Europe’s Old Demons Return

Europe’s Old Demons Return

ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images

The refugee crisis is precipitating a transformative identity crisis in Europe.
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

You have probably seen footage of helpless refugees pouring into Europe. It can bring you to tears to see photos of drowned toddlers, pregnant women traversing dangerous terrain, and thousands of underdressed, malnourished children.

But there is another important angle to this crisis that hasn’t received nearly enough consideration. This is the impact the refugee crisis is having and will increasingly have on Europe. Not just the immense financial cost, or the potential infiltration by Islamist terrorists, or the inevitable erosion of European culture. These consequences are significant. But something more fundamental, and more alarming, is unfolding.

Europe is experiencing a transformative identity crisis.

In the immediate aftermath of World War ii, the most destructive conflict in history, the primary goal of Europe’s postwar architects was to create a system that would guarantee peace and stability. This meant suppressing past demons and founding a system on more advanced values. Postwar Europe was built to value collaboration and cooperation. It was designed to be enlightened, multicultural and tolerant. It has positioned itself as the world’s moral authority: It abhors war; it defends the environment and human rights; it values international cooperation.

The problem—as any history book will show—is that this is not who Europe is. This is not Europe’s dna.

Perhaps the greatest effect of the refugee crisis, together with Russia’s dramatic resurgence and Europe’s rolling financial problems, is the way it is causing Europe to shed this postwar veneer and return to its past. Being tolerant feels good, until hundreds of thousands of foreigners enter your nation and expect you to foot the bill. Being multicultural is wonderful, until Muslims waving Islamic State flags and eyeing your teenage daughter settle in your village. Being antiwar feels righteous, until Russian tanks roll across the border.

Europe right now is a place where dreams are beginning to meet reality. (This clash is yet to happen in America and Britain to this degree, though it is looming.) Harsh realities are forcing Europeans to substitute postwar values with basic human urges. Tolerance is being replaced by prejudice, multiculturalism by patriotism, the community spirit with a greater determination for self-preservation and self-advancement.

The demons of the past are returning, and they are provoking the most significant transformation in Europe since the Second World War.


An Intractable Problem

More than 700,000 refugees entered Europe between January and September. During September and October, 10,000 refugees were crossing Europe’s borders every day. Germany alone was anticipating the arrival of another 920,000 refugees in the last three months of 2015, bringing the total number for the year to 1.5 million. Tens of thousands have settled in other European nations.

The crisis shows no signs of abating, despite the best efforts of European leaders to curb the flow. The reason is simple: The Middle East, especially Syria, remains a war zone. Migrants are flowing into Europe from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia and other war-stricken countries; potentially hundreds of thousands more could come from these nations. Reports vary, but between 8 million and 11 million Syrians have been displaced since 2008; millions are homeless. One million Syrians have moved to Lebanon. Two million have relocated to Turkey. Another 600,000 are in camps in Jordan.

This is not hyperbole: Unless something changes soon, millions of refugees from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia will make their way to Europe in the coming months and years. Given a choice, most will head for Germany.

This crisis is not going away quickly or easily. There is no simple solution, and no way to avoid terrific cost. Europe is in deep trouble and Europeans are beginning to come to terms with this reality. The more they consider the ramifications, the more alarmed they grow.


A Legitimate Threat

It’s not politically correct to discuss, but it is reality: Someone has to pay the cost of sustaining the refugees. Each refugee costs over $18,000 per year, according to estimates from German local governments. This is the cost of accommodation, food, health care and administrative expenses. The 1.5 million refugees Germany will accept this year will cost over $27 billion.

Many experts say that the $18,000 figure isn’t accurate and the true costs are much higher. The Kiel Institute for Global Economics estimates the cost to be $70 billion annually. There’s also the longer-term cost of integrating the refugees, educating them and getting them into the workforce. It’s no secret that Europe isn’t a picture of financial and economic health right now. It is a legitimate concern: Can Europe afford to take care of millions of refugees?

There is also the threat of increased terrorist activity. More than 90 percent of the refugees are Muslim. In September, German authorities arrested an Islamic State recruiter operating in a refugee center in Stuttgart. In another case, reported by the Express, “One [refugee] admitted to helping more than 10 trained [Islamic State] rebels infiltrate Europe under the guise of asylum seekers. He said: ‘I’m sending some fighters who want to go and visit their families. Others just go to Europe to be ready’” (September 10).

One video showed refugees flying Islamic State flags as they disembarked the train onto German soil. Another video showed young men, one only a boy, brushing a finger past their throats, depicting decapitation. Elias Bousaab, Lebanon’s education minister, warned in October that two in every 100 Syrian migrants infiltrating Europe are Islamic State terrorists. That’s 2,000 terrorists for every 100,000 Syrian refugees.

It’s hard to remain multicultural and tolerant in the face of numbers like that!

