Russian soldiers have started tactical maneuvers on the Baltic coast of the Kaliningrad region near the borders of Poland and Lithuania, Polish Radio reported on March 3.

The unexpected, large-scale military drills began after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap inspection of the forces stationed there. In addition to the troops, the exercises involve more than 450 units of military hardware, including bmp-2 armored carriers, T-72 tanks and self-propelled artillery installations. Troops are training for both offensive and defensive operations.

Representatives of Lithuania and Poland say the drills pose a direct threat to the security of their nations.

The Lithuanian Army will be set to a higher military readiness level” because of the drills, said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite. “My country is ready for every option and all surprises from Russia.”

Polish Gen. Marek Dukaczewski said the drills threaten Poland and violate the international norms, particularly because international observers were not invited. Moscow also neglected to warn Poland and Lithuania about the drills in advance, which prompted Dukaczewski to call on nato to “react urgently” to the situation near the EU border.

Putin’s brazen moves in Kaliningrad come as he carries out an invasion of Ukraine which has the world—especially Europe—on edge. But will Europe “react urgently” as Dukaczewski and many others in Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania say it must?

So far, the only things the Europeans have deployed against Putin’s intensifying aggression have been words. Because of the EU’s lack of political and military unity, words are all it can presently dispatch. Putin knows that. He also knows that the U.S. is now in full retreat from the international stage, and that China has Russia’s back. Putin’s understanding of these vital facts has been a significant factor fueling his intensifying aggression.

Yet, based on Bible prophecy, the Trumpet persists in forecasting that Vladimir Putin’s ramped up aggression will contribute to a dramatic sea change in Europe.

To understand the details of how Putin’s belligerence toward Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and beyond is galvanizing Europe and hastening its unification, read editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?

Merkel Leads Largest German Cabinet Delegation to Israel

Merkel Leads Largest German Cabinet Delegation to Israel

MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

On February 25, German Chancellor Angela Merkel led the largest-ever delegation of the German cabinet to Israel to conduct bilateral meetings with their Israeli counterparts for two days.

The delegation, including 16 top-ranking German ministers, marks the fifth time the governments have held joint cabinet meetings since they commenced in 2008.

Lately, some media reports have played up the growing dissatisfaction of Germany with Israel over the settlements issue. The latest contention surrounds whether or not Europe should boycott goods made inside Israel’s West Bank, the area held by Jordan before the 1967 War.

However, Merkel herself denounces the plan. Speaking in a joint conference with Netanyahu after one of the meetings, Merkel announced that Germany does “not in any way support the boycott ambitions. For Germany,” she continued, “this is not an option.”

Further strengthening the partnership, Merkel’s government went ahead and signed a number of new agreements with the State of Israel. One of which will allow Germany to provide consular services to Israeli citizens in countries where Israel does not have a diplomatic presence; mainly in hostile Arab nations.

According to Merkel, signing the agreement was a “sign of trust” between the two nations.

Defense ties were also on the agenda for the visit. A joint statement released during the meetings stated, “The defense establishments will continue their dialogue and cooperation in the face of shared threats and concerns, regionally and globally, in order to promote security in a way that will serve the mutual long-term interests of Israel and Germany.”

According to World Tribune, “German officials also commented that Israel has closer defense relations with Germany than virtually any other country in Europe.”

To cap off the visit, Mrs. Merkel received the presidential Medal of Distinction, Israel’s highest civilian award from Israeli President Shimon Peres. This is the first time a European politician has ever received the award.

While closer German and Israeli ties could be interpreted as a miracle in light of the atrocities committed against the Jews in World War ii, biblical prophecy indicates that this trend will have dire consequences.

Merkel’s intentions seem honest in desiring to make up for past German behavior. However, her constituents back home hardly share her moral duty toward Israel. A recent poll from the bbc showed that only 14 percent of Germans have a positive view of Israel.

This dichotomy of favor between the German chancellor and her people falls right in line with a prophecy mentioned in Hosea 5.

This prophecy indicates that German-Israeli ties will warm in this end time to the point that Israel goes to Germany for help in dealing with the Palestinian problem. However, as the Bible indicates, this will lead to a gigantic German double cross of the Jewish state. Perhaps this will come at a time when a new German leader will be in power; one who doesn’t follow Mrs. Merkel’s thinking but rather shares the sentiment of the German public.

To learn more of how this double cross could come about, read “Can Israel Trust Germany?” by Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald.

