Could an EU Army Actually Work?

Could an EU Army Actually Work?


Many say the EU’s latest push for a combined military is doomed to fail. Are they right?

“Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis.” That was the grim assessment of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his September 14 State of the Union speech. One solution: European military cooperation.

“Europe needs to toughen up,” Juncker said. “Nowhere is this truer than in our defense policy. Europe can no longer afford to piggyback on the military might of others or let France alone defend its honor in Mali.”

In a Europe hit by the euro crisis, a wave of terrorism, mass immigration and now Brexit, a European army is one of the few things most of the leaders can agree on. Leaders from Germany, France, Italy, Czechia (formerly known as the Czech Republic), Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have all called for a common military.

Federica Mogherini, the European Unions’s de facto foreign minister, said earlier in the month that this time the push for a shared military is “the real stuff.”

“Whenever I present the plan to ambassadors, ministers … my last slide is that all of this requires political commitment,” Mogherini said. “At the moment, I don’t see resistance; at the moment, I see readiness.”

Nonetheless, cynicism about the EU’s latest push abounds. “EU Army? Much Ado About Nothing,” was the verdict of EurActiv, for example.

There is good reason for thinking this. The EU has pushed for military sharing before, and it has failed—but not only because of Britain.

A Leadership Void

At a meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 16, EU leaders—minus Britain—agreed on a timeline for developing this military cooperation. The European Commission will put forward concrete proposals in December, and governments will aim to form an agreement by June.

The meeting seemed like a success, but the conference ended on a sour note of failure. The French, Italian and German leaders had planned to put on a united front with a joint press conference. But Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pulled out. “I cannot hold a press conference with [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President François] Hollande if I don’t agree with their positions on immigration and the economy,” he said.

Italy was not the only critic. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán called the bloc’s migration policy “self-destructive and naive.” And this came after European Council President Donald Tusk called Orbán and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło aside and asked them to be less critical of Brussels.

“A summit that was supposed to be a display of unity revealed only further division,” concluded Guy Verhofstad, leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group in the European Parliament.

“The European Union’s list of crises keeps growing,” he wrote. “But beyond the United Kingdom’s ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the bloc, Poland’s constitutional-court imbroglio, Russian expansionism, migrants and refugees, and resurgent nationalism, the greatest threat to the EU comes from within: A crisis of political leadership is paralyzing its institutions.”

That is the root of Europe’s problems right now. Juncker is looking to a European army as one way to solve the Continent’s divisions. European military cooperation cannot possibly be that solution.

Does this make the current push irrelevant? No.

Europe still shows signs of making progress. It will come with the squabbles, holdups and messy compromises that accompany European politics—but progress nonetheless.

The New Push

Never before has a European military been so high on the agenda of Europe’s leading powers. Defense ministers from France and Germany, Europe’s most powerful remaining countries, sent a six-page paper to the EU’s Foreign Service on September 11. Süddeutsche Zeitung and Le Figaro both saw it. The latter reported the paper as stating, “In the context of a deteriorating security environment … it is high time to reinforce our solidarity and European defense capabilities in order to more effectively protect the citizens and borders of Europe.”

France is trying to fight terrorism by expanding its involvement in North Africa at the same time that it cuts its spending to deal with the economic crisis. The only way to square that circle is to get other nations to foot some of the bill, and an EU military is the best way to make that happen.

Meanwhile, Germany’s role in the world is going through a revolution. Having taken a back seat for decades—at least when it comes to military matters, Germany has declared that it is “prepared to take the lead.” But the German military has little recent experience in big overseas operations. It’s working on improving its military’s ability to deploy overseas—but the quickest way to do this is to work with other nations.

Brexit is also very significant. Britain wasn’t the only obstacle to strong cooperation, but it was a major one. Britain blocked “[e]very step forward,” former Italian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Vincenzo Camporini told La Repubblica newspaper. “The British position was crucial—everyone knew that without London, you couldn’t even begin to talk about a common European defense policy.”

The so-called “euroskeptic” nations of Eastern Europe are generally on border with the project too. They tend to oppose anything that seems like “more Europe,” but military cooperation—provided it is significantly robust—is something they’re all in favor of. They want something to guarantee that France and Germany will help them against Russia.

