Update: Cyprus Calls on Germany to Help Reunification

Update: Cyprus Calls on Germany to Help Reunification

Yiannis Kourtoglou/AFP/Getty Images

“We have asked Germany for support for the process of reunification,” Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami told Spiegel Online on April 1.

“Finally, the two parts of Cyprus—the Greek south and the Turkish north—are prepared for this step, after 40 years,” he continued. “It cannot be allowed to fail. It is an historic opportunity.”

As the Trumpet reported on March 31, Cyprus is moving toward a landmark reunification deal, motivated by the discovery of large offshore gas deposits south of the eastern Mediterranean island. We alluded to the forecast that Cyprus would fall heavily into a German-dominated European sphere of influence.

However, we didn’t predict that it would be the Turkish side of Cyprus leading the overture toward Europe. One would naturally expect southern Cyprus to approach the Germans for help in negotiations, as they are already part of the European Union.

Instead, it is Turkish Cyprus, whose policy is firmly dictated from Ankara, asking the Europeans to get involved. This reveals that Turkey proper is fully behind the reunification of Cyprus and is happy to receive German input. This warming relationship between Turkey and Germany is something the Trumpet has forecast for years.

To top it off, the foreign minister related how Cyprus wished to use Germany’s successful 1989 reunification as its example to follow. He continued:

The Germans are strong in the European Union and specialists when it comes to reunification issues. We in Turkish Cyprus compare ourselves with poorer East Germany because we are not part of the EU like the southern part of the island and are only recognized by Turkey. Our university students, for example, are not allowed to take part in the Erasmus and Socrates programs, our businesspeople cannot engage in direct trade with EU countries, and there are no direct flights from Europe to Northern Cyprus. There are 860,000 Greek Cypriots living in the southern part of the island, and we 300,000 Turkish Cypriots in the north are far behind when it comes to development. We need a special program so that we can achieve EU standards.

The foreign minister later opined that if both sides could move quickly, reunification could be possible within “a few months.”

Continue to watch Cypriot affairs as Germany gets further entrenched in mediating the process of reunification. Then, following successful Cypriot integration, observe how Germany will not give up its post, but rather continue to be the dominant player in post-unification Cypriot policy.

Dear Vladimir …

Dear Vladimir …

diaojianqing/iStock/Thinkstock

Dear Vladimir,

On behalf of the Communist Party and the people of China, I would like to sincerely thank you for your recent actions in Ukraine.

When I saw Red Army troops marching into Crimea, my memory flashed back to the Budapest Memorandum the United States signed with the Ukrainians in 1994. In that agreement, the Americans promised that if Ukraine forfeited its nuclear weapons, then the United States would protect it from any future invasions.

This is the test, I said to my colleagues. If the Americans let comrade Putin invade and annex Crimea, and they pretend the Budapest Memorandum never happened, then they have faded into geopolitical irrelevance.

The Ukrainians cried out for America to honor its promise, but, Vladimir, you marched in there gung-ho! You pried Crimea back into Russia’s embrace. And against you and your troops, Mr. Obama deployed only rhetoric—and a set of sanctions softer than tofu.

It was a beautiful sight for these eyes of mine to witness. And one joy scatters a hundred griefs.

Mr. Obama did nothing to stop you from forcefully taking Crimea. My nation now knows we can use force to dominate the disputes we have in the South China Sea.
You understand why I have presented my support for you in this matter somewhat softly, so far. One of our ancient proverbs says a man cannot help shoots grow by pulling them up higher. It is not the correct hour to upset too many Westerners. But make no error, comrade: I—and 1.35 billion of my fellow communists—stand at your back.

Of course, neither the Russian Bear nor the Chinese Dragon currently has the military might to withstand open combat against the United States. But we both have something of which Washington is totally bereft, as you have proven. We have the will to fight. What does muscle matter, dear Vladimir, if it is never flexed? I thank you for proving that Washington’s days of flexing its muscle and wielding its butterfly sword are ancient history. You have drawn the punctuation mark on the conclusion of Pax Americana.

As that era ends, you and I are free to expand our territories and our influence in a way that we have never before enjoyed. Mr. Obama did nothing to stop you from forcefully taking Crimea. My nation now knows we can use force to dominate the disputes we have in the South China Sea.