From the Beginning

©iStock.com/HultonArchive

The Apostle John dealt with many Church crises, but he taught a formula for spiritual success. It is one of the most profound lessons in all the Bible.

What Will It Take for America to Wake Up?

Americans aren’t interested in the world’s problems.

Take a look at the world today: Ukraine is being divided by violent protests, Russia is mobilizing its military, Venezuela is suffering from massive anti-government uprisings and Iran is accelerating towards becoming a nuclear power. Just a few decades ago, events like this would have sounded alarm bells throughout the United States. Today, a majority of Americans are simply not interested in these problems.

Here are the articles referenced on today’s program:

George Friedman: “Americans Aren’t Interested in the World’s Problems”

Los Angeles Times: “The coming crash of American diplomacy in the Middle East”

Europe Will Get Its Vladimir

Europe Will Get Its Vladimir

ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin is exposing Europe as a feeble, disunited lightweight. Yet the Trumpet continues to forecast that the Continent will soon unite to become the world’s most powerful and frightening superpower. Are we wrong?

As much as he enjoyed hosting the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia’s president was surely pleased last Sunday to see them end. In the days since, unencumbered by the need to maintain a genteel and charming persona, the real Vladimir Putin has returned and significantly upped the ante in Ukraine.

You probably heard that on Wednesday he ordered snap military exercises to test the “combat readiness” of Russia’s armed forces in its Central and Western military districts. But did you notice the scale of the war games? The drills, which have already begun, involve 150,000 troops, 880 tanks, 120 helicopters, 90 aircraft and 1,200 pieces of military hardware. Putin has also put Russian fighter planes on war footing, repositioned his navy in Black Sea, and effectively taken control of Crimea’s parliament and airport. He has also halted the flow of Russian oil to Ukraine’s Odessa refinery and threatened to refuse food imports from Ukraine.

More than a few European politicians, closet autocrats, are surely watching Putin’s conduct with envy. It would take Europe months, even years, to accomplish what Putin just achieved in four or five days.

Russia’s behavior this week has been calculated, confident and robust. The Kremlin’s decisions have been carried through swiftly, with precision and with great success. Why? Fundamentally, it’s because Russia’s government is united in its strategy and has singleness of focus and purpose. When it comes to Ukraine, like almost everything else in Russia, what Vladimir Putin says goes.

Compare that to Europe’s approach to Ukraine (among other issues). Where Russia has Vladimir Putin, Europe has Catherine Ashton … and José Manuel Barosso … and Angela Merkel … and François Hollande … and Radoslaw Sikorski … and Laurent Fabius … and Frank Walter Steinmeier … and …

Putin responds to events in Ukraine by activating 150,000 soldiers and firing up 880 tanks; Europe responds to Putin by politely requesting that the Kremlin show restraint. Putin takes over Crimea’s parliament and airport; Europe orders its foreign ministers to gather for meetings. As far as Europe is concerned, Putin’s behavior this week has exposed Europe as a feeble, disunited lightweight incapable of mustering the focus and force necessary to compete with Russia.

The way it looks now, Europe doesn’t stand a chance versus Vladimir Putin.

So why does the Trumpet persist in forecasting Europe’s imminent integration into the world’s most powerful and frightening superpower? Indeed, ever since the crisis in Ukraine began, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and staff have warned over and over that Russia’s belligerent behavior is going to compel Europe to unite and result in the dramatic appearance of a Vladimir Putin-type leader in Europe. How can we gainsay what appears to be such an obvious exposure of Europe’s disarray and disunity? How can we be so resolute in our forecast of European unity? Can these apparently divergent views be reconciled?

The answers, as always, can be found in biblical prophecy.

Daniel 2 contains the seminal prophecy explaining world history. In this chapter, the young Jewish prophet recounts a dream that the Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar had in the late sixth century b.c. In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a towering statue comprised of four distinct parts: a head of gold; breast and arms of silver; a belly of brass; and legs of iron. In verses 31-35, God reveals that these successive materials represent four successive world-ruling empires. The head of gold represented the Babylonian/Chaldean Empire; the chest of silver represented the Medo-Persian Empire; the belly of bronze represented Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire of the fourth century. The two legs of iron picture the Roman Empire that began in 31 b.c., which had two capitals—one in Rome, the other in Constantinople.

The Daniel 2 image reveals the chronological succession of world powers, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire, and concluding with the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire represented by the feet of the image. Now notice in verses 43-44 the description of the feet of this image, which symbolize the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire:

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay,and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron …. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay … they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

WilliamShakespeare couldn’t have come up with a more apt description of contemporary Europe!

