Who Will Defend Eastern Europe?

Who Will Defend Eastern Europe?

PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s praise for Vladimir Putin has people from Estonia to Ukraine nervously looking over their shoulders.
From the March 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Every few weeks, Bärbel Salumäe leaves her husband and two daughters for a weekend. She doesn’t spend her weekend off at an Estonian day spa; she spends it in the forest outside her village, holding a rifle. Salumäe is a member of the Estonian Defense League, and is training to defend her country from a Russian invasion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in early 2014 struck fear in the hearts of many Estonians. Their country has only been independent from Russia for 25 years. Now that Putin is regaining the motherland’s lost territory, many in the Baltics fear they may be next on his hit list.

Salumäe is only 29 years old, but she had older relatives who disappeared in the Soviet gulags. In a personal way, she knows the Cold War glory days of Russia that Putin extols are far darker than he claims.

About 15,000 men and women have joined the Estonian Defense League, a volunteer militia that trains citizens in how to wage guerrilla war against an occupying force. Estonia’s tiny 6,000-person military doesn’t stand a chance against Russia’s 845,000-person juggernaut, but the league trains private citizens to use automatic rifles and prepares them to form a home guard that could hamper a successful Russian occupation.

“My husband says that if there is a war, he and the kids will take a boat to Sweden,” Salumäe told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “They plan to leave right away, out over the Baltic Sea. He made it clear that I should follow. But I will have a war location and a duty to my country. Of course, I cannot say how it would feel if it was serious; if the children stood on the beach and cried and I had to say goodbye” (Nov. 22, 2016).

Many Estonians are concerned that the inauguration of United States President Donald Trump may make a Russian invasion of the Baltic states more likely. While campaigning last July, Trump suggested to the New York Times that he might withhold U.S. involvement in any defense of the Baltics if those nations had not met the nato requirement of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Estonia spends 2.2 percent of its gdp on defense, but Latvia and Lithuania set aside less than 1.5 percent. So many people, including Salumäe, say they are confused about America’s commitment to the defense of Eastern Europe.

The mere prospect of a thaw in relations between Washington and the Kremlin has heightened the anxiety across Eastern Europe. The Trumpet confidently forecasts that the fear currently driving Eastern Europeans to join volunteer militias will undoubtedly play a major role in bringing Eastern Europe into stronger military unification with Western Europe in fulfillment of Bible prophecies of a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

Running From Russia

The 15,000 men and women in the Estonian Defense League are not the only people fearful of a Russian invasion. About 9,000 people have joined Latvia’s Home Guard, and 10,000 have joined Lithuania’s Riflemen’s Union. There is only one real purpose for these militias: to resist Russian occupation. Last December, Poland’s senate approved a volunteer defense force to begin recruiting up to 50,000 people.

In eastern Ukraine, many combatants in volunteer battalions have been absorbed into the Ukrainian military to fight against pro-Russian insurgents—who themselves are reportedly being reinforced by Russian troops. The Ukrainian volunteers are not professional soldiers; they are citizens fighting for their country. “Without us, the situation would be far more grievous,” Vitaly Feshenko, a former furniture salesman, told the New York Times. “We are lawyers, businessmen and housewives” (Nov. 22, 2014).

Over the past decade, Vladimir Putin’s military has conquered more than 35,000 square miles of territory for Russia. These conquests include the de facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia during Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008; the de jure annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, at the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and the so-called soft annexation of the self-styled People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in 2015, where fighting is still ongoing.

In addition to these military conquests, Putin maintains a sizable military task force in the self-proclaimed republic of Transnistria, an autonomous region of Moldova that borders western Ukraine. He has also deployed, to the Russian side of the border in the east, 55,000 troops armed with nuclear-capable munitions and ready to overwhelm Ukraine and possibly other former Soviet states.

Right now, Russia’s military is more powerful than at any point since the end of the Cold War, in spite of the fact that its economy is suffering from falling energy prices and Western sanctions forcing the Kremlin to cut next year’s defense budget by about 30 percent. Since Putin rose to power 17 years ago, Russia has spent billions modernizing nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles, anti-aircraft systems, fighter jets and warships. Putin has transformed Russia’s always-intimidating military into a leaner, meaner fighting force capable of and now experienced in invading other nations.

Putin has stationed 330,000 troops along his country’s European border, thus provoking many European nations to remilitarize. Ukraine increased its military budget by 26 percent the year after its eastern territory erupted in war; Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania increased their collective spending on new military equipment by 85 percent between 2014 and 2016. Poland has hiked military spending 22 percent since the Russian annexation of Crimea.

However, military spending and volunteer militias are not long-term guarantees for Eastern Europe against Russian aggression. To stay free of Russia’s clutches, these nations need a superpower’s protection, and they know it. According to nato and the post-Cold War order, that superpower has been the United States. But America’s new administration has indicated it may be unwilling or unable to guarantee Eastern Europe’s safety. These nations can either subject themselves to Russia, fight the Red Army with small arms, or look elsewhere for an ally.