Statistics also show that criminal activity increases when refugees arrive. In October, the Gatestone Institute reported, “Asylum seekers are driving a surge in violent crime in cities and towns across Germany” (October 11). In September, a leaked report showed that police in Hamburg have stopped confronting migrant youths because they are often outnumbered and overwhelmed. Reports of refugees shoplifting, burgling homes, committing assault and stalking German women have become routine. In some cities and villages, authorities have cautioned native Germans to avoid venturing out at night.

Being open-minded is easy from a distance. It’s much harder when you can’t leave your home for fear of foreigners.


A Serious Backlash

When one feels threatened, it is human nature for resentment and anger to well up. Unsurprisingly, anti-migrant rallies have become increasingly common across Europe. The number of protesters at these rallies is increasing too, and many rallies have a solid contingent of Nazis. At one rally in Germany, protesters were heard chanting, “We will do to you [the refugees] what Hitler did to the Jews.” Violent attacks on migrants and migrant homes and camps are also commonplace. Germany’s Interior Ministry reported more than 490 attacks between January and October; only 153 were recorded for all of 2014.

During October 17 mayoral elections in Cologne, candidate Henriette Reker was knifed in the throat by a right-wing extremist. The man attacked Reker because of her support of Angela Merkel’s embrace of the migrants. The same day, a school in Sweden that was being prepared to house 80 refugees was torched. Incidents like this are occurring weekly, sometimes daily, in Germany and other nations that have taken in migrants.

The groundswell of anger and frustration is having a dramatic and worrying effect on politics in Europe. The popularity of far-right parties and parties advocating anti-immigrant policies is soaring.

In parliamentary elections in Switzerland in October, the Swiss People’s Party, a conservative, anti-immigrant party, won handily with 30 percent of the vote. (The migrant crisis was the number one concern for more than half of voters.) In Sweden, the Swedish Democrats, a far-right party with neo-Nazi connections, is now the most popular party in the country. During parliamentary elections in 2010, it won 5.7 percent of the vote; in October, polls showed it winning 25 percent of the vote. It’s the same in Denmark, where the Danish People’s Party recently won its biggest share of the vote ever.

The most popular party in the Netherlands, the Freedom Party led by Geert Wilders, advocates confronting Islam in Europe. Wilders regularly warns about the “Islamic invasion” taking place, warning that the refugees are a threat to Dutch “security, culture and identity.”

Europe’s politicians are having to come to grips with the new reality: To thrive politically, they need to be much less concerned about being tolerant and multicultural, and far more concerned about defending their nation (and Europe in general) from the negative impacts of the refugees, Russia’s resurgence, and perpetual financial uncertainty.


An Existential Problem

Consider also the predicament the refugee crisis is creating for the European Union. EU leaders and nations are conflicted (and often bickering) about how to handle the refugees. Angela Merkel wants Europe to embrace the refugees; meanwhile, the governments of Hungary and Slovenia are building fences to keep migrants out.

In more ways than one, the refugee crisis has pitted national policies (and national leaders) against EU policies (and EU leaders). At times, nations have ignored EU policies and principles in favor of policies in their own best interest. Take, for example, the Schengen Agreement. One of the EU’s defining characteristics is its open borders and the free movement of people between member states. This was formalized by the Schengen Agreement, a historic treaty signed in 1985 that created a borderless Europe, allowing the free flow of goods and people. During the refugee crisis, border controls, even border closures, have occurred in EU member states in the Balkans, and even in Austria and Germany. When push came to shove, national interest superseded EU policy.

Migrants cross the Macedonian-Serbian border on their way to Germany.

This raises some fundamental questions about the EU. What is its purpose, and how valuable are its institutions, if member states in the event of a crisis simply ignore EU principles and act in what they feel is their best interest?

This doesn’t mean the refugee crisis is going to tear the EU apart. Actually, the clash of interests between EU member states and the conflict between member states and Brussels is provoking some significant discussions about how to augment European unity. Although the refugee crisis has created some fissures in the EU, it is also a prod for greater cooperation.

For example, the refugee crisis is a major incentive, among others, for the development of an EU army. Europeans are beginning to see the value in fixing the refugee crisis at its source. This means greater military involvement in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Mediterranean Sea. “We are going to move towards an EU army much faster than people believe,” stated Joseph Daul, president of the European People’s Party, the largest European-level political party, on October 15.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU Commission president, has made the development of a Common Security and Defense Policy a top priority. “European defense cooperation remains a patchwork of bilateral and multilateral agreements,” read a strategic note issued by the European Commission in June. “It is time for a reckoning: Traditional methods of cooperation have reached their limits and proved insufficient. European defense needs a paradigm change in line with the exponential increase in global threats and the volatility of our neighborhood.”

In layman’s language, the paper, published at the behest of Juncker, is saying that Europe needs an army capable of confronting Russia, getting involved in the Middle East and North Africa, and stopping the refugee flood.


Political Upheaval in Germany

The refugee crisis has set off a political crisis in Germany. German politics has been remarkably stable for more than a decade, thanks largely to the consistent leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel. But Merkel’s leadership, and legacy, are now in serious jeopardy.

