2020: The Year Europe Decided to Arm Itself

Army tank vehicles line up at the Johannes Postkazerne military base to drive to Steenwijk train station to be transported to Germany for the NATO quick reaction force, in Steenwijk, The Netherlands, on February 8, 2018.
ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP via Getty Images

2020: The Year Europe Decided to Arm Itself

The global crises are forging Europe into a military world power.

United States President Donald Trump stated in 2017 that North Atlantic Treaty Organization “members must contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations” to defense spending. 2020 seems to be the year Europe took him seriously. Recently, two European military lightweights decided to beef up their armed forces.

Sweden, while not a nato member (though this may change soon), is one of them. Stockholm announced in October that it would increase its defense spending by 40 percent in five years. The Swedish government also plans to double its number of conscripts.

These new developments are the result of Russian provocation. Sweden is a ferry ride away from Russia, and Moscow keeps poking at the Swedish border. Two Russian warships entered Swedish waters without permission in November, and the Russian Air Force regularly enters Swedish air space. Russia doesn’t have the best track record for respecting its neighbors’ territorial integrity. Because of this, Stockholm is urgent to arm itself.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hutqvist said this was “the largest investment [in defense] since the 1950s,” all in response to the “new security environment” caused by an aggressive Russia.

The Riksdag (Swedish parliament) also voted to adopt a “nato option.” This doesn’t mean that Sweden is applying for membership. Rather, it is formally expressing interest in potentially joining the alliance in the future. Finland did the same in 1995 and still hasn’t joined the bloc. But it demonstrates how nervous Sweden is becoming.

Greece is also beefing up its military. The Greek Parliament voted December 16 to increase 2021’s military budget 57 percent over 2019’s budget. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said Greece also intends to buy 18 Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France. This follows growing tensions with Greece’s neighbor Turkey. Athens and Ankara are squabbling about whether Turkish fossil fuel searches in Greek and Cypriot waters violate European Union territorial integrity. Their relations soured further on Friday when Greece arrested a Turkish consular official in Athens on espionage charges.

But this trend of militarization isn’t limited to Greece and Sweden. Countries all over Europe are boosting their defense spending. Poland’s defense budget this year was 11 percent higher than 2019’s. 2020 also saw Italy’s fourth year in a row of defense spending increases. Rome has announced the intent to purchase four submarines among other military technology. Germany, in September, voted to increase its 2021 defense budget.

Yet despite all of these increases in defense spending, European support for nato is shrinking. According to a Pew Research poll from February, a majority of Greeks and Turks see nato in a negative light. The poll also suggested that more people in Hungary and Bulgaria saw nato negatively than positively. Before nato membership, Hungary and Bulgaria were under Communist dictatorships. You would think they would be more appreciative of the organization formed to combat the spread of communism.

A later Pew Research poll suggests that only 50 percent of Frenchmen and 51 percent of Spaniards have a positive view of nato. Before nato, Spain had Franco’s fascist regime. Shouldn’t Spaniards appreciate America, the power that freed most of Western Europe from fascism, sticking around through nato? Shouldn’t France be more appreciative of American soldiers staying in Europe to make sure Moscow didn’t do to Paris what it did to Berlin? Stalin himself wanted the Red Army to push that far west.

Some European countries are increasing their defense spending, but not because of obligations to nato. They’re doing it because they want to stand on their own two feet—without America.

And remember: These increases aren’t mere numbers on a balance sheet. This means real money buying real bullets, real tanks, real submarines, real attack helicopters.

Europeans are seeing the global chaos and are terrified. They see Russian President Vladimir Putin arbitrarily redrawing the borders of Eastern Europe. They see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan invading Syria and provoking Greece. They hear U.S. President Donald Trump saying he’s tired of America policing the world. They see the radical Islamist regime in Iran rushing to develop nuclear weapons with nobody stopping it. They see the masses of Syrian and North African refugees overwhelming their borders. They see jihadists sneaking in with those refugees to cause mayhem on the streets of Nice and Vienna.