No Trust in America

When Eastern European nations gained their freedom from the Soviets,they placed their trust in America. In the 26 years since, however, many of them have become bitterly disillusioned.

During his 2005 visit to Georgia, President George W. Bush told an audience of 150,000 people that, “As you build a free and democratic Georgia, the American people will stand with you.”

The Georgian people learned the hard way that American promises were empty rhetoric.

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia was a strong U.S. ally, yet when Russia invaded his country in 2008, no help came from America. As one Georgian soldier told the New York Times in the aftermath of Georgia’s inevitable defeat: “We killed as many of them as we could, but where are our friends?”

To the northeast, President Petro Poroshenko maintained Ukraine’s strong alliance with the U.S. But when Russia invaded his country in 2014, America did not help. The U.S., Britain and Russia signed an agreement with Ukraine in 1994 promising to ensure that nation’s territorial integrity in exchange for the Ukrainians forfeiting their nuclear weapons. Since then, Russia has taken Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk, and the Obama administration simply ignored the promise.

The Ukrainians learned the hard way that American promises were empty rhetoric.

So although U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham traveled to Estonia last December to promise the people of the Baltics that America will never abandon them, many people see that it already has.

Seventeen leading officials from Central and Eastern European countries—including Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia and Sweden—penned a letter to then President-elect Donald Trump on January 9 arguing that lifting sanctions against Russia or accepting its aggression against Ukraine would be “a grave mistake.”

They received a response when, only a week later, Mr. Trump told the Times of London and Bild that the nato alliance was obsolete and indicated that he was open to lifting sanctions on Russia as part of a nuclear weapons reduction deal. “They have sanctions on Russia—let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia,'’ he said. “For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it.'’

Comments like this from an American president demoralize Eastern European leaders. America’s will is broken, and Russia, Europe and the rest of the world know it!

Turning to Germany

After Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, the Czech government made an about-face and signed the Treaty of Lisbon, colloquially known as the European Union’s constitution. This turnaround was brought about largely due to the efforts of Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, who wrote in an editorial published by the Czech daily Mladá Fronta dnes, “It’s by far better to kiss the German chancellor than to hug the Russian bear” (Nov. 20, 2008).

In many ways, that sentiment has defined Eastern European politics for the past decade. After President Obama scrapped the previous administration’s plans for a European missile defense shield in 2009, Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski transformed from the region’s most prominent transatlanticist to its top advocate for European integration. He famously delivered a speech in November 2011 actually calling for Germany to lead Europe.

“I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is,” he announced: “I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.”

Now that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is threatening the Baltics, Germany has woken up to the fact that Europe will no longer be able to rely on America to guarantee its security.

In a speech delivered in Brussels on January 12, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned European leaders of this fact. “I am convinced that Europe and the EU must learn to take more responsibility in the world in the future,” she said. “Let’s not fool ourselves: From the viewpoint of some of our traditional partners, and I’m thinking of transatlantic ties, there is no guarantee of perpetuity for close cooperation with us Europeans.”

The German leader insisted that only a united Europe could solve crises like Russian aggression in Ukraine.

For years, one of the main arguments levied against the concept of a pan-European military is that such a fighting force would fatally undermine nato by creating a competing command structure. Now that President Trump has openly proclaimed nato to be obsolete, however, the architects of such an EU army have more impetus to finish their project. In an ironic twist of geopolitics, both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump are goading Europe into becoming an independent military superpower capable of standing up to both Russia and America!

Resurrected Holy Roman Empire

Europe has been comparatively peaceful over the past seven decades, but it is no stranger to military might, empire and war. Russia has its formula for greatness, but so does Europe.

Renowned educator and unofficial ambassador for world peace Herbert W. Armstrong forecast for decades that Europe would produce a military superstate that would include nations from its west and east. Even in the midst of the Cold War, when Eastern Europe was essentially part of Russia, trapped behind the Iron Curtain, Mr. Armstrong insisted that at least some of these nations would break free and join this European superstate.

This wasn’t just a good guess; it was based on Bible prophecy. Daniel 2 records a vision of a giant statue representing the powerful Gentile empires that would rule the world from the time of Daniel until the day Jesus Christ returns. The image’s head of gold represented King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian Empire, the chest of silver symbolized the Medo-Persian Empire, and the belly of bronze represented the Greco-Macedonian Empire.

The statue’s two legs of iron represented the Roman Empire. The legs of the statue were divided, just as the Roman Empire would be divided between its western capital in Rome and its eastern capital in Constantinople.

The original Roman Empire fell in a.d. 476, yet other prophecies in Daniel 7, Revelation 13 and 17 reveal that the Roman Empire was to be resurrected 10 times. That empire has, in fact, been resurrected nine times and has already reawakened for the 10th time. And just as each foot of the Daniel 2 image has five toes, so the final resurrection of the Roman Empire is forecasted to be composed of five nations from the general area of the western Roman Empire and five nations from the general area of the eastern Roman Empire.

In the April 1980 issue of the Plain Truth magazine, Mr. Armstrong further predicted that fear of Russia and bitterness toward the United States would be among the catalysts driving European unification.