Regarding this topic, you’ll have to pardon me if I give myself a bow of congratulation since I feel that I may have partially inspired your brave Crimean moves. I know you must have watched closely from the Kremlin back in November when I declared a massive expansion of China’s airspace into waters claimed by South Korea and Japan. We used this action to intimidate two of our most significant neighbors, to punish two American allies, and to openly challenge Mr. Obama’s Asian pivot.

Washington could have declared China’s claim to be null. Mr. Obama could have told America’s commercial airlines to act in solidarity with those of Japan, and defy my orders. America could have demonstrated that if a nation unilaterally tries to K.O. the status quo, then the West will counter with a united, strong, multilateral response.

But instead the reaction from the White House was delightfully laughable! They told America’s commercial airlines to obey my command. Then the administration politely asked me to refrain from enforcing my territory grab too forcefully. Mr. Obama left South Korea and Japan naked in the Chinese typhoon.

America has become a paper tiger. And under pressure, it will fold like origami.
It was a decisive moment for me, and I like to think it helped to persuade you that this is Asia’s hour. Who will stop us, Vladimir?

But I humbly admit that it was your unilateral takeaway of Crimea that ramped Asian aggression up to the next rung of the ladder. China couldn’t be more grateful to you for proving what many here in Beijing have long suspected: That America has become a paper tiger. And that under pressure, it will fold like origami.

Thank you for drawing back the silken curtain on Washington’s broken will—for you and I, our governments, our peoples, America’s allies and the whole world to see. The kanji script is on the wall.

For years, China has yearned to shake things up and demonstrate our superiority over our neighbors. We’ve wished to begin by grabbing some disputed, resource-rich islands, and also by putting an end to the childish “Taiwan” business. After all, you can’t catch a cub without going into the tiger’s den. Once we can set this precedent and consolidate these interests, we feel there is no limit in southeast Asia that can keep us from reaching our full potential for power. You have shown us that the time to pounce is now, and that when it comes to American allies and influence, it is open season.

We are weighing how the Japanese will respond after they outsourced their defense to the U.S. following World War ii. The Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea are in a similar situation: Asians who are reliant on Washington’s gunpowder and rice. But with the American battleship full of holes and rapidly sinking, they are left with two options: Bend a knee to Beijing, or gather their katanas for battle.

Already, with the Americans focusing—ineffectually—on you and less on containing China, Japan is taking steps in the direction of military self-reliance. For Japan’s katanas to be a real deterrent to China, of course, they would have to include nuclear weapons. The Japanese have the potential to rapidly create a nuclear arsenal, but we are amassing the political, economic and military power to pressure them into a scenario of our choosing, whether or not they develop nuclear weapons.

However, I calculate that it will not have to come to war among the Asians.

After all, what is the long-term aim? Beneath their cowardly kowtowing toward the U.S., don’t the Japanese and Koreans yearn to overthrow the world order that the West created almost as much as do the Russians and Chinese? Don’t they agree that the hour has come for the First World to experience some Third World conditions? I suspect they feel that they have burned incense to America for too long already.

I’ll tell you something now, Vladimir, which is not a statement any of my predecessors would have been able to say to any of your predecessors: In order to vanquish the Western order, China will submit to your leadership. Let us replace the West with the East.

After your moves in Crimea, my colleagues and I deeply respect you, and believe that you could be the one to thaw the ice between China and Japan, between Korea and Japan, between India and China.
It is no secret that Beijing would ultimately like to see the whole world remade in the Chinese image. As our ancient proverb says, There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. But, for now, we will settle for taking the West down a few rungs of the ladder. And we know we can’t do it as a solo effort. Another of our proverbs says that only when all contribute firewood can they build up a strong fire. And paper can’t wrap up fire.

After your moves in Crimea, my colleagues and I deeply respect you, and believe that you could be the one to thaw the ice between China and Japan, between Korea and Japan, between India and China.

If Beijing’s goal was only regional dominance, we would fare on our own. But to have a real effect on the global power balance, China, Russia and other Asian nations must all contribute firewood, and present a unified front. And the Chinese will let you be the shogun to lead that front. We are prepared to write your name on the wings of a dragon.

I believe that Ukraine was only an appetizer in the great meal you have planned. I couldn’t resist chuckling when I saw the White House report that it is “skeptical” that your Red Army build-up on Ukraine’s border was for peaceful purposes. Skeptical, Mr. Obama? Skeptical? Why ever for? His childish words make the bird in my heart sing and chirp. What a gift the American voters have given us with this president. Not only is he systematically dismantling the nation’s power, but his diplomacy is an endless source of entertainment for my colleagues and me.

I’ll be visiting you in May, and my hope is that we can push Russo-Chinese relations soaring to unprecedented heights—to the altitude of the black-footed albatross! I know that because of thick tensions with your customers in the West, you are gazing eastward in this hour as never before. You have just signed a major energy deal with India, and China is very thirsty for Russian oil and gas, too. The People’s Republic also wants to buy your SU-35s fighter jets more than ever. It is my sincere hope that, in light of recent events, we can finally dislodge our long stalled negotiations over these matters. Let’s make it all happen in a timely fashion, dear Vladimir. China is ready to do its part in backing you. Let’s make this the Asian century!

Respectfully and with support,

Xi Jingping, President of the People’s Republic of China

P.S. I admit that I was slightly uneasy with the referendum tactic you used in Crimea. As you know, Beijing is working to bring Taiwan officially under our flag, so the idea of justifying separatism by popular referendum is not a pleasant one to me. Nevertheless, I know you felt compelled to put on a bit of “democracy show” for the West, so I can’t fault you for it.

It’s Baaaack … the Occult Revival

It’s Baaaack … the Occult Revival

Trumpet

Interest in demons and the supernatural has gone mainstream. Is it harmless fun?
From the May 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

It’s an intriguing paradox of recent times: While the vast majority of people do not believe in Satan the devil, there is an insatiable interest in demons, magic, possession, supernatural powers, witchcraft, vampires and zombies. Occult themes dominate popular prime-time television shows and young adult literature.

“[M]ore and more smart, savvy and usually cynical 18-to-30-year-olds are dabbling in the occult,” Newsweek reported, “from astrological natal charts and tarot to séances and full-moon ceremonies” (Oct. 24, 2013). Others are going far beyond dabbling to literally experimenting with sorcery.

History has seen many occult revivals. Yet this time, as Newsweek states, it has become “a crossover hit, going mainstream.” Not many are expressing concern. You don’t hear much about it on your evening news. Yet everyone, especially parents, should be very concerned. Here is why.

It All Began With Harry

Things occult began to receive mainstream acceptance with the release of the Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling for young people. The first installment in the series was published in 1997; the seventh and final book came in 2007. Rowling has become the first and only billionaire author. The popularity of her books has been a phenomenon. Translated into 67 languages, over 400 million Harry Potter books have sold. Along with the books, there has been a wildly successful theme park, eight blockbuster films and six popular video games. The Harry Potter brand is estimated to be worth $15 billion.

Criticisms of the series have fallen on deaf ears. Most critics are accused of being right-wing fundamentalist kooks who want to deprive children of innocent pleasure. Critics of the critics laud the books for motivating children to read. J. K. Rowling has defended the books as being “highly moral.” Yet the major theme of the story is witchcraft. Children and young adults who read the series learn about demons, werewolves and other monstrous creatures, magic, spell casting, levitation, animal sacrifices, astral projection, crystal gazing and communing with dead souls. While the books seemingly started out innocent—the story opens with Harry as an 11-year-old wizard (a male witch) misunderstood by his adoptive parents—the series grows to explore darker themes such as death and obtaining immortality, and becomes more violent as Harry grows older. Even publishers were concerned the darker themes threatened to harm the books’ popularity. Obviously that never happened.

Harry Potter

Currently bookstore shelves are filled with many new Potter-like fantasy series for children and young adults. Among the most popular are The Mortal Instruments, Twilight and Graceling Realm. All of these series deal with occult themes such as demons, vampires and supernatural powers. Harry Potter unlocked a door that will not likely be shut anytime soon.

So in many ways, we should not be surprised to learn that 18-to-30-year-olds are dabbling in the occult. Harry Potter introduced them to it!

It’s Not Normal—It’s Paranormal

Allison Chomet, a 23-year-old in Philadelphia, told Newsweek that tarot is “super useful for clarifying my own confused feelings about where I’m headed or what I’m doing.” Thirty-year-old Martha Windhal, from Los Angeles, said that when her life got difficult, she turned to tarot and astrology. After she graduated from college and couldn’t find a job, she began reading tarot professionally. Her business has become so successful she can pay her living expenses easily.

