Rewriting History

Rewriting History

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How the search for a sanitized past is erasing its vital lessons
From the August 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” said poet-philosopher George Santayana.

Winston Churchill said that the further you look into the past, the further you can see into the future.

But can we truly learn from history when its lessons are constantly being revised and rewritten before our eyes?

Popular today is the revisionism trend, where history is revised, seemingly, to reflect a more accurate account, when—in most cases—it is mainly to appease the current social, political, economic, religious or racial biases of those who record it.

This dangerous trend of watering down history in the quest for “unbiased” and politically correct accounts is covering our eyes from history as a whole—averting our attention from those lessons of the past that we must learn, lest we be doomed to repeat those same mistakes.

Revisionism is the “advocacy of the revision of an accepted, usually longstanding view, theory or doctrine, especially a revision of historical events and movements” (Websters ii New Riverside University Dictionary).

L.S. Stavrianos wrote, “Each generation must write its own history, not because past histories are untrue but because in a rapidly changing world new questions arise and new answers are needed”(Lifelines from Our Past:A New World History, p. 13).

The revisionist movement gained momentum in the 1960s and ’70s, “when the notion of shared American values was shattered by domestic turbulence and unpopular foreign wars,”wrote Craig A. Lockard for the May 2000 Perspectives. “Many historians concluded that the old Western civilization course was outdated and that its approach gave students a misleading view of history reflecting only American orientations.” What occurred, Lockard wrote, was a “‘paradigm shift’ in historiography that reflected the rapid changes of the post-World War ii years.”

Revisionism—Good and Bad

Before we delve into revisionism any further, we must admit that history is not a mere record of facts. It involves interpretation by fallible, human historians with their own opinions, cultural influences and biases.

As historian Dr. Herman L. Hoeh wrote in his Compendium of World History, “A historian is not a scribe, but a judge of the evidence that is brought before him. He is his own final authority. He is not judged by, but sits in judgment of, history. Whatever evidence does not conform to the commonly accepted beliefs of the age or community in which he lives he summarily rejects!

“History, in other words, is based only on that part of evidence which agrees with the prevailing opinions of the society in which a historian lives…. Historians admit it!”

And so do revisionists. They cry out with warnings against viewing history through the discriminatory bias of our Western eyeglasses.

Yes, history is an interpretation of the facts by the historians. Many Western historians were affected by their biases—perhaps dismissing specific minorities from their accounts. To reflect the truth, certain historical inaccuracies or discriminatory slants must be altered.

Revising or rewriting history is admirable in some cases: When it is done in search of greater historical accuracy in light of new evidence, new facts, or facts that had been ignored because they disagreed with social and cultural interpretations of years past.

Over the past few decades, for instance, music history has been revised to include many African-American and women composers who definitely are worth mentioning in the hall of great composers—those who, we can only assume, were left out simply because of the exact kind of bias many revisionists warn against.

There certainly is good in these adjustments to history, as long as they do not go to the opposite extreme of totally ignoring the majority just for the sake of it being the majority—the equivalent of rejecting Mozart’s or Beethoven’s contribution to music merely because they were Caucasian Europeans!

The extreme in historical revisions that unduly overemphasize minorities or “underdog” social groups is one of the dangers of revisionism. The other is revisionism’s relation to relativism—a popular trend in education today. In the study of history, this trend not only states that man’s account of history is lacking and, in many cases, not wholly accurate, but that, because of this fact, we must never state with authority that certain things are historical fact. Historical conclusions are, thus, based mostly on theories.

Craig Lockard observed, in the reassessment of American history, that developments in this direction “did not establish a new consensus but did enlarge the debate.” Modern education does not give answers; it stops at asking all sorts of questions.

How are we, or our children for that matter, supposed to learn the lessons of history—making sure not to repeat its mistakes—when we cannot decide what those lessons are?

Exalting Enemies of World War II

Now to some specific examples of harmful revisionism. Three recent studies have been issued in the past year that “soften the accepted image of Adolf Hitler, making the Führer appear more human and credible than ever before,” reported Norman Lebrecht of the Spectator (Oct. 28, 2000).

