When Germans Worry, Where Do They Turn?
Europe was not thrilled when United States President Donald Trump pulled out of the Iran deal. A major reason is Europeans’ direct interest in the deal: Their companies stood to make a lot of money, and they did not want sanctions against Iran to return.
But scrapping the deal is also raising deeper questions about Europe’s role in the world. For decades, America has been Europe’s protector. When Europe has wanted something taken care of, like Yugoslavia, America has done most of the work. When the Middle East has threatened to explode, America has stepped in, with varying levels of success, before the conflagration could seriously harm Europe.
The break over the Iran deal follows the break over the climate change agreement and the prospect of a trade war between the European Union and the United States. It raises the specter of a much deeper and wider break with the U.S.
For the first time in 70 years, Germany’s role in the world is uncertain. Its allegiance is up for grabs. Where will it turn?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s overseas trips have revealed her response to this dilemma. She has turned to Russia and China.
President Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran deal on May 8. On May 16, Merkel met European leaders in Sofia, Bulgaria, for a prescheduled summit. Two days later, she visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Today, she is visiting Xi Jinping in Beijing.
An Eastern alliance—or Ostpolitik as it is known in Germany—has long been the nation’s backup plan. As Tim Marshall notes in his book Prisoners of Geography, “Through the EU and nato, Germany is anchored in Western Europe, but in stormy weather anchors can slip, and Berlin is geographically situated to shift the focus of its attention east if required and forge much closer ties with Moscow.”
This could be happening already. In their Zeihan on Geopolitics article, Peter Zeihan, Melissa Taylor and Michael N. Nayebi-Oskoui wrote:
Merkel has watched in increasing horror as the Americans stop treating the Europeans as allies, or even partners, but instead as competitors. …
To that end Merkel noted two days after the Americans withdrew from the Iran deal that “it’s no longer the case that the United States will simply just protect us. Let’s face it, Europe is still in its infancy with regard to the common foreign policy.” …
If the Americans cannot be trusted to put Europe first, then the Germans have no choice but to act to prevent a broad-scale coalition from containing German interests. That means courting new allies—from beyond Europe. And so after making the comments that Europe needed to pull together, Merkel didn’t travel to Brussels. Or Paris.
She went to Moscow.
Now don’t overreact. I’m not saying that Molotov-Ribbentrop v. 2.0 is just around the corner. What I’m saying is that even with seven decades of the most favorable strategic environment the European continent could have ever hoped for, that a meaningful strategic and political merging of the European countries still hasn’t happened. …
[F]or Germany it means putting some irons in the fire that have nothing to do with Europe whatsoever. That means economic and energy connections to Russia. That means at least giving Russian demands a hearing. That means taking Russian strategic interests into account as concerns the countries between Germany and Russia.
OK, maybe that does sound a bit like a Molotov-Ribbentrop redux.
Never forget that the founding concept of the EU and nato were to keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down. All three of those pillars are gone.
One of the key items on the agenda is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline connecting Russia and Germany. The pipeline allows Putin to cut off East European countries from Russian gas, while still supplying Western Europe via Germany. It turns this gas weapon into a precision tool. Germany meanwhile gets cheaper gas to fuel its exporting machine and becomes an energy hub for Russian gas.
America hates the deal, and is pressuring Germany to cancel it. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mr. Trump wants Germany to drop the pipeline in exchange for America dropping the threat of a trade war. But Germany seems poised to choose Russia over the U.S.—even risking U.S. sanctions. Berlin Policy Journal described the meeting:
At a joint press conference after talks on Friday, Merkel and Putin made clear that pragmatism was the order of the day. Their countries’ bilateral interests outweigh the differences and, increasingly, they find themselves united against the Trump White House.
Ms. Merkel’s next trip was to China—her 11th trip during her 12 years in office. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promised that the nation’s door “will open even wider” to Germany.
These visits are signs of a shift by Germany away from the U.S. and toward an alliance with America’s enemies. As I wrote last year, Germany’s relationship with Russia is the real collusion you need to be worried about:
In May 1962, the Plain Truth—predecessor of the Trumpet—wrote, “Once a German-dominated Europe is fully established, Germany will be ready to negotiate and bargain with Russia—and behind the backs of the Western allies if necessary.”
“When a Russo-German deal is made, you can be sure that the doom of the United States and Great Britain is on the horizon,” warned the same article.
Sound far-fetched? Eminent scholars in the field of international relations made the same warning! To Morgenthau, such a deal would be “a drastic change in the distribution of world power.” Spykman warned that the lack of a unified power in Europe or in East Asia “is an absolute prerequisite for the independence of the New World and the preservation of the power position of the United States.”
“The United States must recognize once again and permanently, that the power constellation in Europe and Asia is of everlasting concern to her, both in time of war and in time of peace,” Spykman wrote.
Under threat is America’s most core interest of all: its very survival.
This coming Russo-German alliance will last only as long as it is in the interests of both parties. Historically, that has not been long.
“[L]ook at history,” warns Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. “Every time competition between Russia and Germany heats up, they form a deal with one another—just before going to war!” (Russia and China in Prophecy).
Those wars have expanded to engulf the world and have turned these allies-of-convenience against each other in devastating manner.
There are already strong signs that the two sides have been talking and dealing. Germany has emerged, more recently, as Europe’s leading opponent to Russia—although even as it has rallied other nations to keep pressing sanctions, it has continued to work on some potentially lucrative pipeline deals with Russia.
But pressure is now building on these two powers to work together much more closely—a development that will quickly change the world.
Zeihan sees the potentially revolutionary nature of this relationship. Part 1 of the article quoted above stated:
The Americans are leaving a power vacuum and we know what happens in power vacuums.
I’ve been speaking and writing about this approaching “end” for the better part of the past decade. One of the fun things—and incidentally, one of the things that helps keep me sane—is that it is all very abstract. I can blithely note that wars will happen, that supply chains will break down, that the lights will go out, that famine is an inevitability, but so long as the time frames are fuzzy and the locations are over the horizon it is easy to speak and write with a degree of detachment. This doesn’t affect me, and certainly not right now.
I think/fear that I’m about to lose that insulation. The end is pretty … nigh.
The Bible also prophesies of a German-China economic relationship. Isaiah 23 describes Tyre—a reference to the modern economic power building in Europe—forming a “mart of nations” with Chittim—an ancient name for China. Other scriptures talk about Russia allying with China—implying that Russia will also be part of this “mart.”
In his booklet Isaiah’s End Time Vision, Mr. Flurry wrote:
The Bible contains many prophecies of that European power attacking America—and many other prophecies of America being besieged.
That is where China and the giants of Asia enter the picture. When the Holy Roman Empire attacks North America, there will be no help or sympathy from Asia. In fact, considering that China has come to possess most of the world’s strategic sea gates (which, ironically, at one time were held by Britain and America), we believe there may be a brief alliance between the German-led Holy Roman Empire and certain Asian powers (Russia, China, Japan—the kings of the east). Should Europe, the resurrected Holy Roman Empire, find a way to take advantage—even for a moment—of key resources and strategic holdings of China, Russia and Japan, it would have more than enough power to besiege the Anglo-Saxon nations and enslave them.
This is the “end” that Zeihan warned of. But the Bible offers more than specifics of how this end will come about. It also offers hope of what will happen afterward. To learn more about what the Bible says about this end, read our free booklet Isaiah’s End Time Vision.