Can Mr. Trump Stop America’s Asian Allies From Defecting to China?

Can Mr. Trump Stop America’s Asian Allies From Defecting to China?

TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images

In recent months, several of America’s closest Asian allies have “defected” to China. Unsure about the direction and commitment of the United States, and unable to ignore China’s growing power and its intensifying resolve to use that power, nations that have aligned themselves with the U.S. for decades are now changing course. The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are making a calculated decision to realign themselves with Beijing—or to lay groundwork to be able to do so in the future. This development highlights three prophetically significant trends: The decline of American might, the rise of China’s power, and the emerging alliance that the Bible calls the “Kings of the East.”

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Week in Review: Iran and North Korea in Nuclear Collusion, Putin’s Russia Gains Ground, Democratic Party Shifts Left, and More

Week in Review: Iran and North Korea in Nuclear Collusion, Putin’s Russia Gains Ground, Democratic Party Shifts Left, and More

Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Xinhua/Getty Images, Martha de Jong-Lantink

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

Get all the important news from February 26–March 3: Download the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive your own copy by e-mail every week.

Highlights:

Will Iran get nukes from North Korea?

  • “Iran is steadily making progress towards a nuclear weapon and is doing so via North Korea,” two nuclear experts wrote in a new paper published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on Tuesday.
  • The experts claim the collusion between the two rogue states creates a way for Iran to clandestinely circumvent the nuclear deal implemented with world powers on Jan. 16, 2016.
  • Under the Obama administration, planes from North Korea flew directly to Iran without having to stop in a nation like China for rigorous nuclear proliferation inspections.
  • This week’s Trumpet Hour and Gerald Flurry’s free booklet The King of the South show how a nuclear-armed Iran will be stopped once and for all.
  • Luhansk officially adopts the Russian ruble

  • Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order that authorized the recognition of passports, birth certificates, death certificates, diplomas, vehicle registrations and other documents from the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
  • On Monday, officials in Luhansk announced that the Russian ruble would be the official currency of their breakaway territory beginning on March 1.
  • After Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote: “Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more!”
  • Luhansk and Donetsk are the latest victims of Putin’s attempts to revive the Soviet empire.
  • Chinese naval base in Djibouti nears completion

  • After two years of media pronouncements and public relations campaigns, and after one year of construction, China’s naval base in the East African nation of Djibouti is now a reality: It will begin operations later this year.
  • Djibouti Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf told the Financial Times that the number of Chinese personnel would probably number “a few thousand.”
  • The base will provide maintenance facilities for ships and helicopters, docks for commercial ships and military vessels, and storage facilities for weapons.
  • This is “a huge strategic development,” Prof. Peter Dutton of the Naval War College told the New York Times. “China has learned lessons from Britain of 200 years ago. This is what expansionary powers do.”
  • Democratic Party shifts harder to the left

  • On Saturday, the Democratic National Committee elected former United States Labor Secretary Tom Perez as its new chairman.
  • Perez was once described by the vice president of strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit libertarian think tank, as “possibly the most dangerous person in the [Obama] administration.”
  • Within moments of his election, Perez made the strategically savvy move of making Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota his deputy chairman and declaring him the new “face of the Democratic Party.”
  • Ellison has past ties to Marxist organizations and experience in community organizing. He said in a January interview: “It’s time for people to get active, to get involved, to vote and to organize. … Trump must be stopped, and people power is what we have at our disposal to make him stop. We need mass rallies. We need them all over the country. We need them in Texas. We need them in D.C. We need them in Minnesota.”
  • Other news:

  • Iran conducted large-scale naval exercises in the northern Indian Ocean on February 26. They were part of Operation Velayat 95, which ran from February 13 to March 1, and included drills in an area of nearly 800,000 square miles from the Strait of Hormuz leading into the Persian Gulf, around the Saudi Peninsula to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait leading into the Red Sea.
  • On Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to Germany for failing to prevent the beheading of German national Jürgen Gustav Kantner by the Philippine Islamist group Abu Sayyaf. The German government released a statement, saying, “We’ve all got to stand together in the fight against terrorists.”
  • Get the details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    The Thin Evidence of Counting Calories

    It’s not the quantity that counts.
    From the April 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

    If you’re one of 45 million Americans planning a low-calorie, quick-fix diet to solve your weight or health problem, take some advice: Don’t. Many doctors, nutritionists and food marketers actively promote restrictive eating, but there are good reasons to take a different approach.

