WorldWatch

From the May-June 2018 Trumpet Print Edition

Can another grand coalition solve Germany’s problems?

Germany finally forged a government. After months of uncertainty, Europeans sighed with relief on March 4 when Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (cdu), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democratic Party (spd) agreed to form another grand coalition. Members of the spd approved the newly written coalition contract with 66 percent of the vote in a party referendum, and the government was sworn in March 14.

But Germany’s political dilemma does not end with the formation of the coalition. All three parties in the coalition are suffering from internal divisions.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU is divided between conservatives and those who are more liberal. During her 12 years as chancellor, Merkel has moved the party closer to the center of the political spectrum, yet avoided a conservative uprising. The refugee crisis has dramatically changed this: Now, conservatives in the cdu are putting up strong opposition, and support for Merkel is diminishing.

The cdu’s sister party is the CSU. Since World War ii, the csu has controlled Bavarian politics without the need for a coalition partner. But polls show that this may change at the next state election this autumn. Meanwhile, because of an internal power struggle, the csu has no clear leader.

The left-wing Social Democrats form Germany’s oldest and what has been the second-largest party, but they have lost numerous supporters over the past few years and fared badly in last year’s election. They are currently in the process of electing a new leader after Martin Schulz was ousted during the drama of the coalition negotiations. The prospect of another grand coalition under Merkel and an ongoing internal power struggle has caused the spd’s popularity to sink further.

Now these three parties must solve not only the problems within their ranks but the serious problems facing Germany and Europe as a whole.

Meanwhile, the spd’s loss is another party’s gain. According to a Bild poll published on February 19, the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party is now the number two party in Germany. The poll showed the AfD ahead of the spd for the first time ever, with 16 percent of respondents saying they support the AfD, compared to 15.5 percent for the spd.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Germany found itself unable to form a stable government; one minority government after another failed. This negative cycle was broken only by the rise of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, led by Adolf Hitler. Significant parts of that history are now repeating themselves. The soaring popularity of the AfD shows that many Germans are rejecting mainstream parties and want their nation to go in a radical new direction.

In his booklet A Strong German Leader Is Imminent, editor in chief Gerald Flurry explains biblical prophecies of a strong leader taking advantage of this climate of uncertainty. “Daniel 11:21 prophesies that this strong leader will come into power ‘by flatteries’—probably not by votes, but through a coalition government of some kind,” he writes. “We need to watch Germany and Europe carefully. Although Bible prophecy gives us the outline of how it will unfold, we don’t know the details.” One way or another, the current political chaos will lead to the rise of a new strongman.

German bishops allow communion for Protestant spouses

The chairman of the Catholic Church’s German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, announced on February 22 that new guidelines are coming for non-Catholics to receive communion. Marx said that Protestant spouses of Roman Catholics could receive communion “under certain conditions.”

The conference reportedly agreed that the Protestant spouse of a Roman Catholic could receive communion after affirming a “longing to satisfy a hunger for the Eucharist” in an examination of conscience.

Lutherans in Germany have been hoping for intercommunion between Catholics and Protestants. Some claim that some Protestants already take communion with their Catholic spouses and the practice should be recognized officially.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller told Die Tagespost that unity between Catholics and Protestants is “desirable and necessary,” but warned that there must be no “protestantization of the Catholic Church.”

The Roman Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church in Germany (a confederation of Protestant churches) each have more than 20 million members in Germany: Together they represent almost two thirds of the population. When united, they would form a dominant political bloc. The Bible prophesies these two churches will ultimately unify, but there will be no protestantization of the Catholic Church.

New NATO HQ to fall under German command

Defense ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (nato) approved the creation of two new command centers during their meeting on February 14 and 15. One, focused on maritime security, will be located in the United States. The other will focus on rapid troop movement in Europe and will be in Germany.

The decision comes in response to increased tension between Europe and Russia. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on the sidelines of the natomeeting in Brussels, “Germany has offered to be a framework nation, and others are very grateful for that.” Germany’s location “in the heart of Europe” and its “experience inlogistics and support” both factored into the decision, she said.

Many East European countries doubt that natocan ensure their safety in the event of another armed conflict with Russia.The new command center is one of several steps nato and the European Union are taking so the Continent can more quickly deploy troops to its eastern border.

The nato headquarters in Germany fits perfectly into the pattern, apart from one irregularity: As Deutsche Welle noted, the new headquarters “will not be integrated into the current nato command structure.” Instead, it will be established under German sovereignty.

German-Foreign-Policy.com noted that this would allow Germany to use European troops and funds as it deemed necessary, even for missions outside of the nato framework. “In Washington, serious warnings are being raised against an independent German-European military policy aimed at weakening nato,” it reported. “The militarization of the EU is being supported as long as ‘it is complementary to nato,’ a senior Pentagon official was quoted. However, Washington would intervene, if Berlin and the EU were to pull military resources away from nato and use them for their own wars.”

Many believe Germany and Europe will use the Continent’s strengthening military to pursue the same goals as nato, but this assumption is dangerous. Europe has submitted to the American-led bloc for 70 years because it lacked its own independent military power. Once it can rival the U.S., this could quickly change.

The Bible warns of a rising European military that will oppose America. Based on prophecies such as those in Revelation 17, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in 1983: “[T]he Bible [prophesies] of this coming ‘United States of Europe’—a new united superpower perhaps more powerful than either the Soviet Union or the United States!” (subscriber letter, July 24,1983).

