Britain—Sick Man of Europe?

Britain—Sick Man of Europe?

Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images

Britain has been branded the sickliest nation in Europe. But the nation has far worse problems than mere physical ailments.

Over the past 30 years a phenomenon has become prevalent in Western society that bears no comparison with any other age in mankind’s history. In fact, it is a situation that was prophesied millennia ago to be prevalent most particularly within British society.

One of the glories of the British Empire was the wonder of self-reliant, brave young men holding lonely colonial outposts administering huge swaths of territory containing multitudes of tribal people. The fact that these young colonial administrators were able to maintain relative order, by imposing the rule of law, and build a foundation for the civilization of millions was a feat never witnessed in all recorded history to that time nor since.

Two great world wars in the 20th century largely robbed the British of the cream of the crop of that courageous breed of imperial manhood.

There followed the baby-boom postwar years with America’s population growing rapidly, feeding its economy till it soon became a global superpower. In the meantime, Britain, its economy largely broken by the ravages of war, aided by loans from its American ally (which were finally paid off last year), struggled back onto its feet. These were the years of the great postwar migration of many British subjects to the old colonies, a process that aided greatly in building the postwar economies of its dominions, in particular Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

By these processes Britain was depleted of much trained and experienced manpower during the vital reconstruction years.

The 1960s brought huge social change. “England swings” became the catchcry as the old country turned hedonistic, engorging itself on a rock-pop cultural binge that sapped the energy of the nation at a time when it was greatly needed to vitalize the nation’s industry. The standard of British workmanship, once the envy of the world, dropped markedly. In the 1960s and 1970s, a strike-prone, slow-growing Britain was labeled “the sick man of Europe.” The seeds of Britain’s moral illnesses were thus sown.

In 1967, Britain legalized abortion.

One of the great elements of national power is population. Insufficient manpower to develop and utilize a nation’s fundamental assets can cripple that nation’s economy. On the other hand, should a nation’s population exceed its ability to maintain itself, this can also be detrimental to national growth.

Britain’s imperial strength came from its rich and widespread resources, an advanced industrial base at home, a diverse Commonwealth providing a plentiful supply of labor, and the unifying power of the Crown. The combination of decolonization and Britain’s joining the European Common Market in the 1970s diminished much of the nation’s rich source of supply of raw materials and labor from its former colonies. Britain has since largely sold off its industry to foreign buyers and underwritten the importation of millions of souls from its old colonies who have come to the shores of the British Isles seeking the standard of life they once had under colonial rule, a standard substantially destroyed in many of their home countries by a combination of numerous petty dictators and faulty administration that became prevalent in the wake of decolonization. This admixture of races and cultures has severely weakened the fabric of traditional British society, substantially dulling the edge of British standards, virtues and values.

Recently Britain again became the object of the disparaging title, “sick man of Europe,” this time in the literal sense of the term as applied to the physical health of its population (Telegraph,October 24):

Britain has been branded “the sick man of Europe” after a government report revealed a nation blighted by record levels of obesity, alcohol abuse, diabetes and smoking-related deaths. The rate of obesity in British adults is the worst in Europe and, in some areas, [is] now above the national average of the United States. … The report from the Department of Health also revealed England as the only European country with rising alcohol consumption and an increase in alcohol-related deaths, particularly amongst women.

These are the postwar generations. This is the outcome of the hedonistic “swinging England.” This is the end result of the pursuit of “self-fulfillment,” peddled by the social engineers of the latter 20th century.

And it gets worse, much worse. For beyond the mere physical, there is the spiritual health of the nation, suffering increasingly, and increasingly more rapidly, from the unraveling of its traditional moral fiber.

The following equation highlights a deeply distressing phenomenon in Britain.

“In total there were 722,500 babies born in Britain in 2005—the latest year for which figures are available” (ibid., December 7).

Now, compare this with the following:

“In the 40 years since abortion has been legal in Britain, the number of terminations taking place each year has increased from 22,000 to almost 200,000” (bbc News, October 27).