Merkel has embraced the refugees and migrants, promising them a home, a fresh start and a new life. At first, the German public, in general, agreed with her. But as the images of hundreds of thousands of Muslims pouring into Europe came out, the German public began to have second thoughts. Merkel did not. She modified her language and dialed back her enthusiasm, but didn’t alter her views. As far as she is concerned, Germany’s borders should remain open.

Time will tell, but Merkel’s embrace of the migrants could be her undoing.

Chancellor Merkel’s popularity is plummeting. On October 20, EurActiv reported on polls revealing public confidence in the chancellor at an all-time low. “Her approach to the refugee crisis … has cost the previously lauded queen of the polls dearly,” the organization reported. “According to data collected by insa on behalf of Focus Online, around 33 percent of Germans believe that it would be right of her to resign” (emphasis added).

According to Richard Hilmer, the former head of Infratest-Dimap, an electoral research provider, “the feeling is growing that [Merkel’s refugee] policy is out of control.” Merkel is the face of the failure, and she is going to be held “personally responsible for everything that happens from here on in, be it negative or positive,” he said. German paper Die Welt, usually a Merkel ally, reported, “The chancellor is walking on thin ice.”

For Merkel, the most alarming trend is the growing resentment and opposition coming from her own party. On October 7, 34 regional officials from the Christian Democratic Union (cdu) wrote to Merkel, warning that Germany’s resources were nearly exhausted due to her open borders policy. Within a few days, hundreds of cdu members had signed the letter.

A Wall Street Journal article described an October cdu meeting: “Ms. Merkel had come to the eastern German town of Schkeuditz on Wednesday for a conference with members of her Christian Democratic Union. But what was supposed to be a gathering among friends turned into a blistering indictment of her chancellorship. One after another, the delegates at the Globana Trade Center—town councilors, regional party grandees, and simple members—took turns to criticize her open-door refugee policy” (October 16).

At a protest staged by the German anti-immigrant movement pegida in Dresden, protesters carried around gallows for Angela Merkel.

Although many Germans respect and admire Merkel, and believe she has excelled as chancellor, they vehemently oppose her approach to the refugee crisis. Germany’s chancellor is more vulnerable than she ever has been.

Merkel’s demise would create an enormous opportunity for the right party, and the right individual.


Watch Bavaria

Germany is gripped by deep social and political upheaval and is experiencing a transformational identity crisis. A new political experiment is taking shape as Germany’s political parties position themselves to appeal to a German public that is tired of crises, feeling disenfranchised by the perpetual lack of real solutions, and increasingly worried by the influx of refugees.

As Europe’s old demons return and the basic urges of self-preservation and nationalism once again take hold, Germans will increasingly look for a leader and political party willing and able to lead Germany (and even Europe) through this transformation.

The region to watch right now is Bavaria. Situated in the southeastern part of Germany, bordering Austria and the Czech Republic, Bavaria is the soul of the nation. The region is conservative and staunchly Catholic, and it has a rich history with some of Europe’s most powerful empires and most dangerous regimes. “Bavaria has often been a center for new political experiments in Germany,” explained Stratfor. “In times of deep social upheaval, this involved embracing extreme positions” (October 18).

Bavaria, and specifically the city of Munich, was the breeding ground of National Socialism. The young Adolf Hitler was raised in Bavaria, and made his first attempt to seize power in 1923 in Munich in the Beer Hall Putsch. Munich “had a special place in the Nazi pantheon, and in 1935 Hitler declared it the ‘capital of the Nazi movement’” (ibid).

There is a very good chance that Germany’s next leader will come from Bavaria.

The primary political party in Bavaria is the Christian Social Union. The csu is conservative and is one of the largest mainstream political parties in German politics. It is also the sister party and historic ally of the Christian Democrat Union, Angela Merkel’s party. Together, the cdu and csu have been the most influential alliance in modern German politics.

But the refugee crisis has introduced tension and instability into this alliance. The csu does not share Merkel’s views on the refugee issue; in fact, it staunchly opposes them. (Bavaria is on the front lines of the crisis and has watched refugees pour into Bavarian cities and villages.)

Horst Seehofer, Bavaria’s minister-president and csu chairman, has been one of Merkel’s loudest critics. In October, Seehofer threatened to take Merkel and the federal government to court over its migrant policies. He also hinted that if Merkel doesn’t change her tune there will be a political crisis between the cdu and csu. Despite his strong reproaches, csu supporters are pressuring Seehofer to do even more to oppose Merkel and fix the refugee crisis.

Although the majority of the German public disagrees with Merkel on the refugee issue, most Germans do not want to join the far-right extremist parties of pegida or Alternative für Deutschland. The German people want a mainstream political party that has the same views on the key issues, especially the refugees. The csu is positioned to be that party—to capitalize on Merkel’s misstep and potential downfall.


Two People to Watch

But here is what’s really interesting. Horst Seehofer is close to two individuals the Trumpet has long identified as candidates to play a greater role in German politics. The first is Edmund Stoiber, former leader of Bavaria and former csu chairman.

