Germany boosts defense

Germany informed nato on May 17 that it will raise its military spending by $5.6 billion this year, to $52.8 billion. This means that Germany will devote more resources (1.35 percent of gross domestic product) to its military than any time since reunifying after the Cold War. It is still short of the 2 percent minimum required by nato.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has called for even more, saying that the military needs an increase of at least $13.4 billion to prevent major German and joint-European defense projects from collapsing.

Germany’s low military spending compared to its strong economy—especially as world conditions destabilize—has motivated the United States and other nations to ask it to shoulder more of the global security burden. So far, Germany’s leadership has been slow to deploy its military or expand its military capability. However, this will soon change.

The Bible prophesied that the Holy Roman Empire would rise and fall seven successive times throughout history (Revelation 17:10). (Request your free copy of The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.) This empire rose for the sixth time during World War ii. We are seeing the early stages of its final resurrection. It will soon return to power, led by an economically, politically and militarily dominant Germany.

Germany revives historic connection with Latin America

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas hosted a Latin America and Caribbean conference in Berlin from May 28 to 29 that included more than 20 foreign ministers from the region and almost 1,000 guests. The conference marks the beginning of the new Latin America and Caribbean initiative that Maas announced in February, an alliance that will hurt the United States.

In his opening address at the conference, Maas accused China of using its economic power to apply political pressure, Russia of creating “political facts with military force,” and the U.S. of becoming “somewhat unpredictable.” Maas urged that such shifting global challenges must cause the two continents to “move closer together. We have to become neighbors in this new world.”

Based on Bible prophecy, the Trumpet and its predecessor, the Plain Truth, have predicted this “new world” for decades. Late Plain Truth founder Herbert W. Armstrong predicted this German-Latin American alliance, based on the two continents’ shared history, culture, religion and languages. The May 1962 Plain Truth stated, “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.” To learn more about this prophecy, request our free booklet He Was Right.

German military increases in Syria

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on May 31 that Germany would increase its military presence in Syria. This is part of a United States plan to establish a security zone in northeastern Syria.

Maas’s statement makes Germany “the first European country to publicly express its willingness to participate in maintaining the security zone,” according to Kurdistan 24.

Germany already supports U.S. forces in Syria with aerial refueling and aerial reconnaissance. Maas hinted that Germany would likely provide additional military assets once the U.S. reduces its forces in Syria.

The plan still commits only German aircraft, not ground troops. But it shows that German leaders want to get more involved in Syria. One reason is to stem the destabilizing tide of Syrian refugees flowing into Europe. Another is to attempt to destroy current and potential terrorist havens in the region.

Germany’s increased involvement in Syria is part of a broader trend prophesied in Daniel 11:40-43. Events in the Middle East will escalate to the point where radical Islam, led by Iran, will provoke Germany and other European nations to substantially increase their military involvement in the region—and attack “like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and … overflow and pass over.” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry discusses this trend more in his special report Germany’s Secret Strategy to Destroy Iran.

Kurz takes a break from the chancellery

Sebastian Kurz lost his job as Austria’s chancellor on May 27 after the nation’s parliament passed a vote of no-confidence against him and his government. New elections are set for September. Kurz is gone for now, but he is standing for election and has strong support in the polls. He could return more powerful than ever.

Austria’s political turmoil began on May 17 with the publication of a video that had secretly recorded Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache offering government contracts in return for political donations. Strache immediately resigned, and Kurz began attacking Strache’s party, the Free Democrats, even though it was his coalition partner, and pushed out their ministers.

The biggest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, objected to what it called Kurz’s “shameless, unbridled and irresponsible grab for power.” It joined with the Free Democrats, former rivals, to force Kurz from office.

While some in Austria’s media claim Kurz is responsible for what happened, many have criticized the no-confidence vote. A majority of Austrians believe Kurz should have continued his chancellorship.

Until September, Austria will be ruled by a transitional government, which adds to Austria’s and Europe’s feeling of uncertainty. Kurz may be able to capitalize on this and make a “shining comeback,” as Germany’s Die Welt put it.

So far, Kurz has been a major force in advancing the European Union. His time out from the chancellorship may benefit him in the next election. Beyond Austria, it could also increase the pressure on Europe’s already struggling leadership.

Iran acquires first Mediterranean port

Iran has leased Syria’s chief commercial port in Latakia, situated along the Mediterranean Sea, it was reported in April.

Talks to lease the port reportedly began during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s previously unannounced visit to Iran in February. According to Critical Threats, Assad leased the Syrian port to a company affiliated with Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard. The Jerusalem Post reported that companies affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have already begun shipping goods through the port.

The agreement officially grants Iran use of the Port of Latakia only for economic purposes. But in reality, as the Asia Times wrote, “nothing prevents them from transforming it into a military facility.”

Critical Threats stated that the port provides Iran with “a vital medium for illicit trade and smuggling.”

On January 28, Iranian Vice President Eshagh Jahangir discussed linking Latakia with Iran’s railway infrastructure. Such a link would accomplish a major Iranian goal: uniting Iraq, Lebanon and Syria into an Iranian-dominated Shia Crescent.