    According to Scientific American, the source of your calories is more important than just how many you eat. In fact, what makes us fat is not necessarily just a calorie imbalance but also a hormonal divergence, with the prime suspect being the quality of the foods we consume.

    A Faulty Beginning

    In 1921, Lulu Hunt Peters wrote the first American blockbuster diet book, Diet and Health, With Key to the Calories. Since then, restricting calories has been the main form of “dieting.” Peters wrote, “A person can eat what they like—candy, pie, cake, fat meat, butter, cream—but they need to count calories!”

    Seventy years later, not much had changed. The American Journal of Medicine said that between 1980 and 1990, Americans were consuming 4 percent fewer calories and 11 percent less fats than before, and fat-free food consumption rose from 19 percent to 76 percent. Yet over the same decade, obesity in America rose a bewildering 31 percent.

    Now we are over 90 years on, and the long-held notion of calorie restriction still hovers at a dismal 95 percent long-term failure rate; often, it proves harmful. Yet people continue to count their calories—and eat “low calorie” pre-packaged pies, cakes and so on as they do.

    A Hormonal Issue?

    Calories are important factors in weight loss and weight maintenance. But food quality is more important. More and more experts are seeing that it is better to consume quality food than to reduce calories. Unfortunately in America, convenience food is found in every nook and cranny. The average American now consumes 2,481 calories a day, about 23 percent more than in 1970.

    As a person becomes conscious of weight gain, he often cuts back on calories. Instead of reaching for healthier, more natural foods, many turn to more processed, low-calorie options, with unexpected results. They do not stop to realize that a given calorie’s worth of salmon, olive oil, white rice or boxed cereal each has a different effect in the body. Whole foods inhibit appetite and promote energy, while processed foods promote hunger and energy storage.

    Dr. David Ludwig, author of Always Hungry, writes that we have to think about obesity in terms of what makes us overeat: “When you’re gaining weight, something has triggered your fat cells to store too much energy, which doesn’t leave enough for the rest of the body. That ‘something’ is often the hormone insulin.”

    While generally there is no one whole-food nutrient to blame for insulin trouble and weight gain, Ludwig correctly singles out refined grains, starches and sugars (found in many low-calorie foods) as the principal drivers. When your body’s insulin response is out of control, cutting back further on calories can actually make the problem worse. The excess insulin secretion causes cells to retain fat rather than using it to fuel the body. As few as 10 or 20 calories stored as excess fat each day can lead to obesity over decades.

    Some experts still insist that all grains are problematic, but this is not true if they are complex and unprocessed. It’s the hyper-processed, overly stimulating foods with their intense taste and textures that are unhealthy and create food addictions. They also put the brakes on satiating hormonal signals, slow down your metabolism, cause thyroid hormones to drop and cortisol levels to rise, and activate fat-storage enzymes. The end result: excess body fat storage.

    Journal Your Way to Health

    Our bodies are complex and intricate creations. Since we must store nutrients continually in the body, we also have to eat a balanced, nutritious daily diet. Depriving the body of healthy food—or much food at all—in order to lose weight is the worst thing to do.

    Natural foods, which have the highest nutritional content, do not need nutrition labels because they are often the lowest in calories anyway. But even natural meat and dairy foods that have higher calorie counts will nourish your body when consumed with the proper balance. To make sure you eat enough natural foods, you have to understand your eating habits. The easiest way to do so is not to relentlessly track every calorie based on its packaging and labels, but to instead keep a simple daily food journal. Note what you eat and how much, as well as perhaps when and why. This can be as simple as leaving a notepad out near the kitchen or in a kitchen drawer and jotting down, 3 cups spaghetti, 2 cups broccoli, 1 glass water.

    The Creator of the human body also designed the food that fuels it. Humanly manufactured and mass-produced products simply are not proper fuel. God’s principle in eating, as with many other aspects of life, is always balance. Whether you have a weight or health problem, you don’t need to restrict your calories. You can undo decades of unbalanced and excessive eating by sticking to a wide variety of high-quality, fresh, natural, unprocessed foods. As you adjust your expectations and your taste buds to this type of eating, you will find it to be free of unpleasant side effects, filling, easily sustained and much tastier!

