The Only Solution to World Problems

The Only Solution to World Problems

iStock.com/Brasil2

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on March 9.

Stephen Hawking made headlines this week by saying that for humanity to survive the dangers ahead, mankind may need to form some kind of world government. It brought to mind what Herbert W. Armstrong said decades ago about a coming super world government—to be established on Earth by God at the return of Jesus Christ! On today’s program, Stephen Flurry explains why man is incapable of solving the world’s problems and what is the real solution.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show

The Coming China-Germany Trade Juggernaut

The Coming China-Germany Trade Juggernaut

iStock.com/ake1150sb

In a post-American trade war, this emerging bloc will wield devastating power.

Stories of international angst over United States President Donald Trump’s protectionist approach are becoming more commonplace. Mr. Trump’s “buy American, hire American” catchphrase sounds good for many at home, but abroad, it is prompting a weighty reorganization of international trade relationships. And long term, the result will be a trade war that will prove ruinous to the U.S.

World trade has changed a great deal over the last several decades. The international community at large no longer depends on America’s giant import expenditures and exports. Parag Khanna of Politico wrote:

As Americans, it’s easy to assume that global trade still depends on America as the consumer of last resort. But that’s no longer true. In fact, the majority of trade in emerging-market nations is with each other, not with the U.S. In 1990, emerging economies sent 65 percent of their exports to developed nations like the U.S. and Europe, and only 35 percent to other developing countries. Today, that figure is nearly reversed.

As desirable as any U.S. trade still may be, it has become increasingly unnecessary. And of late, foreign governments have taken close to heart Trump’s protectionist dialogue and are looking elsewhere to secure their interests with new trading partners and blocs. Two powerful nations in particular are starting to join arms and lead the way toward the new, post-American world of global trade: Germany and China.

Germany

Here are the vital statistics: The three top exporting nations in the world are: 1) China, 2) the United States, 3) Germany. Germany is the undisputed powerhouse and leader of the European Union. If you include the exports of the EU as a whole, European exports outpace the U.S., making the top exporters as follows: 1) China, 2) the European Union, 3) the United States.

Data released in February reveals that China overtook the U.S. in 2016 to become Germany’s new number one trading partner. The U.S. fell to third place, behind France. Reuters correspondents for Germany Rene Wagner and Michael Nienaber reported:

The development is good news for the German government, which has made it a goal to safeguard global free trade after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on imports and his top adviser on trade accused Germany of exploiting a weak euro to boost exports.

The German vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, proposed that if the new U.S. government makes good on efforts toward a protectionist worldview, the European Union should realign its economic policies toward the Asian supercontinent. And the head of Germany’s bga trade association, Anton Börner, echoed Gabriel’s sentiments by stating that “given the protectionist plans of the new U.S. president, one would expect that the trade ties between Germany and China will be further strengthened.”

According to export data for 2016, the U.S. was still the biggest buyer of German goods. Where the numbers break down is with the bilateral trade deficit. The U.S. ranked second after the United Kingdom for Germany’s largest bilateral trade surplus. Germany’s exports to the UK exceeded its imports from the UK by $52.8 billion. German-made exports to the U.S. exceeded American-made imports to Germany by $51.7 billion. The data shows that the U.S. and the UK need Germany’s exports more than Germany needs their exports.

China

At the other end of the Silk Road that runs across the Eurasian landmass is the Chinese economic juggernaut. President Trump heavily criticized China’s trade and economic manipulation throughout his presidential campaign, often stating that “China is killing us” on trade. China has not taken kindly to Trump. After Trump’s cancellation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (tpp), China is looking more and more desirable as the key player for a new commercial alliance with the remaining tpp countries. As Khanna’s Politico piece explained, “[M]ost of the other signatories are moving ahead anyway in a ‘tpp minus one’ format” (ibid).

Even more significantly, more than a dozen Asian countries have rekindled their efforts towards advancing an alternative megadeal—the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)—which differs from TPP in one crucial way: At the center lies not the US, but our economic arch-rival China.

At this point in time, doing business with a powerful Asian trading bloc looks very tantalizing to the German-led European Union. Trade between Europe and Asia already exceeds transatlantic trade. This commerce will only increase as China and other nations continue massive new construction of roads, rails, pipelines and other infrastructure along the Silk Road.

The U.S. is becoming more and more unnecessary for global commerce, yet its president continues to indicate that his nation is indispensable. This is a particularly worrying position when taking into account that the U.S. holds the greatest single debt in the history of the world—and the world’s top creditor nations happen to be Japan, China and Germany, respectively. As Proverbs 22:7 wisely says, “[T]he borrower is servant to the lender.” What happens when the lenders call for their money back?