“You may be sure the West European leaders are conferring hurriedly and secretly about how and how soon they may unite and provide a united European military force so they can defend themselves!” he wrote. “And so they will no longer have to give in meekly to Russia! And who will they blame for their humiliation and their necessity now to have a united Europe, with a united government, a common currency, and a common military force as great or greater than either the ussr or the U.S.A.? They will blame the United States! And when they are strong enough to assert themselves, they will first attack Britain for standing firm with the U.S., and then they will return a lot of hydrogen bombs the U.S. has stored now in Europe!”

This process has probably taken longer than many European leaders expected, but today we see Eastern Europeans desperately pleading with Germany to step up and lead a European military force capable of defending them from the aggressive expansionism of Vladimir Putin and the complacent indifference of Donald Trump. This 10-nation military superpower will be the force that ignites World War iii!

Yet the prophecy of Daniel 2 does not conclude with the two legs of iron. It concludes with the toes, the legs and the entire, great monument of human empires being smashed to dust by a stone from heaven. This stone then grows into a mountain that fills the whole Earth (verses 34-35). The Prophet Daniel explains the meaning of this mysterious symbol with this inspiring verse: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (verse 44).

The end of the Daniel 2 prophecy is about God smashing all repressive forms of human government and establishing a kingdom that ushers in a reign of unprecedented peace and prosperity.

Sadly, Estonia, Ukraine, Europe, America, Russia, Asia and the rest of humanity are going to have to experience a lot of suffering in the time immediately ahead because we insist on rejecting God and relying instead on arms, promises, alliances and nuclear weapons. We don’t realize it, but we are proving the point we are trying to disprove: Human beings simply are not capable of justly ruling themselves! The good news—for Bärbel Salumäe and the rest of mankind—is that we are now approaching a time when we can almost count the days until Christ returns to defend Eastern Europeans and all of humanity from our own misguided and fatal attempts at governing each other and ourselves.

China Exploits U.S. Retreat, Seeks World Leadership

China Exploits U.S. Retreat, Seeks World Leadership

Eric Murata/Wikimedia Commons

And America is more than happy to accommodate Beijing’s ambitions.

As America steps back from the world, China has been keen to step forward. Beijing’s latest charm offensive occurred January 17, when President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to attend the Davos World Economic Forum, the venue at which European and American elites have long assembled to establish the framework for global affairs.

Mr. Xi delivered a speech in the Swiss city proclaiming China as the new champion of globalization and free trade.

“Some people blame globalization for chaos of our world, but our problems are not caused by globalization,” he said, in a thinly veiled attack on new United States President Donald Trump. “They are caused by war and conflict,” he said.

Writing for the Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard explained the significance of Mr. Xi’s speech (emphasis added throughout):

China’s leader Xi Jinping swept into Davos as the champion of free trade and the unlikely guardian of the international order, throwing down the gauntlet to the incoming Trump administration with a theatrical flourish. …His star appearance is packed with geostrategic symbolism. It comes just days before Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president, and as America turns in on itself, openly wishing to cede direction of the international system for the first time in three quarters of a century.

While President Trump questions U.S. alliances and partnerships, China’s president is extending his hand to America’s jilted friends and allies. “While Trump focuses on building up the U.S. Navy to counter China, Beijing is gobbling up the other segments of global relations that used to be dominated by the U.S.,” wrote David Axe for the Daily Beast (“Donald Trump Is Handing China the World”).

President Trump wants to build a bigger and better Navy. “But,” writes Axe, “the new, bigger fleet will come too late to save America from a rising China.” He continues:

That’s because Trump’s other initiatives—rejecting foreign alliances, throwing up barriers to global trade and withdrawing from efforts to combat climate change—are creating a power vacuum that China naturally fills.Beijing will step into leadership roles that Trump’s Washington has vacated quicker than Trump’s Navy stands any chance of blocking Chinese ascension.

The U.S. Navy, he explained, has declined:

In 1996, the U.S. Navy sailed two aircraft carriers side-by-side through the Taiwan Strait as a message to a belligerent Beijing. Today it’s exceedingly rare for two of America’s remaining 11 flattops to deploy together anywhere.

Mr. Trump’s anticipated turnaround, even if successful, will take a long time. “A new warship costs U.S. taxpayers $2 billion, on average, and takes several years to build and bring into the fleet,” he wrote. “Even if Trump and Congress give the Navy every dollar it asks for starting with the 2017 budget—Trump’s first—the sailing branch won’t receive the first of the new ships Trump promised until right around the time candidates start campaigning for the 2020 presidential election.”

Meanwhile, Axe explains, China’s Navy has been rising fast:

After 20 years of investment, today the Chinese Navy looks a lot like the U.S. Navy does. It possesses more than 100 large, sophisticated warships armed with long-range guided missiles plus hundreds of smaller ships. It has nuclear-powered submarines. In 2012, it commissioned its first aircraft carrier. Today a second carrier is under construction in Shanghai.

