Guttenberg Tests the Waters

Guttenberg Tests the Waters

Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

Is this the return of a prodigal son or a long-planned comeback?

Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg discussed the future of the Christian Social Union (csu) with party chief Horst Seehofer and other prominent figures in a quiet castle hotel in Neufahrn, Lower Bavaria, over the weekend of March 11. Anytime Guttenberg makes an appearance in Germany, rumors of a possible comeback are in the air—not so this time. This time the comeback is real. It’s a small start, but this return to politics will give him and his party an indication as to whether the population is ready for more.

“Just the radiance of the name Guttenberg can be witnessed in Neufahrn. tv cameras, photographers, journalists: Everything is ready for when the charismatic nobleman flies from the U.S.A. to the homeland,” German news website Stern reported (Trumpet translation throughout).

Guttenberg will support the csu in the Bundestag election campaign and take a key advisory position in foreign-policy issues. The former css star will reportedly hold a campaign in each of the seven Bavarian government districts in the weeks leading up to the election. “If, however, the csu feels that his appearance would be more damaging than good, he will immediately withdraw, Guttenberg explained in an internal round,” Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Party leader Seehofer said he was “very grateful” for this development. “I consider it a very noble offer that he will support us in one or the other event,” he said, noting that Guttenberg is not looking for a position but rather “wants to help his family, his csu.”

One of Germany’s major daily regional newspapers, Rheinische Post, suggested that Guttenberg’s appearance in the campaigns “will also serve as a test”as to whether Guttenberg will once again “ignite” the people. “His fans as well as his opponents are likely to agree that Guttenberg will take advantage of this second opportunity. And then? ‘Now we focus on winning the elections, and then we’ll see more,’ says Seehofer in front of the Neufahrner castle. Guttenberg smiles, leaning relaxed against one of the state carriages.”

While in office, Guttenberg was Germany’s most popular politician. The csu remembers all too well the great popularity it enjoyed with him. But he was ousted from his post as defense minister when the University of Bayreuth stripped him of his doctorate for plagiarism. Guttenberg said the plagiarism in his doctoral thesis was inadvertent and occurred during a busy time in his life; he resigned as a result. The question now is, will his comeback once again stir the German people?

Guttenberg looks like a prodigal son returning to support his family in a time of crises. During his exile to the United States, he added valuable experience to his charisma and formed outstanding relationships with many American business leaders. He founded his own advisory company, Spitzberg Partners, and invests in companies around the world. Now he is ready for the long-desired and planned comeback.

To understand why we believe Guttenberg might be the man to lead Germany through the President Trump era, read “Trump, Germany and KT zu Guttenberg.”

Russia Assimilates Armed Forces of Georgian Breakaway Region

Russia Assimilates Armed Forces of Georgian Breakaway Region


The latest bold move by Vladimir Putin to rebuild the Soviet empire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his government on Tuesday to finalize a deal to absorb the military forces of Georgia’s South Ossetia breakaway region into Russia’s military command hierarchy. The order came just one day after the Kremlin published a related draft agreement allowing separatists in South Ossetia to serve in the Russian armed forces.

The bold moves represent a major development in Putin’s quest to reconstruct the Soviet empire, and leaders in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and beyond are alarmed.

Officially, South Ossetia is part Georgia, a nation that was formerly part of the Soviet bloc. But in 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after several eruptions of violence, the region declared independence from Tbilisi. For over a decade, South Ossetia existed as a semiautonomous region in a state of general peace with the rest of Georgia. But in 2004, the Georgian government launched efforts to regain control of the region, and conflicts between Georgian soldiers and South Ossetian separatists began to increase.

The tension culminated in 2008, when Georgia carried out a resolute ground and air assault on Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s primary city. Putin responded to the offensive by invading Georgia and pushing Georgian soldiers out of South Ossetia and out of Abkhazia, Georgia’s other pro-Russian breakaway region.

After concluding the invasion, Moscow recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Putin then asserted control over the two regions, and a handful of Russia’s allies, including Venezuela and Nicaragua, followed Moscow’s lead in recognizing their independence.