‘Apocalypse’ in Syria

The civil war in Syria has “entered a new phase of horror,” according to an annual report by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who called the situation an “apocalypse.”

“This month, it is Eastern Ghouta which is … hell on Earth,” Zeid said on March 7, referring to the last rebel-held enclave near the Syrian capital of Damascus. “[N]ext month or the month after, it will be somewhere else where people face an apocalypse—an apocalypse intended, planned and executed by individuals within the [Syrian] government, apparently with the full backing of some of their foreign supporters.”

The Ghouta crisis began on February 18 when the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, with Russian aerial support, launched a new offensive in Ghouta. A week later, the UN Security Council passed a resolution for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria. However, during that 30-day period, more than 1,000 people were killed, more than 4,800 were injured and nearly 400,000 residents were trapped with little access to food or medicine. One town council said residents were burying corpses in public parks because cemeteries were located in more dangerous war zones.

Zeid’s report also said, “In addition to the staggering bloodshed in Eastern Ghouta, … escalating violence in the province of Idlib is placing some 2 million people in danger. In Afrin, the offensive by Turkey is also threatening large numbers of civilians. People in government-controlled Damascus are suffering a new escalation of ground-based strikes. And the offensive against extremist groups has resulted in large-scale loss of civilian life. … It is urgent to reverse this catastrophic course and to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court.”

Nearly half a million people have been killed in Syria since the civil war began in 2011.

“[T]here is something much more significant happening in Syria than just another civil war,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in his September 2012 article “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.” “What we are seeing right now in Syria is a major biblical prophecy in the process of being fulfilled! What happens in Syria will lead to mighty nations changing course and the foundations of this world being shaken! … This nation is an important part of the balance of power in the Middle East, and Psalm 83 prophesies that there is about to be a dramatic, violent shift in Syria’s alliances.”

Venezuela’s migrant crisis could exceed Syria’s

“The economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is perhaps the worst that the hemisphere has seen in modern history,” wrote the Brookings Institution’s Dany Bahar on February 9. The world’s next major refugee crisis is “not being driven by a violent war but by a socioeconomic disaster of magnitudes hardly seen before.”

Failed socialist economic policies have left almost 90 percent of the population in poverty, and food shortages have caused the average Venezuelan to lose 24 pounds since 2017. Clashes between protesters and police over food scarcity have led to more than 150 Venezuelans killed, 2,000 injured and 5,400 incarcerated.

The Brookings Institution says that since the start of the crisis, 4 million Venezuelans have fled (more than 10 percent of the population),

An estimated 5 million Syrians who have fled their country’s ongoing civil war, and the lack of food in Venezuela is worsening so quickly that it may soon approach or exceed 5 million.

Mike Pompeo, then director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, warned last year that Venezuela’s government was distributing weapons to civilian militias and said that the turmoil there is an “incredibly real” risk and a “serious and ultimate threat to South America and Central America in addition to just in Venezuela.”

Foreign Policy wrote,”Venezuela has become a rabidly anti-American failed state that appears to be incubating the convergence of narco-trafficking and jihadism in America’s own backyard” (March 23, 2017).

In Deuteronomy 28:43, God warned the ancestors of the Anglo-Americans that disobedience to His laws would lead to curses, including the “sojourner who is among you” laying siege to “your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you” (Deuteronomy 28:43 and 52; Revised Standard Version). Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry says the fall of America’s “high and fenced walls” refers to illegal immigrants streaming into the United States, which will contribute to a national collapse that will drastically affect people in every continent.

South African president pledges to take land from white farmers

South African government announced publicly at the 54th National Conference of the African National Congress in December that they will begin confiscating land owned by white people, and now South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is promising to follow through.

“We will accelerate our land redistribution program not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation,” Ramaphosa said during his February 16 State of the Nation address before parliament. “We will pursue a comprehensive approach that … will include the expropriation of land without compensation.”

Even if the government does not begin confiscating white-owned land, as Zimbabwe began doing in 2000 with disastrous results, the inflammatory rhetoric could move people to violence. According to the Transvaal Agricultural Union, 1,848 people were murdered in farm attacks between 1998 and 2016.

The Bible prophesies of a time of Great Tribulation that will afflict all the descendants of ancient Israel, including British and Dutch South Africans. Ezekiel 7:23-24 describe this time in grisly detail, saying that so many bloody crimes will occur in the end time that they will be like links in a chain, one following right after another.

‘Ethiopia has now reached a point of no return’

Amid government infighting and violent nationwide protests, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned on February 15, The next day, the government declared a state of emergency, assuming the power to arrest and jail anti-government protesters—which has sparked even more protests.

“Never have the stakes in Ethiopia been so high,” wrote iol News. “Political tensions are at a knife-edge, and the future stability of the country and its prospects for development hang in the balance. … Ethiopia has now reached a point of no return” (February 26).

Some analysts expect a new opposition to emerge and possibly replace the current government in Ethiopia. Geopolitical Futures wrote on February 21 that Iran, which recently lost its influence over Sudan and Somalia to Saudi Arabia, may replace them with Ethiopia in order to augment its control over the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. In his August 2012 Key of David program “Ethiopia in Prophecy,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said, “What Iran really wants is control over the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea ….” View that program and request your free copy of Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy.