WorldWatch

From the April 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

End of INF brings mankind closer to nuclear brink

The United States announced on February 2 that it is suspending compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty due to Russia’s ongoing violations of the deal. The 1987 agreement between the U.S. and Russia bans both countries from developing or using land-based, medium-range nuclear missiles. Such missiles give even less warning than long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles or incoming aircraft, meaning decisionmakers have minutes or seconds to decide if an inbound threat is a false alarm.

Beginning in 2008, Russia began developing a new missile system that clearly violates the inf deal. “[T]he United States has … raised Russia’s noncompliance with Russian officials, including at the highest levels of government, more than 30 times,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 1. “Yet Russia continues to deny that its missile system is noncompliant and violates the treaty. The United States will therefore suspend its obligations under the inf Treaty ….”

The decisions were made by Russia and America, the effects are most dramatic for Europe. This treaty’s demise puts Europe’s historic cities in the nuclear crosshairs. If intermediate-range nuclear missiles are launched, they will be inbound, not for Washington or Moscow, but for Berlin, Warsaw, Paris and Rome. The inf treaty covers shorter range, mobile missiles more suited to surprise attack than longer-range, larger counterparts. Russia has already developed and deployed new types of these weapons. “If you think Europe is under strain now, wait until it faces a new nuclear arms race,” wrote Edward Lucas in the Sunday Times (February 4).

But Germany is already showing signs of a strong response. After the deal’s suspension, a Handlesblatt headline read, “New Arms Race: As Nuclear Treaties Dissolve, Germany Wakes Up to New Responsibilities.” Europe is no longer relying on America for its security, but on Europe—which means it is relying on Germany.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s former vice chancellor and foreign minister, wrote an article titled “Europe and the New Nuclear-Arms Race.” He wrote, “Europe is now entering a potentially dangerous period and must play a much more active role in the nuclear-arms debate” (February 5).

Roderich Kiesewetter, a defense expert with Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party, said, “If Russia doesn’t dismantle its systems, we must ensure Europe’s security and shouldn’t exclude any options, even nuclear ones” (Spiegel Online, February 5).

This is a controversial issue and could be another major headache for the coalition. But several in the cdu want Europe to strengthen its nuclear weapons. If Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to reject all forms of cooperation, “one must, if need be, consider nuclear retrofitting in Europe,” said Elmar Brok, a cdu member of European Parliament (ibid). T-Online wrote that Germany is stumbling “into a debate about nuclear armament, reminiscent of dark times” (February 4).

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long focused on the role that fear of Russia has played in uniting Europe. In the January 2004 Trumpet, he described how the rise of strongman Putin “strikes intense fear in Europe … that will hasten the uniting of the European Union.” Ten years later, Mr. Flurry described how Putin shocked Europe with his invasion of Ukraine. “Europe’s dreadful fear of Vladimir Putin—its next-door neighbor—is going to help shape and form the Holy Roman Empire rather suddenly,” he wrote in the May 2014 Trumpet.

With the demise of the inf Treaty, that fear has grown. Watch how Europe responds. Watch the debate about nuclear power in Europe. This fear will bring some massive and long-prophesied changes to Europe.

The signing of the inf Treaty was a positive development for mankind. But it was never a guarantee of lasting peace, and now it is collapsing. None of man’s various treaties and plans are able to secure sure and lasting peace. In all such ideas, there is no guarantee that unfathomably destructive weapons will not be used. And there is no cause for hope.

But there is hope in the Bible. “Only God can solve our number one problem: that of human survival,” Mr. Flurry writes in his booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

Mr. Flurry makes the Bible’s plan for a sure solution clear. But he shows that the Scriptures also say that man’s peace efforts will increasingly fail and that nuclear war will soon erupt. Matthew 24:21-22 reveal that this future war will threaten to end every human life. The suspension of the inf Treaty brings this alarming prophecy closer to fulfillment.