Georgia, along with the United States and the European Union, labeled the Russian move a blatant and illegal land grab. Georgia continues to insist that both regions remain part of Georgian territory, and international law supports this view. But such claims mean less and less as Russia asserts more real-world control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The new agreement to incorporate South Ossetia’s armed forces into Russia’s military makes Moscow’s control over the region certain in all but name. Reuters said that, under the agreement, South Ossetian forces “will adopt new operating procedures for their armed forces which will be subject to approval by Moscow, and the forces’ structure and objectives will be determined in agreement with Russia.”

Georgia has denounced the new agreement, saying it is “illegitimate” and is “impeding peaceful process.” But such denunciations do not change the facts on the ground.

Russia’s absorption of South Ossetia’s military comes just three years after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, and during a continuing conflict in which Russian forces are aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine. Both Ukraine and Georgia were part of the Soviet Union before its collapse. In 2005, Putin called that collapse “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.” This declaration provides insight into the Russian leader’s worldview and into his overriding geopolitical goal: to reconstruct a Russian empire.

Many in Georgia see that Russia’s assertion of greater control over South Ossetia parallels its recent actions in Ukraine. “Russia, in a way, is pulling a Crimea here,” Dr. Irakli Bokuchava, a Tbilisi-based political commentator, told the Trumpet. In both nations, he said, Putin’s plan is the “creation of a renewed ussr.”

Russia Is Alarming Europe

Russia’s increasing control over South Ossetia is also fueling concern among European leaders, some of whom fear that it could inspire secessionists in other former Soviet nations—within Europe. The Irish Times explained that Europeans are fearful of Putin’s reconstruction of the Soviet empire but, at present, too disunited to counter it:

[A]larmed but unwilling—unable—to do anything, the European Union watches on. The dispute and Union’s impotence epitomize its difficult relationship with Russia and the former Soviet states, which the latter still regards as its “sphere of influence,” Russian minorities in most of them still under Moscow’s protective wing. The EU’s response, notably in Ukraine, has been fumbling and uncertain.

Of the six former Soviet states which participate in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership”—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine—only Belarus has made it through the last quarter century without being involved in armed conflict internally, while the latter joins Azerbaijan as the most politically stable of the regimes, albeit the most authoritarian. … Russia knows it can continue its bullying. Putin regards South Ossetians as Russians that, like Crimeans, history has wrongfully parted from their homeland.

The Irish Times said that U.S. President Donald Trump’s disparagement of nato and his “apparent sympathy with strongman Putin” are exacerbating the worry among Europeans, with the article concluding, “These are dangerous times.”

A Bold Forecast Vindicated

These “dangerous times” appear to have taken many analysts by surprise. But the Trumpet fully expected them. Just after Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry issued this precise forecast:

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! … Today, you have [Western leaders] trying to also bring Georgia and Ukraine into nato. I don’t believe Russia will ever allow that to happen. … Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.

Time has proved that forecast to be stunningly accurate.

Almost a decade ago, Mr. Flurry understood that Ukraine and Georgia were not safe from Putin’s expansionist ambitions, and now it is clear that he was right. He also said long before the Irish Times that Russia’s aggressive behavior would frighten Europe into uniting. For a shocking insight into the Russia’s—and Europe’s—present and future, watch Mr. Flurry’s Key of David program “The Prophesied Prince of Russia.”

Mystery of the Ages Synopsis, Part Two: Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits

Reese Zoellner/Trumpet

Wars are killing tens of thousands of people around the world every year. Yet unseen is the most important war of all spiritual armies fighting for control of human minds.

Most people do not believe in these types of invisible beings. But your Bible asserts that angels and evil spirits exist. Which view is right?

The Bible says that before God created Earth, the universe and mankind, He created angels. There are millions and possibly billions of these dazzling immortal spirit beings. Sadly, many of them rebelled and become demons.