Taken from the year when abortion was legalized in Britain, this amounts to the staggering total of 6.7 million legal abortions having been performed in Britain since 1967! This amounts to a tithe of the current total British population. Even allowing for the fact that London is an abortion mecca for women from Europe, the overwhelming reality is that Britain’s population could be over 6 million souls richer than it is today had not the floodgates for slaughter in the womb been opened in that nation by its legalizing abortion in 1967.

The remarkable fact is, it was always going to be that way.

The Eternal God, claimed as the God of a more lawful, morally upright Britain in better times, prophesied over 2,700 years ago that Britain would become a center for the slaughter of human life in the womb. Through the Prophet Hosea, God declares, “As for Ephraim [the British covenant peoples], their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. … Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer” (Hosea 9:11, 13).

There is a flip side to this.

The British are becoming increasingly infertile.

The Telegraph reported, “One in 64 babies is born after ivf [in vitro fertilization], figures released today show, as more British couples seek fertility treatment …. More than 32,000 women had ivf treatment in 2005, up 6 percent on the previous year. … Almost 6,000 women over the age of 40 underwent ivf treatment in 2005 …. In total there were 722,500 babies born in Britain in 2005 … 11,262 of which were a result of ivf” (December 7).

The fact is that for most of these lives born as a result of ivf, at least one partner in the relationship would probably be infertile. This evidence of rising infertility in the British population brings to mind another startling prophecy for these times: “Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit …” (verse 16). Yet even to the fertile, the Eternal God underscores, “yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.”

In the latter respect, the following is worthy of note: “Only a handful of European countries suffer more stillbirths than Britain. Almost 4,000 babies’ deaths occurred last year—10 a day in England and Wales—and the levels have stayed roughly the same for a decade” (Telegraph, September 24).

Britain may well be labeled the “sick man of Europe” due to declining health standards of its population in general, but it is the deep moral sickness that has corrupted the very heart and core of postwar British society that is the greater national problem by far. Rampant immorality in Britain, spawned in the swinging ’60s, is a major cause of the twin curses of abortion and infertility!

How sad to see the glory that was once Britain slide into such a seemingly hopeless moral morass.

So what is the answer to the present sad state of “the sick man of Europe”?

What the British need is a new vision of hope. A hope that carries itself way beyond the former glory days of empire. The British peoples need to capture the vision of the very throne that to this day yet resides in their land. It’s a vision that reaches far beyond the physical, stretching the mind on into the grandest vision of all—the vision of the great and glorious universal human potential, which is simply not conditional upon any specific nationality! It’s a potential that embraces ALL mankind, regardless of race, creed or color!

To begin discovering that great vision of ultimate hope, request your own copy, gratis, of our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. No matter what your nationality, this book will begin to open up your mind to vistas of an untold potential, a future of which you never dreamed! It’s a potential that thousands around the world from many nations are even now working excitedly to achieve.

And the signs are that its realization for many is most imminent.

Why delay? Request The United States and Britain in Prophecy today and begin working immediately on fulfilling your very own God-given destiny!

Blair Goes Catholic

Blair Goes Catholic

Lewis Whyld/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s response, or lack thereof, to its former prime minister’s conversion shows just how much Britons have lost touch with history.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair completed his conversion to Roman Catholicism last week. In a private ceremony with friends and family, Blair officially became a Catholic.

Although Blair was born an Anglican, many have speculated over the years that he would convert. Shortly before he became prime minister, Blair began attending Catholic mass. His wife, Cherie Booth, is a Catholic, and all the Blair children have been christened into the Catholic faith. The former prime minister’s visit with the pope in June made conversion seem all the more inevitable.

Blair’s conversion has led to much debate. Many question his repentance over policies he voted for while in office that went against Catholic teaching. Others hail it as a conversion like Saul’s on the road to Damascus. The more cynical point out that being Catholic certainly won’t hurt his ambitions in Europe, nor his relationship with his Catholic wife.

