Russia Ramping Up Military Aggression

Russia Ramping Up Military Aggression

DMITRY SEREBRYAKOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West August 28 not to interfere with Ukraine.

“It’s best not to mess with us,” Putin said. “Russia’s partners … should understand it’s best not to mess with us. Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

During an international summit this year Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and New Zealand John Key were engaged in a friendly lunchtime conversation when Key jokingly asked Medvedev, “How long would it take a missile to get out from Moscow to NZ?” Medvedev replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll let you know before it happens.”

President Putin has, on at least three occasions this year, reminded the world that Russia has 5,000 nuclear warheads. He is warning the world not to interfere with Ukraine else it risks angering the Russian bear, which is willing to use its nuclear power.

Putin repeatedly blames the foreign policy of United States President Barack Obama for the Ukraine crisis. He says America’s unwise use of its power and its attempt to “remake the whole world based on its interests” caused the Ukrainian crisis.

President Putin has, on at least three occasions this year, reminded the world that Russia has 5,000 nuclear warheads.
Mr. Putin denies any Russian involvement in sparking civil unrest in Ukraine. “Statements that Russia is trying to reinstate some sort of empire, that it is encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbors, are groundless” he said. Putin admitted: “The bear isn’t asking anyone for permission. The bear is considered a strong and very traditional animal … [but] will not surrender.”

Putin shows no sign of surrender. In fact, he has gone on the offensive, testing how far he can push before the world responds. Nations bordering Russia have noticed an increase in national airspace violations by the Russian Air Force.

Russia’s provocations have increased to an extent that America and its allies are scrambling their defense assets almost daily. Russia has repeatedly broken the national airspace of the Baltic nations. nato intercepted 19 Russian planes on October 29 that ventured far outside Russia’s airspace.

But it is not just the Baltic, or even the Black Sea region, where Russia is testing a nation’s will to react to aggression. Japanese fighter jets’ interception of Russian military aircraft has doubled over the last six months. Japan conducted 324 scrambles this year up to September; the same time period last year saw 163 scrambles.

Russia even feels bold enough to fly into American and Canadian airspace. In early September, two Russian nuclear bombers practiced cruise missile attacks on U.S. targets. The following week, both the U.S. and Canada scrambled jets to intercept a mix of Russian refueling tankers, fighter jets and long-range bombers.

Russia has also reneged on the start treaty it signed with the U.S. in 2010. The treaty was to ensure neither nation had more than 1,550 nuclear warheads deployed at anytime. Russia had 1,499 deployed in 2012, while the U.S. had 1,722. The United States has worked since 2010 to dispose of its nuclear warheads, while Russia has actually added over 140 to its arsenal. Russia also announced a $700 billion plan to overhaul its nuclear arsenal by 2020.

“What’s going on is a radical escalation of aggressive Russian muscle flexing and posturing designed to demonstrate that Russia is no longer a defeated power of the Cold War era,” Ariel Cohen said, who heads the Center for Energy, National Resources and Geopolitics at the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Washington, d.c. “The more we retreat, the more we are encouraging Russia to behave in a more aggressive way.”

Russia also announced a $700 billion plan to overhaul its nuclear arsenal by 2020.
The Washington Times reported on a conversation with Steve Ganyard, president of Avascent International, a global security consulting firm in Washington: “Russia’s moves reflect Mr. Putin’s desire to bring about a new era of cat-and-mouse-style games that were ‘prevalent in the Cold War.’ … Mr. Putin is engaged in a ploy to garner international recognition as a way to reassure Russian citizens that their nation remains a formidable military power, he said. … ‘Putin knows how to play domestic politics,’ Mr. Ganyard added. ‘Right now, one of his platforms is to return Russia to its glory, and part of that means its military glory’ by bolstering the ‘myth of the Red Army saving the motherland.’”

Read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Is Vladimir Putin the Prophesied ‘Prince of Rosh’?” to see where Russia’s aggression will lead.

Training Australia’s Future Terrorists

Training Australia’s Future Terrorists

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Alarming video footage shows radical Muslim teaching at work in Sydney.

Video footage surfaced in Australia last week showing boys as young as 6 chanting extremist slogans and calling for the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Equally as shocking as the ages of the children was the fact that it happened in downtown Sydney.