When I was in college in the 1970s, tarot card readings were hush-hush, done in back rooms of homes or apartments in low-rent districts of town. Today, nearly everything occult has been made to look normal. Popular fantasy books, television series, movies and video games have desensitized children and parents to the dangerous powers lurking behind the occult.

But people should face reality: Matters occult are not normal—they are paranormal. Merriam-Webster defines paranormal, “very strange and not able to be explained by what scientists know about nature and the world.”

Windhal admitted to Newsweek that there is power behind tarot cards. “They’re untapped resources when you feel like you have a loss of power,” she said. Some 20-year-olds told Newsweek “they appreciate the supernatural because it’s a nondenominational method of self-exploration that reminds them that the world is both older and bigger than they are.” Many college-educated young adults are embarrassed by traditional religion, yet a growing number consider the spirituality associated with the occult as “cool.” Few understand the menacing, perilous path they are walking down.

Evil Never Produces Good

It is no fantasy that there is real power behind the occult. However, it is not a power for good. It is an organized power with a plan to do evil to all caught up in its trap.

Satan and his demons are real beings with a ravenous hatred for God and human beings (Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 12:12). Few today understand their immense power. Satan and his demons have been cast down to Earth. They can no longer travel into the universe (Revelation 12:7-8). These evil beings are incapable of doing anything good for humans or themselves. Being supremely intelligent, they have done a masterful job of convincing unsuspecting humans that they do not exist (verse 9).

Let’s call the occult movement what it truly is: a substitute religion.
Now they are successfully at work to entice many to get involved in their secret arts. The fruits will never be good.

Let’s call the occult movement what it truly is: a substitute religion. Unfortunately, most are blind to the fact that the occult is the worship of Satan and his demons.

There is nothing new here. Mankind has been worshiping the devil since our creation. Although most today scoff at the Bible, this book reveals that Satan is literally “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is his personal desire for all human beings to worship him. His goal is not to help us; rather, his mission is to make human life miserable and wretched. In fact, all the horrendous evils threatening our world—the massive problems wrecking families; the rampant crime, disease, poverty and violence; the international conflict and warfare—can be traced directly back to him.

“I have had a number of personal experiences with demons through a few demon-possessed people,” explained Herbert W. Armstrong in his must-read book Mystery of the Ages. “I have cast out demons through the name of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit. Some demons are silly, like spoiled children. Some are crafty, sharp, shrewd, subtile. Some are belligerent, some are sassy, some are sullen and morose. But all are perverted, warped, twisted.”

Be sure to take the time to read Ephesians 6:12. Although human beings don’t see it, we are wrestling with “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” They are the spark behind all human problems and evils. Anybody who gets involved in the occult is simply surrendering to the devil and his minions.

Close the Door

Don’t even casually dabble in the occult. Demon possession is not the stuff of fables. It is very real. Using tarot cards or Ouija boards, reading fantasy books or watching movies that deal with the occult will break down the barriers of your mind and open the door for problems—even potential possession. All parents have the responsibility to protect their children and teens from such danger.

You owe it to your child and yourself to close your door to the occult in whatever form it comes knocking at your house.
This means that parents should screen what their children read, what movies their children see and what tv programs they watch. You may well be seen as old-fashioned and out of touch, but your child’s mental and spiritual health should be far more important to you than your own vanity.

One critic in support of Graceling—a book about Katsa, a young girl with special powers in the art of killing—wrote this: “I imagine there may be some parents who may be a little concerned over the blatant sex scenes and Katsa rejecting the standard mode of marriage, however I think teens are savvy enough to think for themselves, and parents shouldn’t be choosing their teens’ books anyway.” Please don’t be influenced by that kind of idiotic reasoning. Teens need guidance from parents about books, movies, games and tv programs. Their young minds are so impressionable.

Don’t let fantasy book advocates push you around. You owe it to your child and yourself to close your door to the occult in whatever form it comes knocking at your house. You can find incredibly exciting, intellectually stimulating books for your young children and teens far afield from the occult fantasy books. My wife and I raised our children without such books and they became great readers.

God, a great loving Father, warned the children of Israel, “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; English Standard Version). God did not require this to prevent the people of Israel from enjoying some innocent pleasure. He wanted to protect them from great evil.