A Concrete Achievement

On October 6, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency officially launched. This was a major project, originally kicked into the long grass. EU insiders didn’t expect it to be completely ready until the 2030s.

Then the immigration crisis and terrorist attacks in France meant the project was fast-tracked and completed in under a year.

The border force gives a great example of what to expect from the latest push for an EU military.

At first glance it looks like a joke. It will have 1,500 border guards and an eventual budget of $360 million. By comparison, the United States Coast Guard alone has 42,000 active duty personnel, with thousands more in reserve, and a budget of around $10 billion.

The comparison is unfair; each individual EU nation also has a coast guard and border force. But 1,500 is a small number.

But the principles that this new force establishes are huge.

“Today is a milestone in the history of European border management,” said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos. “From now onwards, the external EU border of one member state is the external border of all member states—both legally and operationally.”

That’s a major step toward a superstate.

Furthermore, the new agency will be able to deploy its border guards to an EU nation “on its own initiative.” It can send in its soliders, even if the country they’re going to does not want the deployment. EU nations are giving up the legal right to have a monopoly of force within their own borders. For the first time, there will be a pan-European military force with the right to go anywhere it wants within the Union.

Now that this border force has been created, ramping it up later would not be too difficult.

Current Plans

One of the key items next on the agenda is to create a single European headquarters and command structure. The EU has already engaged in military missions. It has already formed European battle groups, but they have never been used. Having a decision-making body and clear chain of command constantly in place can make those forces usable.

EU leaders are also aiming to cooperate on defense procurement projects. European militaries share some common weaknesses, such as a lack of air-to-air refueling, drones and air transport. EU leaders want to solve this on the EU level.

This would be a major practical step toward military cooperation. If this goes ahead, and Europe creates, for example, a common air transport fleet, then no individual nation would be able to launch a substantial overseas military operation without doing so on an EU level. Each European military would be dependent on the EU.

Related to this would be a new defense fund—“cash for an embryonic European air force and navy through the Brussels budget for drones, cyberdefence, air transport and naval vessels,” as the Times of London put it.

France and Germany have also called for a new European military academy, or for European military courses to be taught at national academies, in order to forge a European spirit within national militaries.

Many of these leaders have also noted that EU treaties allow a smaller group of nations to move forward on defense cooperation, even if others object.

Just like the border guards, they will probably be understaffed and underfunded. But they’ll establish important precedents and create the building blocks that could be assembled later to create a powerful force.

Herbert W. Armstrong warned of this military union for decades. In May 1953, he wrote that “10 powerful European nations will COMBINE their forces.”

In August 1978, he warned:

The Europeans are far more disturbed about their safety in relying on United States military power to protect them than Americans realize! …Europeans want their own united military power! They know that a political union of Europe would produce a third major world power, as strong as either the U.S. or the ussr—possibly stronger!

But Mr. Armstrong also saw that this unification would not come easily. “The nations of Europe have been striving to become reunited,” he wrote in the January 1979 Plain Truth. “They desire a common currency, a single combined military force, a single united government. They have made a start in the Common Market. They are now working toward a common currency. Yet, on a purely political basis, they have been totally unable to unite.” Mr. Armstrong went on to explain that it would only be through the Vatican, “uniting church and state once again,” as has happened repeatedly in history, that a united Europe will be achieved.

A strong leader will also be an important part of this coming unification. Even in the absence of that leader, however, important progress is being made. Once that leader is on the scene, he will be able to pick up the pieces very quickly. For more on why the Trumpet expects this leader soon, read our free booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent.

Mystery of the Ages Synopsis, Part 1: Who and What Is God?

This book will help you understand your Creator.

Herbert W. Armstrong felt that his book Mystery of the Ages was the second-most important book on Earth next to the Bible. It is so important because it is a synopsis of the entire Bible. Of the 96 books and booklets copyrighted by the Philadelphia Church of God, Mystery of the Ages receives the most requests by far. Thousands of people have said that this book gives their lives real meaning and real happiness.