The more important trend, however, is the way Mr. Trump’s actions are giving China the opportunity to draw in a whole range of new allies. “Trump is voluntarily surrendering ground to Beijing on economic, diplomatic and environmental fronts, opening the door to an even greater global role for China that the country’s own growing military will only reinforce,” writes Axe.

One of Mr. Trump’s first acts has been to pull America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (tpp). While tpp certainly has its downsides, it was an attempt to create a U.S.-led alliance in Asia. It would have provided America some leverage over China. As Axe explained:

Trump seems determined to undermine America’s longstanding Pacific alliances, surrendering what is arguably the United States’ biggest advantage relative to China. Note that America never planned to confront an assertive China on its own. U.S. military planning in the Western Pacific has long assumed close cooperation with friendly countries—most importantly, Japan, which possesses the third-most powerful navy in the region after the United States and China.But Trump began pushing away Japan even before he got elected. In March 2016, Trump said that Japan should develop its own nuclear weapons so that it can defend itself without American help. “We can’t afford to do it anymore,” Trump said. …If Asian countries follow China’s lead on trade and the environment, they could lend Beijing the diplomatic heft to firm up and legitimize China’s recent military gains. When Trump’s bigger Navy sets sail in 2019 or 2020, it could arrive in the Western Pacific too late to make any difference for America’s standing in the region.

The Trump presidency is barely a week old and already we are seeing some close U.S. allies positioning themselves for closer ties with China. On January 24, senior officials in Australia and New Zealand said they hoped to salvage tpp by encouraging China to take America’s place as a member state. Reuters wrote last week:

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had held discussions with [Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong overnight about the possibility of proceeding with the tpp without the United States.”Losing the United States from the tpp is a big loss, there is no question about that,” Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. “But we are not about to walk away… certainly there is potential for China to join the tpp.” …New Zealand’s English said the United States was ceding influence to China and the region’s focus could switch to alternative trade deals.

America’s global retreat, it appears, is already giving China greater global clout and opportunity to develop stronger series of alliances within Asia.

Trumpet writer Jeremiah Jacques will address this trend in more detail soon, though the Trumpet has been reporting on America’s demise as global leader for years. In an article titled “What Happens After a Superpower Dies?Trumpet senior editor Joel Hilliker wrote:

For most of the past century, the United States of America has been the world’s single greatest guarantor of global stability. …It’s called Pax Americana: the period of relative world peace that dominant American power has produced. It prevailed in the Western Hemisphere for most of the 20th century. It reigned throughout the Western world since World War ii in what is also felicitously referred to as “the long peace.” Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States has been the sole superpower, again presiding over two decades free of any major wars between great powers.But now, Pax Americana joins Pax Britannica and Pax Romana: It’s history.America’s ability to influence other nations is in tatters. Its credibility has been shattered. Its will to cause political change in other nations is broken, particularly if doing so involves large deployments of soldiers. The era of the United States is over.

The Bible calls this new world “the times of the Gentiles.” Mr. Hilliker called it a “seismic shift in geopolitical momentum—away from America and toward a clutch of non-Israelite, Gentile powers.”

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry described this sudden rise in Chinese power in his Key of David program in 2014:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3zL5HmeIr0&feature=youtu.be&t=23m11s

Even now, China is expanding into airspace over certain waters in Asia and the East China Sea, in waters claimed by Japan and South Korea. Those are our allies! And they’re really, really in a furor over what’s going on, and America is doing nothing to help them, and nobody here seems to be that concerned about it. But they should be because China now is developing a leader very much like Vladimir Putin. And in our article that we’ll send to you [“Xi Jinping: An Aspiring Vladimir Putin?” we wrote], “China’s military power continues to grow underpinned by an economic might on-course to surpass America’s by 2020.” That’s just a few years down the road. Just a few years down the road. And this article also says that: “This will likely cement the president’s control over China’s military, domestic security, and foreign policy.” The Wall Street Journal says it would help make him “the country’s most individually powerful leader since Deng Xiaoping.”So here you have a leader in China that’s really coming on the scene very much like Vladimir Putin. Do we realize where this is all leading? These are superpowers with all kinds of nuclear bombs! And all kinds of military power! Do we realize where this is all leading? Can we look at this and believe that there has to be a great world war clash? Nobody can stop it from happening, nobody!

The Bible even forecast China’s pursuit of alliances. Our booklet He Was Right states:

[Herbert W.] Armstrong also boldly declared—despite China’s lack of development at the time, and despite the mutual hatred between Moscow and Beijing—that soon Beijing would be powerful, and would rally behind Russia. Other Asian states, possibly including Japan and India, would also lend their numbers and might to this confederacy, according to his prediction.He forecast that after the ussr collapsed, a giant Asian superpower, with Russia and China at the helm, would rise up and dramatically affect the course of history. This power bloc—a conglomerate of peoples that comprise one third of the world’s population—would begin cooperating economically and militarily and eventually form a gargantuan Asian superpower of a size and scope the world has never seen. …Even before World War ii broke out, Mr. Armstrong could foresee the emergence of these two superpowers. In the June-July 1934 Plain Truth, he proclaimed, “Scripture prophesies two great military powers to arise in the last days—one the revival of the Roman Empire by a federation of 10 nations in the territory of the ancient Roman Empire; the other … Russia, with her allies … possibly China or Japan.”The Plain Truth of December 1959 predicted that Russia and China would lay aside their differences to form a coalition ….In addition to pushing into Middle Asia, China would attempt to pull some of its island neighbors into its grasp. On this issue, it has been the practice of Western leaders to try to appease China through peace talks—often to no avail. …Russia and China both want to take advantage of a weakening United States. Both are reaping the benefits of close cooperation, and realizing that their very existence depends on good relations with each other. They share common philosophies economically, politically and militarily—and both have, in the West, a common enemy.

