President Obama’s Hidden Legacy

President Obama’s Hidden Legacy

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Did he ‘fundamentally transform America’?
From the March 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Former United States President Barack Obama ran his campaign on “change” and said he would “fundamentally transform America.” For eight years he added action to his words, and America has indeed been transformed, fundamentally.

President Donald Trump’s campaign inspired support by opposing Mr. Obama’s transformations. Candidate Trump said undoing what Obama had done would be easy: He could nullify his executive actions by issuing executive actions of his own. When Mr. Trump got to work in January, he began signing them right away.

But is reversing eight years of Obama as simple as signing executive actions with the signature “Donald J. Trump”? Is it as simple as a Republican-controlled Congress repealing laws passed by the previous Democrat-controlled Congresses?

In reality, President Obama made eight years of systemic changes: not only legal and regulatory, but also cultural, moral and psychological. Some of this transformation of America cannot be reversed.

Let’s start with young Americans. The Obama Justice Department and Education Department enforced policies, regulations and laws that prevent educators from disciplining insubordinate students. They argued that since statistics show that black teenagers are disciplined at a higher rate than white students, American teachers and administrators are racist. Obama’s bureaucracy coerced and even prosecuted schools into leaving two high school generations unrestrained and unpunished. The result is millions of young people who have been educated to throw off rules and laws.

President Obama also attacked America’s prison system, accusing it of systemic racism. He blamed the makeup of jail populations not on law breaking, but on the law itself, particularly the judges and law enforcement officers. He accused police of racism so vile that officers often murder a man simply because he is black.

By the end of Mr. Obama’s second term, it had become much more common to see people marching in the streets, trashing public places, beating people on the sidewalks, and rioting in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore.

Fringe arguments received the vocal support of the highest office in the country. Eight years on, many more Americans now mistrust, disrespect and even attack law enforcement officers. Many hate the law more than they hate the crime.

President Obama, occupying an office created to enforce the law, personally undermined the rule of law, in some cases openly refusing to enforce laws that his office is specifically required to enforce. His enforcement of immigration was lawless at best, completely anti-law at worst.

Mr. Obama gave a presidential endorsement to many more issues that fundamentally weakened America’s culture, economy and security. He flung the doors wide open on entitlement culture and spent hundreds of billions giving away phones, health care, money and more. He hooked tens of millions more people on welfare benefits. He passed a gargantuan health-care law, reportedly the largest tax in history, that was a massive federal overreach into Americans’ personal lives. He became the biggest spender in world history, accumulating twice as much debt as his predecessor and nearly doubling the national debt to almost $20 trillion. Can that be paid back—with interest—with a few signatures?

President Obama also invited inside the White House Black Lives Matter, an organization whose website reveals that it has as much or more to do with anti-constitutional socialism as with race-baiting. He bathed the outside of the White House in the colors of the homosexual/bisexual/transsexual/queer/intersexual/etc. flag, celebrating the newfound right of homosexuals to “marry.” President Trump has said he is not interested in challenging this law, which by itself fundamentally transforms America.

President Obama successfully used the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service as political weapons. He presided over the surveillance of journalists, the mass surveillance of average Americans, and the targeted killing of American citizens involved in terrorism. His Justice Department provided a framework arguing that the federal government sometimes has the legal right to kill Americans without trial, overseas and at home.

The most fundamental transformation President Obama accomplished can be summarized in one word: lawlessness. The most important American office for enforcing laws was occupied by a man who instead enforced his personal will. Unshackling the presidency from its constitutional limitations is one of the most dangerous transformations of all, no matter who occupies the Oval Office. The worst legacy of the Obama administration is the erosion of the rule of law.

In 2017, America is a different nation from what it was on Jan. 20, 2009. To sign away some of Mr. Obama’s policies and laws will be easy, but to confront America’s changed mentality will not. To instead leave it as it is will be easy; to transform it back to the way it was, much less to make it great, will not. That’s because the Obama years appealed to an ugly, destructive and powerful element: our lawless human nature. The only way to truly roll back the Obama years is to change our own hearts and attitudes toward law.

