India’s increasing military might
India began 2020 with several increases to its military power. On January 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appointed Army Chief Bipin Rawat as the chief of Defense Staff, a newly created role for significantly increasing coordination between air, navy and army forces during wartime. Three weeks later, India test-fired a new submarine-launched, nuclear-capable ballistic missile. The next day, the nation showcased its new Tigershark fighter jet squadron.
India has the world’s fastest growing major economy, second-largest population and fourth-strongest military, armed with nuclear weapons. Its military streamlining, and ongoing development of advanced weapons, is preparing it to become an important part of a biblically prophesied 200 million-man army (see Revelation 9:16).
Czar Putin: Ruler for life
During his January 15 Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the most sweeping changes to his nation’s constitution since the document was put into force in 1993. Immediately after, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the rest of the Russian cabinet resigned to allow Putin to implement the changes.
The proposed amendments will make the office of president far weaker and strengthen the offices of prime minister and state council chairman. After Putin’s presidential term expires in 2024, Putin may assume one of these positions or a new position leading the “Union State of Russia and Belarus,” which he is in the process of developing.
Putin has ruled Russia with an increasingly tight grip for this entire century. The Trumpet forecasts that whatever strategy he pursues, he will remain the true power over Russia and one of the world’s foremost despots.
As far back as 2005, some analysts thought that anti-Putin movements would be strong enough to force him from power. The Trumpet has consistently forecast the opposite message regarding the former spy agency officer: “Putin Won’t Just Survive, He’ll Thrive.” Now almost every analyst agrees with this view: Putin is czar for life. To understand what the Bible says about Putin specifically, order your free copy of Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’
Iran continues building the bomb
Iran has continued its clandestine work on building a nuclear weapons program. Experts say that if it suddenly begins openly pursuing its first bomb, it could succeed in as little as two months. On January 18, the Daily Mail reported that Iran has intended to build nuclear warheads since at least 2002, when a “senior Iranian official request[ed] the parameters of a warhead fitted on a missile.” Despite Iran’s claim that its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes, the Daily Mail reported that the program has always had a “military dimension.”
Iran also hides its missile testing behind its space program. Satellite launch vehicles and intercontinental ballistic missiles share much of the same technology. It is currently attempting, so far unsuccessfully, to launch into orbit a 550-pound payload, five times larger than what it has successfully put into orbit in the past. These payloads could easily be replaced with nuclear warheads.
Iran has the will to develop nuclear weapons through defiance, negotiation, deception or whatever means necessary. It also has the will to use them. It is showing the character it will take to fulfill the biblically prophesied role of “king of the south,” which is forecast to ignite a world war (Daniel 11:40-44). Read more in our free booklet The King of the South.
China is world’s second-largest arms producer
Data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on January 27 reveals that China is now the world’s second-largest weapons producer.
China now spends between $70 billion and $80 billion each year on its armaments industry, according to its official figures. It also keeps some of its weapons spending secret. Russia, the third-largest producer, spends only $38 billion. China is still dwarfed by America’s $227 billion in weapons production, but it is becoming increasingly formidable.
Through decades when China was weak and suffering domestic turmoil, the late Herbert W. Armstrong consistently forecast that China would rise to become a major power. He based that forecast not on economic data or military analysis, but on Bible prophecy. To learn more specifics about his forecasts, request your free copy of He Was Right.
Thanks to President Trump, Europe is arming again
After United States President Donald Trump implored European nations to contribute more to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, some nations are complying. Germany’s Die Welt reported that the International Institute for Strategic Studies database shows that overall European military spending “rose every year in the Trump era” (February 9).
But the result of the increased spending will not be to President Trump’s liking. France and Germany want their military budgets to go toward protecting Europe “with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” as French President Emmanuel Macron put it. He told the Economist that the U.S. “is turning its back on us. What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of nato.” Watch for Macron’s desire for a “true European army” to become a reality, with the brains and leadership coming not from the United States or France, but from Germany.
East Africa plagued by locusts
Kenya and Ethiopia are suffering their worst desert locust infestation in 70 years. Experts estimate there are billions of the insects, which are decimating crops.
The United Nations triggered emergency protocols on January 17. Its Food and Agriculture Organization characterized the situation as an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods” across the entire Horn of Africa. A comparatively small swarm of locusts can consume enough food to feed 35,000 people.
The crisis is worsening hunger in the already underfed region, which recently experienced crop-destroying rains. These rains provided ideal conditions for locusts to breed, which means the infestation could worsen in coming months.