China has drawn dramatically closer to Russia in the last few years. Now it is attempting to draw the other nations of East Asia into that alliance—an alliance that Herbert W. Armstrong began talking about 80 years ago. Our booklet He Was Right was first published in 2010—long before President Trump began toying with abandoning American allies. Yet his presidency is hastening the dramatic trends discussed in that book.

The decline of America and the rise of these new powers, including this Asian power bloc, is one of the most important events in Bible prophecy—a vital stepping stone in God’s plan to intervene in world events. To learn more about this plan, read our free book Russia and China in Prophecy.

China Tackles America, This Time in Space

China Tackles America, This Time in Space

iStock.com/3DSculptor

‘Chinese strategists believe Beijing will need to strike at the U.S. Achilles heel.’

The United States military, and many aspects of everyday civilian life, depend on advanced space satellites. This is why China wants to threaten those satellites.

Writing for the Diplomat on January 19, Harsh Vasani noted, “Many of China’s space capabilities are designed to counter U.S. military advantages.” This is alarming because “outer space will play a dominant role” in the “highly ‘informatized’ and technologically advanced battles that characterize the 21st century.” According to Vasani, a research scholar at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal University:

China has been making impressive headway in its icbm [intercontinental ballistic missile] program and, in theory, these icbms can target U.S. intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites. … A brief survey of recent tests by Beijing confirms that China is rapidly improving its counter space program and making advances in its antisatellite systems.

In addition, China is working on armed satellites capable of destroying American satellites. Beijing has also been experimenting with “soft kill” ways of disabling satellites without destroying them. Vasani wrote (emphasis added throughout):

The Chinese believe that the greatest threat to them comes from the United States. To counter the United States’ conventional strength and gain strategic parity, Chinese strategists believe, Beijing will need to strike at the U.S. Achilles heel—Washington’s overreliance on satellites for C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance]. Beijing plans to exploit the vulnerable space infrastructure of the United States in the case of a war.

Such advanced warfare would be “important in the broad expanses of the Western Pacific theater,” wrote rand Corporation in 2015. Chinese analysts estimate that “the U.S. military relies upon space for 70 to 80 percent of its intelligence and 80 percent of its communication.” A U.S. government report produced for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission in 2015 found that:

Chinese analysts assess that the employment of space-based C4ISR capabilities by potential adversaries, especially the United States, requires the pla [China’s People’s Liberation Army] to develop capabilities to attack space systems. Based on this assessment, Chinese analysts surmise that the loss of critical sensor and communications capabilities could imperil the U.S. military’s ability to achieve victory or to achieve victory with minimal casualties.

America has made little progress in confronting this threat. In 2015, the U.S. announced that it would launch a space-war center to counter Chinese and Russian threats in space. Eighteen months on, however, those plans have apparently not materialized. Vasani said America “needs to do a lot more to ensure that space remains a sanctuary instead of turning into a battleground.”

An article titled “Space: The Final Military Frontier” published in the Trumpet’s 2016 February edition stated:

Russia and China in particular are developing the capability to destroy America’s space infrastructure. To win, they don’t need to copy all of America’s technology. They just need to create systems to destroy it. Anyone who has played with wooden blocks knows that it is much easier (and cheaper) to destroy something than to build it up. …Air Force Lt. Gen. John “Jay” Raymond, commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Space, confirmed this last March, telling the U.S. House of Representatives, “We are quickly approaching the point where every satellite in every orbit can be threatened.”If China can do this, the more advanced space powers of Russia and Europe likely possess the same capability. No wonder the rand Corporation published a report in September saying that “the risk to most U.S. space functions appears to be growing faster than the U.S. ability or effort to mitigate them” (“The U.S.-China Military Scorecard”). …In June 1999, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry quoted from Intelligence Digest, which said, “[T]he Gulf War showed what a critical role technology now plays in warfare. But the course of a battle would be very different if effective technology-sabotaging measures could be instituted against the superior force. … Computer dependence is the Western world’s Achilles heel, and within a few years this weakness could be tested to the full.”Most of Mr. Flurry’s article focused on cyberwarfare and the danger of a cyberattack, which he identified as America’s Achilles heel. But many of the points he made also apply to America’s reliance on satellite observation, navigation and communication technology.The U.S. military is growing more aware of its vulnerability here. For example, U.S. Navy personnel are now trained to navigate using the stars. But these kinds of efforts would only ameliorate part of the problem. They would keep a destroyer from crashing, for example, but they couldn’t guide the ship’s cruise missiles.America assumes its military is absolutely predominant, but it has not fought a war against a major power since World War ii. There has been no test of how resilient America’s technological edge would prove in such a conflict.In their novel Ghost Fleet, military experts P. W. Singer and August Cole imagine how World War iii could be fought. It begins with a cyberattack and the destruction of America’s satellites. Robbed of its technological edge, America is all but crippled.It’s a fictional scenario. But the technology is no longer fiction. America is more vulnerable than our cozy lives would let us think.