Conspicuous for its absence, however, is debate about Catholicism’s history in Britain. The pope and armed Catholics have tried repeatedly to regain Mary’s Dowry. Not long ago, Britons still burned effigies of the pope as part of the nation’s annual Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night) every November 5, which celebrates the foiling of one of the Vatican’s such attempts.

The Trumpetwrote a month ago: “[S]ince the pope claims authority over all Roman Catholics, a Catholic British monarch would owe primary allegiance to Rome over and above that owed the British crown.” The same would apply to a Catholic prime minister. This is why, in the past, the merest whisper that a minister of the crown was attending Catholic mass would have provoked a massive public response; Blair’s effigies likely would have burned alongside the pope’s.

In more recent times, however, ties between the Vatican and Anglicans have been strengthening. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in May this year:

This is a shocking development, considering the history of the Roman Catholic Church and England. Anglicans are embracing the bitterest enemy against the British throne! The history behind that throne is incredibly inspiring. You can read about this in last month’s Trumpetcover story. That throne is the greatest of all physical thrones by far, and a supreme blessing from the great God. If you understand its history and prophecy, you know that it is in fact the throne of King David of ancient Israel—the very throne, according to the Bible, from which Jesus Christ is about to rule! That royal throne is the hope of this world. (To understand why, request a free copy of our booklet The Key of David.) But the British have turned their back on God. Now they are grasping for another throne.

A former prime minister is embracing “the bitterest enemy against the British throne.” Sincere or not, this should be the subject of public outcry. However, the English today couldn’t care less whether the pope controls England or not.

This children’s rhyme is known to nearly all in Britain:

Remember, remember the 5th of November,Gunpowder treason and plot.I see no reason why gunpowder treasonShould ever be forgot.

Nevertheless, despite this popular rhyme, it has been forgotten.

Enriched Confidence: Post-NIE Iran

Enriched Confidence: Post-NIE Iran

Getty Images

Following Washington’s disastrous intelligence estimate, Tehran is taking advantage of the situation.

Tehran is prowling the streets of the Middle East with a new swagger to its step. Following December 3’s National Intelligence Estimate (nie), which claimed Iran had a clandestine nuclear weapons program but abandoned it four years ago, Tehran has been getting all the political and strategic leverage it can out of the situation, which is quite a bit.

In response to the report, the man who wants Israel wiped off the map in “one storm” and looks forward to “a world without America” claimed “victory” for Iran and said, “It was in fact a declaration of surrender.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his politico-religious bosses were represented in the report as “rational actors” who responded to international pressure and incentives.

Pop quiz: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s résumé includes which of the following? Participation in the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy; a stint as interrogator at Evin Prison, where Tehran’s political prisoners are brutalized; commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps department that fills orders for spying, sabotage, terrorist attacks, assassinations and other assorted services; alleged responsibility for murdering Kurds in Austria and Germany; participation in multiple militias responsible for disciplining Iranians who infringe Islamic rules of conduct and dress; and praying for the coming of the Mahdi—in front of the United Nations.

If you answered “all of the above,” you get 50,000 points; one for each nuclear centrifuge Ahmadinejad plans to build in response to the nie.

His murky mullah puppet masters, who hold the real power in Iran, built the world’s most murderous Islamic theocracy, specializing in forming, arming, supplying and dictating to terrorist groups all over the world.

Thanks to the nie, however, we now know that these men are “rational actors,” and have been since before 2003, which, ironically, is right about when U.S. troops started dotting the Iraqi desert.

Shortly after the intelligence report was published, Russia shipped Tehran long-awaited nuclear fuel for its Bushehr installation on December 17. The fuel is the last major element Iran needs to bring Bushehr online.

The U.S. administration has downplayed the Russian shipment, saying that the uranium is not enriched enough to be weapons-grade material; President George W. Bush said, “If the Iranians accept that uranium for a civilian nuclear power plant, then there’s no need for them to learn how to enrich.”