The footage shows young boys waving black Islamic State flags and chanting to a large gathering of Muslims, while men on either side of the children stir up the crowd. The white-clad children stand out in stark contrast to the large black flags and black-clad clerics. The children are a stark reminder that Australia’s multiculturalism is breeding homegrown terrorists.

At one point in the video, the smallest child on stage steps forward and proclaims, “You’re never too young to be a soldier of Khilafa.” In other words, you are never too young to be a terrorist ready to fight to establish a caliphate. For the Arabic men hosting the event, this means there is no age limit on training children to be extremists.

The video, from September 2013, highlights the fundamental problem the Australian government—and all Western governments—faces when dealing with the threat of terrorism. These children, although born and raised in a tolerant and democratic nation, are talking about fighting and dying to end those ideals and replacing them with a caliphate under Islamic law—at 6 years old.

Project that mentality forward 10 years and you’ll find an individual like Abdullah Elmir—a 17-year-old from Bankstown, another Western Sydney suburb. This teenager has become another pin-up for Islamic State, which has posted videos showing Elmir threatening the life of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and any nation that stands in the way of Islamic State.

The work of recruiters and radical Muslim leaders in Australia is becoming more and more obvious. These videos offer a glimpse into the Australian homegrown terrorist network, despite government countermeasures to prevent Australians traveling home from war-torn regions of the Middle East such as Syria and Iraq.

However, these measures don’t prevent homegrown terrorists who never leave the country from acquiring hate-filled ideologies. Today, even youth group meetings in Australia are being used to instill a deep-seated hatred toward the West. The government can take all the preventative measures it wants, but the sad truth is that much of the damage is already done. A non-assimilating minority is quickly growing to pose a serious danger to Australia’s national security.

A non-assimilating minority is quickly growing to pose a serious danger to Australia’s national security.
The footage from last September should be a stark warning to Australia. Stopping the return of Australian terrorists from Syria and Iraq is not enough. As late Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser once wrote, “[Muslim] extremist loyalty to the cause of pan-Islamism via jihad poses a real threat to the nation that feeds, clothes, shelters and educates them, and provides them with a means to make a living.”

The seemingly innocent white-clad Muslim youth of today can easily become the homegrown jihadists of tomorrow. Government efforts to keep terrorists out are made with a degree of futility because the sad truth is, the terrorists are already here.

Is Republican Optimism Really Justified?

Is Republican Optimism Really Justified?

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Yesterday’s elections brought Republicans big victories. But the next two years are going to be rough.

Republicans are jubilant. On Tuesday they picked up at least seven Senate seats and majority control—they increased their rule of the House—they won several key governors’ races. It was a big win, bigger than most analysts expected.

Republican optimism is swelling. Sen. Mitch McConnell, likely the next Senate majority leader, called this “a chance to begin to save this country.”

How realistic is it, though, to think Republicans can really “save this country”?

A lot of Americans agree the country needs saving. Problems are legion—runaway debt, economic inequality, unemployment, immigration concerns, racial tension and violence, foreign-policy blunders, waning global influence. Two thirds of voters—including 89 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of unaffiliated voters—say the United States is headed in the wrong direction.

But it takes real naivety to expect solutions to come out of these elections.

The real issue is this: No one should expect this president to take any correction from these elections.
Though President Barack Obama wasn’t on any ballot, Republicans worked very hard to turn their races into referendums on his policies, taking advantage of public discontent and castigating Democratic candidates who supported him. Recent polls do show high dissatisfaction with, even anger over, the present administration (though they also show similar emotion over all congressional leadership, and a harsh view of both parties). Now, Republicans are trumpeting their election victories as a strong message from voters to the president.

Set aside the fact that opposition to the president is not a solution. Disregard that Republicans have nothing approaching consensus on how to address the economic, domestic and international problems facing America.

The real issue is this: No one should expect this president to take any correction from these elections. Nothing his administration has done over the past six years gives cause for any such belief.

This administration views virtually everything it has done over the last six years as a terrific success—mitigated only by partisan stonewalling by Republicans.

Look at its foreign-policy record, to take just one example. It has authored stunning failures in Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East; it has effectively aided Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons; it has played the spectator to the rise of Islamic State; it has ravaged alliances with Israel, Britain, Poland, Germany and other nations; it has been embarrassed by a militant Russia and a belligerent China. Yet the administration sees its leadership as having improved global tranquility and enhanced prospects for peace on “every fundamental issue of conflict today.”

