Germany, Poland: Let’s cooperate
Germany and Poland signed an agreement in Berlin on October 29 to increase cooperation between their armies. A Polish battalion will now 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.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the agreement “a milestone in our joint cooperation.” She praised the “deep … trust between our two countries in the security and defense policy.”
Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak said, “Poland wants a strong, active German Army, which does not avoid responsibility for defending its allies.”
“Around Europe we are experiencing instability and crises,” von der Leyen said. “A rapid return to normality I do not see. The claims on the German security policy will continue to rise—and thus the demands on the armed forces.”
Over the past year, von der Leyen, German President Joachim Gauck and other German leaders have pushed for more German intervention abroad. The German military is now undertaking 16 different missions around the world and is getting overstretched.
An affordable quick fix for this situation for Germany is to cooperate with other European nations. Germany has already subordinated the Dutch Airmobile Brigade into the German Army, soon to be followed by one of the Netherlands’ mechanized brigades.
In 2013, Poland signed an agreement with Germany to increase naval cooperation with 28 joint projects. Poland has also purchased a large number of German tanks (approximately 130 about a decade ago, plus 120 more in 2013), requiring the Polish Army to make itself more compatible with German equipment. And now, 75 years after German troops overran Polish soldiers, the two will serve side by side.
German leaders have made clear what their end goal is for this military cooperation. Hans-Peter Bartels, the chairman of the German Parliament’s defense committee, summed it up last year: “The hour has come, finally, for concrete steps towards a European Army.” To learn why this is significant, read “Under Construction.”
Iran nuclear deal postponed … again
The deadline for a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities came and went November 24, and nothing was signed. The P5+1 nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, France and Germany) opted to extend talks until June 2015. In essence, this grants Iran yet more time to develop its nuclear capacity and its intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its nuclear ambitions require a missile program to deliver nuclear warheads. Iran already has developed missiles capable of striking Israel and Europe.
Iran will also use this seven-month extension to rebuild its economy. In July 2014, P5+1 nations awarded Iran about $700 million per month in sanctions relief. That relief now continues for seven more months, giving Iran access to overseas oil revenue. This allows Iran to grow stronger economically, making it increasingly invulnerable to future sanctions.
Iran also has seven more months to fight the Islamic State and consolidate its own power over the Middle East.
The longer negotiations continue, the less likely the U.S. will take a hard line. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration now thinks imposing new sanctions could be counterproductive. Tacking on seven months to the negotiating process means the U.S. and its allies will be under even greater pressure to sign a deal and more likely to bow to Iranian demands.
Once Iran finally completes a nuclear weapon, the international community will finally mount a strong response. Biblical prophecy reveals that this response will come not from the United States or Britain, but from Europe. Read about this in our free booklet The King of the South.
‘The Falklands are Argentine’
On November 20, the Argentine government decreed that all public buses, trains, planes and ferries in Argentina must display its claim to the British-owned Falkland Islands: “The Falkland Islands are Argentine.” The Argentine senator behind the initiative, Teresina Luna, said the signage will reflect “our undeniable sovereignty” over the islands and will be “directed not only at the foreigner who comes here as a tourist or visits our country, but also at the citizens in general and will serve to reinforce our history, our culture, and our identity.”
The initiative shows the Argentine government’s open contempt for Britain and for the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, who almost unanimously voted to remain British in 2013.
The Falklands have been a British overseas territory since 1833, and most of the islands’ inhabitants are of British descent. In 1982, Argentina invaded this South Atlantic sea gate, but British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher repelled the attack.
In October 2014, the British Royal Navy conducted maneuvers off the islands with the hms Iron Duke. A British Ministry of Defense spokesperson described them as “part of a routine training schedule planned long in advance.” But Argentina’s Foreign Ministry condemned them as “further provocation on the part of the United Kingdom government in an attempt to demonstrate the British warship’s firepower.”
The new law requiring “Falklands are Argentine” signs is the latest example of Argentina pressuring Britain to add the Falklands to the list of sea gates it has surrendered. Bible prophecy indicates that Britain will eventually lose the Falklands, and the message on Argentina’s new signage will come true. Read how Herbert Armstrong foretold this eventuality in the “Changing of the Guard” chapter of our free booklet He Was Right.
Europe to U.S.: We want our gold back
The Netherlands announced on November 28 that it brought $5 billion of its gold home from New York. The 122-ton stockpile represents 20 percent of the Netherlands’ gold supply. It also represents the world’s dwindling confidence in the United States as a safe house for foreign gold.
Venezuela, Iran and Libya pulled their gold reserves years ago, and Europe began following suit in 2012 when Germany launched an effort to repatriate 300 metric tons from the United States. Thus far, it has brought back only five tons.