Stoiber, like Seehofer, has publicly expressed concerns about the refugees and Merkel’s handling of the crisis. He has warned that this crisis threatens the “dissolution” of Europe; he has questioned Merkel’s views on Islam; and he has reprimanded Merkel for ignoring the concerns of the German people. In September, German news media reported that Stoiber had conducted a secret 1½-hour meeting with the prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán. Orbán is a pariah in Europe because of sentiments he has expressed about the refugees that many consider cruel and heartless. Stoiber, it seems, has no problem talking to Orbán. (It was also reported that following his secret meeting with Orbán, Stoiber invited him to speak at a gathering of csu politicians.)

Stoiber has a long legacy in German politics and was groomed by German strongman Franz Josef Strauss. (Gerald Flurry explains this legacy in “Has Germany’s Strongman Finally Arrived?”) Stoiber and Seehofer are articulating the thoughts and concerns of rapidly growing numbers of Germans and Europeans. Their message is popular and will grow even more so as the refugee crisis intensifies.

The other man to watch is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a native Bavarian and another Strauss disciple. Before he moved to America in 2011, Guttenberg was Germany’s defense minister, the most popular politician in Germany, and the man many expected to be a future chancellor. Guttenberg has a captivating personality. He belongs to German nobility and looks like a movie star. He communicates with force and vigor, but is also a pragmatic, deep thinker. Guttenberg understands Germany and Europe.

Guttenberg is a faithful csu member, and Seehofer has been begging him to return to German politics for years. For a long time Guttenberg rejected Seehofer’s request. That changed in October when he accepted a job working with Seehofer and the csu. “This step back into politics seems comparatively small for a man who was minister for economic affairs and defense and even considered a candidate for chancellor,” noted Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But apparently this is just the right entry level Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg wants” (October 1).

Guttenberg will join Seehofer’s csu advisory team and will give counsel on foreign policy, defense and technology. He will also help Seehofer get the party ready for local, national and European election campaigns, including the 2017 federal elections and 2018 national elections. Guttenberg will work closely with Seehofer, and undoubtedly alongside Edmund Stoiber.

We need to watch this axis of powerful Bavarians!

The refugee crisis is thrusting Germany (and Europe) into a transformational identity crisis. Germany and Europe will look for a leader who understands what is happening. They will seek someone capable of shaping this new identity—someone capable of standing up to Russia, getting tough with the refugees, and finally fixing the economic crises.

This is the new sobering reality: Contemporary Europe is on its way out and Europe’s old demons are returning.

Russia Outmaneuvers the United States in Syria

Russia Outmaneuvers the United States in Syria

©iStock.com/Sergydv

How President Obama’s redline debacle gave way to Putin’s adventurism in the Middle East.
From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

For the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian forces are involved in a combat mission in the Middle East. Moscow says it is basically doing what the United States has sought to do there: destroy the powerful extremist terrorist entity that calls itself the Islamic State. Yet the facts on the ground indicate Russia’s real ambition: to replace the United States as the dominant power in the region.

Protecting an Ally

For over four years, a devastating civil war has raged within Syria, causing the greatest migration of people from a war zone since World War ii. It started when Syrian President Bashar Assad resisted the revolutionary fervor that swept other dictators from power across the Middle East in early 2011, putting down dissenters with overwhelming force.

At the time, Western nations—including the U.S., the main power broker in the Middle East since the late 1970s—called for Assad’s removal from office. A United Nations Security Council resolution was drafted in October 2011 calling for sanctions on Assad if he continued to kill his own people. Two permanent members of the Security Council—Russia and China—blocked the resolution.

It was a sign of things to come. At every turn in the four years since, Moscow has sought to subvert Washington’s efforts to remove Assad from Syria.


U.S. Played on Chemical Weapons

Following its unsuccessful bid for international sanctions on Syria in 2011, the U.S. continued to call for Assad to step down. Months dragged on, and it was clear that it would take more than American rhetoric to remove Assad.

The existence of large stockpiles of chemical weapons in Syria was well known to international agencies. U.S. officials believed Syria maintained about 1,000 tons of mustard gas, Sarin and VX nerve agents in its arsenal. In August 2012, President Barack Obama said Assad would cross a “redline” if he used chemical weapons on his own people—an implicit threat of force. This threat relieved many of America’s Mideast allies, especially the Gulf states; it indicated that after so many debacles in the region, the U.S. still had some backbone.

In August 2013, Assad did use chemical weapons on rebel-held areas on the outskirts of Damascus, killing hundreds of his own people. Graphic images of dead corpses circulated through the media. The redline was crossed. The U.S. would have to act.

Before any military action took place, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was asked by a reporter in London if there was anything the Assad regime could do to prevent an American attack. Seemingly off-hand, Kerry responded that if Assad “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” that could do it.

With that comment, the Russian bear’s ears pricked up. In less than a week, Moscow approached the U.S. with a proposal to remove Assad’s chemical weapons. Not eager for military action, Washington embraced the idea and accepted the agreement—even while Russia stipulated that if Assad didn’t comply, there would still be no UN mandate for military action against him.

