WorldWatch

From the May-June 2019 Trumpet Print Edition

Munich Security Conference: A seething pot of resentment

The Munich Security Conference, held each February, is turning into a milestone for the rise of Germany. This year it was a powerful symbol of Germany’s split from America.

The largely European audience gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel a rapturous welcome. When she finished her speech, they clapped for an entire minute—many in a standing ovation.

Compare that to United States Vice President Mike Pence’s reception. At the start of one of his addresses, he said he brought greetings from President Donald Trump and paused for applause. All he got was several seconds of awkward silence.

At the heart of the conference were dueling speeches from Pence and Merkel. Pence condemned Germany (without naming it) for its Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal with Russia. He also condemned European states that were supporting Iran and trying to get around U.S. sanctions (again, mostly implying Germany).

Ms. Merkel brought a different message. Warnings from the U.S. that it might impose tariffs on European cars are a “national security threat,” she said. She pushed back against rebukes on Nord Stream 2 and Iran.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen spoke of a more muscular Europe, one that can stand without America.

Relations between Germany and Russia and China were much friendlier. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov invited the EU to join Russia in forging an economic alliance and praised plans for a European army.

Chinese politburo member Yang Jiechi played to the crowd, condemning “protectionism” and “hegemony and power politics.” Both were intended, and interpreted, as attacks on the U.S.—despite the Communist Party of China being far more protectionist.

Last autumn, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry leveled many of the same criticisms at Germany that Pence brought to Munich. “Nord Stream 2 binds Russia and Germany together in a way that undermines nato,” he wrote. “In fact, though Russia and Germany will not say so, this pipeline project is clearly intended to wreck nato” (Trumpet, September 2018).

America has done a lot to build up Germany. But now Germany wants to step out of America’s shadow. “Some powerful Germans today are thinking more and more about the Holy Roman Empire, and they want modern Germany to assume more power of its own in the spirit of that empire. They want to establish Europe as a mighty, German-led superpower” (ibid). Allying with Russia and China helps Germany gain that independence.

France’s new vision for Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed “citizens of Europe” on March 4, urgently calling upon them to take action in upcoming European elections.

“Citizens of Europe,” Macron wrote in an article published by leading newspapers in several European countries, “if I am taking the liberty of addressing you directly, it is not only in the name of the history and values that unite us, but because time is of the essence. A few weeks from now the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent.”

Macron’s message was for more Europe despite rising euroskepticism. He wrote in favor of forming an agency to defend democracy, a common EU border force, increased defense spending, an operational mutual defense agreement, a European security council, and a “conference for Europe” that would include “citizens’ panels … academics, business and labor representatives” and “religious and spiritual leaders.” A prophecy in Revelation 17 states that a coming European superpower will consist of 10 nations or groups of nations. Verse 3 shows that these nations will be guided by a woman, the Bible’s symbol for a church, in this case the Roman Catholic Church. Not all 28 EU nations, and certainly not Britain, will be part of Macron’s vision of a modern-day European empire, but we know at least 10 will.

New spy headquarters highlights Germany’s changing role

Germany opened a new headquarters for its national spy agency, the bnd, on February 8. The opening of this new facility in the very heart of Berlin symbolizes an ongoing transformation in Germany’s foreign policy.

Deutsche Welle noted, “The move signals a major symbolic change for Germany, no longer shying away from taking a prominent role on the global stage” (February 8).

The bnd headquarters was previously located in the countryside near Munich. Now that it has moved to the center of Berlin, it is close to other government offices and the former site of the Berlin Wall.

The imposing $1.3 billion limestone-and-aluminum-faced building covers an area roughly the size of 36 soccer fields and will accommodate 4,000 intelligence workers.

Russia intensifies pressure on Georgia

Media outlets in the former Soviet nation of Georgia reported on February 7 that Russian forces have built a lookout tower in occupied South Ossetia as the latest means of intensifying pressure on the Georgian people.