    Nile River Dam Obstructing Ethiopia-Egypt Relations

    Nile River Dam Obstructing Ethiopia-Egypt Relations

    ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER/AFP/Getty Images

    Will disputes over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam spill over into conflict—or something else?

    Falling as a gentle rain in the mountains of Gojjam, the lifeblood of nations begins. Trickling down the slopes, the runoff forms creeks, and the creeks feed waterways such as the Lesser Abay River. These rivers run across the plains and waterfalls of Ethiopia to fill the country’s largest body of water, Lake Tana. And from this lake flows the Blue Nile, the primary source of the mighty Nile River.

    Those formative raindrops travel more than 5,000 miles until they reach the Mediterranean Sea.

    But along the way, they now face a new obstacle, one that affects those who live along the Nile, and those who live far from it.

    Controversial Construction

    Now rising up in the path of the Blue Nile is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (gerd). Many Ethiopians say this vast project is the solution to the country’s energy crisis. But downstream, Egypt’s 94 million residents live almost exclusively along the Nile. And the Egyptians consider the dam a threat. As the Trumpet wrote in 2012, “The power to shut down the Nile—even temporarily—is the power to destroy Egypt.”

    Ethiopia has staunchly defended the project, attempting to dismiss Egypt’s fears. But with the dam now 70 percent completed, cracks in Ethiopia’s arguments are forming. Egyptians think this confirms their skepticism, and relations between Egypt and Ethiopia are showing major signs of stress.

    How does this affect you? Both of these nations are located beside some of the world’s most important maritime choke points, which could easily shut off seaborne trade in the event of an open conflict. Large portions of oil and commerce traverse the Bab el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal. Millions of barrels of oil and millions of tons of other goods are the fuel that keep nations running, particularly in Europe.

    But even more importantly, the dam could play into a soon-coming Islamic alliance in the Middle East that the Trumpet has warned about for more than a decade. And that alliance will affect the entire world. For that reason, fissures in Ethiopian-Egyptian relations are no small matter.

    Upsetting Egypt

    On January 31, International Rivers released a condemning article titled “Five Myths Surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.” International Rivers is a nonprofit, nongovernmental environmental and human rights organization in Berkeley, California. The organization says it purpose is to protect rivers and the rights of the people who rely upon them. The report stated that the dam will not solve Ethiopia’s energy problems; Ethiopians will not benefit from buying bonds to finance it, and Ethiopia will go into debt; the dam will not increase access to electricity; its environmental effects are negative; and Sudan and Egypt will not benefit from its existence.

    Downstream from the dam, Sudan could suffer not only from lack of water, but from lack of dirt. The nation relies on sediment washed down from Ethiopia to nourish its soil. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will inhibit much of that.

    But Egypt is the one to watch. Egyptians use 97 percent of the Nile water that reaches their nation. According to the Wall Street Journal, 60 percent of the Nile comes from the Blue Nile. Cutting that flow, even temporarily, would cause terrible damage to Egypt. To fill gerd’s reservoir will take an estimated five to seven years. International Rivers stated, “Ethiopia’s decision to build the gerd threatens Egypt’s water resources by increasing the possibility of food and water shortages, as well as public health risks.”

    Given the projected loss of water to evaporation, the severe downstream impacts of the dam and the fact that Ethiopia has never made the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project publicly available, the government of Ethiopia has clearly not fulfilled its obligation to take all appropriate measures to prevent significant harm from the gerd to downstream countries (ibid.).

    More than 3,500 miles downstream from the construction site, what is going through the minds of Egypt’s leaders in Cairo? Ethiopia is constructing a 574-foot high valve—one that it can leave open, or shut off. Already 28 percent of Egyptians live in poverty. The World Food Program estimates that 16 percent of Egyptians have poor access to food; in upper Egypt, the figure is 39 percent. Egypt is already the world’s largest importer of wheat. Should Ethiopia choose to shut off the valve, Egypt will be devastated.

    This means Cairo has plenty of motivation to take action, radical action, if neccessary.