City of Pieces

City of Pieces

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As united Jerusalem turns 50, we ask: Will it make it to 51?
From the March 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

Jerusalem

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Over several turbulent days in 1967, the tiny Jewish state of Israel defended itself against three Arab armies simultaneously. The Jews not only survived, but by the war’s abrupt end, they had taken possession of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank from Jordan, expanding Israel’s territory by 300 percent. At the time, many Jewish leaders and foreign journalists alike recognized this as a miraculous victory.

The most symbolic and emotional moment of the war for the Jews occurred on the third day, when Israeli Army Chaplain Rabbi Shlomo Goren gathered soldiers before the Western Wall to blow the shofar at Judaism’s holiest site. The solemn blast announced to the world that the Jews had captured the Old City and the Temple Mount. For the first time in almost 2,000 years, Jerusalem was united under Jewish rule.

But now, 50 years on, we must ask: Will united Jerusalem make it to 51?

Unilaterally Dividing Jerusalem

Entering 2017, more attention is being focused on Jerusalem than any year in recent memory.

On Dec. 23, 2016, the United States broke with its traditional role as Israel’s protector at the United Nations Security Council (unsc) by choosing not to veto a resolution that calls Israeli communities in the West Bank illegal and invalid. The resolution, however, has a more sinister clause than most previous attempts to impugn Israel’s claims over the territory it won in the 1967 war.

Resolution 2334 attacks Israel’s control of and sovereignty over not just the territory of the West Bank, but over Jerusalem itself.

Notice the first three points of the resolution. They say that the unsc (emphasis added):

1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;

2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;

3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the June 4, 1967, lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations ….

Why single out Jerusalem in the resolution? Why not just mention the West Bank, or the more general term of the “territories” as in previous resolutions?

Because the real target of this resolution is the unity of Jerusalem.

According to the unsc—which is the closest thing this planet has to a world government—Israeli rule over East Jerusalem “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.”

In each of these three points, the resolution draws specific attention to East Jerusalem, not just the West Bank. East Jerusalem of course is technically part of the West Bank, but all previous negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, such as the Oslo Accords in the 1990s and the Camp David Summit in 2000, dealt with Jerusalem as a separate issue from the West Bank. The issue of Jerusalem in a final peace deal was to be negotiated separately.

But now, according to the United Nations—notably enabled and supported by America’s abstention—the Israelis not only cannot build or live in Judea and Samaria, but any construction in East Jerusalem beyond the now-invisible 1967 lines is also illegal.

The UN has unilaterally divided Jerusalem, and Israel didn’t even have a vote—or an ally willing to vote on its behalf.

Past Precedent

Some past Israeli leaders have offered East Jerusalem to the Palestinians in an effort to reach a peace agreement. One of these was former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 1993, the government of Yitzhak Rabin signed the first set of the Oslo Accords. It became the new foundation from which Israeli-Palestinian peace would be negotiated. As part of the accords, the future of Jerusalem was declared to be a separate subject for future negotiations. The likelihood of Israel giving up sovereignty of East Jerusalem in a peace deal was highly unlikely. Rabin even declared in his last Knesset speech before he was assassinated in 1995 that Jerusalem must always remain the united capital of Israel.

Five years later, however, one of Rabin’s own followers, Ehud Barak, went against Rabin’s stance.

In 2000, during the waning months of his time in office, Barak offered Palestinian Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat, a terrorist, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in return for peace as part of the Camp David summit negotiations with U.S. President Bill Clinton.

This offer signaled a radical shift in the Jews’ negotiating platform: Israel was now willing to negotiate away East Jerusalem. Israel had always said Jerusalem would be undivided, but apparently the Israelis themselves were divided over that issue.

Dore Gold, adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recounted in his book The Fight for Jerusalem that when the Israeli people learned that Jerusalem was being offered as part of a peace deal, they were furious. This led to the largest demonstration in Israel’s history: A protest march to the Old City walls drew an incredible 400,000 Israelis.

Yasser Arafat refused the offer. Still, at the time, some leftist Israeli officials considered proposing a unsc resolution where the parameters for peace including East Jerusalem would be locked into Israel’s new negotiating position.