“The towers, illegal barbed-wire fences and other artificial barriers are part of an everyday battle of the occupying force against locals,” Georgian Reconciliation Minister Ketevan Tsikhelashvili told Agenda.ge. “The tower is a new measure to exercise higher pressure on locals” (February 7).

Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008 and exerted control over 20 percent of its territory. At the time, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote that Russia’s attack marked the “beginning of a dangerous new era” in history.

There is abundant evidence within Georgia and beyond showing that Mr. Flurry’s forecast is accurate. “Russia’s return to great-power status has tremendous prophetic importance,” states our booklet Russia and China in Prophecy. “Not only because of the role Russia is prophesied to fulfill in world affairs, but also because its aggressive actions are provoking alarm and urgency within Europe—and that is the power that we really must watch!”

To understand these momentous Bible prophecies, order your free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy.

Belarus ‘ready to unite’ with Russia

Belarus is prepared to merge with Russia, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said on February 15 after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The two of us could unite tomorrow, no problem,” Lukashenko said, careful to add that such a merger would only happen if the Belarussian people are “ready for it.” Both nations know this is not presently the case, but Lukashenko’s remarks underscore the fact that in a world of increasingly powerful authoritarians like Putin, it might not matter.

Putin not only has a tight grip on Russia but also a considerable one on Lukashenko and Belarus, a former member of the Soviet Union. Putin famously called the collapse of that Communist bloc the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” He has actively worked to rebuild Russian power, Editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in the September 2014 Trumpet issue that Putin’s position is prophesied in the Bible. He highlighted Revelation 9:16, which describes an Asian force of 200 million soldiers fighting in World War iii, as well as Ezekiel 38:2, which states that this force will be led by the “prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (Young’s Literal Translation). Meshech and Tubal, he explained, are ancient names corresponding to modern Russian cities, and Rosh is a variation of an ancient name for Russia.

“I strongly believe Vladimir Putin is going to lead the 200 million-man army,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “This much is absolutely certain: The restoring of Russia’s power by Vladimir Putin—the prince of Russia—was prophesied!” To understand these Bible passages and the danger and the hope that is tied to them, order Mr. Flurry’s free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

China’s Huawei stealing U.S. secrets

The United States Justice Department unveiled a list of criminal charges against the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in January, the latest acknowledgment of China’s systematic theft of American intellectual property and trade secrets.

Most of the charges were related to Huawei’s theft of intellectual property from T-Mobile’s U.S.-based operations, including the firm’s proprietary phone testing technology. Court documents say Huawei promised hefty bonuses to any employee who was able to gather confidential information, encouraging them to send photos and spec sheets to Huawei officials.

Huawei has used similarly unscrupulous tactics to obtain proprietary secrets on products made by Apple, Cisco, Motorola and Akhan Semiconductor. And Huawei is far from the only Chinese entity engaged in this type of theft. For more than a decade, theft of American commercial technology and intellectual property has been a pillar of China’s economic growth. Experts say that this Chinese theft costs the U.S. between $225 billion and $600 billion each year.

A growing number of analysts are realizing how serious this ongoing assault is. But there is something far more significant about this trend that few experts understand: It was foretold in Bible scriptures written some 2,500 years ago.

Deuteronomy 28 mentions some specific ways God promised He would bless ancient Israel and its descendants if the people obeyed Him. It also lists specific ways He would punish them if they rejected Him. (The modern descendants of ancient Israel include the British and the Americans. Request your free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong. Verse 33 records one specific curse: “The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up ….”

This describes what is now happening. Because of America’s rejection of God’s law, God is letting the fruits of U.S. labor be stolen and consumed by foreign entities. To understand more about China’s role in Bible prophecy, order your free copy of Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.

Palestinians gain more control of the Temple Mount

The status quo on the Temple Mount was subtly changed on February 14, when Jordan admitted several high-level Palestinian officials to the Islamic Waqf, the organization that oversees the day-to-day running of the religious compound.

