Will Brexit Solve All of Britain’s Problems?

A look at the optimism of Britain’s vindicated euroskeptics
From the February 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Recently I attended a Bruges Group event celebrating the string of efforts that had culminated in Brexit. Many of the original Maastricht Rebels, a group of politicians who opposed the treaty to establish the common euro in 1992, attended the event. Nearly everyone there had something in common: They believe Brexit has saved Britain from disaster.

Andrew Roberts, a brilliant historian, delivered the main speech. He said he was part of a small minority of historians who had supported the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union. Just before the vote, over 300 historians signed a letter declaring Brexit would “condemn Britain to irrelevance.” Roberts proudly revealed that he had signed a letter declaring the opposite. But only four historians did so with him.

Roberts tried to put Brexit in its historical context from multiple angles. He talked about Europe’s right-wing movements gaining popularity; whether Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill would have been “Brexiteers” (his answer was an emphatic “Yes!”); a possible new canzuk Union (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom); Antonio Gramsci and the left’s hold on universities; comparisons between the 1930s and now (“appeasers now read remainers”).

But Roberts’s main point was that Great Britain had a “separate historical architecture” from Europe. In 1848, revolutions spread across the Continent. Germans, Italians and Austrians rose up against their rulers demanding more liberal constitutions; the most notable uprising happened in France: the February Revolution. But in Britain, there was no 1848 revolution. Magna Carta had been drafted in 1215, and England’s Glorious Revolution had happened nearly 200 years earlier, in 1688.

So in a room full of euroskeptics and campaigners for Brexit, the mood was as optimistic as could be. They had been vindicated! Finally the people were fighting back against the establishment, rejecting the rule of bureaucratic elites on a different continent, and pushing for a free Britain. Against the pollsters, media outlets, overseas banks, conservative Tories and accusations of racism, the people had voted for self-governance.

While details remained to be settled (new trade deals, new alliances and thousands of other matters involved in leaving the EU), the main battle was won. The mood in the room was that Britain would now enjoy a utopia of trade partnerships, economic freedom and the chance to solve every problem the stuffy EU Parliament had imposed on them. It was the Enlightenment all over again—Britain free to govern with reason!

The Trumpet acknowledges many of the reasons Britain would benefit from leaving the EU. Britain’s history is different from mainland Europe’s, and the EU was never designed to put Britain’s interests first. But there is something the optimistic Brexiteers are overlooking.

For a group of conservatives, it was surprising that there was no mention of human nature at the conference. Two prominent political ideologies in the Western world are realism and idealism. The realist views the world as a stage of conflict among actors seeking power; the idealist believes that progress toward peace is something close to inevitable.

There was no acknowledgment that Britain’s governance problems will remain after leaving the EU. There was no talk of the fundamental problems in British society: crime, immorality, selfishness, corruption, liberalism and all the rest. Britain, simply by virtue of cutting ties to the Continent, would suddenly solve all its problems. Years of cultural and societal decay would be wiped away. Human nature was limited to Brussels; Britain, only, had the moral qualities to lead itself.

In his book Mystery of the Ages, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote of the continual failures of man’s forms of governments. In the process of describing the only alternative, he wrote: “It will not be so-called democracy. It will not be socialism. It will not be communism or fascism. It will not be human monarchy, oligarchy or plutocracy. It will not be man’s government over man. Man has proven his utter incapability of ruling himself.”

It’s not that Brexit may not be the better alternative. It’s not that Britain can’t rule its citizens from home better than politicians in Brussels can. It’s that mankind has always failed to establish lasting, successful government, and it always will fail.

Families, cities, nations and empires prove this truth daily. Man, on his own, fails to produce peace in his own domestic life, but thinks he can find it on a national scale. Without God’s guidance, man has continually proven that human nature prevents him from ruling other men in a peaceful, just way.

Mr. Armstrong explained the biblical view of America and Britain’s future. In fact, back in 1956, Mr. Armstrong predicted that Britain would not be part of the EU: “Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe. But Britain will be no part of it.”

Britain and America, Mr. Armstrong wrote, would decline because of their immorality and rejection of God. He said these previously blessed nations were having their blessings removed.

Will Brexit solve all of Britain’s problems? No. But not for the reason many think. It’s because the nation will still have government by humans, and no matter how hard we try, we humans consistently show that we can’t govern ourselves in a way that solves all our problems.

Superpower Europe

iStock.com/bluejayphoto

What to expect when Europe assumes the role of a global superpower

Listen to the Trumpet Daily live each day at 7:00 am (CST) on Trumpet Radio.

With the dust now settling on the recent United States presidential election, many prominent voices in Europe are calling for the European Union—and for Germany in particular—to step up and fill the void left by an increasingly isolationist America. For nearly a century, the U.S. has been the undisputed leader of the free world. But with America abdicating this global role, it is now Europe’s turn to step forward.

Hebert W. Armstrong warned about the rise of a German-led united Europe as far back as the 1950s. He was able to make that bold forecast due to detailed Bible prophecies about the Holy Roman Empire.

Europe’s rapid ascent as a global superpower is leading to the fulfillment of the most dramatic and exciting prophecy in the Bible. On this episode of the Trumpet Daily, we explore where events in Europe today are leading.

Hidden Danger in Keeping Christmas?

Family time together and the life of Jesus Christ are both wonderful. But does God want us to celebrate these things by keeping Christmas?

Week in Review: Is War in Syria Over?, Galileo Goes Live, China Threatens Taiwan, Germany in Mideast, and Much More

Week in Review: Is War in Syria Over?, Galileo Goes Live, China Threatens Taiwan, Germany in Mideast, and Much More

Stephane Corvaja/ESA/Getty Images, GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images, Sean Gallup/Getty Images, Jawad al Rifai/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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

Get all the important news from December 10–16 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.

Highlights:

More conflict in Syria

  • A ceasefire in Aleppo, Syria, unraveled on Wednesday. It resumed on Thursday, but it appeared to have temporarily collapsed again on Friday.
  • “Aleppo was liberated thanks to a coalition between Iran, Syria, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah,” said a top Iranian official. “Iran is on one side of this coalition, which is approaching victory, and this has shown our strength. The new American president should take heed of the powers of Iran.”
  • However, as the Wall Street Journal noted, the fall of Aleppo does not mean Assad’s forces can claim victory in Syria just yet. As Aleppo was being conquered, the Islamic State was retaking the Syrian city of Palmyra from government forces.
  • Europe’s GPS goes live

  • Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system officially went live on December 15 after 17 years of preparations.
  • “Galileo will underpin the common European defense policy that the member states have decided to establish,” wrote European Union directorate-general for transport and energy back in 2002. The system now has 18 operation satellites. It needs 24 to be fully operational and become more accurate than America’s gps system.
  • Europe’s Galileo system reveals its superpower ambition, as we explained in our article “The Quiet Space Race.”
  • ‘Peace does not belong to cowards’

  • In response to comments by United States President-elect Donald Trump that the U.S. would not necessarily be bound by the one-China policy regarding Taiwan, Beijing said it should be prepared to take Taiwan by military force.
  • China’s state-run Global Times, which is a mouthpiece for the Communist Party, said Trump’s statements give China no reason to “put peace above using force to take back Taiwan.”
  • It also wrote that “the future of Taiwan must not be shaped by the [main ruling party in Taiwan] and Washington, but by the Chinese mainland.”
  • “[T]he Chinese mainland should display its resolution to recover Taiwan by force. Peace does not belong to cowards.”
  • Germany transfers weapons to Jordan

  • German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen met with King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman on December 11 as she shores up Middle Eastern allies in the fight against terrorism.
  • Jordan received 16 “Marder” armored vehicles from Germany. It will receive an additional 34 vehicles by the end of next year.
  • According to Spiegel Online, Germany is considering establishing a base in Jordan as part of the anti-Islamic State mission.
  • Other news:

  • China has deployed advanced weapons systems, including antimissile configurations, on all seven of the islands it has built in the South China Sea.
  • A growing number of today’s youth appear to be giving up on democracy as a viable form of government, according to a report by Harvard University researcher Yascha Mounk and University of Melbourne political scientist Roberto Stefan Foa titled “The Danger of Deconsolidation.”
  • A new study published by jama Internal Medicine on Monday showed that one in six American adults is taking at least one psychiatric drug.
  • Get the details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    China Says It Should Prepare to Invade Taiwan

    China Says It Should Prepare to Invade Taiwan

    GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

    Beijing is furious that United States President-elect Donald Trump said that the U.S. would not necessarily be bound by the one-China policy. In response, China is saying it should be prepared to take Taiwan by military force.

    The one-China policy is a diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s view that Taiwan is not an independent, sovereign, democratic nation, but is instead a breakaway province of Communist China that will eventually be reincorporated under mainland rule. Since 1979, the policy has underpinned ties between Washington and Beijing, and has allowed the U.S. only a nonofficial relationship with Taiwan.