Similar abysmal evidence abounds in many other arenas—as does the administration’s unwarranted confidence in its own success. Despite presiding over a stagnant economy, chronic unemployment and a $7 trillion increase in national debt, the president praises his economic accomplishments (though, tellingly, no Democrats ran on that record). Despite proof that lax immigration policies encouraged more illegal immigration, the administration wants to go a step further and grant amnesty to millions of resident illegals. Plagued by scandal after scandal—Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the irs, fbi drone surveillance, illegal Department of Justice and National Security Agency monitoring, to name a fewthe administration simply shrugged them off; no high-profile officials were fired; some of them were even promoted.

In none of these areas has the Obama administration acknowledged its failures and corrected its course. Its response has always been to deflect blame and double down on its actions.

Now, in light of tough Democratic election losses, why should anyone think it will be any different?

For six years, this president’s administration, in pushing its agenda, has routinely disregarded constitutional limits on executive powers, ignored laws it doesn’t like, and bypassed Congress. More than with any recent president, the Supreme Court has stepped in to repudiate his actions.

What is the president going to do now that Congress is even more opposed to his agenda? Is he going to suddenly start trying to cooperate?

In the lead-up to the elections, the White House, sensing the impending defeats, said outright what it would do. Politico reported, “Administration officials tell us that Obama’s political and policy teams are planning a big counterattack if the Republicans win the Senate—introducing a slate of legislative proposals and executive actions on immigration, infrastructure and early childhood education that are popular with the Democratic base and that he will dare the gop to oppose.”

During abc’s election coverage Tuesday, White House correspondent Jon Karl reported that administration officials said “no matter how big a shellacking Democrats get tonight,” the president “is prepared to aggressively pursue his agenda using his power of executive authority, where he can’t work with Congress ….” “White House officials are saying that you can expect the president to set an aggressive, and defiant tone tomorrow,” Karl said. “You’re not going to see any mea culpas, no big firings, no change in direction.” Is this a surprise?

About a year ago, the government was in the middle of a shutdown that lasted over two weeks. Congressional Republicans sat down to negotiate a solution with President Obama. Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford told the Trumpet staff he thought the talks looked hopeful, that the two sides appeared close to an agreement. Rumors of a deal emerged, and the stock market responded favorably. However, the next day, immediately after the stock market closed for the holiday weekend, the president’s spokesman gave a press conference. Lankford characterized the spokesman’s remarks as, All deals are off, I’m not going to negotiate on anything. My way or no way at all. Lankford then said, “All of us that were sitting there said, what was that? What just happened?”

This trust-shattering experience didn’t surprise House Republican leader John Boehner at all. “Speaker Boehner has told us over and over again, every negotiation he’s had with the president has been that way,” Lankford said. “He’ll sit down one-on-one and talk through stuff, but within 24 hours, all the rules change ….”

The people who are optimistic, hoping the elections will “begin to save this country,” simply have no evidence to support their confidence. Frankly, they do not know who they are dealing with.

In his press conference Wednesday afternoon, President Obama was polite in acknowledging the Republican victory. But he refused to admit any real need to change what he is doing. And whatever his words, watch what he does. The next two years promise to be bruising politically, and this president—unconcerned about reelection—is certainly not going to put away the executive pen he is increasingly using to sidestep Congress in order to enact his agenda. (If you want a powerful exposé on this administration, download Lawless: Why America Is Losing Its Rule of Law.)

Tough realities, though many people choose to ignore them, have a lot of Americans mired in disillusionment and despair. The more vigilant a person is to what is really happening within this country—geopolitically, economically and morally—the greater his cause for alarm. Still, election cycles have a remarkable tendency to create swells of optimism. Rhetoric fills the air about fixing what’s broke, taking back Washington, sending a message, saving the country. Then, inevitably, the rhetoric is overtaken by reality.

The magic and enchantment that carried the current president to two election victories have largely been overtaken by disappointment. But the hope being invested in the Republican resurgence is just as misplaced. It is just as certain to end in frustration.

As the Prophet Jeremiah once wrote, “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man.” Yes, cursed.

American is headed in the wrong direction. But Republicans won’t be able to steer it right. The country does need saving. But no politicians will be able to deliver. The nation is being cursed for placing its trust in man.

Jeremiah continued: “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” In whom have you placed your trust?