Traditionally, the Waqf has been operated solely by 11 Jordan-aligned officials, as directed by the Oslo Accords and implied in the 1994 Peace Treaty with Jordan. Now, seven senior officials from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and local Muslim leaders have been added to the decision-making body controlling the Temple Mount, which is arguably the most politically volatile location on Earth.

Following the inaugural meeting of the new 18-member group on February 14, Waqf officials ascended to the Temple Mount and illegally entered an area known as the Bab al-Rahma in order to pray. The area, which is just inside the long-sealed Golden Gate, was closed by Israeli police in 2003 over the destruction of antiquities, illegal construction, and connections to the Hamas terrorist group.

Apparently emboldened by the new Waqf, Palestinians have since scuffled with Israeli authorities, demanding them to reopen the site indefinitely.

Palestinian-Israeli violence, particularly on the Temple Mount, presages the chaos prophesied in Zechariah 14. That chaos, thankfully, will culminate in the return of Jesus Christ!

‘Second phase of the Revolution’

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, characterized the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, celebrated by Iranians on February 11, as the “second phase” of an ongoing revolution.

“Today, just like the first days after the revolution, sovereign Iran faces challenges from the arrogant imperialist powers,” Khamenei said, calling primarily on Iran’s youth to pick up the mantle and push the Islamic Revolution forward.

“[Y]et,” he continued, “there is a meaningful difference. If the challenges posed by the United States those days involved ending the intrusion by foreign agents or closing down the embassy of the Zionist regime in Tehran, or exposing the spy den [the former U.S. embassy in Tehran], today, the challenges concern Iran’s strong presence near the borders of the Zionist regime, putting an end to the United States’ unlawful infiltration in West Asia, the Islamic Republic’s support for the Palestinian people’s resistance at the heart of the Occupied Territories, as well as defending the high-flying flag of Hezbollah and the resistance throughout this region.

“If, then, the West’s concern was to prevent Iran from buying basic weaponry, today, their concern is to prevent the transfer of advanced Iranian weapons to the resistance forces.”

Vice Adm. James Malloy, commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, told cnn on February 13 that Iran has a “growing capability in cruise missiles, they have a growing capability in ballistic missiles, they have a growing capability in unmanned surfaced systems; all these things that we watch that are offensive, and destabilizing in nature.” Another U.S. defense official told cnn that the Iranian military “possesses advanced sea mines, including acoustic and magnetic variants.”

Bible prophecy indicates that Iran’s increasingly advanced weapons, its growing inclination to use them, and its incessant willingness to share those weapons with terrorists, will rouse a sleeping superpower that will eventually wage total war with Iran, one that will permanently end its revolution. Our free booklet The King of the South explains these prophecies in greater detail.

UN: Britain must surrender Chagos Islands

On February 25, the United Nations’ highest court ruled that Britain must give up the Chagos Islands.

“The United Kingdom has an obligation to bring to an end its administration of the Chagos Archipelago as rapidly as possible,” Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, president of the UN’s International Court of Justice, said in an official statement.

The U.S. and Britain operate a joint military base on the Chagos Islands, which has been used during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Enduring Freedom and other conflicts.

Britain may not immediately capitulate to UN pressure, but Bible prophecy discusses “gates,” such as the Chagos Islands, and shows that Britain and the U.S. will likely soon lose their foothold there.

Before World War ii, Britain and America controlled many of the world’s maritime choke points, contributing to British and American dominance and decades of relative global stability.

Genesis 22:17 records that the descendants of Abraham would control the gates of their enemies. The Bible also records that if those descendants did not believe and obey God as their patriarch did, they would later lose possession of these gates (Deuteronomy 28:52).

Britain still controls a handful of foreign sea gates, including the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and the Chagos Archipelago. But the UN’s February 25 ruling shows that the pressure on Britain to surrender more strategic “gates” is intensifying.