The bloodthirstiness of this great tyrant and murderer of the 20th century, and his Nazi cohorts, is being severely undermined. The three works, Hitler 1936-1945, Nemesis, by Ian Kershaw; The Third Reich: A New History, by Michael Burleigh; and The German Trauma, by Gitta Sereny, all give Hitler and his Reich a softer face—relegating the demoniacal bigot to “just another conqueror, somewhat nastier than Napoleon or Peter the Great but equally huge and unavoidable” (ibid.).

Lebrecht concluded his review of the three volumes (emphasis mine): “The uniqueness of Hitler was his racial hatred, his urge to exterminate entire peoples. If this distinction ever gets blurred, the lessons of history will have been lost forever.” Yet, they will not be lost. If history teaches us anything, it states that those lessons will just have to be learned again, this time even more painfully!

The greatest thrust of revisionism is a rewrite of many aspects of World War ii, what Lebrecht calls “the greatest moral conflict in modern times.” It is the lessons of this war that we must heed the most—especially today, as the world stands in a similar situation—poised and ready to dive into another great world war of more cataclysmic and nuclear proportions.

This may sound alarmist to those who have forgotten these lessons. But to those who remember the history of that great war, they can see the world is on the brink of another massive conflict.

Many of our own leaders warned us about repeating the mistakes of that great global fray. A document signed by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill about American-British policy on Germany in February 1945 stated,”It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm and disband all German armed forces; break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism.”

We have ignored this proclamation. We are actually aiding the rise of German militarism. Churchill warned about the “endless repetition of history.” And it will repeat, once more.

At the end of World War ii, General Douglas MacArthur saw the grave situation of the world, with the introduction of nuclear weapons. He realized that man could not survive if history repeated itself in the manner of world war. “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace,”he said in a speech following the surrender of the Japanese armies. “…Military alliances, balances of powers, leagues of nations, all in turn failed, leaving the only path to be by way of the crucible of war. The utter destructiveness of war now blocks out this alternative. We have had our last chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system, our Armageddon will be at our door.

Yet we still choose to revise our view of the Second World War. In this revision, countless historians, journalists and other giants of academia are not only trying to get us to see a more human side to Hitler, but even to the atrocities committed. Minimizing the horrific Jewish Holocaust is revisionism’s large crusade of the moment: to show how it was not a calculated effort for genocide, that not nearly so numerous Jews were exterminated, that concentration camps were not for mainly extermination in the first place, that many photographs, films and recordings of speeches were faked, and that many eyewitnesses lied.

Yet the Bible warns of a great final war to end all wars—one even worse than World War ii! It shows that many people will be taken into captivity in the worst time of suffering ever to strike the Earth (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21-22)—a more grisly reoccurrence of the Jewish Holocaust that too many are willing to minimize!

And as we allow Germany and its dark hour of World War ii to become sunnier in the pages of our history books, we are cozying up to the same country in a foreign-policy agenda that will assuredly bite us soon. We seek the friendship of a German-led European Union—a beast that is already showing its fascist fangs, as we have repeatedly shown in this magazine—yet most are too blind to history to see it. It is this economic, political and military union that is rising on the world scene as a beast that will devour our nation!

In the recent movie Pearl Harbor, in addition to the blatant historical inaccuracies (which Hollywood usually doesn’t mind letting slip by), was the humanizing of Japan—shifting our view of the harbor’s attackers from warmongers to glory-seeking soldiers.

This agrees with America’s revising of its foreign policy toward this nation—letting Japan ignore its pacifist Constitution that the U.S. wrote for it after the Second World War so that Japan would not re-arm again, but stay under the protection of the U.S. Now, we are letting Japan gain much strength militarily. We are forgetting history! And our weak memory will be our demise as the world is plunged soon again into war.