Europe is on the verge of a geopolitical panic attack. And the leaders in Brussels, Berlin, Paris and other capitals know, if they don’t do something quickly, disaster will occur.

Yet one big future disaster is about to occur because of Europe’s decision to rearm.

Europe is a small continent, but it punches well above its weight in importance. It is home to almost 748 million people. The EU has the second-largest economy in the world. Most major international conflicts—the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, the Thirty Years’ War, the Seven Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, World War i, World War ii, the Cold War—were fought in or had something to do with Europe.

And a timeless source predicts that there will be one more international conflict in the very near future. That source is the Holy Bible. And it says this next war will eclipse all others in bloodshed and destruction. Daniel 12:1 calls it “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time ….”

And this coming conflict has everything to do with what is going on in Europe right now.

“Europe will unite and it will become a formidable global dynamo,” writes Trumpet editor Brad Macdonald in his book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy. “The unity Europe attains will not be perfect; it will not come about easily or peacefully; and it certainly will not endure. But Europe is going to become a united superpower and a serious, daunting global power. The emergence of this new Europe will have far-reaching and dramatic consequences for us all.”

Request your free copy of The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy to understand how and why.

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Liberté, Égalité, and Down With Muslims!

Terrorist attacks are provoking dramatic changes across Europe and the Middle East.

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Silicon Valley Helps Cuban Spies

Jose Alfredo stands near an American flag and Cuban flagas Cuba prepares for the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama on March 18, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.
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Silicon Valley Helps Cuban Spies

Big Tech is building an espionage center against the United States.

The presumptive next president of the United States is promising to overhaul America’s relationship with Cuba. “I’d try to reverse the failed Trump policies that inflicted harm on Cubans and their families,” Joe Biden told nbc in September. That means Biden wants to reinstate Obama-era policies of greater engagement with the Communist dictatorship.

Joe Biden was vice president when his boss, Barack Obama, reestablished diplomatic relations with Cuba. With the help of Pope Francis, the Obama administration relaxed travel restrictions and expanded commercial ties between the U.S. and Cuba. This administration also removed Cuba from the official U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list, even though there was evidence that Cuba was aiding terrorists in Iran, North Korea and Venezuela.

President Donald Trump reversed many of his predecessor’s Cuba policies by restoring travel restrictions and reenacting economic sanctions. But President Trump did not put Cuba back on the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list, nor did he eliminate an Obama-era policy allowing U.S. telecommunications companies to operate in Cuba. So while Biden’s transition team wants to re-lift economic sanctions on Cuba, the truth is that some of the most significant “lifts” never fully went away. In fact, loosened restrictions on the sale of U.S. technology may prove to be one of the worst parts of the U.S.-Cuba Deal.

In 2014, President Obama argued that Cuba’s lack of American technology was keeping the island “closed off from an interconnected world.” So he opened the door for Big Tech companies to expand Internet access and mobile phone networks throughout Cuba. Former Google ceo Eric Schmidt met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel twice in 2018, and Alphabet Inc. has announced plans to work with Cuba’s state-owned telecoms monopoly etecsa on improving connectivity on the Communist-run island.

The Google technology center in Havana curiously dons the logos of Apple, Facebook, Instagram and Microsoft, indicating that a consortium of Silicon Valley companies has successfully established a foothold in Cuba. Some ambitious venture capitalists are even referring to Cuba as the next Silicon Valley and a new Promised Land.

Despite Obama’s lament that a lack of American technology has held Cuba back, selling U.S. tech to a Communist dictatorship may be a bad idea.

According to a 2012 House Committee on Foreign Affairs report titled “Cuba’s Global Network of Terrorism, Intelligence and Warfare,” “Cuba is perfectly located to be in a downlink for all U.S. communications. It is, in fact, the only place outside of Fort Meade in the Western Hemisphere where large-scale interception of communications is possible.”