The Bible is a coded book, a mystery to this world—to science, education and even religion. The cover of Mystery of the Ages asks, “Did you ever ask yourself: ‘Who am I? What am I? Why am I?’ You are a mystery. The world about you is a mystery. Now, you can understand!”

This is the first in a series of articles I am writing to summarize Mystery of the Ages and to inspire you to study the life-changing truth in this book. Let’s start with the first chapter, the first mystery: Who and What Is God?

God’s Absolute Authority

Human beings have made impressive developments in industry and technology. Yet our world of advancements is also full of alarming and appalling evils. So adept at solving challenges with solids, liquids and gasses, mankind has no clue how to solve their problems with each other.

Mr. Armstrong lived for 93 years and personally met dozens of prime ministers, presidents, kings, princes, emperors, ambassadors, legislators, judges and other world leaders. He also met thousands of ordinary people and those who were illiterate and in poverty. In his relationships with those he knew, he focused on life’s most important questions.

But Mr. Armstrong started out as clueless as anyone else. He grew up attending a Protestant church that never explained these important questions plaguing mankind. He saw mysteries everywhere he looked. He tried to read the Bible and reason out these mysteries, but he remained bewildered.

As a young man, Mr. Armstrong drifted away from religion because he couldn’t find any answers. But God jolted him with a dual challenge. In the Author’s Statement of Mystery of the Ages, he wrote:

It all started with the question of the theory of evolution and the religious question of Sunday observance. I knew that the Bible was the world’s number one selling book. Yet to me it had been an enigma. I could never understand it. I said, “The Bible says, ‘Thou shalt observe Sunday.’” I was asked how did I know? Had I read that in the Bible? I answered that I knew because all the churches observe Sunday and I supposed the source of their teaching was the Bible.

But my marriage was at stake on the question. I was forced into an in-depth study and research into the Bible and also into the theory of evolution, which was at that time rapidly gaining acceptance in the field of higher education. …

No longer was the existence of God taken carelessly for granted because I had always heard it or been taught it. I found absolute and positive proof of the existence of the Supreme Creator God and also of the absolute authority of the Holy Bible as the Word of God—the revealed message and knowledge of God for mankind.

How many people are forced to prove their beliefs like Mr. Armstrong was? He discovered that the Bible has God’s absolute authority behind it!

Jigsaw Puzzle

Mr. Armstrong discerned a common flaw in most people’s reading of the Bible. The Bible is not a book that you can read cover to cover and truly understand! He wrote:

Instead of putting the various pieces of the jigsaw puzzle properly and sensibly together, it has become the practice and custom to read an already-believed false teaching into each particular scripture, taken out of context. In other words, to interpret the Scriptures to say what they have already been taught and come to believe. The Bible needs no interpretation because it interprets itself.

The Bible interprets itself! God tells us not to rely on an educational institution or a scholar for understanding (Isaiah 28:9). Don’t trust in men; trust in God!

“[T]he Bible was a coded book, not intended to be understood until our day in this latter half of the 20th century,” he continued. God only intended for the Bible to be fully understood today, in the time just before the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth to teach this truth to the whole world!

“I learned that the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “thousands of pieces that need putting together—and the pieces will fit together in only one way. Then the picture becomes crystal clear to the one willing to believe what God our Creator says. … As you read and reread this book, compare constantly with your own Bible.” Don’t trust in men! Meditate deeply on Mystery of the Ages as you read it. Prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

Cut Off

Why is the vast majority of mankind incapable of solving the mystery of God?

“And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). Mankind today is cut off from the tree of life, or else he would eat of it and live forever in an unrepentant state. Mr. Armstrong wrote:

Even in these past 58 years I had not fully and clearly realized the significance of the fact revealed in Genesis 3:22-24—that, in fact, God had closed the Holy Spirit and eternal life to mankind in general until the removal of Satan at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Traditional Christian teaching had always assumed there is a contest between God and Satan—that God has been trying desperately to “get the world saved,” but in this great controversy Satan has been winning. In other words, God had sent Jesus Christ at his First Coming to try to win this ongoing war against Satan. Traditional Christianity has taught that “whosoever will may come” and be “saved” through Jesus.