It’s no wonder that other nations are looking away to new trading opportunities. There is a decreasing need to bind their economies to America. In “Dumped by U.S., Europe and Asia Get Together on Trade Deals,” Foreign Policy’s Emily Tamkin wrote:

The United States, after President Donald Trump took office, nixed a big trade pact with Asia, and let another big trade accord with Europe die on the vine. Now both those jilted partners are getting together—threatening to leave the United States out in the cold as the world’s biggest economic blocs reshape their trading relationships.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stated in a February interview with Handelsblatt Global, “We have seen that many of the tpp countries are now approaching us and saying, ‘We still want to do deals.’ We are engaged with basically all of them, either negotiating or have a deal or preparing negotiations.” She warned the U.S. against establishing trade barriers: “We advise not to do that because there is a risk that there’s a global retaliation. That would be very bad for the economies and for the citizens of course.”

That “global retaliation” is, in other words, trade war. This is something the Trumpet has forecast for decades. Why? In more recent years, the geopolitical signs have pointed increasingly toward this possibility. Yet our main evidence for a coming trade war comes from Bible prophecy.

Isaiah 22 and 23 speak of an end-time rise of a “mart of nations,” a giant trading bloc of European and Asian nations, notably including China and Germany. The bloc’s trade relationships are also referenced in Ezekiel 27. This Eurasian commercial power will begin a trade war against the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel—and this trade war will develop into full-blown World War iii!

We are witnessing the rise of this “mart of nations.” Bible prophecy reveals this trade bloc will be only a brief alliance. For more information, read “Trade Wars Have Begun” and be sure to get a copy of the most recent issue of the Trumpet magazine. This April issue focuses on these worrisome global trading trends, how they will affect you personally, and what steps you can take to prepare for them.

Turkey and Germany Fall Out Again

The latest outburst reminds Germany that it needs a real solution to the migration crisis.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan likened the German government to Nazis on March 5, as relations between the two countries reached a new low.

The argument comes as Turkey prepares to hold a referendum on April 16 that would change the constitution and concentrate more power in the presidency. Around 3 million Turks live in Germany, and well over 1 million are eligible to vote in Turkish elections. This effectively makes Germany the fourth-largest electoral district for Turkish elections and an important part of any election campaign.

Relations between the two have been spiraling downward for some time. In February, Turkish police held Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist and correspondent for Die Welt newspaper, for two weeks, before finally arresting and formally charging him. The incident led to outrage in Germany.

Two German local authorities then canceled rallies led by Turkish ministers who were campaigning for a “Yes” vote in the constitutional referendum. One cited concerns about “parking space,” and the other blamed a double booking. To many, it looked suspiciously like retaliation.

This is what led to Erdoğan’s outburst. “Germany, you have no notion of democracy,” he said. “Your practices are not different from the Nazis of the past.”

The Telegraph reported Erdoğan saying, “I’ll come tomorrow if I want to, and if you do not let me in, or try to stop me speaking, I’ll start an insurrection.”

Other nations are closing ranks around Germany. Austria has called for a European Union-wide ban on campaigning by all Turkish politicians. But Germany itself has been remarkably restrained. A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is “absolutely no justification” for Erdoğan’s remarks and followed up by saying, “[L]et us remember the special meaning of our close relationship and let cool heads prevail.”

Why such a mild response to such provocative words? Turkey is at the center of Merkel’s solution to the migrant crisis.

Over the course of 2016, the migrant crisis was much more manageable than the chaos of 2015. That change came because of two key reasons: Austria worked with the Balkan states to prevent immigrants from migrating north out of Greece, and Turkey agreed to close the door on Syrian migrants trying to travel into Europe.

If relations between Germany and Turkey unravel, migrants could flood back into Europe at 2015 levels. With German elections scheduled for September 24, a fresh outbreak of the migrant crisis would be politically disastrous for Merkel. She has no choice but to play nice—for now. “She is paralyzed by concerns that Erdoğan could put an end to the refugee deal—a threat he has repeatedly issued,” Spiegel Online said on March 6.

“It’s time to come up with a European solution that decreases our dependence on Turkey. … It’s time to develop alternatives—by promoting a European refugee policy that does not outsource the protection of EU borders to Turkey but instead sees the EU taking on that responsibility,” it wrote. “It’s high time for Europe to free itself from Erdoğan’s shackles.”