Cuba’s strategic location has made it a target from any foreign power that wants to spy on the United States. During the Cold War, the Soviets ran a Signals Intelligence station in Lourdes, Cuba, and many security analysts believe Cuba is still surveying the U.S. and turning over their intelligence to Russia, China and Iran. In his book Why Cuba Matters, Néstor Carbonell related how Cuba is helping Russia and China develop cyberwarfare capacities.

So how do you think Cuba is using the tech that Silicon Valley companies are giving it?

Mobile network security analyst Gary Miller is warning that China is using mobile phone networks in the Caribbean to spy on Americans. In response to this threat, Big Tech companies are making deals to connect their networks to the networks of Cuban companies. If America continues down this path, Havana could become a high-tech espionage center selling America’s secrets to America’s enemies using America’s technology.

“You need to beware of what is happening in Cuba!” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in 2015. “This is a dangerous world. America is like a silly dove walking right into a deadly trap. Cuba isn’t dead. Communism isn’t dead. And Cuba is reemerging as a clear and present danger to the very existence of the United States!”

Bible prophecies, like the ones in Jeremiah 30, foretell that God will bring Great Tribulation on end-time Israel, which is primarily modern-day America and Britain. To learn more about the role Cuba may play in this Tribulation, please read “The Deadly Dangerous U.S.-Cuba Deal,” by Gerald Flurry.

Economic Virus

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Third of Americans Binge Drink During COVID-19 Lockdowns

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Third of Americans Binge Drink During COVID-19 Lockdowns

Binge drinking increases with each week of covid-19 lockdowns, according to a report by the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, published December 7.

Researchers surveyed close to 2,000 adults during the first four weeks of coronavirus lockdowns in March and April. The results are sobering.

One in three Americans confesses to binge drinking during the pandemic. Those who identify as binge drinkers are consuming four alcoholic drinks per occasion, double those who admitted to being non-binge drinkers. Those who imbibed the most harmful levels of alcohol reported consuming a maximum of seven drinks per occasion. Participants who struggled with depression had up to an 80 percent higher risk for turning to binge drinking. Having children in the house only decreased the likelihood of binge drinking by 26 percent.

Worse, many will likely stick with the binge drinking habit they acquired during the pandemic. Studies have shown that engaging in binge drinking behavior can lead to long-term alcohol use disorders and alcohol dependence. Heavy alcohol consumption is known to be associated with liver diseases, cancers, and heart disease.

The report recommended further study into the subject as lockdowns continue.

While this report presents a great argument for the end of forced lockdowns, it also exposes the tragic fact that during crisis human beings turn to escapism rather than God. This does not portend well for a world prophesied to experience more and more calamity in the years ahead.

In “You Can Survive the Coronapocalypse,” Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker outlined what God expects our response to be to the current pandemic. He explained that turning to addictions to alleviate stress will only offer a temporary reprieve, but God’s Word offers a lasting escape from the mounting troubles.

Mr. Hilliker wrote, “God guarantees peace of mind during the worst of crises. He is in control, and He promises in Romans 8:28 that ‘all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ We may experience some of the same troubles that descend on the world, yet we have a solid hope in the future God has promised as an ‘anchor of the soul’ to stabilize us even in trouble.”

For more insight into God’s thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, read the entirety of Mr. Hilliker’s article. And for information on the type of repentance it discusses, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s free booklet No Freedom Without Law. Drug and alcohol abuse is enslaving people, but God’s law can set them free!

Battle for God’s Truth

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America’s COVID Bailout Is Loaded With Expensive Nonsense

The U.S. Capitol building is seen down Pennsylvania Avenue on December 20, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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America’s COVID Bailout Is Loaded With Expensive Nonsense

Why is America’s new coronavirus bailout paying $10 million for gender programs in Pakistan?

The United States Congress approved a colossal $900 billion stimulus for covid-19 relief on December 21. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives that evening 359-53. It then went to the Senate, which approved it 92-6, along with a $1.4 trillion government spending bill. Altogether, the U.S. government authorized $2.3 trillion for spending.