If this rose-colored view of our World War ii enemies is not enough to make us see the dangers of revisionism, perhaps another trend, happening alongside these just mentioned, will help us to recognize those dangers.

Condemning Our Own History

As Japan, Germany, the Nazis, Hitler, fascism and tyranny are getting a more glamorous mention in the annals of history, British and American history is being shoved into a corner—many of those great events that shaped our nations’ identity are no longer taught in mainstream history classes. Leave it to our politically correct revisionists to exalt our enemies and abase our own values and beliefs!

Dr. Nick Tate, chief executive of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority in Britain, has warned that factual knowledge in British history classes is being sidelined, that heroes and heroism are being debunked and nationalism is being regarded with distaste—with the emphasis now being on skepticism and the analysis of original sources, according to a September 19, 1995, article from the Daily Telegraph.

Dr. Tate’s study of over 100 history books showed that most treated their content superficially. Color pictures and photographs were plenteous, while written sources were few. “There was simply not enough information in some of these books to enable pupils to understand in any depth the periods they were studying,” he said (op. cit.).

Of great concern to Dr. Tate was that Britain’s sense of national identity was being undermined, even betrayed. “Pupils need a sense of the nation as an entity which stretches back in time and through whose continuing existence past and present are linked” (ibid.).

Another problem in the revised history as studied today: The “recognition of the significance of individuals is sometimes absent,”Dr. Tate said (see p. 22).Yes, we are skeptical about those great figures of the past—we are quick to judge them for actions we find inexcusable today. (Yet, at the same time, we celebrate “celebrities from the world of pop culture about whom a much deeper skepticism might be in order,”Tate said.)

“An understanding of the contribution of individuals,”Tate believes, “helps pupils see themselves as part of a continuum to which they may contribute ” (ibid.).

Finally, what Dr. Tate found problematic in the study of history in schools was a lack of teachers able to teach history any other way than that being foisted upon children from these textbooks. These teachers were allowed, in their degree programs (as Dr. Tate pointed out), to take such unrelated topics as “Early Near Eastern Civilization (c. 3000 b.c.)”and “Living and Working in Luton 1918-1980.” They did not have a deep enough understanding of the scope and sweep of history to counter the shallowness of the grade school texts.

Certainly, the U.S. is not blameless in this history debacle. In 1994, the U.S. government allocated $1.75 million into a rewrite of history. The resultant National Standards for United States History features George Washington merely as a footnote—not even mentioning that he was the first president. It does not mention the first gathering of the U.S. Congress. The Gettysburg Address is given a single mention.

According to the Daily Telegraph of November 5, 1994, “The World History Curriculum Task Force has excised many of Britain’s great political and military figures and battles.”

Students of 20th-century history hear no mention of prime ministers Churchill and Thatcher, yet are required to “research the global influence of cnnin the past ten years.” Another assignment might be, “Poll your classmates to find out how many consult astrology in newspapers.”

Many great English literary figures are left out. Shakespeare is barely mentioned.

This revision of American and British history puts more emphasis on global history or non-Western elements—on Africa and the East. “Much emphasis is given to the role of women. Harriet Tubman, the Afro-American who helped rescue slaves, is mentioned six times, while white males of similar achievement are ignored. A typical question will be:’Assess the role and status of women in Tokugawa, Japan’” (ibid.).

Colonization is severely condemned, and those who crossed the Atlantic several hundred years ago are labeled “intrusive European migrants.”

Gilbert Sewall, director of the American Text Book Council, said:”This global historical revisionism is totally unbalanced. It compresses Western achievement in a poor and unflattering light that makes all the former colonial powers come off very badly, in particular Britain.”

This philosophy pervades the educated of the Western world: Colonization is bad; imperialism is bad; monarchy is bad. But if the Germans demonstrate imperialist tendencies—as they revive the greatest of all world-domination plans: the Holy Roman Empire—it is okay, it is meant to be understood.

Those who condemn Britain’s view of spreading their ways across the globe should consider for a moment the far less humane tactics of the Germans and the Holy Roman Empire over past centuries! Yet, we would rather humanizethat history! How foolish.

World War ii revisionists who say they rewrite history in search of greater “accuracy” are victim to worse biases than those they condemn.

True History

We live in a world presently ruled by a great deceiver—a being who hates history. The Bible reveals that this being, Satan the devil, “deceiveth the whole world”(Rev. 12:9).

Satan knows that if he can deceive the world on the subject of history, he can keep people from understanding the current unfolding of dangerous world events.

On the other hand, the Creator God is the greatest historian there is. In His Word, the Holy Bible, He constantly admonishes His people to understand all things “from the beginning.”The Bible essentially is a history book.

All knowledge, especially historical knowledge, must be based on God’s Word. God is the true, unbiased source. “Thy word is truth,”Jesus said to His Father (John 17:17). God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). The Bible—though secular historians will never admit it, because they (with their biases) believe it to be extremely biased—is the greatest history book mankind could have. The Bible, its “bias” being the absolute truth, answers many questions historians have never been able to answer.

Yes, history does need to be revised and rewritten—not to appease social standards or political correctness, but to reflect truth and accuracy based on God’s Word.

The Bible, in addition to being a book of history, is a book of prophecy—history written in advance. Prophecies show that mankind will repeat the devastating history of World War ii. Though this time the suffering will be far worse, Jesus Christ will intervene before mankind annihilates himself (Matt. 24:21-22).

Upon His return, Christ will establish the perfect, peace-producing government of God on Earth. He will erase uncertainties and falsehoods from man’s history books and teach him absolute, true history. History will be rewritten and revised once and for all. The rest will be history.

Politics of Spying

From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

The politics of spying are heating up in Europe to a point which may even force Britain to ultimately opt out of the European Union. According to a report leaked from the European Parliament in May, the EU is in the early stages of developing its own intelligence arm to back up its planned rapid reaction force.

“The document puts Britain on notice that it cannot continue to operate a joint intelligence system with America now that the EU is acquiring military ambitions” (Daily Telegraph, May 28).

The draft text of the leaked report apparently does not restrict the motivation to create an autonomous EU intelligence capacity to military use only. It also states that “EU economic integration would ‘necessitate’ an intelligence capability” (ibid.).

This, no doubt, has resulted from claims, as yet unproven, that the U.S. and Britain use their cooperative echelon electronic intelligence system to spy on European companies for commercial advantage. Such suspicions were strengthened in the minds of some Europeans when, last year, the U.S. National Security Agency (nsa) exposed two clear examples of French corruption. The nsa simply intercepted messages involving sensitive, illegal attempts by French corporations to influence defense contracts with bribes.

Anglo-American cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing dates back to 1942. It operates under a system that binds the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, one not habitually shared with France or Germany.

The EU claims that Britain, as an EU member, is bound to share its intelligence with member nations. In the aforementioned report, Britain’s response to the EU’s plans for an autonomous electronic surveillance system are called “a serious test of the European ambitions of the United Kingdom.” The report warns that “intelligence gathering may be precisely the issue that forces the United Kingdom to decide whether its destiny is European or trans-Atlantic” (ibid.).

In an in-your-face move seemingly calculated to put the EU in their place, the nsa announced last month that it will move hundreds of personnel from its Bavarian base in southern Germany to Menwith Hill in Britain, chief site for the echelon system. This initiative foreshadows an expansion of echelon to facilitate implementation of the Bush administration’s planned national missile defense shield.

Cult Crackdown

From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

In a move that has religionists and civil liberties groups up in arms, France has moved, arbitrarily, to enact legislation repressing religious freedom in that country.

Thumbing its nose to outcries from the U.S. and other foreign governments as well as mainstream church leaders, the French government has raised a bill before its senate which is designed “to reinforce the prevention and repression of groups of a ‘sect-like character’” (Globe and Mail, June 12).

Joseph Grieboski, president of the Washington-based Institute on Religion and Public Policy, declared, “This law makes the practice of one’s religion into a criminal offense.”