The Iranians, meanwhile, are continuing to enrich uranium.

Soon after the Russian fuel arrived, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Gholam eza Aghazadeh, announced that Iran would continue to enrich uranium at its Natanz plant, which is where Iran wants to increase an estimated 3,000 centrifuges to 50,000. Aghazadeh also announced on December 17 that a new nuclear installation will be built in Darkhovein.

The mere possibility or partial construction of further nuclear facilities gives Iran a long lever with which to pry open a steady stream of political concessions and compromises.

Beyond that, should an emboldened Iran actually desire to rattle more than just its proverbial saber, it should be noted that Bushehr could produce enough plutonium by-product for a small, crude nuclear weapon—every week. Moscow and Tehran have signed papers saying Iran will ship the spent fuel back to Russia, but Stratfor reports the only thing that could guarantee that the fuel isn’t siphoned off for weapons would be International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, which Tehran frequently blocks.

At any rate, Stratfor reports that with the Russian fuel, “the Iranians now have all the technologies and materials they need to grope their way forward alone” (December 17). Up to this point, Tehran has been dependent on Russian assistance to complete its nuclear facility—one reason why Moscow dragged its feet for so long in delivering it. Moscow is not particularly interested in one of its regional opponents wielding a nuclear weapon, but Washington and Tehran coming to the negotiating table over Iraq has prompted the Kremlin to destabilize the situation back to its own advantage.

In the post-nie world, as it snubs the West and softly twists Russia’s arm, Iran has options. Stratfor reported December 18:

With the nuclear card back in its hand, Iran can afford to push the nuclear envelope with the United States to bolster its position in the Iraq negotiations. It comes as no surprise, then, that the Iranians seem to be dragging their feet in the talks and were likely the main impetus behind postponement of a meeting with U.S. officials in Baghdad that was scheduled to take place December 18.

Israel, which respectfully regards the nie as an insult to its intelligence, has pointed to the uranium enrichment program as the substance of a weapons-development program.

At this juncture, President Bush could choose to contest the intelligence estimate, using Iran’s pushy nuclear initiatives, particularly its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, as grounds for declaring Tehran a non-reformed nuclear monger and taking a tougher stance. The pushier the Iranians become, the more desirable this option may appear.

However, even before the nie, the “hard line” position accomplished nothing demonstrable in containing Iranian ambitions. Even that bygone “hard line” is joining the likes of the “axis of evil,” the “axis of terror” and all manner of other lines in the sand that have washed away, because Washington has become convinced it needs Tehran in Iraq.

To this point, the Bush administration appears to have more or less accepted the nie at face value. Why? To legitimize negotiating with this formerly irrational actor over Iraq. U.S. officials are going into their fourth round of talks with the Iranians, hard to do if you still officially characterize their country as orbiting an insidious axis. It’s also dangerous to do when you know in the back of your mind that they still do.

And yet, even with Washington conceding point after point to Tehran, Iran is still sitting in the driver’s seat, and it doesn’t feel like it owes anyone anything. It can still destabilize Iraq; it can still enrich uranium, and now it almost has Bushehr ready to rock; it can make noises of righteous indignation over “false accusations” about its nuclear program; and it can gruffly postpone talks with the U.S. on Iraq, which already cost the State Department a good deal of political capital to schedule in the first place.

In short, post-nie Iran has little to fear from a handcuffed Washington and even less to fear from the United Nations, and everything to gain, either in expanding its nuclear program or wresting control of Iraq—or both.

Don’t Expect Jacob Zuma to Fix South Africa

Don’t Expect Jacob Zuma to Fix South Africa

Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

Once the jewel of Africa, this nation is now going the way of the rest of the continent. The new leader of the ruling party won’t help matters.

South Africa is in trouble. At one time the most prosperous and peaceful nation in Africa, today it finds itself in the jaws of the very problems that are swallowing nearly every other African state—rampant crime, corruption, unemployment, poverty and disease. This trend is doubly tragic because of the heights from which it has descended to this condition—and the speed.