Mr. Armstrong finally understood the depth of this truth when he was 92 years old, not long before his death in 1986. God and Satan are not struggling for human souls today! The reason why the world wallows in darkness is because God cut human beings off from the tree of life thousands of years ago! God calls only a few to do His Work in this age.

Mankind in general does not have access to God because we won’t submit. We have followed the example of Adam and Eve. We enjoy the godless theory of evolution or the lawless platitude of false religion. No wonder most people don’t grasp the mystery of God!

Laden With Lawlessness

The greatest relationship man can have is with his Creator. But mankind today is so far from God that this relationship is actually his worst. Without being close to God, people just can’t understand the seven mysteries revealed in Mystery of the Ages:

1. Who and What Is God?

2. Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits

3. Mystery of Man

4. Mystery of Civilization

5. Mystery of Israel

6. Mystery of the Church

7. Mystery of the Kingdom of God

Through this series of articles, you will understand how each mystery builds on the one before it. Understanding who and what is God is the foundation of all the other mysteries!

The number one problem facing humanity today is that of human survival. Nuclear weapons are proliferating all over the world. Physical human beings have no way to solve this deadly problem. The cause of this problem is man himself! We must solve the problem of human nature first.

Mankind could have a relationship with God, but they refuse it! Mr. Armstrong had an experience in India that made this sad truth more real. He wrote in Mystery of the Ages:

I was returning to my hotel in New Dehli some years ago from a private conference with the late Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Ever since arriving in India I had noticed cows and oxen wandering through the streets. I had never seen such animals straying loosely through city streets in any other country.

“Don’t these cattle stray quite a distance from home?” I asked of the car driver.

“Oh yes,” he answered.

“But when,” I asked, “they wander all over the streets so far away, how do their owners find them, to drive them back home for the night?”

The car driver smiled. “The owners don’t. But the cattle and oxen know their owners and where they live. They find their own way home in the evening.”

Immediately I thought of the scripture in the first chapter of Isaiah, which I had never understood so perfectly before this living explanation.

“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with [lawlessness], a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:2-4).

This is one of the most horrendous pictures in the Bible. Only the nation of Israel knew God anciently. Only the descendants of Israel—including America, Britain and the Middle East Jews—know God today. Only they could turn away from God like this! God says that even a dumb ox or donkey knows his owner better than Israel knows Him!

The nations of Israel are heavily weighed down with sinfulness and lawlessness. Our people are made grievous with sins! Only God can heal sinful mankind.

They Became Fools

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:18-22). We should be able to clearly see proof of God’s existence all around us. God condemns the self-proclaimed “educated” fools who purposely suppress the truth.

Something is horribly wrong with human nature! Why doesn’t man want to learn about His Creator and the most important relationship he could have?

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge …” (verse 28). People would rather learn about evolution or other theories. The Chinese and the Russians comprise over 1 billion of the 7 billion people on Earth, and most of them are openly atheistic! They don’t know who and what God is. They don’t even want to know.

The Apostle Paul preached the truth of God to the Gentiles, who were steeped in deception and paganism. “Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown god. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:18-23). Anyone who will listen can uncover the mystery of God! Isn’t that amazing?

Anyone with an open mind can at least prove that God exists. Educational institutions today overwhelmingly point to evolution as the cause for human life. A rare few might believe in God, but only as a first cause. They do not want to know God! They entrench certain beliefs into the minds of their students instead of teaching how to think. God gave humans a mind like His own! Use it.

“The system of modern education has become entirely materialistic. The modern scientific concept denies the invisible and the spiritual as having existence. Yet all our seemingly unsolvable problems and the evils in this world are spiritual in nature” (ibid). Problems on Earth that are seemingly physical in nature actually have a spiritual cause: our human nature. It is naturally hostile toward God! (Romans 8:7). Because of human nature, people are passively, if not actively, hostile toward their Creator. Science will never discover that. The only way to get rid of human nature is by getting and using God’s Holy Spirit.

God Is a Family

The book of John records the earliest chronological point in the Bible. “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. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). This is the earliest revelation of who and what is God!