God created each angel individually, with an astounding independent mind and with greater abilities than any human being. Even Jesus Christ was temporarily inferior to the angels while He was on Earth as a physical man (Hebrews 2:7). The angels are mighty, powerful beings—the greatest beings God can create instantaneously.

But these perfect, everlasting angels cannot reproduce like human beings. They were not created to have families. Why? Because they were not created for the same purpose that human beings were created. As great as the angels are, your potential is far greater. Yet mankind is totally mystified by this awesome future.

This article is the second in a series about Herbert W. Armstrong’s greatest book, Mystery of the Ages. Mankind is baffled by the second mystery in this book: the mystery of angels and evil spirits.

Laid the Nations Low

Lucifer was the greatest angel God ever created. He was the brightest, most brilliant archangel, but he rebelled against His Creator and persuaded a third of the angels to do the same (Jude 6-7).

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12). The Revised Standard Version says, “How are you cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!” Satan has always seized control of the political and military leaders in this world, especially in the Gentile world.

Lucifer means shining star of the dawn or bringer of light. God created him to bring light to the entire universe! If Lucifer had remained loyal, this world would also be full of light. Instead, the world wants darkness. That’s why they killed the Son of God (John 1:10-11)!

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). Can you imagine this extreme kind of vanity in a being created perfect by God? Lucifer had a choice. He chose to become Satan. Human beings also have a choice. God tells us to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till [lawlessness] was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15). Everything was just great until Lucifer decided to become lawless. Do you see lawlessness in America, as well as the rest of the world, today? The nations of Israel, including America, have by far the most serious problems. (Request Herbert W. Armstrong’s free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy to prove the identity of the nations of Israel.)


In Mystery of the Ages, Mr. Armstrong wrote:

At this juncture, a truth must be explained almost never understood. God creates in a principle of duality. … When God created the Earth and other planets, this system of duality was involved. … The same principle of duality applies to the creation of the angels” (Chapter 2).

This duality also applies to a rebellion of the angels! They tried to overthrow God just before He created Adam and Eve, and again in this age just before the return of Jesus Christ. The demons will try one final time to unseat their Maker. Mr. Armstrong continued:

Notice here, once again, the principle of duality. Isaiah 14:12-14 applies to a time prior to the creation of the first human, Adam. But in Revelation 12:7 and in Daniel 12:1, Satan at the end of the 6,000 years allotted to his rule on earth’s throne, tries once again to seize God’s throne in heaven (ibid).

Satan possesses the ultimate insanity. He is so arrogant, he actually believes he can win a battle against the great God! He tries repeatedly.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9). The last time Satan tried to conquer God and was cast down was in 1986, probably on January 16—the date of Mr. Armstrong’s death. (Request Raising the Ruins and Malachi’s Message for proof).

When Satan couldn’t take over God’s throne in this end time, he immediately turned his wrath on God’s Church (verse 13). He destroyed the Worldwide Church of God. Only 5 percent of God’s loyal people, protected by the righteous angels, remained to do God’s Work. That’s how powerful Satan is, yet most of the world scoffs at him!

A Time of Trouble

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (verse 12). Satan failed to seize rulership over the universe, and God confined him to Earth. Woe unto us all, even the sea! After God’s Church, Satan attacks the nations of Israel, and then all the inhabiters of the earth—the whole world.

Imagine it: millions, perhaps billions, of angels persuaded by Satan to turn away from God. These twisted beings have turned this world into a violent place. There had never been any violence for all eternity until Satan rebelled! God and the Word had coexisted peacefully before the invention of time.

Satan knows his time is short. That’s why he’s full of wrath! Evidence of Satan’s destructive rage can be seen all over the Earth, but people don’t attribute that to him because they worship him as the current god of this world (ii Corinthians 4:4).

“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1, emphasis mine throughout). Conditions are bad now, but they will get much worse. God will deliver His loyal remnant from the turbulent times coming on the world. He will accept anybody who turns and repents and gives his life to Him.