The U.S. federal government is estimated to take in $3.9 trillion in revenue, which—as of the start of Fiscal Year 2021 in October—would have made a $966 billion budget deficit. Now Washington has nearly doubled the deficit—just for covid-19 relief.

The bill itself is 5,593 pages long. It apparently took three hours just to print it. Somehow, the bill had to be pushed through both houses of Congress the same day; none of the legislators—save, perhaps, the authors of the bill—had a chance to read it in its entirety. Yet they still voted on what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the “second-largest federal input in the history of our country.”

The bill gives $600 to every worker earning less than $75,000 per year. But the combined sum of direct checks, small business stimulus, vaccine research and unemployment benefits only adds up to $666 billion. That is a lot of money in and of itself. But where is the rest of the money going?

The latest bill is not just another relief stimulus. It’s actually a big, fat omnibus bill. And some of the items on the bill are outrageous. For example, even though this is supposed to be a covid-19 relief package, a lot of money is set aside for foreign affairs. And for pretty strange expenses.

Page 1,486 gives $25 million to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. That’s the same country that has a ranking of 145 out of 180 on the 2020 World Press Freedom Index and where you could be imprisoned for blasphemy. That’s the same country that has a problem with a Taliban insurgency. That’s the same country where the military exercises disproportionate power in politics. $15 million is supposed to go to democracy programs, as if American money can magically fix Pakistan’s corruption problems. The other $10 million is supposed to go to “gender programs” (whatever those are).

Do you know who else gets money—$33 million, according to page 1,498—for “democracy programs”? Venezuela. That’s the same country that got voting technology manufacturer SmartMatic up and running. SmartMatic has been in controversy regarding voter fraud in the latest U.S. presidential election.

What about the $74.8 million spent on the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative? The cbsi was an Obama-era program designed so that the security forces of certain Caribbean islands can better combat threats like drug cartels. Sounds good, but where are we getting the money from?

Where are we getting the $132 million of aid to give the country of Georgia? Where are we getting the $453 million worth of foreign aid to Ukraine? Where are we getting the $70 million to, according to page 1,516, pay for “programs to promote Internet freedom globally”? Where are we getting the $50,000,000 to pay for “global health programs”? (page 1,533). Where are we getting the $200 million to pay for the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Fund? (page 1,534). Where are we getting the $950 million for “assistance for basic education” in foreign countries? (page 1,537). What about the $320 million for “biodiversity conservation” (page 1,540) or the $50 million for “higher education in countries impacted by economic crises”? (page 1,539).

Allow Sen. Rand Paul to answer:

How bad is our fiscal situation? Well the federal government brought in $3.3 trillion last year and spent $6.6 trillion. The deficit last year? A record-busting $3.3 trillion. If you’re looking for more covid bailout money, we don’t have any. The coffers are bare. We have no rainy day fund. We have no savings account. Congress has spent all the money—long ago.

Despite this, the bill gives roughly $150 million in tax cuts.

The State Department gets a sizable budget every year. Why aren’t we using that money for these kinds of programs—assuming some of these programs warrant such lavish grants in the first place? Why are we pulling money we don’t have out of thin air to fund these programs in what is supposed to be a covid-19 relief package?

You don’t have to be an economist to see this kind of spending is unsustainable.

And never mind all the ludicrous foreign-affairs grants. Some of the bill’s provisions are little more than left-wing partisan pet projects. Take, for example, the provisions for setting up a “climate security advisory council” or the section to set up an American Woman’s History Museum and National Museum of the American Latino through the Smithsonian Institution. Division T—the “Smithsonian” chapter of this supposed covid-19 relief bill—gets 40 pages. But that’s a drop in the bucket of the bill’s 5,593 pages.

The Smithsonian gets a share of the nation’s annual budget as well. Why are we pulling millions we don’t have out of thin air for things like this?

Eventually, there will be a day of reckoning for this outrageous spending. Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry wrote in his article “The King of Debt” that “America is addicted to debt. We are hooked on it like we are hooked on drugs, and no one is serious about conquering this nation-destroying addiction. … As a nation, we have dug ourselves into a pit from which we will not escape, purely because of selfishness and greed.”

This was published in April 2018. Our debt was trillions of dollars lower than what it is now. That was only 2.5 years ago.

And there are some who think the bill doesn’t go far enough. Chuck Schumer said that “this bill cannot and will not be the final word on congressional relief from the corona pandemic. This is an emergency survival package, and when we come back in January, our number one job will be to fill in the gaps left by the bill and then get the economy moving with strong federal input.”

America used to be the world’s wealthiest nation, so flushed with cash that it rebuilt an entire continent through the Marshall Plan. America used to have enough money to fund ventures like the Panama Canal and the Apollo Program. Now, the U.S. is the world’s biggest debtor nation. We owe money to countries like China and Japan, countries that theoretically have smaller economies.

It’s pretty obvious that America has no way of ever paying off its debt. It has to borrow more and more and more just to keep afloat. What happens when the creditors realize they’re never getting their money back? What happens when they decide to not loan any more money? What happens when China, Japan and other geopolitical “repo men” come knocking? What will they say when we tell them we sent the money we owe them to Pakistan?

They won’t say, “We’ll pretend like nothing happened.”

As Senator Paul put it, “The treasury can just keep printing the money. That is, until someone points out that the emperor has no clothes and that the dollar no longer has value.”

What happened? How did America rise to its former position of power? How did it fall from it? Where is the bottom? To answer these questions, please request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong.

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A Military Alliance in All But Name

The giants of Asia are being coy about their relationship.

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The Union of Soviet Putinist Republics

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
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The Union of Soviet Putinist Republics

Putin expands his footprint in the USSR’s old stomping grounds.

The Eurasian Economic Union (eeu) welcomed Uzbekistan and Cuba as its newest observer members on December 11. The eeu is an international organization with a similar economic structure to the European Union. It acts as a common market for the “free movement of goods, services, capital and labor” as well as a framework for harmonized economic policies within the bloc. The current member states are Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The other observer state of the bloc at this point is Moldova.

Both Cuba and Uzbekistan plan to join the bloc officially by 2025. Cuba will be modifying its economy for the next few years to prepare for joining the bloc.

The bloc has the largest oil production rate in the world. It also has the world’s second-largest natural gas production rate. It is the third-largest cast-iron and fifth-largest steel producer. It makes up 3.2 percent of the world’s gross domestic product altogether.

The eeu is, on paper, a union of equals. It’s headquartered in Minsk, Belarus. Its honorary chairman is former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. But it doesn’t take much detective work to see where the real power lies. Russia is responsible for the vast majority of the bloc’s economic output. It has the largest population and geography in the bloc. Russia has military bases in all other member countries of the bloc. And all member states so far have been former Soviet republics.

In 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Soviet Union’s collapse “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” His number one foreign-policy aim was and is to bring Russia back to superpower status. An important way he is accomplishing this is through rebuilding the old Soviet empire piece by piece. Putin demonstrated this when he invaded Georgia in 2008 and when he annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. He said in 2010 that “whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart.”

He also said that “whoever wants it back has no brain.” The empire Putin is building isn’t exactly the same variety of beast the Soviet Union was. Long gone are the Communist economics that kept people poor and miserable. In this new Russian empire, people are allowed to own their own property and run their own business. They can enter the middle class or even the upper classes; look at how fast the Russian oligarchs made their fortunes. There is greater freedom of information with relatively unfiltered access to the Internet. The kgb (now renamed the fsb) is not nearly as intrusive as it used to be. People can (and can afford to) travel abroad and even emigrate.

This Russian empire is also not the multiethnic colossus the ussr used to be. Part of what unraveled the Soviet Union was its diverse population. At the collapse in the early 1990s, Russians made up only about half of the Soviet Union’s population. The various ethnic groups in the union—from Azerbaijanis to Estonians to Tajiks—wanted their own independent countries and took advantage of Moscow’s weakness at the time to break free.