Secretary Kerry called the chemical weapons agreement with Russia “groundwork for more cooperation” between the former Cold War enemies. The event was sold as a great foreign-policy success for the Obama administration—a sign that the “reset” with Russia might actually have worked. In reality, Russia was simply acting to preserve its ally in the Middle East; removing the chemical weapons was just a distraction to keep Assad in power.

The redline that wasn’t a redline was a watershed moment for Russia’s geopolitical calculus in the Middle East. Russia now understood that America would rather face a major humiliation and loss of credibility among its allies and its enemies in order to get out of deploying its military against Assad—especially since that would jeopardize another key foreign-policy objective of the Obama administration: reconciliation with Iran.


Suleimani’s Surprise

With the redline in Syria largely forgotten, the rise of the vicious Islamic State diverted the world’s attention from Assad’s atrocities. Realizing Syria’s armed forces were stretched thin, Iran instructed Assad to pull back from Syria’s eastern border. This allowed the Islamic State to gobble up more territory. It also allowed Assad to devote more resources to battle the more immediate threat to the north, the “Syrian rebels.”

Supported financially and militarily by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, rebel factions were having limited success at taking territory from the Syrian regime. Realizing Assad’s dire situation, Iran summoned Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah to join the fight. This stemmed regime losses, but only for a time.

Moscow kept a close eye on the situation. Its only warm-water naval base, located on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, would be in jeopardy of falling to the rebels if Assad’s losses continued.

In April this year, Assad looked to be on his last legs. The regime controlled little over 20 percent of Syrian territory. The Kurds controlled the north, the Islamic State controlled the east, and the rebel factions were pushing west toward the Mediterranean Sea while knocking on Damascus’s back door.

Fearing it was about to lose its ally, Iran dispatched its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (irgc) Quds Force commander, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, to Syria in early June. In the months before, Suleimani—who reports directly to Iran’s ayatollah—was seen on the Iraqi battlefield leading Shiite militias in the fight against the Islamic State. During his few days in Syria, Suleimani announced that “the world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days” (Al-Quds al-Arabi, June 2).

In late July, despite a United Nations travel ban imposed on the Iranian general for past terrorist activities, Suleimani visited Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While the U.S. State Department dithered on whether or not Suleimani broke the law, Iran and Russia were hatching a plan for Syria.

Syrian President Assad (left) visits Russian President Putin in Moscow on October 20.

Just days before, President Obama said Putin had called him and they had an encouraging talk about solving the Syrian crisis. Mr. Obama suggested that Moscow “could be enlisted in a diplomatic settlement to the Syrian civil war along lines Washington and its Arab allies support” (Washington Post, September 8). But within a week, Suleimani was in Moscow unrolling a large map of Syria, showing how a series of setbacks could be turned into victory—with Russian intervention, of course.

When Suleimani returned to Tehran, Iranian state media trumpeted that the meeting had concerned the sale of military hardware to Iran. Now we know that Suleimani’s visit was to plan Russia’s move into Syria to bolster its ailing ally.

Once again, the U.S. was hoodwinked.


Fighting the Islamic State?

As was the case with other recent Russian military interventions such as in Ukraine, in late August unconfirmed reports started to appear that Russian advisers had been spotted with Assad’s troops. At first, Russia denied having troops on the ground in Syria. But in early September, when satellite imagery captured a forward operating base in western Syria that was accommodating Russian fighters, helicopters and tanks—Russia had to come clean.

On September 28, President Putin used his first address to the United Nations in 10 years to call on the international community to stand behind Syria’s government for the sake of undermining the Islamic State.

However, a look at where Russian fighters have attacked so far indicates that Russia is going less after the Islamic State than it is the anti-Assad rebels. At the start of October, fewer than 10 percent of Russia’s missiles had struck the Islamic State or al Qaeda-affiliated targets, according to the U.S. State Department. “It’s clear that Russia’s strategy in Syria is to make the conflict binary by giving Syrians only two choices: Assad or isis,” said John Schinder, former U.S. intelligence analyst (Daily Beast, October 8).

What’s worse, many of those rebel groups are backed by the U.S. It’s a common sight on the Syrian battlefield today to see American-made antitank missiles being fired by cia-approved rebel factions against Russian-built Soviet tanks.

Then there are reports of American fighters being approached by Russian jets over Syrian skies. On October 20, U.S. pilots were warned by their top commanders not to react to any Russian military planes. This is just another sign of Russia’s brazen confidence, knowing America will avoid conflict at all costs.

Four years ago, the U.S. said “Assad must go.” Ever since, Russia has outmaneuvered the U.S., to where Washington is now “flexible on the timetable” for Assad’s departure. How long before America completely abandons its position and agrees with Putin that it would be best for Syria if Assad remained in power?

In the Syrian battle of wills, Russia has beaten the U.S. Whether or not Putin decides to stay in the Middle East does not really matter: The damage to American prestige is done. American power no longer dominates the Middle East.