Wars stain the planet today, but the most important war goes completely unseen. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). The righteous angels and the evil demons are at war for human minds.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, emphasis added). Satan is the master of the airwaves. He broadcasts through the air, just like television and radio signals. He fills the air with his hostile spirit through moods, attitudes and feelings. Human beings are easy targets for him.

Because the angels and evil spirits are invisible, they are a mystery to mankind. Mr. Armstrong compared them to electricity: You can’t see electricity, but you know it exists. The same is true of spirit beings if we open our minds to God’s truth.

You Are My Son

The first chapter of Hebrews describes the righteous angels as secret messengers of God to serve the saints, the five percent of God’s people who never rebelled (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout the Bible, angels manifested themselves in the form of human beings to servants of God such as Abraham, Moses and Gideon.

Some angels rank higher than others. Exodus chapter 25 discusses the three covering cherub angels who held their wings outstretched over God’s throne: Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel. The latter two still do this important job. Michael is also a mighty warrior angel who engages in spiritual combat to protect God’s Church. He would also be protecting the nations of Israel if they would let him. Gabriel is also a messenger angel.

Lucifer rebelled because, though created perfect, he still had to choose. That’s how to build God’s character! If we don’t build character, we have no future with God (Matthew 5:48).

The angels fulfill a vital purpose in God’s plan, but your purpose is even greater. “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Hebrews 1:5, 13). The angels will never be born as sons of God into the Family of God. They are only God’s sons in the sense that He created them. But they are overjoyed to have any part in God’s plan at all! (Job 38:7).

When Satan deceived one third of the angels, God saw that only He could be trusted to rule the universe. So He decided to recreate Himself in physical human beings! Humans have physical families because family is a God-plane relationship. Marriage is a God-plane relationship, a type of the firstfruits’ marriage to Jesus Christ. Anyone who comes out of the world before Christ’s return and does God’s Work, can be a part of that Bride.

This is the most wonderful truth you could imagine!

The angels have an absolutely marvelous future. Because some of them failed, human beings now have an incredible potential, too. We will shine like the stars forever and ever as we bring light and beauty to the entire universe.

Week in Review: A Telling Dutch Election, Russia Sends Troops to Egypt, Japan Stands Up to China, and Much More

Week in Review: A Telling Dutch Election, Russia Sends Troops to Egypt, Japan Stands Up to China, and Much More

Wasim Saduldin /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images, Carl Court/Getty Images, BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

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

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Dutch election shatters political system

  • On Wednesday, headlines in Europe highlighted the epic defeat of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Bloomberg: “Dutch Liberals Defeat Wilders’s Party in Blow to Populist Surge.” Daily Mail: “Far-Right Dutch M.P. Geert Wilders FAILS to Make Inroads in General Election.” The Telegraph: “Netherlands Rejects Far Right.”
  • On Thursday, highlighted the significance of Wilders’s far-right Freedom Party gaining five seats to become the nation’s second most popular party.
  • “[Wilders] has so thoroughly reshaped Dutch political culture that voters who share his views, but find him ultra vires, can now vote for any number of parties that have taken a hard-line on immigrants and on Islam, including [Wilders’s Freedom Party],” wrote James Traub for Foreign Policy.
  • “This is Europe’s politics in 2017; the center holds, but only by giving ground to the nationalist right.”

Russia reportedly deploys to Libya-Egypt border

  • Reuters reported this week that a contingent of Russian troops is now present on Egypt’s border with Libya.
  • If true, this development marks the first time that Russian soldiers have been spotted on the ground in North Africa since the fall of Muammar Qadhafi and indicates that Russia may be considering bolstering its support of Gen. Khalifa Haftar, a Libyan warlord currently vying for control of Libya.

Russia moves to assimilate South Ossetia’s armed forces

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an order that will absorb troops from Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia into Russia’s military command structure.
  • The bold move represents a major development in Putin’s quest to reconstruct the Soviet empire and is sounding alarm bells in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and beyond.