The bill, if passed, would enable the courts to dissolve officially designated cults under certain conditions. In addition, it would create a new category of crime: abuse of a person “in a state of psychological or physical dependence caused by the exertion of heavy or repeated pressure or techniques liable to alter his judgment.” One caught engaging in behavior considered to match that description faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.

One of the problems foreseen by legal analysts is that the legislation is far too vague in its definitions. Key terms such as “sect,” “dependence” and “pressure” are simply left undefined.

As Adrian Hilton, noted author of The Principality and Power of Europe, has stated, “Evangelical Christians are perceived by the EU as a ‘sect,’ and…any group which does not belong to the majority church (Roman Catholic) is viewed by many meps with suspicion. This classification is nothing new. The early Church was branded an heretical sect, and this was the earliest basis of persecution” (p. 104).

There is now real concern that the French legislation will cause a domino effect within the EU. Austria, Germany, Belgium and some Eastern European countries have already officially identified “sects” (many headquartered in the U.S.) for close monitoring.

From Paradise to Poverty

Why the Philippines is on the road to collapse
From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Philippines tourist brochures boast of the country’s golden beaches, breathtaking sunsets, coconut palms and the scent of Manila rum. However, far from being an island paradise, the Philippines is faltering under the steady strain of corporate corruption, political division, terrorism, riots, a sagging economy and volatile territorial disputes.

This strategic island land-mass, wedged between the South China and Philippine seas, is rich in natural resources and economic potential. Since the withdrawal of its Spanish masters in 1898, U.S. colonial rule up to World War ii, Japanese occupation and the MacArthur years, the Philippines has ridden a rocky road of economic and military instability throughout the 20th century. Why, at the dawn of the enlightened push-button, armchair age of the 21st century, is the Philippine nation faltering, fraying at the edges, spinning out of control?

Structural Problems

The Philippines was a founding member of asean in 1967, is a trading member of apec and has strong import-export ties to the U.S., Japan and the EU.Because of its economic dependence on its agriculture, electronics and tourism industries, it has been ravaged by the destructive forces of the 1997 Asian financial meltdown, the climatic devastation of El Niño and La Niña, and the kidnappings of its tourists by local insurgents, all of which have driven foreign investment from its shores.

Today, with the devaluation of the national currency—the peso—and an estimated $60 billion foreign debt, the country is only slightly less worse off than Indonesia, the financial basket case of Asia. While the world watches Indonesia spiral out of control, the ongoing Philippine financial and social sickness is turning terminal. As a result, over 5 million Filipinos have fled their homeland to find work abroad.

Since the fall of the Marcos government in the late 1980s, the assassination of popular opposition leader Benigno Aquino, and the short-lived Ramos government’s attempt to reverse the status quo, most efforts of this “democratic republic” to implement desperately needed economic and social reforms have come up short. “Infrastructure in the Philippines is famously shabby. Roads connecting regions are few and poorly made, and basic necessities such as power and irrigation are still lacking in many rural areas. To be fair, large strides have been made over the last few years. The government has, for example, liberalized telecommunications and privatized the water supply. Much more is needed” (www.stratfor.com).

The recent impeachment and imprisonment of film-star-turned-president Joseph Estrada on corruption charges has plunged the country into successive waves of violent street protests. A recent attack by Estrada supporters on the presidential palace was beaten back by Manila’s police and marines, but not before declaration of marshal law was threatened and a “state of rebellion” imposed by the newly elected government.

This nation of over 62 million people, over 80 percent Catholic with a Muslim minority, has wearied under the strain of a 32-year war with Communist guerrillas. That war recently culminated in the government compromising and withdrawing its troops from key areas of the country’s south.

A string of kidnappings of Western tourists by Muslim rebel group Abu Syyaf for ransom money has the new Arroyo government on the back foot. Vowing “no compromise” with the rebels, government forces have trekked into the jungles in largely unsuccessful attempts to stamp out the increasingly lucrative business of the kidnappers. Tourism is screeching to a halt as fearful Westerners search elsewhere for holiday locations.