Why Boko Haram Won’t #BringBackOurGirls

Why Boko Haram Won’t #BringBackOurGirls

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images

Time for a reality check, however tough it may be.

It appears the last glimmer of hope for the return of Nigeria’s kidnapped girls has now been snuffed out.

When the Nigerian government announced a truce deal with Boko Haram terrorists October 17, it raised the prospects that the 276 girls kidnapped by the Islamists in April would soon be returned to their families. “A batch of them will be released shortly, and this will be followed by further actions from Boko Haram,” a government spokesman assured. Apparently, the Nigerian government negotiated with a different Boko Haram. The real leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, poignantly set the record straight.

“If you knew the state your daughters are in today,” Shekau taunted in a video released October 31, “it might lead some of you … to die from grief.” He explained that “the issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off.” The captive girls, he added, “have now memorized two chapters of the Quran.”

When the truce deal to release the girls and end the fighting in Boko Haram’s stronghold in northern Nigeria was announced, many commentators hoped for the best. Sadly, reality has since dictated otherwise.

If you knew the state your daughters are in today it might lead some of you … to die from grief.
Leader of Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau
Think tank Stratfor observed on October 18 that “a sustainable peace agreement between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram is unrealistic.” Until Shekau’s video, Boko Haram remained silent about the supposed truce with the Nigerian government. During those two weeks, the terrorists let their weapons do the talking instead, as cnn noted the day after the “truce.” Over the weekend of the sham deal, Boko Haram launched six attacks in which it kidnapped 40 women, killed dozens of civilians, and beheaded six people.

As harrowing as Shekau’s video was, it was not surprising. The name “Boko Haram” means “Western education is forbidden.” The terrorist group’s purpose for existing is to stamp out Western influence and establish Nigeria as an Islamic state, or “caliphate.” Boko Haram’s leader explained in the video, “You people should understand that we only obey Allah; we tread the path of the prophet. We hope to die on this path …. Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss.” Boko Haram, he continued, cares only for “battle, hitting, striking and killing with the gun, which we look forward to like a tasty meal.”

How many problems could be averted if people understood that Islamist groups like Boko Haram, which “only obey Allah,” cannot be reasoned with? Negotiating with hardened murderers and engaging hashtag diplomacy to #BringBackOurGirls is futile and foolish. If anything, it distracts world leaders from real solutions to terrorism while bolstering the Islamists.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s desire for re-election next year may have pushed him to make imprudent decisions regarding Boko Haram. It appears he has run out of luck.

Boko Haram (and other Muslim terrorist groups) can be stopped only by people who understand that terrorists cannot be reasoned with.
What will stop Boko Haram? Will it be the small team of intelligence and negotiating experts that the United States sent to Nigeria in May? Or U.S. airstrikes on Boko Haram with no boots on the ground, as is the case in Iraq and Syria? Perhaps airdrops of weapons to the Nigerian Army similar to what the United States conducted in Kobani, Syria? After all, at least 40 Nigerian soldiers refused to deploy against Boko Haram in August until they received better armaments.

Boko Haram (and other Muslim terrorist groups) can be stopped only by people who understand that terrorists cannot be reasoned with.

The Bible reveals who those people will be. In Daniel 11:40, God foretells of a “king of the north” so incensed by a “king of the south” that he resorts to an all-out whirlwind attack. As our free literature explains, radical Islam led by Iran is the “king of the south,” and a united, federal Europe led by Germany is the “king of the north.”

In Boko Haram’s video, Abubakr Shekau taunted Europe: “Don’t you know we are still holding your German hostage [who is] always crying?” He was referring to a German development worker kidnapped at gunpoint in July. “If we want, we will hack him or slaughter him or shoot him.”

Bible prophecy reveals that radical Islam will not be subdued by negotiation, hashtag activism or anything short of decisive action. To understand this Daniel 11:40 clash and the positive outcome that will result, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “The Whirlwind Prophecy.”

German and Polish Armies Agree to Closer Cooperation

German and Polish Armies Agree to Closer Cooperation

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‘Poland wants a strong, active German Army,’ says Poland’s defense minister.