Before the angels, the universe, Earth and mankind, God and the Word existed; there was nothing else. The Word was the Spokesman of the God Family, or the God Kingdom at this point. He submitted perfectly to God’s will. These two eternal Beings lived in absolute peace and harmony.

But then, something changed between these two Gods. “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” (verse 14). God became the Father; the Word became the Son, Jesus Christ.

“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (verse 18). Christ came to Earth to declare His Father and the Family of God. The Father and the Son are preparing for the birth of billions more sons into the God Family. There is no third God called the Holy Spirit. There is no trinity.

Christ prophesied that so-called Christians in the end time would talk about Him instead of about His inspiring message about an endless family revolving around the Father (Matthew 24:3-5). Even God’s own people have failed to honor their Father! (Malachi 1:6). There is no bigger crisis in this age.

The Word transformed from spirit divinity to human flesh, begotten as a mortal human being inside Mary’s womb. He was crucified and killed by evil men who did not know who and what God is! His death and resurrection opened up the God Family to all mankind! All who have ever lived will have an opportunity to choose eternal life.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” (Genesis 1:26). Image means God’s character and mind. We are in God’s likeness, or physical appearance, already! God has a face and eyes and a nose and ears and hands and legs and feet and toes and hair. Jesus Christ looked like any other man. We look like God. Why? Because God is recreating Himself in us!

God challenges us to be led by Christ and to eradicate human nature. He expects us to become perfect just like He is! (Matthew 5:48). Life is wonderful when you develop God’s giving character. It will add real meaning to your life and fill you with joy and understanding.

Christ is the firstborn Son of countless more to be born into the God Family. Those who do God’s work before His Second Coming will even be the Bride of Christ! By knowing who and what is God, you can begin to grasp your incredible potential.

Week in Review: North Korea Sparks Asian Instability, EU Command Center, Iran’s Military Spending, and Much More

Week in Review: North Korea Sparks Asian Instability, EU Command Center, Iran’s Military Spending, and Much More

Getty Images (2),

All you need to know about everything in the news this week

Get all the important news from March 410: Download the Trumpet Weekly. Click here to receive your own copy by e-mail every week.


Europe to build military headquarters

  • European Union leaders approved on March 6 the creation of a new military headquarters.
  • EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said, “We are progressing steadily toward strengthened defense cooperation, and we will continue to do more.”
  • “It’s a first step,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. As for “a European army, maybe later.” The EU Observer said that some see the new headquarters as “the nucleus of a future European army.”

The rise of Iran’s financial empire

  • On Wednesday, the National Council of Resistance of Iran released a book titled Iran: The Rise of the Revolutionary Guards’ Financial Empire.
  • According to Rowan Scarborough, who reviewed the book in the Washington Times, “Iran has spent $11 billion alone on icbms [intercontinental ballistic missiles] from rogue state North Korea, based on a 2009 agreement.”
  • “Military spending has gone from $3 billion annually in 2008 to $13 billion in 2015. Tehran spends another $3.4 billion annually on internal security and $1.4 billion annually on the ‘export of fundamentalism.’”
  • Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote after the deal, “Iran changed nothing in its policies of aggression, subversion and sponsoring terrorism. It didn’t even say it would reform in any of these areas! Without giving in on anything, Iran was given all it needed in order to greatly accelerate its race toward getting the nuclear bomb.”

Hamas to change anti-Semitic charter

  • Hamas is set to update its foundational charter in a bid to reshape its public image.
  • The amendments to the 29-year-old document of the Gaza-based Palestinian group will be officially released in April, but here are some of the highlights: Hamas will endorse a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines; Hamas will officially break with the Muslim Brotherhood; Hamas will no longer be anti-Semitic.
  • Could this be the beginning of Hamas’s attempt to wrest complete control of the Palestinian cause from Fatah, not through an armed takeover, but rather a charm offensive that gets the international sponsors of the Palestinian cause on its side first?