Evaluating the trend, one is forced to come to an undeniable, politically incorrect conclusion: that this descent is largely the regrettable creation of the ruling African National Congress (anc). The sins of the white, apartheid-era rulers from which the anc took control in 1994 have been widely publicized. But that history does not change this fact: Whatever problems existed under that much-reviled system, they are simply being dwarfed by those multiplying under Marxist anc rule.

And now, they are about to get worse.

Last Tuesday, in an electoral rout, the anc replaced its leader, Thabo Mbeki, with Zulu populist Jacob Zuma. It also awarded all six executive positions in the party and almost all of the national executive posts to members of Zuma’s team. The result is a complex political mess that will put solutions to South Africa’s endemic ills even further out of reach.

Many prominent South Africans are furious with the unpopular Mbeki for not stepping aside in favor of a more electable candidate, thus opening the door for the well-liked but problematic Zuma to ride the anti-Mbeki wave. The Pretoria News described his electoral loss this way: “An out-of-touch leadership faced a mutiny” (December 24). Now, awkwardly, Mbeki is due to remain the nation’s lame-duck president until his term ends in 2009—a situation that has gravely divided the anc and will handicap the national government.

Mbeki’s failings are clear. His leadership is widely criticized for being cloistered, exclusive, aloof, vindictive toward critics and aggressive against dissenters. Prospect’s Andrew Feinstein calls him a “detached, autocratic technocrat” who transformed the anc “from a broad church of vibrant, internal debate” into “a closed shop in which a small clique of trusted allies makes decisions” (December 20).

Though Mbeki’s economic policies are credited with creating a boom, they have helped chase a million whites from the country in the past decade and left many blacks in the dust of poverty. While a small black middle class is growing, as is a clutch of superwealthy, politically well-connected black oligarchs, one quarter of the nation is currently unemployed—40 percent, if you include those no longer looking for work. Eleven percent of South Africans live on less than a dollar a day, double the number of those in poverty when the anc took power in 1994.

Under Mbeki, the nation has also sustained one of the worst crime rates in the world. Its murder rate is eight times higher than the average country—nine times that of the United States. It has more assaults, rapes and murders with firearms per capita than anywhere in the world. Over eight in 10 South African businesses are affected by crime—not missing Post-it notes, but violent crime and burglary. Even in “quiet” neighborhoods—which are routinely protected by security companies, closed-circuit cameras, palisade fencing, electronic gates, razor wire and alarm systems—burglaries and armed robberies are distressingly common. Child protection services estimate that one third of girls and one fifth of boys in the country are sexually exploited; a child goes missing on average every six hours. And the reality is probably worse than the stats suggest: The government is widely thought to fudge the numbers down so as not to highlight its failures. Mbeki has staunchly supported his police commissioner despite his links to organized crime. The minister of safety and security has told people to stop complaining about the crime or leave the country.

It is easy to see why so many were eager for a change in leadership.

At the same time, it is equally clear that Jacob Zuma does not represent a step forward for South Africa. Serious questions regarding his character, experience and policies dog him—and, sometime next year, could even land him in jail.

In classic African Big Man style, the larger-than-life Zuma dresses in leopard skins, poses for pictures wearing a loincloth and holding a Zulu shield, and uses the anti-apartheid Zulu anthem “Bring Me My Machine Gun” as his theme song. He prides himself on his lack of formal education; some say he’s barely literate. A polygamist, he has fathered 20 children by nine different women. He was once tried for rape; he said the woman—the 31-year-old daughter of an anc comrade—had asked for it. Though he was acquitted, he admitted to knowingly having unprotected sex with this hiv-positive woman—then taking a shower to prevent contracting the virus himself. This despite the fact that he had served as chairman of the National aids Council.