Putin is seemingly careful not to let ethnic divisions break up Russian hegemony again. Most of the major additions to his empire—South Ossetia from Georgia and Crimea from Ukraine—have Russia-friendly populations that welcomed Moscow’s intervention. For nations that aren’t too friendly, Putin needs to bring them back without making Russia look too domineering. The eeu seems to be his solution.

The eeu already has a common economic market and a supreme court to settle disputes between member states. It has governmental bodies modeled after the European Union’s. For example, the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, which is made up of the member nations’ leaders and makes rulings based on consensus, is based on the European Council. There is talk about creating a common currency and Eurasian Central Bank. The eeu is well on the way to becoming a superstate.

The eeu is Putin’s modernized version of the Soviet Union without the oppressive associations the ussr had.

Adding Uzbekistan and Cuba would be huge for the bloc. Uzbekistan’s population of over 33 million is the largest in Central Asia. At the ussr’s breakup, Uzbeks made up the union’s third-largest ethnic group behind Russians and Ukrainians. It has the second-largest economy in Central Asia.

Cuba, which is nowhere near Central Asia, would bring Russia’s single market a short boat ride from America and next to one of America’s most important trade routes: the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba could also serve as an important economic gateway between Russia and Latin America.

In short, the chaos, instability and weakness of post-Soviet Russia is a thing of the past. The Russian bear is out of hibernation—and it’s hungry.

The Trumpet has been watching Vladimir Putin’s rise for years. Our editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’: “Russia is the most dangerous and aggressive nuclear superpower in the world today. Surely that means Russia must be discussed in Bible prophecy. If you know its ancient biblical name, you can find prophecies about this nation in the Old and New Testaments.”

Could Russia really be in Bible prophecy? Great empires like Alexander the Great’s Greece and ancient Rome were prophesied in the Bible. (For proof of this, request our free booklet The Proof of the Bible, by Herbert W. Armstrong.) The czars built an empire larger than the empires of antiquity ever were. The Soviets after them made Russia’s influence global. You would think that if relatively smaller empires are mentioned in Bible prophecy, a country that has been so powerful for so long as Russia would be as well.

A pivotal prophecy regarding Russia is found in Ezekiel 38. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophecy against him” (verses 1-2). Mr. Flurry writes in The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’:

Scholars generally agree that “Gog” is Russia, and that “the land of Magog” includes China. The descendants of Meshech and Tubal have been found together throughout history. In Assyrian and Greek histories, Meshech appears as Musku, Muski or Mushki—all names related to the Russian spelling of Moscow, as you can read in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. What about Tubal? On the eastern side of the Ural Mountains lies the city of Tobolsk, named after the Tobol River, a name derived from Tubal. Tobolsk was once the seat of Russian government over Siberia and was basically considered Russia’s Asian capital.

There is also a name for all of the Russian people in Ezekiel 38:2. There is controversy over how the Hebrew word rosh should be translated in this verse. The King James Version uses the adjective “chief.” But the correct rendering (used by the Moffatt, New King James and others) uses the word not as an adjective, but as a proper noun: Rosh. Thus, that verse should read, “the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal.”

Rosh was the ancient name of Russia, once called Rus. Many encyclopedias and commentaries (such as the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary) recognize this. So who is this “prince” of Russia, Moscow and Tobolsk? The use of all three names shows that this is an individual ruler of all the peoples of Russia, from the west to the east. The reference to the cities of Moscow and Tobolsk helps us see how vast Russian territory is in these latter days.

This giant swath of land indicates the prince will probably conquer more nations of the former Soviet Union.

Mr. Flurry identifies this “prince of Rosh” as Vladimir Putin. And we’re seeing him encroaching on the former Soviet world—without weapons at this point—more and more.

But does Putin’s story end with Uzbekistan and Cuba? It does not.