Turkey and Germany fall out again

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likened the German government to Nazis on March 5, as relations between the two countries reached a new low.
  • In February, Turkish police held Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist and correspondent for Die Welt newspaper, for two weeks, before finally arresting and formally charging him. The incident led to outrage in Germany.
  • Two German local authorities seemingly retaliated by canceling rallies led by Turkish ministers who were campaigning for a “Yes” vote in Turkey’s constitutional referendum.
  • Erdoğan lambasted German authorities, saying, “Germany, you have no notion of democracy,” he said. “Your practices are not different from the Nazis of the past.”
  • The Telegraph reported Erdoğan saying, “I’ll come tomorrow if I want to, and if you do not let me in, or try to stop me speaking, I’ll start an insurrection.”

Other news:

  • On Monday, North Korea fired four missiles toward Japan. Three of them fell within 200 nautical miles of Japan’s coast.
  • Russia and China both now have the capacity to carry out critical cyberattacks on other nations that is significantly ahead of American capacity to defend against such attacks, a new government report says.

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One Difference Between Ordinary Men and Men of Genius

One Difference Between Ordinary Men and Men of Genius

National Archives (United Kingdom)

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on March 10.

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill blasted a warning about the dangers of Nazi Germany. Nobody in power heeded his message until it was too late. Churchill’s foresight and focus on the dangers at hand set him apart from all the leaders of his day. History regards him as the man who saved Western civilization. What is it that set this man apart? Find out on today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

Russia and China Dangerously Ahead of America in Cyberattack Ability

Russia and China Dangerously Ahead of America in Cyberattack Ability

Army Cyber/Flickr

Russia and China both now have the capacity to carry out critical cyberattacks on other nations that is significantly ahead of American capacity to defend against such attacks, a new government report says.

The report from the United States government’s Defense Science Board Task Force on Cyber Deterrence was based on a two-year analysis. It says:

The United States gains tremendous economic, social and military advantages from cyberspace. However, our pursuit of these advantages has created extensive dependencies on highly vulnerable information technologies and industrial control systems. As a result, U.S. national security is at unacceptable and growing risk. Over the past several years, the United States has been subjected to cyberattacks and costly cyber intrusions by various actors ….

Some examples of such attacks have been China’s ongoing cybertheft of the intellectual property of American companies, and Russia’s hacking and publishing data from various American organizations in an effort to erode confidence in the U.S. political system.

The report says such incidents as these stand out from the constant onslaught of cyber intrusions assailing the U.S. on a daily basis because “their impact goes beyond data collection, to impose some form of harm on the United States.”

The report, published on February 23, continues:

[M]ajor powers (e.g., Russia and China) have a significant and growing ability to hold U.S. critical infrastructure at risk via cyberattack, and an increasing potential to also use cyber to thwart U.S. military responses to any such attacks. This emerging situation threatens to place the United States in an untenable strategic position. Although progress is being made to reduce the pervasive cyber vulnerabilities of U.S. critical infrastructure, the unfortunate reality is that, for at least the next decade, the offensive cyber capabilities of our most capable adversaries are likely to far exceed the United States’ ability to defend key critical infrastructures.

Secondary powers such as Iran and North Korea also have a “growing potential’” to use native or third-party cyberweapons to execute “catastrophic attacks” on American infrastructure, according to the document.

Perhaps the most chilling sentence of the 44-page report concerns the threat posed specifically to America’s cyber-dependent military infrastructure: “The U.S. military itself has a deep and extensive dependence on information technology as well, creating a massive attack surface.”

Defense Science Board chairman Craig Fields said he expected the gap between America’s defenses and its vulnerability to only grow wider: “[T]he cyberthreat to U.S. critical infrastructure is outpacing efforts to reduce pervasive vulnerabilities,” he said. “[A] more proactive and systematic approach to U.S. cyberdeterrence is urgently needed.”

Back in June of 1999, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned about “America’s Achilles’ heel”—meaning its dependence on technology coupled with the vulnerability of its computer-based systems.

He put this vulnerability in the context of recent history:

One of the main reasons we won World War ii was because the British broke German radio code. We knew about most of their war plans in advance! Quite a gigantic advantage. Some experts think we would have lost the war without that knowledge. We could lose the next war before we even begin, if somebody breaks our military codes.

The new Defense Science Board report shows that Mr. Flurry’s assessment was spot on, and that the U.S.’s “Achilles’ heel” is now more vulnerable than ever to attacks by Russia, China and others. To understand the details about why this is such an alarming reality, read “America’s Achilles’ Heel.”