    Mr. Trump suggested on December 11 that he might wish to use the policy as a bargaining chip in the U.S.-China relationship. “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox News. He mentioned China’s currency manipulation, trade tariffs, military buildup in the South China Sea, and relationship with North Korea as areas where Beijing may need to make concessions.

    These statements came just nine days after Mr. Trump had angered China by accepting a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, marking the first contact between an American president or president-elect and a Taiwanese leader since 1979.

    The day after Trump’s interview with Fox, China’s state-run Global Times, which is a mouthpiece for the Communist Party, said Trump’s statements give China no reason to “put peace above using force to take back Taiwan.”

    On December 14, the paper ramped up the rhetoric further, writing: “The Chinese mainland should display its resolution to recover Taiwan by force.”

    It said:

    It might be time for the Chinese mainland to reformulate its Taiwan policy, make the use of force as a main option, and carefully prepare for it. Once Taiwan independence forces violate the Anti-Secession Law, the Chinese mainland can in no time punish them militarily. Moreover, getting ready to achieve reunification through the use of force can pose a serious deterrence to Taiwan independence.The military status quo across the Taiwan Straits needs to be reshaped as a response and punishment to the current administration of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (dpp) destruction of the political status quo in cross-Straits ties. …The future of Taiwan must not be shaped by the dpp and Washington, but by the Chinese mainland. It is hoped that peace in the Taiwan Straits won’t be disrupted. But the Chinese mainland should display its resolution to recover Taiwan by force. Peace does not belong to cowards.

    The Times further said that “time will tell” whether the Trump administration will “willfully utilize the one-China policy as leverage to blackmail Beijing or restrain itself in actual practice.”

    “In any case, the current farce has made China vigilant,” it wrote. “It is possible for Washington to activate the Taiwan card in a crude manner at any moment.”

    In 1998, Bill Clinton became the first American president to publicly oppose Taiwanese independence. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said Clinton’s stance meant it was only a matter of time before Taiwan would come under China’s rule. In “Taiwan Betrayal” from the August 1998 Trumpet, Mr. Flurry wrote:

    The Chinese leaders pressured the president and America to speak against our freedom-loving friends [in Taiwan]. The people of Taiwan fear for their future. They feel betrayed. … Once again, America has showcased its broken will to the whole world. … How could anyone fail to see that Taiwan is destined to become a part of mainland China? These 21 million people are going to be forced into the Chinese mold; and it is going to happen for one reason: because of a pitifully weak-willed America. Does freedom really mean so little to us?

    At the time that was written, the idea of Taiwan becoming assimilated into China may have seemed likely only in the distant future. But now, with Mr. Trump saying Taiwan could be a bargaining chip, and with China talking seriously about the need to use military force to settle the issue, that forecast could soon come to pass.

    Europe Asks: Who Am I?

    Europe Asks: Who Am I?

    iStock.com/KeithBinns

    Europe’s identity crisis as seen from its diary

    Dear Diary,

    These last two years have been really hard on me. Millions of refugees streamed over my coastlines and settled in various places. At first I thought it wouldn’t be that bad: This is a multicultural continent, after all. I thought I could handle it. But something was different. They were different; I could feel it. But what made them different, or what is it that differentiates me from them? I started questioning: Who and what am I?

    Why are some of my people so hostile toward the refugees? Why are populists who promise to get rid of them gaining admiration? I have given them so much, so why do they sometimes attack me? Why is there a “them” and a “me” in the first place?

    As these millions of refugees streamed onto this continent, I told them emphatically that they have to adapt to European values and culture. That was nicely said, but what does that mean in practical terms? What values and what culture should they adapt to?

    This continent of about 50 countries has different ethnicities, languages, religions, cultures, laws, hopes, dreams and goals. So what values are the refugees supposed to adopt?

    I came to realize that I forgot who I am. I forgot what unites my countries, and what differentiates me from other continents. As the refugee crisis hit, each nation wanted to do its own thing. As the famous saying goes, “A house divided against itself shall not stand.” My nations can’t stand when they are so divided. That means I must find out who I am and who my citizens are; only then can I tell the refugees what they need to adapt to. I have to learn what it is that keeps Europe together.

    I pondered this very question some 60 years ago, and I thought I found the answer: economics. We all want to prosper, and that common desire, I thought, would drive my nations together as a unified continent. I thought that vision, above all else, would cause us to work as one body—a body that could compete with the giant powers of the West and East. I really believed that I found the aspiration that would give us the power, passion, zeal and excitement to overcome all obstacles, resist all opponents, conquer all enemies, and catapult us to greatness!

    I quickly realized that this was an illusion.

    Economics didn’t give us the unity that I hoped it would. While some of my countries managed to get together in the 1950s and ’60s, I realized that we still had too many differences. We needed common laws. The European Community was created to solve these divisions. This later grew into the European Union. Its headquarters is now in Brussels, Belgium. But the struggle between EU law and national parliaments continues. My members can’t agree on the simplest terms. They are more concerned about themselves than our common goals. That became clear in the euro crisis and now even more so in the refugee crisis.

    Despite all my efforts to unite my different members together, I frequently hear murmurings against my plans for unity. Some say that the EU is a headless Frankenstein monster, an apparatus that overburdens its members and yet is unable to save Europe from disasters.

    But I didn’t want to listen to them. I didn’t give up on this vision of uniting my people. I was still convinced that it would all work out. I hoped that we would all come together and solve the problems we faced.

    But then the refugee crisis made even me realize that I have to be more than just an economic union. I had to find something that holds us all together despite opposition. I closely observed how my members reacted to the crisis.

    One of my strongest members, Germany, started to open its borders: taking up the challenge of letting hundreds of thousands of refugees across, hoping the nations around it would work together and do the same. That didn’t happen. Other nations bluntly refused to take a certain quota of refugees. Some said, Let’s help, but they have to integrate. Others simply rejected them altogether.

    I could not see any way that an agreement could be found. So I looked at the people of the individual countries, trying to find one reaction they all share.

    My members tried to find ways to assimilate the refugees with our people. Different integration policies developed. A few had some success, but most failed.

    Instead of peaceful integration and cooperation, I saw many refugee homes set on fire. The migrants were despised, hated, ridiculed and mocked for what they are and where they came from. Some simply hated them for their religion. If they would just give up Islam, they could live with us, they reasoned. Populists who promised to treat foreigners as foreigners gained popularity.

    Terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany escalated the situation. On top of that, the Cologne attacks saw hundreds of women sexually assaulted and even raped.

    Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on July 28 about the Bavarian reaction to the series of attacks in their homeland (Trumpet translation throughout):

    A dark cloud of fear, anger and resentment moved over Bavaria. There is no need to scroll through the internet to get an impression of the current mood. It’s the more casual conversations at the bakery and on the street where the hatred toward refugees, blacks and politics in general wells over. An Islamic assassination or a killing spree—nobody here holds to such fine distinctions.

    A general hatred for all foreigners seems to be growing. It is not the refugees themselves who are hated; the hatred is directed against Islam. The Christian Social Union (csu), which rules more than 50 percent of the parliament in Bavaria, came out with the slogan “Germany must remain Germany.”

    Tagesspiegel commented on the csu’s new agenda: “What stands out is not only the rejection of Islamism but also of Islam, as well as the summoning of the Christian culture.” The csu clearly names the differences between the refugees and me. They are Islamic and I am Christian. Hence, the csu favors all immigrants who share that Christian culture.

    Is that the answer to my question? Are all my members able to identify with that Christian culture? Is that the answer to what and who I am?

    The Charlemagne Prize

    I am reminded of a prize given out every year to remember the great works that Charlemagne did for Europe. He was the first to unite much of Europe under one leadership—a dream I still have today. Charlemagne had even bigger challenges than I have today, and yet he found a way to bring unity. How he did this is remarkable, and I believe that I can still learn from it.

    The refugee crisis seems to be the perfect disaster I needed to wake up and show me my weaknesses. By being presented with what I am not, I am starting to learn again who I am.

    Charlemagne helped to affirm Europe’s Christian identity. He tried to convert every nation he conquered to Catholicism. That way he knew that they would stay loyal to the Holy Roman Empire he sought to establish.

    Although there were still different ethnicities and nationalities, there was one identity: Christianity. Everything else was an enemy. That is what united my countries anciently and can unite us again.

    But do I have to tell these refugees that if they want to live here they have to convert to Christianity? What about the millions of other Muslims and religious entities that already live here? Do they have to change too? And what’s next? Do I then try to convert the whole world, attempting to make it a better place?

    I am Europe after all. I may have temporarily suffered a crisis of identity, but I am starting to remember who I am.

    To learn about the identity Europe lost, read “The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe.”