There is much you can do to protect yourself from Satan’s onslaught. Accept the truth that involvement with the occult will open a person’s mind to the influence of Satan and his demons. The Bible clearly shows that these evil spirits want to possess people. We should be cautious to not open the door of our minds to them. Possession can also happen as a result of taking drugs or allowing intense emotional states such as anger to dominate our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27). The very real danger of demon-possession was brought to light in a recent case in Indiana. Though the media sensationalized the event, the facts are plain: Police and medical personnel corroborated a family’s claims of being harassed by demons. Gary, Indiana, police Capt. Charles Austin visited the home several times. He declined to disclose details on the record, but simply said, “I am a believer.” Valerie Washington, a family case manager working for child protective services, investigated the family during the ordeal. She said she witnessed several paranormal occurrences, including an instance when the 9-year-old boy walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. A nurse in the room at the time confirmed the account, saying, “There’s no way he could’ve done that.”

Such nightmares can happen—and do. That is why everyone should be concerned about the revival in the occult. It is going to produce great harm. Take fair warning. This evil need not come near you.

What It Means to Serve God

Does your performance match your desire to serve?
From the May 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

During his ministry, Paul organized a collection of supplies for Church members in Jerusalem who were suffering through a drought. Given the urgent need, many of the Macedonians gave beyond their means.

Paul wrote of their generosity to the Corinthians: “We want you to know brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedonia, for in severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2; Revised Standard Version). Notice: The Macedonians’ giving attitude resulted in an abundance of joy!

It wasn’t just the goods the Macedonians gave that impressed Paul, it was their attitude of service. “[B]ut first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God” (verse 5; rsv). The Macedonians gave wholeheartedly. That is why they were so joyous.

The Corinthians, on the other hand, desired to serve, but their performance didn’t quite measure up. “I say this not as a command,” Paul wrote, “but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine” (verse 8; rsv).

God wants to prove the same thing about us. Does your performance match your desire to serve? When you give of yourself, do you find yourself giving with the attitude of the Macedonians—or of the Corinthians?

In Matthew 20, Christ’s disciples began getting competitive with each other, debating which would achieve the highest position of authority. That is how most people view leadership: It’s an exalted position where they can exert dominion over those below.

Christ told His disciples that true leadership is actually about service—unselfishly sacrificing for others. “Whoever wants to be the great man among you must be your servant,” He said, “and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all,” (verses 26-27; Moffatt).

Christ, the ultimate leader, gave His life for those under Him as “a ransom for many” (verse 28; Moffatt). That is the essence of godly service.

Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Sacrifice is the “surrender of something for the sake of something else.” In this case, Paul asks for living sacrifices—living your life in service to others. Paul said this is our reasonable service. Given what God has done for all of us, it’s reasonable for us to be living sacrifices in return!

“If we do only what is required and what we’re supposed to do, in God’s sight, that is not enough,” Hebert W. Armstrong said. “God requires that we do a little more than that. Many of us think if we do just what is required, we’ll get into the Kingdom of God. We’re still thinking of how much we can get. As long as you’re thinking how much you can get, you’re probably not going to get into the Kingdom of God.” God does require certain things from us. But to sacrifice our life in service to God means doing more than what is required. It means we have the right attitude in our service.

Verse 2 also emphasizes the importance of proper attitude, which can be obtained by the daily renewal of your mind (see also 2 Corinthians 4:16). Moffatt translates part of verse 2, “be transformed in nature, able to make out what the will of God is.” God’s will is that we exhibit the same humble, serving, attitude that Christ Himself displayed as He washed His disciples’ feet.

Philippians 2:3 puts it this way: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

Mr. Armstrong often spoke about his life prior to conversion, when he considered himself important in his own eyes. But after a period of catastrophic circumstances and numerous business failures over several years, his self-confidence was smashed. “I took a new look at myself. And what I now saw was pretty humiliating,” he wrote. “I called myself a burned out ‘hunk of junk.’ I felt unworthy to be cast onto a junk pile. At this point a soul-jarring experience and a new self-appraisal resulted in a total about-face. A jolt changed the direction of my life” (Good News, April 1981).

Once he was in a right attitude, God was able to work with him in a powerful way. Through him, God built one of the foremost religious and humanitarian international organizations of the 20th century. And Mr. Armstrong sacrificed for that work and those who supported him for the rest of his natural life!