Germany and Poland signed an agreement on October 29 to deepen cooperation between their armies at an annual conference of the top leaders of the German Army in Berlin. Under the agreement, a Polish battalion will serve under a German brigade, and vice versa. The two armies will conduct training and exercises together, exchange officers, and develop common rules and standards so they can integrate more closely in the future.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the memorandum of understanding “a milestone in our joint cooperation.” She praised the “deep … trust between our two countries in the security and defense policy.” She said that the “security … of our neighbor Poland is quite essential for our own.”

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak also praised the close ties between the two countries, saying, “Poland wants a strong, active German Army, which does not avoid responsibility for defending its allies.” He invited von der Leyen to attend a similar meeting of Polish armed forces next spring.

In her main speech, von der Leyen made the need for this type of cooperation clear. “Around Europe we are experiencing instability and crises,” she said.

“A rapid return to normality I do not see,” she warned. She told the assembled leaders of the German Army: “The claims of the German security policy will continue to rise—and thus the demands on the armed forces.”

Von der Leyen reiterated the call that she, German President Joachim Gauck and others have made throughout the year: for Germany to play a bigger role in the world. The trouble is, with the German military undertaking 16 different missions around the world, it is starting to become overstretched. Much of its equipment needs maintenance, and von der Leyen strongly hinted that she believed the Army needs more money.

Cooperation with other nations is a quick fix for this, allowing European nations to undertake foreign missions at less cost. Germany has already made several strides in this direction, particularly with the Netherlands. The Dutch Airmobile Brigade has already been subordinated into the German Army, and one of its mechanized brigades is preparing to follow suit.

Last year Poland signed an agreement with Germany to increase their naval cooperation with 28 joint projects, including joint monitoring of the Baltic Sea. Poland is also accumulating a large number of German tanks. It bought around 130 Leopard 2 tanks about 10 years ago, and purchased 120 more last year, which are still being delivered.

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The Germans sold the tanks cheaply, but it means that Poland must reorganize its armored brigades. Its other main battle tank, the PT-91 Twardy tank, an upgrade of the Soviet T-72, requires only three crew members. The Leopard 2 needs four. By investing in the German equipment, the Polish Army is forced to make itself more compatible with the German Army, making it better able to work alongside German soldiers.

Germany’s military and political leaders have made clear that they see this cooperation with individual nations as a path toward an integrated European military. “The hour has come, finally, for concrete steps towards a European Army,” Hans-Peter Bartels, the chairman of the German parliament’s defense committee, said earlier this year. For more on Germany’s efforts to build this combined military, read our recent article “Germany Is Building a European Army Before Your Eyes.”

Chinese Cabinet Receives Full Military Honors in Berlin

Chinese Cabinet Receives Full Military Honors in Berlin

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, 14 members of his cabinet and 130 business leaders were received in Berlin with full military honors on October 10. The two cabinets met and, along with the business leaders, signed agreements and contracts worth over $2.5 billion.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised the “very intensive cooperation” that exists between the two nations, while Premier Li called Germany the “locomotive for cooperation between China and Europe.”

Not everything smelled of roses, however. At the time, protests in Hong Kong had raised tensions between the West and China. Germany also worried that the Chinese government was unfairly punishing foreign companies operating in China. However, none of these concerns were large enough to derail the meeting. The two nations are committed to working through these difficulties.

German exports to the eurozone have slumped, thanks to Europe’s economic problems. Trade with China—Germany’s most important trading partner outside the European Union—could be one way to pick up the slack. Last year, trade between the two nations was worth around $175 billion. In comparison, in 1993, it was only $15 billion.

The two nations signed deals involving some major German and European businesses. China Aviation Supplies Holding Company signed a deal to buy 70 A320 Airbus passenger jets. The value wasn’t revealed, but at list price, this deal would be worth $6.6 billion. Volkswagen extended its partnership with China faw Group Corp so it will last until 2041 and Deutsche Telekom unveiled a joint venture with China Mobile.

Meanwhile the two cabinets discussed cooperation in agriculture, green technology and other issues.

“Merkel has sought to strengthen economic ties with China since first being elected in 2005,” Deutsche Welle wrote. “During her nearly 10-year tenure, she has met with the Beijing leadership seven times. Friday’s meeting was the third time this year that the administrations of the two countries met.”

Germany and China have emerged as leaders of their respective regions, and the close trade relationship between the two is an important trend—one that will lead to the creation of an economic system that is not centered on America. For more information on this trend, read Brad Macdonald’s article “The Significance of Improving German-Chinese Relations.”