In France, right-wing leader and likely presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has demanded that all gold be brought home and that gold sales be discontinued immediately.
The U.S. holds the world’s largest stockpile of gold, around 75 percent. It also has the largest national debt in human history, which exceeded $18 trillion as of November 28.
Germany requested to audit its gold holdings in the U.S., but auditors were allowed to see only a fraction of Germany’s gold in Fort Knox. The lack of transparency has caused speculation that the U.S. has already spent Germany’s gold.
The concern has caused some German elites to form a “Repatriate Our Gold” initiative. Such campaigns are growing increasingly vocal throughout Europe, and are starting to gain the backing of their governments.
Israel’s Knesset collapses
Israel’s lawmakers overwhelmingly voted early December to dissolve its parliament, the Knesset, and pave the way for new elections in March.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the dissolution of Israel’s parliament after firing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Finance Minister Yair Lapid for insubordination and for allegedly plotting to topple him. Livni and Lapid have opposed Netanyahu’s policies on Iran’s nuclear program, Jewish settlement construction and the “nation-state bill,” which designates Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Livni also made an unauthorized visit to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in May 2014.
The elections, scheduled for March 17, will occur two years ahead of schedule, concluding the second-shortest Knesset in Israel’s history. Netanyahu came to power in early 2013.
As it faces increasing terrorist activity and international isolation, Israel must now also deal with domestic squabbling and election campaigns.
Putin’s push intensifies
Military encounters between Russia and the West increased significantly in 2014, according to a report released on November 10 by the European Leadership Network (eln). The report documented 40 incidents instigated by Russia over the previous eight months and said that military tension between nato and Russia has not been higher since the Cold War.
“These events add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided midair collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis,” the report states.
During those eight months, nato nations conducted three times more interceptions of Russian aircraft than in all of 2013. Most occurred in the Baltic Sea region, but some were oceans away from Russia. For example, in September Russian bombers practiced cruise missile strikes on the United States mainland from the Labrador Sea near Canada. Missiles launched from that location could strike New York, Washington and Chicago.
The world has fixated on the Ukrainian crisis, but this report shows that Russian aggression extends far beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Another sign of Russia’s ambitions came on November 24 when President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty that places Abkhazian and Russian military forces under joint control.
Like Ukraine, Georgia was part of the Soviet Union before its collapse in 1991. Most people in Georgia believe Russia’s moves in Abkhazia parallel its expansionist moves in Ukraine. “Putin’s treaty with Abkhazia is very similar to Crimea’s scenario,” Dr. Irakli Bokuchava, a resident of Tbilisi, Georgia, told the Trumpet. Putin unilaterally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in March 2014. According to Bokuchava, his goal is the “creation of a renewed ussr.”
Abkhazia broke away from Georgian authority in a 1992-1993 war. In 2008, after Russia’s five-day war with Georgia, Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia (Georgia’s other breakaway region) as independent, then asserted control over them. Only a handful of other nations have recognized the two regions as independent.
Just after that 2008 war, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast that it commenced “the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more! … Today, you have [Western leaders] trying to also bring Georgia and Ukraine into nato. I don’t believe Russia will ever allow that to happen. … Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well” (Trumpet, October 2008).
Time has proven that prediction right. To understand more about Russia’s future aggression, read our free e-book The Kings of the East (theTrumpet.com/go/east).
U.S.-China carbon emissions deal: The media got it wrong
In November, Western media rejoiced over the “historic” agreement between the United States and China to decrease carbon emissions. Made directly after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit held from November 5 to 11, the deal was called a “game changer” and a “breakthrough.”
Together, America and China produce 45 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. America said it will reduce emission levels by 26 to 28 percent by 2025. China said its emission levels will peak by 2030 and then begin to decline.
“[I]n many ways, it simply locks in the status quo,” wrote Kenneth P. Green, senior director of the Center for Natural Resources at the Fraser Institute. “China gets to emit as much as it wants for the next 15 years, while the U.S. continues its regulatory crusade to cut U.S. carbon emissions. There’s no stipulated ceiling for Chinese emissions—the sky is the limit until 2030.”
In fact, China agreed to hit an emissions peak that it already expected to hit anyway. In 2012, China predicted its greenhouse gas emissions would peak in 2030.
What’s more, this deal pales in comparison to another international agreement that China forged—which attracted a fraction of the media’s focus. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a deal on November 9 that actually was historic: a second gas pipeline from Russia to China.
Six months earlier, Putin and Xi had inked a $400 billion gas supply agreement. These are the two largest business transactions in human history. Once the pipelines are in place, China will become the largest purchaser of Russian gas.
The Western media fails to see the significance of these deals between Russia and China and how they undermine the U.S. Expect China and Russia to continue to turn their backs on the West, drawing closer to each other.