America’s traditional allies in the Gulf, as well as Israel, are taking notice and will have to look elsewhere for the protection once guaranteed by America.


A Surprise for Putin

Through all the gamesmanship between the U.S. and Russia, one more non-Mideast power stands to be affected by the situation in Syria: Europe.

Europe is trying to decide what to do with the hundreds of thousands of Syrian migrants that have arrived at its borders. However, many realize that solutions will fall short unless something is done at the main source: Syria.

Earlier this year, Europe, like the U.S., was hoping that a change in the Syrian regime was near. Now, with Russia’s intervention, European hopes have been dashed. And undoubtedly, Russia isn’t too disturbed by how the immigration crisis will weaken Europe.

As it stands now, Europe is not united enough, strong enough, and does not have enough political will to confront Russia in Syria. Indeed, Europe is barely able to form a united front against Russia in the European border nation of Ukraine.

But while most commentators will scoff at the idea of European intervention in Syria—especially now that Russia is there, and the U.S., its nato ally, is weakened—Bible prophecy says that is exactly what will happen.

Putin’s power play in Syria will not last but, in fact, will be short-lived. According to a prophecy found in Psalm 83, the Syrian people won’t look to Russia as an ally, nor to Iran. Ultimately they will look to a German-led Europe!

That is when you will really begin to see power exerted over the Middle East.

The Holy City’s Child Terrorists

From the November 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

October 12 was a normal day for a 13-year-old boy in Jerusalem as he got on his bicycle for a ride through his neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev. Then, suddenly, two people rushed up and began to stab him.

This was the third knife attack of the day around the Holy City, and the 22nd over a span of 13 days. But the most startling fact was the age of the child’s would-be murderers: two Arab cousins, just 13 and 15.

Police confronted the 15-year-old, who was still holding the machete. He charged, and was fatally shot. The 13-year-old was hit by a car. As he lay on the pavement, squirming in blood, paramedics tried to save his young life. An Israeli passerby videoing the boy shouted, “Die! Die! You son of a whore!”

How has it come to this? Why are two children who should be doing homework or chores attempting murder instead? How much more saturated in hatred can Jerusalem get?

[I]mpressionable young Palestinians have been persuaded that their [g]od requires them to kill, and if necessary be killed, to %u2018protect al-Aqsa.%u2019
Daniel Horovitz, Times of Israel

What motivated these children to kill? Was it their parents, absorbed in Palestinian media that distorts events and demonizes Israelis? Was it propaganda in their schools? Was it the children’s television program with the Mickey Mouse-like character who praises “martyrdom”? Was it the Facebook and Twitter images vilifying Jews and glorifying their murderous “martyrs”? Was it the religious establishment implying, or stating, that “protecting al-Aqsa” means killing 13-year-olds?

Most likely, it was the accumulation of all these influences. This shocking attack reveals something larger: A whole generation of young Palestinians is saturated in hate.

But what about the Israeli who saw a heap of quivering, broken flesh crumpled on the street and shouted at him to die? His outrage is understandable. But his reaction reveals that he too carries a terrible hatred.

Will “peace in the Middle East” ever be more than a cliché? Isn’t this problem beyond the ability of clever politicians to solve?

Don’t we need a healing of minds in the Middle East?

Trumpet Hour: How to Create a Better World for Our Children

Trumpet Hour: How to Create a Better World for Our Children

Justin Sullivan/Mario Tama/Getty Images/©iStock.com/skodonnell/Avalon_Studio

Trumpet Hour is a new radio program on kpcg.fm. Writers for theTrumpet.com discuss the most important news and why it’s important to you. This episode’s discussion includes:

  • Why renewable energy is the future.
  • How bioremediation can help regenerate soil and clean up toxic waste.
  • Water—how unequal distribution has big impacts.
  • A look at waste management.
  • Why technology will change dramatically.
  • This episode aired on September 30. Tune in at kpcg.fm every Wednesday at 8 a.m. cst or Friday at 4 p.m. cst to listen to Trumpet Hour.

    A Time Before Time

    A Time Before Time

    ©iStock.com/shaunl

    The late Herbert W. Armstrong compared most people’s understanding of the Bible to walking in on a movie partway through. It is very confusing to start watching a movie an hour in, without knowing the context and the events that led up to that particular scene. The same principle applies to the Bible. To comprehend its true story, we must go back to the real beginning—which is not found in Genesis 1:1.

    Eternal Prehistory

    God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). He has existed with the Word forever, longer than time itself. John takes us back to a time before God created the angels and man, a time when He and the Word dwelled alone in the universe. That is the real beginning.

    The real beginning of history can be found in John 1. These verses unlock and reveal so much about the Bible. They are the key to the entire book. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). John begins his epistles and his gospel account the same way: by pointing us back to the beginning, before any spiritual or physical creation, and perhaps millions of years before the re-creation of Earth depicted in Genesis 1:1.

    “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

    The Apostle John is the only New Testament writer to refer to Jesus Christ as the Word. He was Christ’s closest companion. Christ gave John a deeper spiritual understanding than the other apostles.