The Diplomat uses even the same language as Mr. Flurry in talking about America’s Achilles heel. For more information, read last year’s article “Space: The Final Military Frontier.”

Iran Threatens the Red Sea—And Global Trade

Iran Threatens the Red Sea—And Global Trade

iStock.com/KeithBinns

Iranian-backed forces target a crucial weakness in the world’s maritime trade network.

JERUSALEM—Three small vessels belonging to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi Arabian frigate on Monday off the west coast of Yemen. Footage of the event showed one vessel, laden with explosives, plowing into the rear of the Saudi warship, creating a large explosion and fire that killed two of the crewman and injured several others.

The Saudi warship was on patrol outside the Hodeidah port, located halfway up Yemen’s western coast, when it was attacked, according to the Saudi state news agency spa. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack. “The Saudi warship was involved in aggression against the Western coastal cities and Yemeni fisherman,” a military official said to the Saba Yemeni news agency run by the Houthi movement.

https://twitter.com/watch_jerusalem/status/826341472756719616

Footage recorded by the Houthi rebels shows gunfire, followed by the explosion. It also records the terrorists shouting “Allah Akbar” and making several anti-U.S., anti-Israel remarks—a clear indication of the Houthis’ ultimate enemy.

This narrow portion of the Red Sea, as well as the 22-mile Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the southwestern tip of Yemen, is vulnerable to terrorist attacks since the Houthis gained control of Yemen’s west coast. Monday’s attack marks the third attack carried out by the Houthis against ships in this area in the past six months.

On October 9, the Houthis targeted the uss Mason with anti-ship missiles, an American destroyer operating just north of the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. They again attacked on October 12. That happened to be the 16th anniversary of the attack on the uss Cole, which was severely damaged when a boat loaded with explosives rammed into its side, similar to Monday’s attack on the Saudi vessel.

While the Houthis are believed to be incapable of closing the strait completely, the mere threat of terrorist vessels and suicide boats patrolling the area is enough to potentially disrupt world trade. As James Holmes wrote in Foreign Policy late last year,

If a coastal foe can menace shipping transiting this narrow seaway, it would disrupt the shortest, most convenient sea route connecting Europe with South and East Asia. Doing so would carry significant economic and military repercussions. … Houthi antics could drive insurance rates sky-high for merchant shipping, prompting shippers to bypass the danger zone. … In a sense, then, the Houthis could conscript insurance firm Lloyd’s of London as an ally—magnifying their influence while distorting patterns of trade and military operations.

This latest attack by the Houthis shows that Iran’s desire to control the Red Sea is intensifying. In November 2016, Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammed Hossein Bagheri said, “One day, we may need [naval] bases on the coasts of Yemen and Syria.” Clearly, Iran has designs for this waterway.

Back in 2015, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote that the Houthi takeover of Yemen’s capital was proof that “Iran is implementing a bold strategy to control the vital sea lane from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea.”

Now with the Houthis controlling virtually all of Yemen’s western coast, the Iranians have shifted their focus off the land and into the Red Sea. If you would like to understand Iran’s goal in dominating this sealane, read, “Iran Gets a Stranglehold on the Middle East.”

Germany Wants Nukes

Germany Wants Nukes

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For years talking about nuclear weapons was taboo in Germany. Today it’s necessary.

Germany doesn’t want America’s old nuclear weapons—it wants to build its own. In 2009, Germany’s ruling coalition stated one of its goals was to remove American-owned nuclear weapons from German soil. Now the debate has moved on, and some want Germany to build its own nukes.

While the public is skeptical, influential news outlets on both sides of the political spectrum have published editorials promoting a rethinking of Germany’s nuclear policy.

In November 2016, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a conservative-leaning newspaper with Germany’s largest foreign circulation, published an opinion piece titled “The Utterly Unimaginable.” In it, the newspaper’s co-editor Berthold Kohler said the “simple ‘same as before’” route couldn’t continue. The retreat of the United States and the advance of Russia and China meant the Continent was changing: Germany could no longer rely on building “peace without weapons.”

A new path needed to be drawn, Kohler indicated. One with “higher spending on defense,” the return of “compulsory military service,” and a new debate on nuclear weapons. He wrote that although it seems “completely inconceivable” to the German mind, they needed to ask the “question of our own nuclear deterrent.”