That didn’t happen in 2001. But fast-forward to December 2016, and that Security Council resolution has passed. The international community has unilaterally decided, with U.S. support, that East Jerusalem does not belong to the Jews. East Jerusalem is no longer up for negotiation: the UN has decided that it is Palestinian land and the Jews have no right to it. Jerusalem, according to the United Nations, is not the united capital of the Jews.

Setting the Stage

Why is this important? It would be easy to disregard Resolution 2334; it’s nothing more than talk. Israel today, especially under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would refuse to concede the Old City and East Jerusalem to the Palestinians; the prime minister himself has said as much. If the UN decides to enforce this resolution, it would have to march member-nation armies into Jerusalem to force Israel out. Most people agree that it would be highly unlikely and irregular for the UN to be able to organize itself that way.

But it is possible that the Palestinians themselves could react to this resolution in an armed uprising and/or terrorist intifada and try to take what the UN has now said already belongs to them. At that point, Israel would suppress the violence. One would think that, on the basis of the resolution, the international community would then retaliate against Israel.

For the past two decades, the Trumpet has forecast this exact scenario we see developing. Pointing to a prophecy in the biblical book of Zechariah, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said for many years that half of Jerusalem will indeed fall into Palestinian hands.

In March 2006, he elaborated on how it would come about: “It seems the Palestinians could get East Jerusalem, minus the Temple Mount, without a fight. Zechariah’s prophecy implies that there will be an impasse over the Temple Mount—which the Palestinians ‘resolve’ by taking East Jerusalem by force. That is why I believe the conservatives could regain control in Israel. They have a stronger will to fight for the land they believe belongs to the Jews.”

At the time Mr. Flurry made this statement, a passive left-wing government was in power. But for this prophecy to unfold, it appeared conservatives would have to return to power.

This has since happened.

Netanyahu will not accept Palestinian control of the Temple Mount or East Jerusalem. Yet buoyed by this recent resolution and likely further action by the international community in the coming months, the Palestinians could be motivated to make a run for it themselves.

In this environment, the unsc resolution does not improve the chances for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. It instead undermines Israel’s negotiating position and encourages the Palestinians to fight for the land, thus bringing into play Zechariah’s pivotal prophecy of half of Jerusalem falling.

Added to this, Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to be viewing the presidency of Donald Trump in the United States as a green light to virtually disregard the United Nation Security Counsel’s decision. This was evident in the first week of Mr. Trump’s tenure when the Israeli government approved construction for nearly 600 apartments in east Jerusalem as well as almost 2,500 abodes in outlying areas of the West Bank in direct defiance of the resolution. After the decision to proceed with the construction in East Jerusalem Mr. Netanyahu stated, “There is no longer a need to coordinate construction in the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. We can build where we want and as much as we want.” However, it is likely that these actions will only further infuriate the Palestinians and the rest of the world. This will only increase the volatility of the situation.

In 2017, all eyes are going to be on Jerusalem. Zechariah’s prophecy of half of the city falling is a verifiable and highly visible event that sets off a chain reaction of the fulfillment of subsequent prophecies leading to the coming of the Messiah.

To understand in detail the events to follow the fall of East Jerusalem, read Gerald Flurry’s booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.

Who Made America Great?

Who Made America Great?

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Why America was ‘fated to lead’—and who made it that way.

Why is America a great nation? What made it great? United States President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” has meant this question is being discussed more than ever before in recent times.

One of those joining the discussion is Robert Kaplan, a veteran foreign-policy writer with a new book titled Earning the Rockies: How Geography Shapes America’s Role in the World.

The United States, he writes, “is fated to lead. That is the judgment of geography as it has played out over the past two and a half centuries.”

“Geography remains an overwhelming advantage and source of American power,” he writes. “I have traveled for many weeks from east to west across the most impressive political geography in the world, or in history for that matter.”

Kaplan’s promotion of his book has brought a vital yet often overlooked truth to the world’s news media. The New York Times titled its review of the book “Geography Made America Great. Has Globalization Undone Its Influence?

The phrase “geography made America great” is certainly worth remembering, as Mr. Trump promises to make America great again.