Exodus 10 shows that God has power over the environment and uses miracles to punish and correct. For more information, request a free copy of Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?
A new decade of spending addiction
The United States Congressional Budget Office released its 10-year projections for federal revenues and spending on February 6, and the report shows trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. This fiscal year, the federal government will borrow $1 trillion, raising the national debt to $23.8 trillion by the end of the year. The deficit will exceed $1 trillion every year for the next decade, as federal spending continues to grow faster than the economy.
The borrowed money will be consumed by health care, welfare and social security, with these expenses accounting for 84 percent of tax revenue by 2030. About 14 percent will be owed in interest, leaving only 2 percent for the military, infrastructure, education and all other expenses. This will necessitate borrowing even more money and/or increasing taxes dramatically, which would slow the economy and could easily reduce overall tax revenue.
These projections assume that the interest rate on the national debt will remain below 2.6 percent. If interest rates increase beyond that, America could soon be spending more than $1 trillion per year on interest alone while struggling to finance both an army and a massive welfare state.
“When any nation begins to look to its government to provide, that nation is on a greased toboggan-slide to decay and oblivion,” wrote Plain Truth founder Herbert W. Armstrong in 1956. “It brought about the fall of Rome. It brought about the fall of proud Babylon long before. And it’s bringing about the fall of America today.” Deuteronomy 28 warns that debt problems are one of the many curses that come from disobedience to God’s laws. Like its debt, America’s sins are gigantic in scale.
High number of right-wing extremists reported in German Army
Germany’s Military Counterintelligence Service is investigating around 550 cases of alleged right-wing extremism in the German Army. Counterintelligence president Christof Gramm told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that 360 cases were added to the investigation in 2019. Perhaps hundreds or thousands of other extremists go unreported or hide their views.
A number of cases have been reported in the Army’s Special Forces Command, an elite division that is seen as a role model for other personnel. But Special Forces members have five times more right-wing extremist cases than other soldiers.
Extreme Security author Caroline Walter told Deutsche Welle that the recent revelations are likely just the “tip of the iceberg.” She said: “The problem in the Bundeswehr is that whoever points out right-wing extremism is still a backstabber who’s violating the spirit of the brigade.”
Bible prophecy shows that the Germany military will become dramatically more powerful and more forceful in the near future. Much of its strength and destructiveness will come from an explosion of extremist sentiment. Continue to closely watch Germany—and its military—for this prophesied resurgence to emerge.
Germany expands role in Middle East
On January 8, United States President Donald Trump called on “nato to become much more involved in the Middle East process,” with U.S. forces taking a less active role. Since then, Germany has increased its involvement in the Middle East.
On January 14, Germany, along with Britain and France, triggered the Iran nuclear deal Dispute Resolution Mechanism expressing their concern over Iran’s failure to comply with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Their joint statement said: “We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments.” The whole dispute process could take a little over two months to resolve and could result in sanctions being reimposed on Iran.
Germany also became one of the eight nations to support the European Maritime Surveillance Mission in the Strait of Hormuz which provides military escorts to European and international oil tankers and cargo ships traversing the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz off the Iranian coast.
On January 19, Germany hosted a diplomatic conference to discuss solutions to the civil war in Libya. Though the meeting was a failure, it highlighted the need for German intervention.
German involvement in the Middle East is barely getting started. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in The King of the South: “Germany has expected to clash with Iran, and it has been working on a strategy for a decade or more. That strategy is almost complete.” The clash between Germany and Iran, prophesied in Daniel 11:40, is rapidly approaching.
Europe patrolling Iran’s coast
France’s first frigate began patrolling the Persian Gulf on January 30 as part of a new European naval mission to deter Iranian attacks on European and other international shipping. This mission is supported by Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal.
The European Maritime Surveillance Mission in the Strait of Hormuz provides military escorts to oil tankers and cargo ships in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz carrying, among other things, about 30 percent of global seaborne crude oil. Most of the coast is controlled by Iran, and the strait is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point.
Last year, several attacks occurred against oil tankers and against oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia, with the evidence implicating Iran as the culprit. France has pushed Europe to become more active in the region to counter Iranian aggression, and France, Germany and the United Kingdom triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the Iran nuclear deal on January 14. This could lead to reimposing United Nations sanctions on Iran.
Watch for Europe to become much more involved in the Middle East, and expect Germany to emerge from the shadows to take the lead economically, politically and militarily.