Hamas to Change Anti-Semitic Charter

Is Hamas about to begin a new charm offensive on the West?

JERUSALEM—Hamas is set to update its foundational charter in a bid to reshape its public image. The amendments to the 29-year-old document of the Gaza-based Palestinian group will be officially released in April. However, some details of the forthcoming changes were reported in Asharq al-Awsat on March 7.

Here are three of the more dramatic changes, as relayed by Hamas sources, all of which will likely give the terrorist group a cleaner public image:

1. Hamas will endorse a Palestinian state with 1967 borders.

According to Dov Leiber of Times of Israel, the endorsement of a Palestinian state following 1967 is a “monumental shift from the group’s long-held policy of reclaiming all of historic Palestine.”

Previously, it was Hamas’s position that any acceptance of boundaries within Israel meant a peace deal with Israel and was therefore tacit recognition of the State of Israel. Now, Hamas is accepting the 1967 lines, but without first recognizing the State of Israel. The update of the charter likely reflects the main thrust of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2334 passed in December 2016, which calls all Jews living inside the territory held by Jordan before 1967 illegal occupiers.

The previous position of the UNSC was that Palestinians would receive the West Bank as part of their new state only after first recognizing Israel’s right to exist alongside them. Now that world opinion favors the view that the West Bank is already Palestinian land, Hamas does not need to recognize Israel to gain its state. Hamas accepting the 1967 lines is not the same as Hamas accepting two states for two peoples.

2. Hamas will officially break with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Asharq al-Awsat described its source as saying that the charter will also state Hamas’s “separation from any foreign body or organization—in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.” Hamas was founded in 1987 as the Palestinian branch of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Since Iran took over as Hamas’s main sponsor in the early 2000s, however, the group’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood has weakened.

While Hamas insists it will continue its strategy of resisting Israel after the new charter comes into effect, separating from the Muslim Brotherhood and its reputation for terrorism will possibly improve Hamas’s own reputation internationally.

Given that the Trumpet has expected the Muslim Brotherhood to return to power in Egypt, and the Egyptians to shift away from the Palestinians, this move by Hamas to cut ties forebodes that event.

3. Hamas will no longer be anti-Semitic.

Hamas has fought three major wars against the Jewish state since seizing Gaza in 2007 and just elected a man that practically invented the terror tunnel strategy, whereby Palestinians tunnel into Israeli territory in order to commit terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

Hamas now sees, however, that it is politically expedient to expunge the most virulent hate speech from its charter, some of which includes the claims that the Jews were behind both world wars as well as numerous other injustices against humanity.

Asharq al-Awsat’s Hamas sources say that one new change to the charter “strictly defines animosity against occupying forces, and not Jews in an attempt to shake off accusations of anti-Semitism.”

By removing the overtly anti-Semitic remarks in its charter and instead focusing on the resistance against the “occupation,” Hamas again puts itself in line with international consensus.

These three updates to its charter indicate that Hamas wants to change its image, no doubt for the purpose of gaining a strategic advantage. While Hamas will continue its terrorist activities against Israel, as well as its unveiled anti-Semitic rhetoric, these changes will make Hamas a more palatable option for Western nations in regards to future peace negotiations with Israel. It will also likely increase Hamas’s favor among West Bank Palestinians, who have generally sided with Hamas’s more moderate rival, Fatah.

This may be the beginning of Hamas’s attempt to wrest complete control of the Palestinian cause from Fatah—not through an armed takeover but rather through a charm offensive that gets the international sponsors of the Palestinian cause on its side first.

The Trumpet has long expected Hamas to become the voice of the Palestinian people to the international community, as well as to claim leadership inside the West Bank. While its words might change to help achieve its aims, Bible prophecy indicates that it will be a hard-nosed Palestinian group with a strategy of violence that will fight the Jews in order to claim East Jerusalem as its own. That event will mark the first domino to fall in a chain of events that leads to the greatest event yet witnessed in Jerusalem. For a complete understanding of the role that Hamas will play in end-time prophecy, please request Jerusalem in Prophecy by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.