Whatever our specific responsibilities, there is one thing we can all do: Give to others in service and sacrifice. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Moffatt translates it, “To give is happier than to get.” The more we give and serve, the more God gives in return—and the happier we will be!

Give yourself in service to God. As you do, God will give back an abundance of blessings. You don’t have to take my word for it—you can prove it! Put this law to the test in your life today!

Europe’s Eastern Leg

From the May 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

Until recently, the European Union has been a Westerners’ club. Former Communist nations were allowed to join in 2004, but with little influence. The European Parliament and Commission are in Brussels. The founding members of the Union took all the top jobs, with some others like Britain also given a look-in.

It seemed likely that Poland and other newcomers would act more like Britain—sticking to the outskirts of the EU, securing opt-outs and never getting fully involved in the endeavor.

But in recent months, amid the tussle over Ukraine, Poland in particular has emerged as a serious European power—not equal to Germany, but perhaps on the same level as France, Italy, Spain and other members of the old guard.

Other Eastern nations have also proven to be enthusiastic Europeans. Slovakia and Slovenia quickly joined Europe’s currency, the euro. Latvia and Estonia both signed up even after seeing the mess of the Greek bailouts, which exposed the common currency’s fundamental flaws. The Czech Republic also indicated that it would adopt the euro within the next few years.

Eastern Europe’s drive to be at the heart of Europe is an important shift in world events.

The Rise of Poland

In this Ukrainian crisis, no European voice has been louder than Poland’s. As violence escalated on the streets of Kiev and the bodies began piling up, it was Poland and Germany that sent their foreign ministers to Kiev to forge a deal and end the bloodshed.

Poland’s Radoslaw Sikorski and Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier came up with an agreement and got all the leaders sitting around the table to sign it. Though the protesters on the street ultimately rejected it, it was still a partial diplomatic success. The negotiations showed that “Poland, for years dismissed as a poor relation in the European Union, has a place at the top table of European decision-makers, enjoying the confidence of EU powerhouse Germany, especially over policy in the East,” Reuters wrote (February 24).

“The events in Kiev offer clues about the future shape of the European Union, and the shifting balance of power that has seen ‘old Europe,’ notably EU co-founder France, lose ground to the faster-growing states that joined the bloc after 2004,” it continued.

Poland, Reuters wrote, has created “a special role” for itself “as Europe’s go-to people for anything related to the bloc’s eastern neighbors.”

Europe is impressed. Reuters quoted a couple of anonymous senior sources praising Sikorski’s efforts. The EU was humiliated in Ukraine; its soft power was made to look impotent in the face of threats from Russia. Sikorski’s diplomacy allowed it to save some face.

“Whatever role Sikorski’s appeal played in ending the killing, Poland’s diplomatic credentials have been burnished and could be cemented in a coming round of appointments to senior jobs in Brussels,” noted Reuters (ibid).

Sikorski is a serious contender to become the EU’s next foreign minister or the head of nato. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is in the running to replace José Manuel Barroso as president of the European Commission. He is not necessarily the frontrunner, but just a few years ago no one from Poland would have even been considered for any of these posts.

The East Under Threat

On March 1, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius invoked Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, where nato members must meet if “the territorial integrity, political independence or security” of a nato member is at risk. This provision has only been invoked four other times.

Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean told the Associated Press that “there is first of all fear” that Russia’s aggression could spread. “Romania is extremely preoccupied,” he said.

Foreign Minister Sikorski told Der Spiegel on March 10 that it was essential that Europe take a stronger stand and that Europe unite to face the Russian threat. “The Americans have done even more—by relocating F-15 and F-16 jets to Eastern Europe,” he said. “In contrast to Europe, the U.S. has a centralized government. We should learn from the current crisis that European integration must also continue when it comes to security policy.” In other words, Europe needs to start working on a combined, American-style military.

Poland is also reconsidering its position on the euro. It has benefited economically by avoiding the single currency and not getting caught up in the mess of bailouts and economic crises. Its firm position used to be that it would not join until Europe had sorted these problems out. But in the wake of Russia’s invasion, Poland’s central bank governor, Marek Belka, said that Poland should join the euro—not for economic reasons, but security reasons. Poland, he said, needed to be in the “core group” within Europe. “Even if the economic benefits today look modest, we need to make the political calculation as well,” he said.