A foothold on the Mediterranean gives Iran yet another front for attacking Israel and the capability to threaten Europe’s soft underbelly. It could prove a powerful weapon for the biblically prophesied “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40).

Political dysfunction bedevils Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Knesset agreed on May 29 to conduct a national election on September 17, Israel’s second in less than six months. The election is necessary because, for the first time in Israel’s history, a prime minister-designate failed to form a coalition government within six weeks of national elections.

One reason for Netanyahu’s failure to form a government was the refusal of his opponent and potential coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman, to join.

Netanyahu also faces deep resentment and hatred from Israel’s left and especially the nation’s emotional, opinionated and ideological left-wing media.

As a result, Israel has an increasingly dysfunctional government that is at war with itself and destroying the average Israelis’ trust in government, the media and democratic system.

Like the United States and Britain, the Jewish nation faces unprecedented political chaos.

Hosea 5:5 states, “And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.” This prophecy is referring to Britain, America and the Jewish state in the end time, the time immediately prior to the return of the Messiah.

This prophecy says these three nations will collapse at the same time! Notably, the people of all three nations are simultaneously experiencing terrible political division and a sense of growing danger and hopelessness.

Reelected, Modi will bring India even closer to Russia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term on May 30 with a strengthened mandate that could result in India becoming closely allied with Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the first world leaders to congratulate Modi on his landslide reelection to a second five-year term. Putin said he is “convinced” Modi will “further strengthen the centuries-old friendship” between Russia and India, a friendship that has already improved considerably under the two leaders.

The Trumpet has consistently forecast the development of a multination Asian bloc, prophesied by the Bible. The book of Revelation refers to this confederacy as “the kings of the east,” and prophesies the strength of its combined army: 200 million troops. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes about this force in his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’ Pointing to prophecies in Ezekiel 38, he states: “[T]he two key nations are Russia and China,” but “there will also be other powers involved.”

He explains that among these “other powers” will be India: “Ezekiel’s prophecy says the Russian-led army will include ‘… Ethiopia, and Libya …’ (Ezekiel 38:5-6). … Ethiopia and Libya should be translated ‘Cush’ and ‘Phut.’ Some of Cush and Phut migrated to African nations, but the rest settled in parts of India. The context of this passage shows that it refers to modern-day Indians (and perhaps Pakistanis) rather than Africans.”

Mr. Flurry explained that when India’s vast population is combined with the populations of China, Russia and other Asian nations, “it is easy to see how an army of 200 million soldiers could be formed.”

The significance of Modi’s strengthened mandate and his determination to draw India nearer to Russia is revealed in these prophecies. To learn more about India and the end-time Asian military force that is in the early stages of unifying, order your free copy of The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

North Korea launches Russian-style missiles

North Korea has conducted new test launches of short-range nuclear-capable missiles that inescapably resemble Russian weapons.

The May 4 and 9 launches ended a pause in North Korean ballistic missile tests that started in November 2017 after North Korea and the United States tried to negotiate a deal to denuclearize the North and lift sanctions against the country. But in February, a meeting collapsed after U.S. President Donald Trump insisted on full sanctions relief for full denuclearization, while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un insisted on partial denuclearization in exchange for partial relief. Days later, Russia announced that it would host Kim for a landmark meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place on April 25.

The timing of the launches suggests that Russia encouraged North Korea to resume missile testing. In addition, the actual missiles tested bear uncanny similarities to Russia’s advanced Iskander missiles. Marcus Schiller, an expert on North Korean missiles, told the Associated Press that the launch has “Russian technology fingerprints all over it.”

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry warned in a Sept. 13, 2017, letter to Trumpet supporters to be more wary of Russia and China than of North Korea, writing, “The Bible’s prophecies show that, in a sense, the North Korea crisis is a massive distraction from the real threat posed by China and Russia. These powerful Asian nations are the only reason North Korea is able to operate so freely. And Bible prophecy shows that they pose a threat many times greater than the one from North Korea!”

Ezekiel 38 and 39, Daniel 11 and Revelation 9:16 and 16:12 reveal that Russia and China will lead a vast Asian military conglomerate in the end time. Smaller Asian nations, likely including North Korea, will also be part of this Russian-led bloc.

To understand both the perils and the hope contained in these Bible prophecies, order your free copy of Russia and China in Prophecy.

China and Japan: Burying the katana

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe said on May 17 that he is eager to work with China to bring the two nations into “a new era” of cooperation.

Speaking in Tokyo with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, Abe said he aims to “further develop bilateral ties that have returned to a normal track and jointly create a new era for Japan and China.”

Yang, a member of the politburo of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee, said he perceives “new momentum” in Japan-China relations. “I’m confident that our ties are not only back on a normal track,” he said, “but will continue to develop in a healthy and stable manner.”

The Trumpet closely watches the thaw between China and Japan because it is leading to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Scripture shows that one of the main players in the third and final world war will be a confederation of Asian nations, which Revelation 16:12 calls “the kings of the east,” and which prophecy shows will include both China and Japan.