    Other Beginnings

    The real beginning gives us insight into a plethora of smaller beginnings. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Ephesians 3 shows that “all things” includes the universe. God created the universe through the Word. This is the beginning of the physical creation.

    “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:1-7). The angels shouted for joy at the universe’s creation. This is another beginning.

    “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15). The archangel Lucifer rebelled and became Satan, leading a third of the angels astray. This is another beginning that only makes sense if we know about the real beginning.

    Their rebellion was the greatest crisis ever to that point.
    God had commanded Lucifer and the angels under him to rule the Earth and put the finishing touches on its creation before doing the same throughout the universe. Their rebellion was the greatest crisis ever to that point.

    God’s Greatest Creation

    “Now came the crowning pinnacle of even God’s unmatched creative power,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in a letter to members of the Worldwide Church of God. “Now came the very zenith of all divine accomplishment. Now came a project so incredulously, transcendentally awesome, it is hard for the human mind to grasp! Now God decided after the angels rebelled to re-create Himself in man because it was the only way that the Earth and the universe could be ruled by anybody other than Himself. Only He could be trusted to rule the Earth and the universe, so He decided to re-create Himself in man.”

    What a vision! Thousands of years after the Word created the universe, He became the Son of God when God begot Him in the womb of the virgin Mary. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

    “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). Once again, John refers to Jesus Christ as the Word. He is showing us how a Being who lived in perfect harmony with the Father for all time became a physical man and died for the sins of the world! Our sins caused the death of God! We must never take sin lightly.

    “This is the Word who created all things and was eternal before the angels or the universe were created,” I wrote in my booklet From the Beginning. “The great Being’s vesture was dipped in blood. He became a man and shed His blood for lowly men, for you! Remember the price that was paid for your sins. This is what you need to remember ‘from the beginning.’” You need to understand deeply who died for you. This understanding needs the deepest kind of emphasis in your mind. John is reminding us and himself who this Jesus Christ really was, who He was from the beginning!

    The Word—the Godhead Spokesman—became flesh and died. One of two God Beings had to die for you. God the Father directed this whole process.

    John called Jesus Christ the Word four times: John 1:1, 14; I John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13. Each of these verses focuses our minds on the real beginning.

    First-Century Apostasy

    By the time John wrote his gospel account and his epistles, Christ had been resurrected for 30 years. During the time John spent imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, he pondered the real beginning. He shared this deep vision with his congregations, which endured savage persecution in the latter half of the first century. Dissidents attacked God’s Church from without and within. This is an exact type of what happened to the Church in this end time.

    This is a sign that we are in the last hour before Jesus Christ’s return!
    Ninety-five percent of God’s people have cast Him out of the Church in this end time. In John’s day, Diotrephes led the rebellion. Today, God targets one man as the cause of the apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4).

    “Little children, it is the last time [hour is a better translation]: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). After Mr. Armstrong’s death in 1986, an antichrist—one man—turned the Church to idolatry. This is a sign that we are in the last hour before Jesus Christ’s return!

    A loyal remnant fights for Christ today. A much larger group fights against Christ. God wants to give us eternal life just as He gave to Jesus Christ after He qualified to replace Satan on Earth’s throne. He wants billions of sons! We must remain loyal to attain that reward.

    We must understand the real beginning—when God and Christ were all alone out in space. Then we will understand the true story of the Bible and the meaning of world events in this last hour.

    What You Should Know About Britain’s Labour Party Leader

    What You Should Know About Britain’s Labour Party Leader

    Mary Turner/Getty Images

    This is about something that goes far beyond the man.

    When Ed Miliband lost to David Cameron in Britain’s May general elections, Miliband’s Labour Party had to find a replacement. It found one in Jeremy Corbyn.

    On September 12, Corbyn was elected the new leader of the Labour Party—the United Kingdom’s equivalent to the liberal Democratic Party in the United States.

    Labour is Britain’s second-largest political party, and currently its largest opposition party. It’s not a fringe party—it is popular and mainstream. It has far more members than Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party (ukip).

    Jeremy Corbyn could become Britain’s next prime minister in five years, just as his fellow Labour Party predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were.

    He is the voice of millions of people. His actions speak just as much as his voice; there’s no mistaking what he stands for.

    In summary, Jeremy Corbyn is a radical liberal and an Islamic terrorist-sympathizer. He hates Britain, its history and its traditional institutions like the monarchy, the military and aspects of its educational institutions. He is dangerous to the future of the United Kingdom, and the British people ought to be concerned about him.

    That such an individual could be one of Britain’s most significant leaders is a story much bigger than a man. It reveals the debilitated moral health of British society and British politics.

    Corbyn’s Terrorist Friends

    After United States special forces raided the Abbottabad compound of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in 2011, Corbyn said the bin Laden raid “was an assassination attempt, and is yet another tragedy, upon a tragedy, upon a tragedy.” He continued: “The World Trade Center was a tragedy, the attack on Afghanistan was a tragedy, the war in Iraq was a tragedy. Tens of thousands of people have died.”