Scotland plans another referendum on independence

Other news:

  • Japanese authorities said on Tuesday that the the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force will dispatch its largest warship, the Izumo helicopter carrier, on a three-month tour that passes through the South China Sea. The move represents Japan’s largest show of military force since World War ii and marks a major step in Tokyo’s march toward remilitarization.
  • An Iranian-backed Shiite militia recently announced the formation of the Golan Liberation Brigade—a division specially assigned to seize the Golan Heights from Israel.
  • A pornography scandal rocked the United States Marines, yet the true extent of the scandal was underreported.

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Pornography Scandal Rocks U.S. Military

Pornography Scandal Rocks U.S. Military


How widespread is this sex perversion? More so than you might think.

The United States Marine Corps is in the midst of a moral crisis. On March 4, investigative journalist and Purple Heart recipient Thomas Brennan reported that members of a Facebook group called Marines United were distributing photographs of naked female service members. This Facebook group has about 30,000 members, including Marines, Navy corpsmen and British Royal Marines. While only about 500 of the 30,000 members are believed to have viewed the compromising photographs, a Marine Corps spokesman recently confirmed that military officials are currently unaware of how many personnel were involved in posting activity.

According to Brennan’s exposé at the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Marines United page began sharing indecent photographs of female service members soon after the military added women to the Marine Corps infantry last January. Since Brennan contacted Marine Corps headquarters six weeks ago, dozens of women have been identified in photographs posted by the pornography ring. Numerous social media accounts associated with Marines United have been suspended, but the actions taken so far have not yet stopped the photo sharing.

This scandal is not limited to just the Marines United Facebook page, or even to the Marine Corps. Since this scandal became public, investigators have found hundreds of photographs of naked female service members from every branch of the military posted to another image-sharing message board. Some of these women were stalked and photographed by male colleagues. Others shared photos of themselves naked, intending them to be private, only to be betrayed by whomever posted them publicly on social media.

Newly sworn-in Defense Secretary James Mattis has condemned the pornography ring and pledged to shut it down. “Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion,” he said on March 10. “We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.”

The Marine Corps has already issued new social media guidelines, which emphasize that the rules “have long prohibited sexual or other harassment, fraternization, retaliation, reprisal and hazing” and that “sexual misconduct related to indecent viewing, visual recording or broadcasting” will be punished. Undoubtedly, several dozen service members will be expelled from the military for their role in this scandal. According to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, some perpetrators could even serve prison time. While all these measures may be warranted in a case like this, none of them really addresses the root cause of the problem.

Many are condemning “toxic masculinity” and “macho culture” as the cause of this scandal, but far fewer have the courage to admit the real source behind this moral crisis in the military. It’s not just American servicemen who are addicted to pornography: America is addicted to pornography.

Studies indicate that 1 in 10 Americans are addicted to online pornography. The addiction rate among young, male military personnel is believed to be much higher. “Twenty percent would not shock me,” Navy Chaplain Lt. Michael Howard told the Military Times in a 2013 interview. “That would be a conservative estimate.”

Many military chaplains believe online pornography is perhaps the biggest personal problem facing service members today. While many people bristle at the suggestion that there is any connection between “casual” pornography viewing and the photo-sharing scandal that has made it into so many headlines, study after study after study show a direct link between pornography consumption and the commission of sex crimes.

According to the Department of Defense, reported sexual assaults on military members increased from 19,300 in 2010 to 26,000 in 2012. There are reasons why sex scandals and sexual assaults are increasing in the U.S. military. The main reason is that Americans are growing up in a hyper-sexualized society that glorifies illicit sex and outright pornography. This leads to a physical and psychological rewiring of the brain, desensitizing the person to the needs of others, and it fuels an abnormal desire for even more depraved perversions.

The pornography scandal rocking the military is vile, but it is only one symptom of the pornography scandal that is American society. Yet that scandal is not only underreported, it is denied outright or actually glorified by many. Until Americans in society start fleeing immorality and teaching their children a wholesome, biblical view of sex, the devastation caused by pornography will continue, outside the Department of Defense and within it.