Earlier in the month, the left-leaning Spiegel Online, one of Germany’s most widely read news websites, published an article in anticipation of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump winning the United States election. Ulrich Kühn, from the Stanton Nuclear Security Fellowship, described the piece as musing “about the possibility of Germany pursuing its own nuclear weapons if nato were to break up in the aftermath of a Trump administration’s withdrawal from the alliance.”

Amidst these editorials, Roderich Kiesewetter, a Christian Democratic Union politician and a former Bundeswehr general staff officer, said similar things: “[I]f the United States no longer wants to provide this [nuclear] guarantee, Europe still needs nuclear protection for deterrent purposes.” Kiesewetter also happens to be the deputy chairman of the Subcommittee for Disarmament, Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

The Germans are not alone in their desire for Germany to have its own nukes. Writing in the National Interest, former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, Doug Bandow encouraged Germany to do just that. “Rather than expect the United States to burnish nato’s nuclear deterrent, European nations should consider expanding their nuclear arsenals and creating a Continent-wide nuclear force,” he wrote.

While Germany’s mainstream politicians are not yet on board, they are similarly worried about drastic changes. Former Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer, who belongs to the left-leaning Greens party, has made calls for Germany to leave its pacifist role. “Judging by [President Donald] Trump’s past statements about Europe and its relationship with the U.S., the EU should be preparing for some profound shocks,” he said.

Even the stable and collected Chancellor Angela Merkel (affectionately known as “Mutti,” or Mother, Merkel) is acknowledging the change. Spiegel Online wrote in “The End of the World Order as We Know It?” that within the EU:

Concerns about America’s possible pullback have hastened things that for years had seemed implausible. “I have to say,” Merkel announced after the meeting, “within only a few months, a considerable amount of cooperation has taken shape.”

President Trump’s inconsistent comments on this issue haven’t helped. On nuclear proliferation, he has taken both sides. At a cnn town hall held during the campaign, President Trump said that nuclear proliferation “is going to happen anyway.” He also told the New York Times, “[I]f Japan had [a] nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us.” Nine months later, in an interview with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London, he said “I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced substantially.”

In the same interview, Mr. Trump repeated his claim that “nato had problems.” “Number one, it was obsolete, because it was designed … many, many years ago. Number two, the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay,” he said. The newly confirmed Defense Secretary James Mattis has opposed the president’s view, saying the U.S. has an “unshakeable commitment to nato.”

In any case, the EU has to choose who to believe: The pro-nuclear proliferation President Trump, the pro-disarmament President Trump, or President Trump’s advisers. An alternative is to start trusting themselves—and it seems that’s their choice.

Kühn made sure to not overstate the case for Germany’s nuclear debate. In his article “The Sudden German Nuke Flirtation” he wrote:

Obviously, current German nuclear flirtations represent a fringe view, but they are an important early warning sign. These flirtations were carried by Germany’s biggest left-leaning and conservative media outlets.

Those opposed to a German nuclear program, and even the current U.S. nuclear weapons which are held in Germany, point to the clear public opinion against it. Polls from early 2016 show that 93 percent of Germans want nuclear weapons banned. Yet the German government was not among the 113 nations that voted to negotiate such a ban at the United Nations General Assembly last year. International surveys done by Soka Gakkai International showed 91.2 percent of people believed nuclear arms were inhumane, while 80.6 percent were in favor of banning all nuclear weapons. If the German public doesn’t like nukes, they simply hold the same opinion as the rest of the world.

“[E]xtreme views on nuclear matters do not always remain at the fringes,” Kühn continued. Pointing to a similar case, he wrote:

As the case of South Korea demonstrates, external shocks such as the repeated nuclear tests by North Korea in 2013 can quickly move formerly fringe positions to the center stage of public attention. Once in the mainstream, it can be difficult to put such sentiments to rest, particularly when the underlying security concerns remain.

Since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, the idea of a South Korean nuclear program has been gaining acceptance. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, from 2013 to 2016, media coverage of South Korea’s nuclear debate doubled. Arguments were split nearly evenly between pro- and anti-nuclear views.

Thus South Korea is a model for how previously fringe views, which Kühn sees as warning signs, become mainstream. But while Germany restarts its nuclear debate, U.S. nuclear warheads left over from the Cold War remain at Büchel Air Base. Germany’s nuclear contradiction—a “non-nuclear” country which happens to have nuclear weapons—endures. For more on this danger, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “Europe’s Nuclear Secret.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtrF20oPv-M&t=1m01s

Germany Sees Donald Trump as an Enemy

Germany Sees Donald Trump as an Enemy

Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

The new U.S. president directly threatens Europe and Germany. How will the Continent react?

Is America now Europe’s enemy? With the election of Donald J. Trump in the United States, many in the German government and news media think so.

The threat they see comes not from a few offhand comments by the new president, but rather, from his entire worldview. Mr. Trump promises a revolutionary foreign policy. Rather than pursuing America’s long-term interests, he aims to maximize short-term profits. He’s about the balance sheet, not the balance of powers. So many of the changes he wants to make scare Berlin.

This has triggered an almost frantic response in Germany. “The inauguration of Donald Trump heralds the arrival of a new world order,” wrote Spiegel Online.