    It will be my pleasure and honor to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.
    Jeremy Corbyn
    By what logic can the killing of one terrorist classify as a tragedy in the same way that the thousands of innocent civilians he killed is—not to mention the financial and political crisis he created?

    In a 2009 speech to the Palestine Solidarity Group, Corbyn said, “It will be my pleasure and honor to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I’ve also invited our friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.”

    Corbyn befriends and sympathizes with Hezbollah and Hamas—self-declared genocidal terrorist organizations that aren’t much different from the terrorists in al Qaeda or the Islamic State.

    Instead of drawing the bloody comparisons between the Islamic State and the terrorist organizations he sympathizes with, Corbyn compares the callous, barbaric, demoniacal, misogynic, pedophiliac Islamic State terrorists with the U.S. military! “Yes, they are brutal,” he said of the Islamic State. “Yes, some of what they have done is quite appalling. Likewise what the Americans did in Fallujah and other places is appalling.”

    Jeremy Corbyn has close ties to Republic of Ireland terrorist groups Sinn Fin and the Irish Republican Army (ira).

    The Misguided Pacifist

    The Labour Party’s new leader is pro-Vladimir Putin. He blames nato for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Corbyn wants to end Britain’s Trident nuclear program—at a time when North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are actively pursuing nuclear weapons.

    But it’s not just unconventional weapons Corbyn wants to get rid of. In 2012, he said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every politician around the world instead of taking pride in the size of their armed forces did what the people of Costa Rica have done and abolished the army and took pride in the fact that they don’t have an army … surely that is the way we should be going forward.”

    Sure it would be wonderful if all leaders abolished their armies. Problem is, Russia’s Vladimir Putin will not abolish his nation’s army. Neither will China’s Xi Jinping or Iran’s Hassan Rouhani.

    Corbyn told Sky News he couldn’t think of “any circumstances in which you would deploy Britain’s military forces.” He wonders why “a small country” like Britain should have the “global reach” it currently has. He doesn’t see why Britain should have a robust military with aircraft carriers and fighter planes.

    But the answer is simple: We live in a world of dangerous, scary individuals and regimes. It’s as dangerous today as it was 70 years ago when Britain was almost defeated by Nazi Germany. Corbyn’s comments are an invitation for Britain’s enemies to strike!

    A time is soon coming when nations will not need militaries (Micah 4:1-4). But for the world as it is now, a military is a necessity.

    Patriot?

    In 1994, Jeremy Corbyn said, “A referendum on scrapping the monarchy should be in our next manifesto—it would be very popular.” He wants to toss aside an institution that has existed for thousands of years.

    Yes, Britain’s royals have not been perfect, but they largely have been a force for good in this world.

    A referendum on scrapping the monarchy should be in our next manifesto—it would be very popular.
    Jeremy Corbyn
    At a memorial service for the pilots of the Battle of Britain, Corbyn refused to sing the British national anthem. Notice the Telegraph’s assessment: “Mr. Corbyn’s antipathy to the monarchy is well known, and he’s entitled to it. This, though, was a memorial service for men who saved the country. Surely common sense could tell him that, in this context, many people would find his obstinacy disrespectful.

    “His appearance didn’t help. His trousers were a different shade from his jacket. The top button of his shirt was undone. From his pocket poked the lid of a pen. He looked like a lecturer who’d woken late, got dressed in the dark, then loosened his collar to recover from the mad panting dash to the bus stop.

    “If he’d actually been a lecturer, of course, the air of absent-minded dishevelment might have been endearing. But he wasn’t a lecturer. He was the leader of a major political party. A man who claims that, five years from now, he wants to be prime minister.”

    Outspoken Anti-Semite

    Put simply, Corbyn hates Israel. He wants to boycott goods coming from Israel. He wants to impose arms embargoes on Israel.

    He’s invited Raed Salah for tea at the House of Commons. Salah is a proponent of blood libel—a slanderous accusation that Jews murder children and use their blood to bake in their matsos. He propagated the theory that thousands of American Jews stayed home on 9/11 because the terrorist attack was a Jewish conspiracy that the Jews were already well aware of before it happened.

    Corbyn has also hosted Dyab Abou Jahjah. Abou Jahjah called the 9/11 attacks “sweet revenge.” He has also called for the killing of British soldiers in Iraq and has accused Europe of making “the cult of the Holocaust and Jew-worshiping its alternative religion.”

    Jeremy Corbyn has donated to Paul Eisen, a prominent Holocaust denier who is so radical that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign does not associate with him.

    The list of Corbyn’s glaring flaws could go on. But they are not just his flaws alone. Neither are they merely the blemishes of the leadership in Britain. These are the flaws of the people behind the flawed leadership in Britain. From the head to the feet, there is a glaring lack of sound reasoning and judgment in Britain (Isaiah 1:5-6).

    Jeremy Corbyn reveals the dangerous and destructive path Britain is treading.