Should relations between Turkey and Germany fall apart over the summer, the fallout could be huge, with another 1 or 2 million Syrian refugees flooding into Greece. But even if it holds, Germany needs a way to end its dependence on Turkey. No German leader wants to be subject to Turkish blackmail.

This is much easier said than done. On March 7, Stefan Lehne wrote for Carnegie Europe:

In Europe, the EU has created a common state-like space by guaranteeing the free movement of EU citizens and establishing an area of passport-free travel while leaving most powers regarding immigration and refugee flows at the level of the individual member states.The economic logic driving these projects—a desire to complete and strengthen the EU’s internal market—obscured their far-reaching political implications. By opening their borders, EU member states abandoned the long-established sovereign right to control who enters and leaves their territories. …

Yet having abandoned this sovereignty, the EU has done little to form new European-wide institutions to protect and control that border. Relying on Turkey has been a quick and easy alternative, but one with major downsides. Watch for Europe to be forced to develop its own border systems and defense arrangements to protect those borders—in other words, to take another gigantic step toward becoming a superstate. For more on how the migration crisis is changing Europe, read “Europe’s Old Demons Return.”

How America’s Courts Are Threatening the Rule of Law

How America’s Courts Are Threatening the Rule of Law

Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

With the Supreme Court unwilling to rule on Second Amendment gun rights, the lower Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals took the law into its own hands.

When Neil Gorsuch was nominated to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, conservatives were ecstatic. Rightly so, I would add, since Judge Gorsuch has represented the crucial quality of choosing to put the authority of the Constitution above his own moral preferences. Yet at the Trumpet, we asked: “Will Justice Neil Gorsuch Make a Difference?

Even while alive, Antonin Scalia was fighting a losing battle against judicial activism—which is choosing to put the results of laws above their constitutional process. Judge Gorsuch won’t be able to stop the intellectual flow in that direction. And the Fourth Circuit’s latest ruling on the Second Amendment proves that judicial activists don’t even need a monopoly on the Supreme Court to continue their work.

The Supreme Court has recently avoided hearing cases on the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms,” so the Fourth Circuit’s verdict will likely stand. In its 10-4 decision made on Feb. 21, the court decided to uphold a ban on “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines” in the state of Maryland. In doing so, the court not only managed to rewrite the Supreme Court’s previous District of Columbia v. Heller decision and weaken the Second Amendment, but it also spread some fake news about rifles like AR-15.

Though the Second Amendment protects the rights of citizens to bear arms, the courts have traditionally placed some limit on the types of weapons available. In the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case, the late Justice Scalia gave the guidelines that the Second Amendment would protect all weapons that were “in common use at the time.” The exception to the rule would be those weapons which were “dangerous and unusual.”

We can let David French, an attorney who writes for National Review, explain the reasoning:

Why the addition of “and” unusual? Because every single working gun ever made is dangerous. To illustrate his point, Scalia then provides examples of specific types of “dangerous and unusual” guns—“M-16 rifles and the like.” Here’s a news flash: The M-16 isn’t the same as a civilian “assault weapon” like the AR-15. The M-16 variants in use in the United States military are capable of being fired in both semi-automatic and fully automatic (three-round burst) modes. If you think that the M-16 and AR-15 are alike, then walk to your local gun store and try to buy an M-16.Go ahead. I’ll wait.

In order to uphold Maryland’s semi-automatic weapon ban, the Fourth Circuit tried to equate the fully automatic M-16 with the civilian semi-automatic AR-15. In what French calls a “spit-out-your-coffee sentence,” the majority opinion published that: “Semiautomatic weapons can be fired at rates of 300 to 500 rounds per minute, making them virtually indistinguishable in practical effect from machine guns.” Remember, a semi-automatic weapon will only load the next round. The trigger must be pulled again in order to fire. The Fourth Circuit would have you believe the millions of citizens of citizens who own these weapons are can also pull their triggers 6 times a second for a minute. That’s not possible.

But forget Heller’s “dangerous and unusual” criteria, because the Fourth Circuit created a new one. Judge Traxler, who wrote the dissent, said in order to circumvent this precedent, the majority opinion simply created “a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” Judge Traxler continued in his dissent, showing how the ruling would have affected a citizen at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification:

Under the majority’s analysis, a settler’s musket, the only weapon he would likely own and bring to militia service, would be most useful in military service—undoubtedly a weapon of war—and therefore not protected by the Second Amendment. This analysis turns Heller on its head. Indeed, the Court in Heller found it necessary to expressly reject the view that “only those weapons useful in warfare are protected.”