“Trump is the end of the world as we know it,” it concluded.

“Can Merkel’s Europe now hold together?” asks Spiegel Online. “Can she become a worthy adversary to Trump in the approaching conflicts over trade regulations, international agreements, and the liberal legal and economic order that has been so important to the United States for the last six decades?” (emphasis added) One of the most popular and influential newsmagazines in Europe sees America as the enemy—and wonders if their leader is aggressive enough.

In a 1990 interview, Mr. Trump singled out West Germany and Japan as America’s top two enemies—because those two “are making billions screwing us.”

“Merkel’s staff is convinced that his views haven’t changed,” wrote Spiegel Online. Germany’s leadership genuinely thinks America is out to get them.

Germany is also struggling to get on with the new administration on a more personal level. “Ms. Merkel has never met and knows very little about the unorthodox man being sworn in as the 45th president on Friday, other than the fact that he views her refugee policy as a ‘catastrophic mistake,’” wrote Handelsblatt.

“The German government … has struggled to establish contacts with Mr. Trump’s team,” it reports. One German minister said the only contact information he had for his American counterpart was an e-mail address. Ms. Merkel has offered to travel to the U.S. on short notice to meet the new president; she’s heard nothing back. No wonder Germany feels the new administration is hostile.

Europe also feels itself an enemy. The European Union, said Mr. Trump, is “basically a vehicle for Germany.” He praised Britain’s decision to quit, adding, “I believe others will leave.”

Spiegel Online wrote, “Officials in Brussels are concerned that one of Trump’s foreign-policy goals may be that of dividing the EU—in areas like the environment and energy policy, for example, but particularly in its relationship with Russia.”

“Hostile inauguration speech,” tweeted the EU Parliament’s lead negotiator on Brexit, Guy Verhofstadt. “We can’t sit around & hope for US support & cooperation. Europe must take its destiny & security in its own hands.”

It seems unlikely that Mr. Trump is deliberately targeting Germany. In other important ways, he is all for them. More German military spending? Great! More German troops in the Middle East? Wonderful! An EU army? About time you defended yourselves!

However, almost all of Mr. Trump’s priorities clash with those of Germany. No major economy is more dependent on free trade than Germany. Mr. Trump is the world’s foremost promoter of protectionism. Germany’s export-dependent economy relies on the European Union. Mr. Trump wants the EU to fall apart. European security depends on nato and reliance on the U.S. Mr. Trump wants to end American commitments.

Mr. Trump’s presidency, then, will put Europe under huge pressure. Some are predicting that it will break up the EU. Yet others forecast the opposite. “Brexit, a shock all around, will combine with a Trump presidency to force the EU to put away childish things, and ask hard questions of itself,” wrote Reuters. “Infancy may be ending: always a hard transition.”

Yes, that transition will be hard, but over the next few months, the world is going to see Germany and Europe grow up.

“President Trump’s open hostility to the European Union and his disdain for America’s European partners in nato will be the rallying flag that Europe has lacked for a decade,” wrote Giles Merritt, former Financial Times correspondent and founder of the think tank Friends of Europe.

The opposition Europe is now facing, he wrote, marks the moment “when EU governments will rediscover the virtues, indeed the necessity, of political and economic integration.”

If Mr. Trump implements just one of his controversial measures it “would unite Europe’s fractious, squabbling governments overnight.” The only way Europe could hold its own and protect its own interests from such an American attack would be by banding together, he explains.

The leading socialist candidate for the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron, likened Mr. Trump’s assault on Europe to the attack on France’s new republic in 1792. “True emancipation arrived in 1792, when citizens across France rose up to defend the revolution against foreign kings,” he wrote. “It is when a people makes its own choices that it becomes sovereign. It is time for Europeans to become sovereign.”

To him, Donald Trump’s presidency is forcing Europeans to make those choices—choices that create a sovereign superstate, not merely a nation.

The most practical outlet for this is a European military. “Today, Europe faces multiple enemies, while the alliance is uncertain,” wrote Macron. “We cannot fail again. We must create a European defense fund, with a permanent headquarters in charge of operation planning and monitoring. Central to this is a Franco-German relationship that is strong enough to ensure that Europe can act credibly and effectively in the Middle East and Africa.”

This is exactly what the Trumpet has forecast for years.

These forecasts are rapidly becoming reality. In 1963, Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Plain Truth magazine, the Trumpet’s predecessor, foretold of a “united Europe … a giant new world power equal to Russia or the United States—perhaps even stronger. It will then hold the balance of power between East and West.”

It’s easy to see how President Trump’s foreign policy is leading to the rise of this new power in Europe—a power that, as Mr. Armstrong forecast, does not merely sit in America’s shadow but maintains its own power base, its own resources, and its own foreign policy.

But the rise of this new European power really is “the arrival of a new world order”—as Spiegel described it. It is a world that few alive today have ever seen—one with an assertive power in Europe, ready to challenge both America and Russia.

For more on what Herbert W. Armstrong forecast for Europe, read our free booklet He Was Right.