But end-time prophecies do not end with war wiping out mankind. Matthew 24:22 says the nuclear war “shall be shortened.” Before the nations detonate enough weapons to obliterate all people, Jesus Christ will return and cut the violence short. He will usher in an age of lasting peace.

“We are now at the edge of this nuclear abyss!” Mr. Flurry writes. But he adds that as these “horrible signs come to pass, we know Christ is about to return.” To understand these prophecies and the profound hope at their core, order a free copy of Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door.’

China expands navy and air force, downsizes army

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is undergoing “transformational changes” to boost the size of its navy and air force and to downsize its land-based army by nearly half, the nation’s official Xinhua news agency wrote on January 20.

China is using its expanding naval power to assert greater control over the South China Sea. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has said its tightening grip on the region shows that “China is steering the world toward war.” In the July 2016 Trumpet, he wrote: “[T]he American military is retreating, and other great powers are coming in to fill the vacuum. … China is intimidating the nations of Southeast Asia into submission to its will. … Everything is headed in the direction of war.”

Mr. Flurry’s analysis is founded on Bible prophecy. Deuteronomy 28:52 records God warning the people of Israel that if they reject Him, He will give control of the world’s maritime choke points, or “gates,” to their enemies. Mr. Flurry wrote that this is “a prophecy for the modern-day descendants of Israel! Two nations in particular represent Israel in this end time: America and Britain.”

Its naval expansion will soon enable China to block the U.S. and Britain out of not just the Asian sea “gates” they once controlled, but even those that lie thousands of miles from China. To understand this Bible prophecy, and the hope that is tied to it, read Mr. Flurry’s free book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.

Pentagon: Rising Chinese military targeting Taiwan

China has made major military advancements and developed new weapons as it improves its ability to wage war over places such as Taiwan, a January 15 report from the United States Defense Intelligence Agency said.

“Beijing’s long-standing interest to eventually compel Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland and deter any attempt by Taiwan to declare independence has served as the primary driver for China’s military modernization,” the report said.

For decades, the Taiwanese have lived in fear of military invasion from China. But they have managed to stay free due to the support of the United States.

But in 1998, after U.S. President Bill Clinton publicly opposed Taiwanese independence, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said it showed that Taiwan would eventually be forced under China’s rule. In the August 1998 issue, he wrote that “Taiwan is … going to be forced into the Chinese mold; and it is going to happen for one reason: because of a pitifully weak-willed America.”

To understand China’s increasing aggression in the context of Bible prophecy, order a free copy of our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

‘Long arm of the Islamic Republic’

On February 2, Iran successfully test-launched what Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami described as the “long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran”: the Hoveizeh cruise missile.

The long-range missile was manufactured by the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization, but was derived from the Russian Kh-55, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. During the test, held on the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the missile “accurately hit the set target” from a distance of 750 miles, according to Hatami. He said the missile “flies at a very low altitude” and “can be ready in the shortest possible time.”

Five days earlier, Iranian Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said that his nation’s strategy was “to erase Israel from the global political map.” Three days later, he vowed that a new war would “result in Israel’s defeat within three days.”

The test followed a particularly tense period: On January 20, Iran’s Quds Force launched a ballistic missile from the outskirts of Damascus, targeting an Israeli resort in the Golan Heights. Israel successfully intercepted the Iranian-made rocket with its Iron Dome anti-missile system and retaliated the following day with three waves of air strikes against Iranian intelligence facilities, weapons warehouses and a training camp near Damascus.

Iranian leaders also threatened Europe, though less blatantly. “If today the Europeans or others try to plot and pursue Iran’s missile disarmament, then we will be forced to resort to a strategic leap,” General Salami said on the same day Iran tested the Hoveizeh. “All that hear me today, come to terms with the new reality of Iran’s missile might: There are no obstacles or technical limitations to us increasing [our] range.”