Written 2,500 years ago, this spectacularly detailed portrayal of the final manifestation of the Roman Empire actually recognizes the differences—politically, economically and culturally—between the nations that form this end-time European superpower. Can anyone disagree that modern Europe is indeed a continent of iron and clay? Some nations, like Germany, are strong and robust. Others are weak and fragile. The European Union is a mixture of iron and clay—making it “partly strong” and “partly broken.” This prophecy says that, as a result of these differences, Europe’s end-time unification would occur haltingly, gradually, in fits and spurts, with inconvenience and some pain.

Is there a better way to describe Europe today, and its response to events in Ukraine?

Based on this prophecy, the Trumpet forecasts the emergence of this short-lived and crumbly—yet overwhelmingly powerful, with thestrength of iron—European superstate.

Notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in 1956 about this final resurrection of the Roman Empire: “It will possess greater military might by far than the Rome of old, but it will also inherit fatal weaknesses. Prophecy symbolizes this admixture of never-equaled military might and unprecedented weakness with the apt phrase, ‘iron mixed with miry clay.’ The European nations will unite militarily—but they are suspicious and envious of each otherthey hate one another.”

Mr. Armstrong wasn’t ignorant of the fundamental differences between many of Europe’s countries, cultures and peoples. He understood and consistently took into account geopolitics and international relations, which is partly why he concluded that the European states that comprised the last resurrection of the Roman Empire would be “suspicious and envious of each other.” In this sense, Mr. Armstrong, decades ago, anticipated and warned of the current tumult besieging Europe.

Neither Mr. Armstrong nor Gerald Flurry and the Trumpet have ever taught that Europe would coalesce into a long-term and stable power. Rather, we have prophesied consistently that while Europe will unite, its bonds will be weak and short-lived, like the bond between clay and iron. “[T]he last, final, brief resurrection of the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ by 10 European groups or nations” is forming, Mr. Armstrong wrote. “[A]nd they shall last but a very short space, possibly no more than two to three and a half years” (Plain Truth, May 1979).

This is truly inspiring when you really think on it. This prophecy was written 2,500 years ago, yet it describes present-day Europe perfectly. It reconciles the seemingly divergent viewpoints about Europe espoused today by the Trumpet and other analysts. When you understand this prophecy, all the disarray and disunity in Europe—made evident by events in Ukraine and the ongoing financial crises, among other things—do not undermine what the Trumpet prophesies about European unification. They actually reveal the profound accuracy of our forecast.

It’s breathtaking, really. God didn’t just prophesy Europe’s end-time integration into a superpower: He said this European superpower, though possessing the strength of iron, would also be inherently fractious and unstable. We need to keep this prophecy in mind as we watch Vladimir Putin, events in Ukraine, and events in Europe. Now, Europe appears to lack the unity and strength to present any sort of united front against Russia. While Europe’s leaders gather for endless meetings in which they bicker over financial-aid packages and the language of press releases, Putin dispatches military helicopters to drop Russian forces in Crimea. Expect this to change.

Bible prophecy says that Europe will soon get its Vladimir Putin, and that under his leadership—despite Europe’s many political and cultural rifts and disagreements—a German-led European superpower will emerge.

Ukraine Crisis: Russia Displays Its Power

Ukraine Crisis: Russia Displays Its Power

Vasiliy Batanov/AFP/Getty Images

Is Russia preparing to invade?

Around 150,000 soldiers, 880 tanks, 120 helicopters, 90 warplanes and 1,200 other pieces of military equipment deployed along Russian’s western border after President Vladimir Putin ordered sudden military drills on February 26.

The drills, Russia says, have nothing to do with events in Ukraine, they’re merely designed to test the combat readiness of the military. But as it makes this display of power, Russia is repeating exactly the same motions it went through before invading Georgia in 2008, where it launched very similar military exercises right before the war began.

There are more parallels. Ahead of the Georgia War, Russia offered citizenship to the inhabitants of Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has said it will make the same offer to those living in Crimea—an autonomous republic within Ukraine.

In fact, Crimea could give Russia the perfect pretext to invade. The republic was part of Russia proper until Nikita Khrushchev gave it to the Ukraine ssr in 1954. Fifty-eight percent of the population is ethnically Russian. According to Ukrainian think tank Razumkov Centre, 63.8 percent of Crimeans would like to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia.

To take Crimea, Russia wouldn’t even have to launch an invasion. Sevastopol, the peninsula’s main port, houses the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Around 13,000 Russian soldiers are usually stationed there. Journalists on the ground already report that Russian soldiers are taking positions beyond their base.

Meanwhile, armed protesters have taken over Crimea’s parliament. “They have enough arms to defend [themselves] for one month,” former Crimean Prime Minister Serhiy Kunitsin said.

Ukraine’s response has been bold, bordering on crazy. “Any [Russian] military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory [Russia’s base] will be seen by us as military aggression,” acting Ukrainian President Olexander Turchinov told Russia.

In response to the occupation of Crimea’s parliament, he announced, “I have given orders to the military to use all methods necessary to protect the citizens, punish the criminals, and to free the buildings.”

This could get really dangerous. After all, Turchinov represents a government that came to power because armed protesters, with popular support, forcibly took control of government buildings. How are the protesters in Crimea’s parliament any different? If Ukraine’s new government starts forcibly removing Crimean protesters from government buildings, Putin could invade, using the West’s reasoning against them.

nato is trying to act tough, but America’s credibility has been weakened to the point that it is having little effect. The alliance’s defense ministers signed a statement on February 26, saying that “nato allies will continue to support Ukrainian sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, democratic development, and the principle of inviolability of frontiers, as key factors of stability and security in Central and Eastern Europe and on the Continent as a whole.”

A decade or two ago, that would have been a promise that America would go to war if Russia invades. But no one seriously expects America to do that now. After the Georgia War and then Syria’s “Red Lines,” no one believes it when America draws a line in the sand. Instead of stopping Russia in its tracks, the statement has been ignored.

But Putin does have one pretty compelling reason to stay out of Ukraine: He doesn’t need to invade. Russia controls most of Ukraine’s trade. Russia is the only nation prepared to lend Ukraine large amounts of money without demanding painful sacrifices. A large amount of the country—perhaps even a majority—support politicians who take a more pro-Russian stance.

The main objective of the Euromaidan protests wasn’t to draw closer to the West, it was to get rid of a corrupt political class. If Ukraine’s pro-Russia Party of Regions can blame all of the corruption on deposed president Viktor Yanukovych, it could still do well in elections.

Meanwhile, the pro-West camp has no clear leader. Splits have caused it real problems in the past. And some leaders, like Yulia Tymoshenko, have proven they have no problem doing business with Russia.

The 2004 Orange Revolution teaches an important lesson. Those protesters brought pro-West Viktor Yushchenko into power. The American and European journalists went home. The West considered that was the end of it, mission accomplished, Ukraine was now part of the West. But once it gained power, the pro-West camp fractured and Russia continued working behind the scenes. By 2010, Russia’s man, Viktor Yanukovych, was back in office.

Russia could choose to play it exactly the same way this time.

In a way, the future of Ukraine is simple. Russia desperately needs Ukraine. Europe doesn’t want to take responsibility for yet another nation in financial trouble. Russia holds all the cards, and has an overwhelming military force on Ukraine’s border. Europe has very few ways to influence events. All this points to a clear Russian victory.

There are two big unknowns: the protesters and Putin. How hard will the protesters push? Will they provoke a confrontation with Russia by going after Crimea? And will Putin want to make an example of Ukraine, moving in the military to ensure he doesn’t lose face in all the other countries he wants under Russian control?

The stakes are high. Regardless of whether Russia actually invades or not, Europe has to be pretty shaken. Just the fact that Putin can launch exercises involving hundreds of thousands of men in a matter of hours is impressive.

For European nations, a Russian invasion in modern Europe is all but unthinkable. The fact that it is a serious possibility, even if it doesn’t happen, will have shaken some key leaders. The break-up of Yugoslavia was bad enough. But that began only shortly after the iron curtain came down. And it was one-sided in Europe’s favor. This time, the side Europe supports could actually lose.

The people on the street weren’t solely factory workers, farmers or coal miners. There were computer programers, marketing professionals and college students. In other words, Ukraine is a modern nation, not all that different from the other European countries to its west.

That a war could happen somewhere like that, right on the borders of the EU, is a wake-up call to Europe. Even if the Russian tanks poised on Ukraine’s borders don’t roll, we will see some changes.

We saw the start of those changes even before Ukraine really exploded. Russia’s belligerence played a major role in Germany officially ending its decades of pacifism and announcing a more aggressive foreign policy. How much more will Germany and Europe change as a result of Russia’s latest threat?

For more on the transformation that the Ukraine crisis is causing in Germany and Europe, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s latest article, “Germany’s Urgent and Dangerous Military Decision.”