Stratfor, where Kaplan used to be Chief Geopolitical Analyst, has also drawn attention to this fact in an excellent essay called “The Geopolitics of the United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire” (emphasis added throughout):

The American geography is an impressive one. The Greater Mississippi Basin together with the Intracoastal Waterway has more kilometers of navigable internal waterways than the rest of the world combined. The American Midwest is both overlaid by this waterway and is the world’s largest contiguous piece of farmland. The U.S. Atlantic Coast possesses more major ports than the rest of the Western Hemisphere combined. Two vast oceans insulated the United States from Asian and European powers, deserts separate the United States from Mexico to the south, while lakes and forests separate the population centers in Canada from those in the United States. The United States has capital, food surpluses and physical insulation in excess of every other country in the world by an exceedingly large margin.

This geography has allowed America to live in a level of peace not known anywhere else in the world, as Stratfor explains:

Instead, the United States could exist in relative peace for its first few decades without needing to worry about any large-scale, omnipresent military or economic challenges, so it did not have to garrison a large military. Every scrap of energy the young country possessed could be spent on making itself more sustainable. When viewed together—the robust natural transport network overlaying vast tracts of excellent farmland, sharing a continent with two much smaller and weaker powers—it is inevitable that whoever controls the middle third of North America will be a great power.

Beyond just security, this geography has provided America with vast resources in food. The American Midwest “comprises both the most productive and the largest contiguous acreage of arable land on the planet,” Stratfor continues. Furthermore, America’s river system means that this food can be sold and eaten in good time, unlike Russia, where “[e]ven in modern times … crops occasionally rot before they can reach market.”

There are a lot of very intelligent people that see the massive blessing America has in its geography. However, they fail to look one step further and recognize why America has that geography.

In an article titled “What If America’s Founders Had Settled in Russia?Trumpet contributing editor Jeremiah Jacques wrote:

If the people who inhabit this exceptional real estate were geographically guaranteed to become great, then it’s worth considering how the American people came to possess it.The Bible makes clear that God, and not men, determined the geographic locations and national borders of the Earth’s various peoples. The Apostle Paul explained in Acts 17:26 that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bound of their habitation” (see also Deuteronomy 32:8; 2 Samuel 7:10).Long before Paul explained that truth, God inspired the Old Testament patriarch Jacob to utter a landmark blessing upon his two grandsons: Ephraim and Manasseh. He placed his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the older of the two boys, and blessed him, saying he would become a great single nation (Genesis 48:14-22; 49:22-24). God fulfilled this promise to Manasseh spectacularly in the 19th and 20th centuries, when the United States of America attained towering cultural dominance, unparalleled military might, and mind-boggling economic power.But before the 20th century, before the 19th century, even long before Ephraim and Manasseh were born, God foreordained America’s greatness with geography.All the way back when He was re-creating the Earth as recorded in Genesis 1—sculpting its surface, separating dry land from sea, and carving out the continents, God was thinking of Manasseh and of His future promise to make of him the single greatest nation on Earth. Toward this end, God designated a massive and exceptional chunk of real estate for Manasseh’s descendants, the American people.Geography also motivates the U.S. government to take a more hands-off economic approach than most nations have employed. Laissez-faire capitalism has flaws, but it contributed to America becoming a bastion of freedom. A deeper look into America’s geography reveals that God set Manasseh in a position where economic and religious freedom would reign, and where His end-time work could be carried out free of the persecution that would have plagued it in most any other nation.How inspiring to consider that the Creator reserved the bulk of American land for some 5,500 years of mankind’s history, keeping it isolated and relatively unpeopled until Manasseh was ready to inhabit it and receive these astounding blessings! In a sense, God kept the land that would become America reserved for the majority of man’s history—as He waited to fulfill His promise to Manasseh. God “determined the bound” of U.S. borders, and He used geography to foreordain America’s prosperity!

This is a truth absolutely vital to remember in the age of Donald Trump. In a recent Key of David program titled “Great Again,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said:

First of all, we have to understand that men didn’t make America great in the first place. Nor did they make Britain great, in the first place. God did that! … God is the one that should be given credit for that, and we don’t really give God credit for that today.

Only once we acknowledge this and turn back to the One that made America great in the first place, can America overcome its problems. For more on how America can, and will, be made great again, read our new, free book Great Again.

Who Will Defend Eastern Europe?

Who Will Defend Eastern Europe?

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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.”