Other prophecies reveal that Vladimir Putin’s Russia will increase in power until he leads the largest military machine the world has ever seen. And it will affect the lives of everybody on the planet. To learn more, please request our free booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia.’

Economic Virus

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Australia: A Warning to the World

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference.
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Australia: A Warning to the World

The consequences of growing too cozy with China

For the last three decades, the world has been drawing closer to China. Of all major Western nations, Australia has gotten closer than any other. And now it is realizing the fearsome consequences of that embrace.

It may be too late for Australians to pull out of the relationship. But their fate is a powerful warning to the rest of the world.

Money, Money, Money

It started with a business relationship.

After growing at an astonishing annual rate of around 10 percent for some 30 years, China is now, by some measures, the world’s largest economy. It takes a massive amount of raw materials to fuel such growth, making Australia a perfect trade partner.

In 2017, one third of Australia’s exports went to China, and nearly a quarter of its imports came from China.

Soon the economic relationship went beyond trade. China started buying up huge tracts of Australia. Chinese companies own more than 1 percent of Australia’s land area, including coal mines, energy companies, cattle farms, tourist resorts and even tens of thousands of private homes.

By the end of 2019, China was officially Australia’s ninth-largest foreign investor. However, much Chinese investment is also funneled through Hong Kong, Australia’s fifth-largest investor.

The flourishing economic relationship affected other areas of Australian life. In 2015, a Chinese company closely tied to China’s Communist government signed a 99-year lease of Australia’s northernmost port in Darwin. The port is vital to the Australian military and also hosts a United States military base. Chinese companies also signed contracts for a 99-year lease on the port of Newcastle, a share in the port of Melbourne, and a 100-year lease on Western Australia’s Merriden airport.

All this trade necessitated a close political relationship. In 2014 the Australian government invited President Xi Jinping to address Parliament.

Undercover

But this political relationship developed a dark side. China is being credibly accused of bribing Australian politicians and interfering with Australian elections.

In 2017, Australia’s public television station, abc, released a report showing that billionaires affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party were donating millions to Australia political parties and building close relationships with Australia’s political elites. In 2018 Charles Sturt University ethics professor Clive Hamilton published an explosive book titled Silent Invasion. It documents the governing Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australian corporations, universities, government and even religions.

Hamilton warns that China is turning Australia into a puppet state. China, he says, has received a wave of “billionaires with shady histories and tight links to the party, media owners creating Beijing mouthpieces, ‘patriotic’ students brainwashed from birth, and professionals marshalled into pro-Beijing associations set up by the Chinese Embassy.” He alleges that Chinese spies coordinated a penetration into all levels of Chinese society.

In the aftermath of these allegations, Australian Sen. Sam Dastyari resigned, and the nation had to change its rules on politicians receiving donations from abroad.

Other politicians appear to have received thinly disguised bribes. Special Envoy Andrew Robb, for example, was the man who signed off on China leasing Port Darwin for a century. And what was waiting for him immediately upon leaving political office? An estimated $2 million plus expenses over three years—at the company to whom he had just leased the port.

But Chinese influence on Australian governance has been even more aggressive than all this. Three months prior to Australia’s 2019 elections, someone hacked the computer systems of the Australian Parliament and all major Australian political parties. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time that the attack was “sophisticated” and probably the work of a foreign government.

It has since emerged that this sophisticated foreign government was China.

Trade War

Chinese infiltration and aggression has caused Australians to change their position toward their large, wealthy northern neighbor.

The turnaround started gradually. In 2016 the Australian government blocked Chinese investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure over national security concerns. In 2018 they blocked Huawei Technologies from developing Australia’s 5G network.

But the real break came this year. Australia tried to hold China responsible for the spread of covid-19, and conducted investigations into the origins of the virus.