Bible prophecy makes it clear that several Central and Eastern European nations will be in the core group of Europe. Continue to watch as this ancient forecast becomes present-day reality.

SocietyWatch

From the May 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

Student Insurance Pays for What?

Students at the University of Illinois will pay more for their insurance this year—and it is not just because of Obamacare. In March, the university’s board of trustees voted eight-to-two to cover sex-change operations for students.

Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, insurance costs for healthy young people are soaring. Insurance premiums will rise 15 percent this year at the university. Adding gender-reassignment surgery to every student’s insurance will raise rates even further.

Interestingly, one of the two no votes came from the student body representative, who argued that the changes were pushed through without any debate and without informing students first. “I would make the argument that 90 percent of this campus has no idea that this is being added to the student health insurance,” Michael Cunningham told CampusReform.org. “I am the student trustee on campus. If I just found out 17 days ago, I can’t possibly imagine what the rest of the 40,000 students don’t know or feel.”

At least 51 universities, including Yale and Harvard, now force their students to help pay for sex-change operations for peers at their colleges. The extra surgery coverage on college campuses marks a victory for aggressive lobbying by homosexual, bisexual and transgender activists.

The University of Maryland also added gender-reassignment surgery to students’ health insurance plans this year. The university’s health center director said she will only seek student input if the cost estimates come in higher than the expected 1 percent increase. The university already forces students to subsidize hormone therapy for transgender students under its health insurance plan.

How much do sex-change surgeries cost? Mykell Hatcher-McLarin, a senior from Baltimore and a transgender advocate who is biologically female but identifies as male, started an online fund-raiser to ask people to pay for chest masculinization surgery; her procedure is expected to cost at least $7,000. For many, the cost could be significantly higher. University officials asked for surgery coverage up to $100,000 per individual.

The fact that student gender-reassignment coverage is occurring on so many campuses shows how quickly social values are changing. And history shows that trends that begin on college campuses eventually make their way to the rest of society.

Transgender advocates hope that the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, will eventually force insurers to pay for gender reassignments. State insurance commissioners in Oregon, California, Vermont, Colorado and Washington, d.c., have said that under Obamacare’s provisions a person’s gender identity cannot be a reason to deny coverage. Soon you too may have to pay for gender-reassignment surgery—if you want to keep your health insurance.

The Government’s Plan to Police Newsrooms

America’s news stations are so bad that the government needs to step in and make sure Americans get the news they need. Before February 21, this was the position of the Obama administration. That was when the Federal Communications Commission (fcc) came under intense criticism for its plan to put government observers into radio stations, television and even newspaper newsrooms to make sure Americans were getting the “critical news.”

The fcc said it wanted to examine “the process by which stories are selected,” how well stations cover “critical information needs,” if there is “perceived station bias” and how responsive stations are to “underserved” minority populations.

Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the fcc and now a whistle-blower, warned in the Wall Street Journal that the plan involved grilling “reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run” (February 10). Pai questioned whether it was a thinly veiled effort to wade into office politics, look for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected, and use this as evidence of wrongdoing and conspiracy in the media. The concern was that this “evidence” would then be used as blunt-force weapon to coerce media outlets into “voluntarily” complying with how the political appointees at the fcc thinks news stories should be covered.

Since the fcc determines whether or not television and radio get licenses, “voluntary” isn’t really voluntary.

Pai compared this move to the now-abandoned “fairness doctrine” by which the government decided whether or not radio station programming was politically balanced and fair. If a station wasn’t considered “fair,” its license was revoked and given to someone else.

Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano called the fcc plan “a radical new era of tyranny for the White House.” National Review compared it to the irs scandal by which the agency targeted Tea Party and conservative groups.

America’s Founders knew the importance of the freedom of the press, and guaranteed it with the First Amendment. But that provision was meant to secure the liberty not only of the media—but also of the country. America’s founders knew that a free press was a check on totalitarianism because it holds leaders accountable to the people they represent. As long as the press is free and individuals are allowed to express their views, it is a check on government.

Due to the uproar, the fcc plan was postponed on February 21. But the fact that the fcc even considered putting government observers in newsrooms says a lot about the administration, its regard for the Constitution, and its motives.