To learn more about pornography’s effects, read “Porn Is the Devil.” To understand the healthy and inspiring purpose for sex, read Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The Missing Dimension in Sex.

Dutch Election: Political System Shatters

Dutch Election: Political System Shatters

Carl Court/Getty Images

Geert Wilders didn’t lose. Instead, he’s part of a dangerous trend sweeping Europe.

Yesterday morning, news of Geert Wilders’s epic defeat filled the headlines. Bloomberg: “Dutch Liberals Defeat Wilders’s Party in Blow to Populist Surge.” Daily Mail: “Far-Right Dutch M.P. Geert Wilders FAILS to Make Inroads in General Election.” The Telegraph: “Netherlands Rejects Far Right.”

Welcome to 2017 Europe, where it is a major defeat for a far-right party (or at least one frequently labeled far right) to come second. Wilders’s Party for Freedom (pvv) increased its number of seats from 15 to 20. The media responded with relief that it didn’t do even better. The fact that it was even thinkable for the Party for Freedom to actually win the election shows how far European politics have shifted over the last decade.

The reason Wilders didn’t win seems to be that so many other candidates copied his rhetoric. The last-minute surge in support for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (vvd) comes largely because Rutte took a tough line against Turkey over the weekend.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated rapidly, with the Netherlands banning Turkish ministers and the Turks smuggling decoy ministers across the border from Germany, culminating in Turkey deporting dozens of Dutch cows.

Throughout it all, Rutte refused to back down or apologize and was rewarded by his “victory”—winning the most seats in the new Parliament but still down eight seats compared to the last election.

Rutte isn’t the only one who has found his inner Wilders. Wilders set the agenda for the whole election. James Traub wrote for Foreign Policy:

In the weeks leading up to the vote, the Dutch have been preoccupied, almost obsessed, with issues of immigration, integration and national identity. Overschie is a largely white enclave in a city that, like most major urban centers in the Netherlands, consists about equally of immigrants and native Dutch, and everyone I spoke to in the Boulevard agreed with some part of Wilders’s nativist agenda. …

He has so thoroughly reshaped Dutch political culture that voters who share his views, but find him ultra vires, can now vote for any number of parties that have taken a hard-line on immigrants and on Islam, including the vvd itself. This is Europe’s politics in 2017; the center holds, but only by giving ground to the nationalist right.

This shift has left the political system shattered.

The Dutch Labour Party saw its vote collapse from 38 seats to just nine. Now, Dutch politics is dominated by a range of smaller parties with similar numbers of seats. Since the Dutch choose not just the party but the actual individual they want to represent them in parliament, and because so many parties ran this year, the election required a gigantic ballot paper.

Wilders’s pvv, the Christian Democratic Appeal, and the Democracy Party all won around 19 seats. The Green Left and the Socialist Party both won 14. In 2012, nearly 65 percent of the vote went to the top three parties. This time, they won only 47 percent.

This is going to make coalition negotiations awkward and governments unstable. The next government will need at least four parties to have a majority. The New York Times wrote:

This year’s election may give the Netherlands its most fragmented government in history. Some political analysts believe it could take weeks or months to form a government and that the governing coalition will be fragile.

In Belgium, which has a similar political system as the Netherlands, it famously took nearly a year and a half after inconclusive elections in June 2010 to form a government.

This rise of fringe parties has played out across Europe. It also closely follows the trends of the 1930s. Unfortunately, it quickly forms a feedback loop. The rise of fringe parties deprives traditional parties of their usual votes. As traditional coalitions stop working, governments become complicated left-right coalitions as the mainstream unites to keep out the fringe. This convinces more people that the mainstream doesn’t work, and support for the fringe grows.

This week’s election in the Netherlands provides further proof that European politics are entering dangerous territory. In different ways, the people are concluding that politics as usual isn’t working and are turning to outsiders like Geert Wilders.

In one country, this would not be a big deal. But it is the current situation in almost every European country. Massive political upheaval occurring in so many nations at the same time is going to have a major effect on world news. For where this shift is leading, read “Democracy Is Dying.”