    Threats

    In November 2012, Wikileaks published e-mails hacked from Stratfor. One dispatch written in May 2010 during the regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak cited an agreement between Egypt and Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir. The deal was to build a small air base in Kusti to “accommodate Egyptian commandos who might be sent to Ethiopia to destroy water facilities on the Blue Nile.”

    Mubarak was overthrown in 2011 by Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi secretly filmed and aired on live television a meeting with top generals, in which the generals discussed options for sabotaging or destroying the dam.

    Ever since gerd was proposed, military action has been on the table for Egypt. Perhaps one of the main reasons the dispute has not escalated into an international conflict is the fact that Egypt and Sudan have undergone major political and social instability over the past decade.

    A Long-Forecast Result

    What is ahead for this African dispute? Will Ethiopia and Egypt clash until one side wins the dispute? The answer may surprise you.

    The relationship that is about to form between Egypt and Ethiopia in the next few years was forecast long before the first engineer sketched out the first blueprint for the dam.

    In fact, these two nations will soon be in an alliance.

    That forecast comes from a source as ancient as Ethiopia and Egypt themselves: the Holy Bible. Daniel 11:43 describes a conflict between two world powers, a king from the north who overwhelms a king from the south. The king of the north “shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.”

    These prophecies were not for kingdoms in Daniel’s lifetime; Daniel himself did not understand them. He asked what they meant, and the response he received is revealing: “Go thy way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:9). Putting this scripture together with others that mention this “time of the end” time frame shows that this prophecy is for our lifetime.

    To identity the king of the south, request Gerald Flurry’s free booklet, The King of the South, first published in 1993. In it, the Trumpet editor in chief discussed how radical Islam led by Iran would fill the role of the king of the south, and Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia would ally with Iran.

    In the early 90s and for decades since, many have been skeptical at this forecast. But look at Libya today: It is a wildly unstable nation vulnerable to just such an outcome. Look at Egypt: Although Morsi has been deposed, it is remarkable at how rapidly he and the Muslim Brotherhood radicalized Egypt’s leadership. That potential remains today. Meanwhile, Iran has capitalized on the Arab Spring and other trends and has spread radical Islam right up to Ethiopia’s borders!

    In the April 2011 issue of the Trumpet, Mr. Flurry prophesied specifically that Libya and Ethiopia would become beholden to radical Islam. At the time, there was very little geopolitical evidence to suggest that either nation could become part of a radical jihadist alliance. But he made that prediction based on Daniel 11:43. “This verse states that Libya and Ethiopia are also going to be closely allied with Iran!” he stated.

    We do not know the exact details of how this alliance would form. The gerd could certainly play a role. War, regime change or even regional instability could create fertile ground for radicalism and an Islamist revolution. Libya is a prime example of how quickly nations can change. Egypt and Ethiopia ought to take note!

    How this alliance will happen we don’t know—but we do know the outcome, no matter what current events indicate. Just like rain on the mountains can eventually become the Nile River, so too can a seemingly small occurrence—disputes over a dam, the fall of a leader, a drought or a famine—lead to the onrushing fulfillment of a major Bible prophecy.

    The Trumpet concluded its 2012 article “War Over the Nile” by stating, “The Bible says Egypt will soon be instrumental in bringing a radical political reorientation to Ethiopia. Watch while it happens.”

    Introduction to Mystery of the Ages

    Before his death in 1986, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote what he called ‘the greatest book since the Bible.’ Understand the Bible with Mr. Armstrong’s final and most important book.

    In Generals We Trust?

    America’s officer corps is perhaps the finest in American—or human—history, yet America hasn’t won a war in more than 70 years.

    Vietnam remains the greatest military disaster in American history. In Vietnam, the political leadership did not commit enough troops or enough will for a decisive victory. Vietnam divided the nation and scarred America’s national character.

    Another consequence from the Vietnam War was the shock waves it sent through the American military. Every level of the United States Army was reexamined and subjected to criticism. Since the end of World War ii, America had been considered the greatest military on Earth. However, both Korea and Vietnam revealed deep flaws in the conscript system.

    The final nail in the coffin was the botched rescue plan during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980 under President Jimmy Carter. Eight service members died when a military helicopter collided with a transport plane at a desert airfield. Under the Reagan administration, the Army overhauled its identity and organization, and became a true professional army. Today, the U.S. Army has become the most professional and well-trained force in all of history. But has it learned the lessons of history?

    Historian Niall Ferguson thinks so. A large part of Vietnam’s failures revolved around political leadership ignoring the advice of military personnel on military decisions. Today, three generals hold some of the most important jobs in President Donald Trump’s cabinet. Ferguson wrote in the Boston Globe:

    Should the rest of us be worried that three key posts in the Trump administration are now held by military men? Gen. James Mattis is secretary of defense, despite having retired only recently as the general in charge of Central Command. Gen. John F. Kelly is secretary of Homeland Security, having previously run Southern Command. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster was, until his appointment as national security adviser last Monday, number two at the Army Training and Doctrine Command. It has been a very long time indeed since career soldiers (as opposed to civilians who had served their country in time of war) held this many top-level government jobs.

    All three generals have seen extensive combat experience, ranging from Vietnam to the Iraq War. All three are also considered soldier-scholars, especially Generals Mattis and McMaster. They represent the sharp edge of America’s officer corp: highly educated, highly successful, brave, dutiful and deadly. The combination of expertise, precision and ethos of these men is unmatched. Ferguson has even higher praise:

    I do not say this lightly: Never in the history of the English-speaking peoples has there been an officer class this good. It is not just that they are smart and knowledgeable. Seared by the memory of Vietnam, they have an ethos of selfless public service that is unlike anything I have ever encountered.Whenever I am succumbing to gloom about America’s political future, I remind myself of the unexpected legacy of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the Obama administration frittered away the hard-won gains of the later Bush years, the generation that fought those wars has come back home imbued with a new spirit. Incorruptible, indefatigable servants of their country, they have learned the hard way the weaknesses, as well as the strengths, of a political system that subordinates the military to civilian authority.

    Generals Mattis, Kelly and McMaster, and their fellow officers have learned the lessons from Vietnam and have prevented widespread loss of morale when the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere went against them. The very fact that the U.S. Army, with very little help from civilian leaders, was able to turn the Iraq War around during the surge is a testament to their leadership. Iraq may have been the most complex battlefield ever to face a soldier and nation.

    Despite the leadership available to the U.S. Army, and despite men like Generals Mattis, Kelly and McMaster having top jobs in government, a hard question must be asked: If we have such a good officer class, perhaps the best ever, why have we still failed to win a single war?

    Since Japan surrendered in August 1945, America has not won a single war. Korea ended in a stalemate. Vietnam ended in retreat. The war against terror has not stopped terrorism; in fact, terrorism has increased since 2001. President Barack Obama withdrew from Iraq: any gains there were forfeited. The war in Afghanistan continues. Perhaps this is easy to assert in hindsight, but someone actually forecasted that this would happen—at a time when America held even more of the balance of power than it does today. In 1961, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote these prophetic words (emphasis added):

    [U]nless or until the United States as a whole repents and returns to what has become a hollow slogan on its dollars, “In God we trust,” the United States of America has won its last war!I said that when we failed to win in Korea! … I say it again, now that the United States government endorsed this Cuban fiasco—its president gave the “go ahead”—and God, the God America has deserted, gave it its most humiliating defeat! What does the Cuban debacle mean?It means, Mr. and Mrs. United States, that the handwriting is on your wall!

    Those words were written over 50 years ago, and they have proved true. Was it a lucky guess? No, it was a forecast based on Bible prophecy. The Bible reveals that America will continue to lose wars to their enemies until its people turn back to the God of the Bible. The blame for defeat does not lie with political leaders, the U.S. military, or any one individual. America losing wars—despite the efforts of its best and brightest and bravest—is a judgment against the nation as a whole! The sins of the nation have decided America’s fortunes on the battlefield.

    Despite a rash of scandals involving top-level officers (especially Navy officers), the U.S. Army still has the greatest office corp in its history. Generals like Mattis, Kelly and McMaster are outstanding men with flawless records and experience in battle. However, trusting in their brilliance and bravery is not the path to elusive victory. The professional, technological and numerical edge of the U.S. military is futile in the face of divine judgement. There is a way forward, but it involves drastic change. To learn more, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.