After his own father died when he was a child, Zuma was brought up on the Soviet-era Communist ideals of the anc and joined its terrorist wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”), at age 16. Soon after, he was arrested and spent a decade in prison. After his release, he worked in the anc’s underground; later he served as the armed movement’s intelligence chief, the anc’s deputy president, and then the deputy president of South Africa.

Though he touts himself as a man of the people and defender of the poor, Zuma himself enjoys substantial wealth and a lavish lifestyle. During his tenure as the nation’s deputy president, his own financial adviser was sentenced to 15 years in jail for corruption, after which Mbeki fired Zuma himself. Zuma is still under investigation for his part in a shady arms deal during that period; he has already lost two appeals trying to bury certain damning evidence and is likely to be re-tried in 2008.

This is the man that the ruling party in South Africa has turned to in order to address the nation’s crushing internal crises.

Zuma is simply not up to the job. Economically, as much as he may talk about helping South Africa’s poor, he owes his electoral victory to the anc’s powerful allies in cosatu—the Congress of South African Trade Unions—and the South African Communist Party, both of which strongly oppose anything resembling free-market reforms. According to the Sunday Times, after the Zuma victory “both the rand and the stock market look vulnerable. While Zuma is keen to disavow any appetite for radical change, business is uneasily eyeing his need to pay off his Communist party and union backers” (December 23). Among the likely payoffs are the Communist-demanded nationalization of the country’s energy and mining conglomerate Sasol and the largest steel producer in Africa, Mittal Steel.

As Dawie Roodt, chief economist at the Efficient Group, says of Zuma, “I’ve never heard him say anything about the economy, but I know he owes cosatu and I know what cosatu’s policies are. They are essentially calling for more redistribution”—that is, stripping land and other economic assets from whites and giving them to blacks (Cape Argus, December 15). This is the most vivid example of how the anc—now helmed by Jacob Zuma—is increasingly flirting with the policies that have already turned Zimbabwe into one of the most disastrous shipwrecks in the history of the nation-state.

True to its revolutionary roots, the anc is proving itself increasingly driven by dangerous and shallow ideology rather than by what will best serve the country. In clear contrast to the National Party that preceded it, the anc is anti-West at its heart. From its earliest post-apartheid days under Nelson Mandela, it has routinely fostered relationships with dictators the world over, from Cuba to Libya to Iran. In the United Nations—within which it is in the midst of a two-year stint on the Security Council—it has consistently sided with Arab and Muslim entities and against American and Israeli interests. High anc officials have publicly warned that South Africa must protect itself against possible invasion from the United States, of all things.

Zuma represents a further move in this anti-West direction. Already South Africa’s designs on cementing its position as the dominant power in Africa have put it at odds with outside powers—particularly the Pentagon, which has proposed establishing a new command center in Africa. Such friction could well increase if Zuma’s power grows.

Watch South Africa. In state after state on this aged continent, the transfer of power from colonialists to local rule, hailed as a victory for black Africans, has produced devastating results. The pattern that has been repeatedly followed is one of the new governing elite seizing the reins of power and driving their nations into the ground while making themselves criminally wealthy—often largely off of international aid that never reaches the people for whom it is intended. The continent’s history of tribalism has simply overwhelmed democratic instruments and bestowed the unparalleled power of the modern nation-state on men who are essentially tribal chiefs.

South Africa has been a notable exception to this rule for several decades since becoming an independent republic. But now, that is changing—and rapidly. The true cause for this change is rooted in South Africa’s historical connection to the British Empire and the throne of England. Biblical prophecy describes and explains the curses South Africa increasingly finds itself under—curses that are destined to grow worse in the time ahead. A vital warning to the peoples of South Africa is contained in our booklet South Africa in Prophecy. Though written a decade ago, its prescient forecasts are even truer today, in the era of Zuma.

In short, by all appearances the new leadership represents, at best, a continuation of the problems that have plagued anc rule, if not their intensification. Add to that the complications associated with the friction between the anc leadership and the national presidency, as well as the possibility that Zuma gets entangled in a corruption trial.