China reacted with fury. The Chinese Communist Party placed tariffs on Australian barley, wheat and coal. They found a sudden increase of “defects” in Australian copper, cotton, lobster, sugar and timber. It blocked imports of Australian lamb for fear of covid contamination, while meat from countries with much higher rates of covid sail on through. About 40 percent of Australian wine exports went to China. In November, the party imposed massive tariffs as high as 200-plus percent on that wine. Week by week, China is ratcheting up the economic damage with more tariffs.

Other strikes by China have been more below-the-belt. On Nov. 30, 2020, an official Twitter account of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a fake photo showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a gory knife at the throat of an Afghan child with the caption, “Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace!”

Australian inquiries into its troops’ conduct in Afghanistan have found no evidence of Australian soldiers killing children. But China is spreading the lie—an accusation that could easily lead to a terrorist attack against Australia.

As the trade and political skirmish has worsened, China has issued Australia a 14-point ultimatum. Australians can go back to buying and selling with the Chinese the way they used to only if the Australian government opens up the country to Chinese investment and stops criticizing the governing Chinese Communist Party.

How will Australia hold up under this pressure? Chinese infiltration has been so thorough that Australia is sailing into a trade war divided. Some of Australia’s own top politicians actually favor China!

Divided We Fall

Some of this is surely from bribery and other nefarious activity that we don’t even know about. But a lot of it is from the fact that Australia has put itself in the position where one third of its exports go to one country. Engaging in a trade war with that country will affect hundreds of thousands of jobs, with some political districts facing little consequence but others being devastated.

In 2019 the state of Victoria signed an agreement to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative—a group of countries that receive Chinese investment in their transportation and business infrastructure in exchange for being drawn closer into China’s orbit. Thus far, China has avoided industries that would harm Victoria. State Premier Dan Andrews has criticized the national government’s opposition to China—and Beijing seems to have rewarded him for taking its side. Others, such as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, have also urged the government to quickly end hostilities with China for the sake of Australian jobs.

Business leaders also have a lot to lose, and have taken China’s side. Andrew Forrest, a mining billionaire, brought one of China’s top diplomats to speak alongside him at an official event—without informing the Australian government minister who was also attending. Forrest said, “Australia needs to walk that line where we have a best friend in America, a best friend in China, best friends across Southeast Asia.”

Media mogul Kerry Stokes used the front pages of his The West Australian newspaper to call for an end to the conflict, writing, “If we’re going to go into the biggest debt we’ve had in our life and then simultaneously poke our biggest provider of income in the eye it’s not necessarily the smartest thing you can do.” He said China “probably owes the world an explanation on the origins of covid-19,” but “we need to stop making accusations.”

He rightly pointed out the massive economic cost that will come if the confrontation with China continues. Between that and the destruction wrought by Australia’s covid lockdowns, Australia’s economy risks being broken.

This is the choice Australia now faces. Stand up to China and watch it use its power, influence, hackers and economic realities to devastate the Australian economy and more. Or submit to The Chinese Communist Party’s 14 points.

A Warning for America

America is well down the path Australia is taking. China and America are each other’s primary trading partners. America is also waking up to scandals involving Chinese agents and Chinese money going to powerful politicians. American universities have also been compromised. And China is also using trade wars very specifically—choosing what they put tariffs on based on which U.S. states they want to target.

Australia’s fraught relationship with China is what America’s will become if it continues down this path. After years of infiltration and influence, it already is beginning to face the same choice: Stand up to the Chinese Communist Party, its 1 billion subjects, its world-leading economy, and its proven willingness and ability to exploit your open economy and society—or comply with its continued infiltration and however many points it imposes.

In fact, the Bible prophesies this is exactly where America is heading. Isaiah 23 describes a “mart of nations”—a trading alliance in which “Chittim,” a biblical name for China, plays a major role.

America is a much larger economy than Australia, and China cannot take the Americans down alone. This same prophecy shows that China will work together with other Asian nations under its power, and with Europe!

This is what happens when you let a rival power infiltrate your economy, your education, your society and your policy. China will use all these levers against America. Just like Australia, America will soon face economic destruction. The prophecies are clear, and so is the reality on the ground for Australians and Americans.