All of Israel and parts of Europe are already within range of Iran’s longest-range advanced missile. So far, Israel has borne the brunt of those missiles—and retaliated accordingly. While most of Iran’s rocket and missile attacks on Israel have been conducted via proxies, Iran has proved willing to confront Israel more directly since Feb. 10, 2018, when it launched an armed drone into Israeli airspace from Syria. Bible prophecy shows that Europe will soon be the target, and when it retaliates, it will result in the end of Iranian terrorism.

Venezuela chaos: Not just a problem for Venezuela

Venezuela has two competing presidents. One is the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn in for a second six-year term on January 10 after a dubious election result. The other is Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president on January 23.

Government officials in the United States, the European Union, Canada, Brazil and 10 other Latin American countries have recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. But Venezuela’s military still backs Maduro, as do the governments of Cuba, China, Iran and Russia.

Security experts are unsure how this situation will play out. The Bible, however, gives a strong indication of Venezuela’s future.

A decade ago, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry forecast the formation of a brief economic alliance between a German-led European Union and an Asian bloc. He based this forecast on a prophecy in the biblical book of Isaiah. These two economic powerhouses are going to team up against the modern-day descendants of ancient Israel (the U.S. and Britain, primarily). (All of these biblical identities are explained in Mr. Flurry’s booklet Isaiah’s End-time Vision and the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

Logistically, the U.S. cannot truly be blockaded unless Latin America participates in the siege.

Venezuela’s language (Spanish) and religion (Roman Catholicism) make it a natural ally of Europe. If Maduro is forced into exile, it is likely that opposition forces will realign their country toward Europe and the U.S., and away from Russia and China. But ultimately, the Bible reveals that Europe will turn its back on the U.S., make common cause with Russia and China, and use its Latin American allies to besiege and invade North America.

America negotiates defeat in Afghanistan

A report in the New York Times on January 28 indicated that America’s longest-running war is about to end. After nearly two decades of fighting, the United States is about to enter into peace negotiations with the very enemy it sought to destroy in Afghanistan: the Taliban.

But before Americans rejoice over a possible end to the war, it’s worth remembering that victory over the Taliban was one of the main objectives of the war in the first place.

The Trumpet forecast this shocking display of lack of will to destroy a far weaker enemy repeatedly over the past two decades.

How could we know that the Afghan war would end in such failure? It’s because God prophesied that He would break the will of the United States. Referring to what God says in Leviticus 26, the Trumpet wrote in 2006, “It is time to remember that ancient prophecy God declared against a rebellious nation caught up in deepening moral and spiritual decline.” Notice: “And I will break the pride of your power … And your strength shall be spent in vain … if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me” (Leviticus 26:19-21).

To understand the full weight of this prophecy and its ramifications for America, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.

America’s Achilles’ heel: EMPs

The United States Air Force released an Electromagnetic Defense Task Force report on Nov. 28, 2018. The report concluded that an electromagnetic pulse generated by a solar flare or a nuclear weapon could cripple communication systems that are crucial to the military.

Such an event would fulfill a major Bible prophecy that Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has highlighted for over two decades. In the January 1995 Trumpet, he said the U.S. military’s Achilles’ heel is its dependence on information technology. If an enemy could sabotage this technology, it could conquer the nation. One way to sabotage information systems is cyberwarfare. But there are others.

The high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon over North America would theoretically incapacitate power grids for months, crippling major cities. The U.S. military is ill prepared to respond, as it depends on the advanced electronics that would be destroyed in such a scenario. Communication between military bases could be cut off. Many weapons systems could be rendered useless.

In 1995, Mr. Flurry described an end-time Bible prophecy that could be fulfilled by a cyberattack or EMP attack. Ezekiel 7:14 says, “They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.” The trumpet of war will be blown in the nations descended from ancient Israel (mainly America and Britain). People expect the military to mobilize, but nobody goes to battle.

To see what the Bible says concerning America’s misplaced trust in military technology, read Mr. Flurry’s updated article “America’s Achilles’ Heel—and Germany.”