The “most useful in military service” test is ridiculous because you could use it to theoretically ban any weapon. Writing last year in a unanimous Caetano v. Massachusetts decision, Supreme Court Justice Alito ruled that although a “Supreme Judicial Court’s assumption that stun guns are unsuited for militia or military use is untenable,” it didn’t mean that they could be banned.

Pulling out new criteria from thin air to support a decision which already goes against a Supreme Court ruling is practically the definition of judicial activism. But that won’t stop gun-control activists from hailing it as a Constitutional victory. Indeed, the executive director of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, Elizabeth Banach, cheered that the Fourth Circuit’s ruling was “overwhelming proof that reasonable measures to prevent gun violence are constitutional.”

No. Sorry, but having a court rule that something is Constitutional doesn’t make it Constitutional. Judges, as the currently eminent Judge Richard Posner would tell you, “dress up their theories in an elaborate way” to fit their feelings—political, moral, emotional—on the case at hand.

We could discuss more reasons why the majority’s decision is merely their moral preference rather than a ruling on the law, but you can read that in Judge Traxler’s official dissent. It’s clear enough from the start of the majority’s opinion, where the brutal details of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre and other shootings are laid out to set the moral scene. It reads as if they took notes from former President Barack Obama’s speeches on gun control, making sure emotion gets the center stage.

Gun violence is sick, horrifying and far too prevalent. Preventing another Sandy Hook is imperative. But the consequences of eroding the rule of law are worse. Right now, to those who support gun control, an activist judge seems like a blessing. But what happens when activist judges are on the other side? What happens when the rule of law becomes the rule of the judge’s opinion? After being infamously and disgracefully blocked from a position on the U.S. Supreme Court for thinking the Constitution mattered more than his own opinion, Robert Bork wrote the following: “[T]he principles of the actual Constitution make the judge’s major moral choices for him. When he goes beyond such principles, he is at once adrift on an uncertain sea of moral argument.” The judge who looks outside the Constitution for guidelines, he wrote, can only look “inside himself and nowhere else.”

The Trumpet reminded readers of a quote from editor in chief Gerald Flurry over the “Ninth Circuit Coup D’état” earlier this week: “If we as a people don’t obey the rule of law, then we fall victim to the rule of man. This leads to the horrifying rule of brute force.”

President Donald Trump says the U.S. will begin to “restore the rule of law.” The liberal left says he is threatening it. In the meantime, while the Supreme Court sits in limbo with eight judges, the U.S. Court of Appeals has meted out judicial activism on immigration and gun control. The result, no matter the executive branch, is a chipping away at the rule of law: and eventually, freedom.

Why North Korea Gets Away With Firing Missiles at Japan

Why North Korea Gets Away With Firing Missiles at Japan

STR/AFP/Getty Images

‘The four ballistic rockets launched simultaneously are so accurate that they look like acrobatic flying corps in formation.’ —Kim Jong-un

North Korea fired four missiles toward Japan on March 6. Three of them fell within 200 nautical miles of Japan’s coast. Japan was incensed, of course, as any nation having missiles launched in its direction would be. North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un gloried in the launch, “[f]easting his eyes on the trails of ballistic rockets,” according to North Korean state media. “The four ballistic rockets launched simultaneously are so accurate that they look like acrobatic flying corps in formation,” he said.

What are we to make of all this? It seems each month you can count on another missile launch, exclamations of outrage, declarations of “sticking by our allies,” talks of upping sanctions, and a plethora of arguments on how to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. Clearly, North Korea’s state media is not known for its honesty, and its supreme leader’s boasting would be comical if it weren’t so tragic. Yet there is so much we just don’t know in this situation. Is Kim Jong-un insane? Or is he just playing the part to scare everyone? Does North Korea really want to start a war? Or is it bluffing in order to keep the international community guessing? Is it truly close to a nuclear weapon? Or is its technology still wildly deficient?

These are all hard questions, and ones that George Friedman from Geopolitical Futures has asked for years. After North Korea’s four missile launches on Monday, Friedman revisited his theory on its behavior. In order to survive after the fall of the ussr, North Korea tried convincing the world of “three somewhat contradictory things”:

The first was that North Korea was an extremely dangerous country, and that it was powerful and likely to strike a devastating blow at any action. This would deter any attempt to attack North Korea or destroy the regime. Second, the North Koreans sought to project an air of insanity. Random, pointless acts of violence and bizarre pronouncements were designed to convince the world that not only is North Korea dangerous, but it is also quite mad. This was intended to persuade everyone that they should not try invading North Korea or even consider it. Even the whiff of danger would push the North Koreans over the edge. Finally, and paradoxically, North Korea sought to appear weak. Widely publicized famines, ancient factories and the other accoutrements of misery indicated that trying to destroy North Korea’s regime would be pointless. It might topple any day.

A nuclear program firing random ballistic missiles (as we saw this week), insane threats and evidence of extraordinary poverty and political instability all combined to prevent any action that someone might want to take, assuming anyone wanted to take action.

Friedman readily admits that he could be wrong about North Korea. If Kim Jong-un is not insane, and he is using his nuclear program to deter international action, doing nothing is a “low-risk bet.” Suffering continues, but there is no war. If Kim Jong-un is insane, then it’s all a “high-risk bet” and anything could happen.

At the same time, we should ask: How can North Korea get away with firing four missiles into Japan’s ocean territory? One of the reasons is described above by Friedman: No one wants to take the chance that he is insane and trigger a war with massive casualties by stopping him. And yet is it not the whole world against North Korea? Can’t we stop the suffering of millions of people in a country smaller than most American states?

The reason the world can’t is China.

China is North Korea’s closest friend, and nearly one of its only friends. Around 70 percent of North Korea’s trade is with China. When the international community (through the United Nations) has tried to exert more pressure with harsh sanctions, China has opposed it. “China is currently North Korea’s only economic backer of any importance,” wrote Nicholas Eberstadt, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

Listening to the analysts talking about why China maintains relations with North Korea, you would think countries don’t have selfish ambitions. China doesn’t want a toppling regime to flood refugees into its territory. And that’s true—but it’s not the whole truth. Mu Chunshan, a journalist in Beijing, described China’s reasoning in the Diplomat in similarly doting terms:

Turning completely away from North Korea, however, is not in line with [Chinese President Xi Jinping’s] policy of developing normal relations with China’s neighbors. Normal relations involve a willingness to negotiate and resolve differences. The two parties might be displeased with each other, but they should not damage their basic diplomatic contact or their mutual interests.

Apparently China is just showing a willingness to “negotiate and resolve differences.” Is that true? Or is it just like Xi’s speech in Davos 2017 where he proclaimed China as the champion of free trade and international peace? All this while Xi himself maintains an authoritarian government.

To answer the question, we’ll refer to an article written by the Trumpet seven years ago: “Why China Won’t Stop North Korea.” The intermediate time hasn’t changed any of the basic facts. North Korea is still belligerent. China still funds it. The surrounding nations still get scared by every new missile test. Just replace Kim Jong-il with Kim Jong-un.

The reality is more sinister: China’s leaders support Kim Jong-il’s regime because a rogue North Korea serves China’s ambitions, both within the region and in the global arena!

First, the existence of an unpredictable, highly volatile nuclear aspirant is a distraction to China’s competitors in the region. “Apparently, [Chinese] President Hu Jintao finds Kim useful in the short term for keeping Japan and South Korea off balance,” wrote [Gordon] Chang …. China employs North Korea in Asia in much the same way Iran employs Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon: as an instrument to push, pry and distract Western-aligned governments, thereby undermining and countering U.S. interests in Asia.

But the ultimate and most worrying reason Beijing sustains North Korea is that Kim Jong-il’s ideologies and ambitions align perfectly with China’s top global priority: undermining the United States!

When you hear news that North Korea has fired four missiles into Japanese waters, it means that China endorses North Korea firing those rockets. When North Korea announces advances in its nuclear program, it means China allows it to. China may not like everything that North Korea does, but it allows it to continue. Changing North Korea means changing China. To fix a drug-user problem, the police would have to go after drug suppliers. To fix a problem like North Korea, the world would have to go after its supplier: China. That’s not happening, and it won’t happen. And that’s why North Korea got away with firing missiles at Japan last Monday.

A World Primed for Conflict

A World Primed for Conflict

iStock.com/ia_64

Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on March 8.

With America in full-scale retreat, the post-World War II global order has been completely upended. Iran is expanding its sphere of influence throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Russia and China are taking aggressive military actions to dominate their respective regions. And Europe is talking about building its own military in order to compete on the world stage. These emerging power blocs are steering the world toward war! On today’s program, Stephen Flurry examines these hot spots under the clear light of Bible prophecy.

Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show