Andrew Feinstein concludes that, should Zuma be found guilty and imprisoned, rendering him constitutionally unable to run for the nation’s presidency, both he and Mbeki will have to vacate the scene before South Africa has a chance to recuperate. While this is probably true, the reality is that, once the nation suffers the blast furnace of intensified trouble that awaits under such corrupt and crippled leadership, the chances for real recuperation are virtually nil. South Africa’s direction, in this unhappy present world, appears chiseled in stone.

Bear Stearns Reports First-Ever Quarterly Loss

Bear Stearns Reports First-Ever Quarterly Loss

Getty Images

The credit crunch has claimed another victim. For the first time in its 84-year history, storied investment bank Bear Stearns recorded a quarterly loss. But Bear Stearns is not alone; America’s biggest banks are being humbled like never before, and America could be losing its place as the world’s financial center.

Bear’s chairman and chief executive, Jimmy Cayne, said he was “obviously upset” with the bank’s $1.9-billion writedown. According to the Telegraph, although the writedown was larger than expected, most investors were pleased that the bank did not need to seek a foreign-financed bailout, which other big U.S. banks have recently opted for.

Since November, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, three of America’s biggest banks, were reduced to seeking foreign-financed bailouts to sustain their normal operations.

In November, Citigroup, America’s largest bank, went cap in hand to the United Arab Emirates government for a bailout. Citigroup had to pay 11 percent interest to attract the state-owned UAE investment fund, which agreed to purchase a 4.9 percent stake. Some analysts referred to the 11 percent interest level as a “loan shark” rate.

Last week, Morgan Stanley petitioned the Chinese government for financing, after posting its own first-ever loss in its 72-year history. The Chinese government purchased a 9.9 percent stake in the troubled bank and will receive 9 percent annual interest for its trouble over the next two and a half years.

On Monday, beleaguered U.S. banking giant Merrill Lynch was also forced to announce that it had sought a financial savior. Temasek Holdings, the Singaporean state-owned fund, agreed to purchase a $4.4 billion chunk of Merrill.

With so many U.S. banks forced to turn to foreign governments for bailouts, Americans should question the solvency of the U.S. financial system. Not only are its big banks faltering, but few U.S. companies are willing or able to invest in them when the investing is good.

Is America losing its place as the center of global finance? When First World banks must go to other countries for loans, it makes you wonder.

Europe Must “Shape” Globalization

Europe Must “Shape” Globalization

Miguel A. R. Lopes/AFP/Getty Images

The Lisbon Treaty has laid the groundwork for a new global superpower.

After the Lisbon Treaty was signed on December 13, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said that no single European nation is able meet the challenges of our globalized world alone. He stated that globalization has made the European Union indispensable and more necessary than ever.

Europe is unifying to meet these challenges. Yet, responding to globalization is not enough, says EU Lisbon strategy architect Maria Joao Rodrigues, “We need to shape globalization.”

As the EU works to unify itself internally so it can influence the rest of the globe, the world is starting to see Europe as an up-and-coming superpower.

Portuguese Prime Minister and current EU President Jose Socrates said that the Lisbon Treaty would create the opportunity for Europe to have its voice heard around the world.

Assuming it is ratified by all 27 member states, the Lisbon Treaty will speed up the EU’s decision-making process by removing the stipulation that requires a unanimous vote to make EU law. Instead, most laws will be able to be put into action with approval from 55 percent of the membership—assuming that also amounts to 65 percent of the total population. Only certain notable areas will continue to require unanimity.

Europe’s new treaty will also create the position of an EU foreign minister, called the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Rodrigues stated that the creation of a “central actor with the capacity to represent the European Union in international relationships … is crucial if we want to shape globalization.”

The European Union is well on its way to becoming an influential global player on the international scene. The Trumpet has predicted for years the German-led European Union is that empire in the making. Continue to watch as that empire rises to global dominance.

For more information on the future of the European Union, read Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.