Added to the above problems is the growing tension of a territorial dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal, an oil-rich chain of islands in the South China Sea. Recent boarding of Chinese vessels by Philippines military have only heightened tensions between Beijing and Manila.

A Voice Cries Out

At the invitation of then-President Ferdinand Marcos, the late Herbert W. Armstrong, as an unofficial ambassador for world peace, visited the island archipelago of the Philippines in 1983. After a private audience with the president, Mr. Armstrong spoke to local politicians and business leaders about where world events were ultimately leading. In recognition of his efforts for world peace, Mr. Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Merit Medal for his assistance to the Filipino people.

Mr. Armstrong conducted a public-speaking campaign in Manila for all subscribers of the Plain Truth magazine. The campaign was labeled, “A Voice Cries Out.” Mr. Armstrong’s lectures, spoken to packed audiences of thousands, were videotaped and broadcast worldwide on his weekly television program The World Tomorrow. In that campaign, Mr. Armstrong strongly warned the Filipino people about the causes of their domestic troubles and their contribution to global instability.

Through Mr. Armstrong’s visits with the politicians and business leaders, his lectures to the public and his writing and broadcasting, the people of the Philippines received a powerful warning message of trouble ahead (Matt. 24:14). God, through that one voice crying out, warned the nation of the causes and effects of rebellion against the government of God, and made known the rich, abundant blessings and protection that flow from obedience to God’s law and government.

Recent events have proven that this warning was largely unheeded by all but a small remnant who had the ears to hear and will be rewarded with protection from the coming storm of tribulation (Rev. 3:10, 22).

Today, in the tradition of Herbert Armstrong, another voice cries out to the Philippines. Many Filipinos read this magazine. The voice of our editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, cries out each week, across the island nation, the advance warning of tomorrow’s news through the Key of David television program. Over the past decade this one voice has cried out to Filipinos—from their capital in Manila to the historic shores of Corregidor and the rugged hills of Baatan. This one voice forecasts what lies ahead for the Philippines.

Bible prophecy declares that in the turbulent years ahead the Philippines will suffer again under the economic and militaristic yoke of their enemies. Fears of China to the east and Japan to the north are well founded. The Philippines’ unusual geography (which comprises over 7,000 miles within its archipelago), low labor costs coupled with a people friendly to a fault, and declining Western support all have combined to open the nation up to foreign manipulation and exploitation.

As biblical descendants of Gomer, Filipinos will soon find themselves allied with their geographic neighbors in the greatest fighting force ever assembled. At the soon-coming return of Jesus Christ, this Eurasian force will be crushed and all Asia humbled by the mighty hand of God.

However, there is good news amid this prospect of terrible suffering. A new world order is coming that will result in the greatest prosperity the nation has ever known. Believe it or not, every Filipino will soon be given the choice to turn to God and learn His ways. War, corruption, religious animosity, terrorism and political division will finally come to an end. The nation will be reborn and for all time cross the threshold from poverty to paradise.

America: The Global Outcast?

The world has given up on America’s leadership role, and the European Union couldn’t be more pleased. Rampant anti-Americanism shows that the stage has been set for a fast-rising EU to become the world’s next superpower.
From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Many Europeans view the United States as a nation concerned only with its own agenda, repeatedly imposing its will upon the rest of the world.

Protests over the U.S. ballistic missile defense initiative and its refusal to submit to a UN emissions-control treaty have dazed President George W. Bush’s administration.

Notice this analysis: “The moral role of the United States has…deteriorated in European eyes, resulting in a loss of respect. With a quiet shaking of the head, many Europeans express bewilderment and concern at the internal weakening taking place in the United States. Europeans feel that these problems are unfortunately turning the United States inward. Such a trend, if perpetuated, could lead to a United States neglect of its responsibilities and relationships in the rest of the world.” Interestingly, these words were written almost 20 years ago—in the October 1973 Plain Truth (emphasis mine throughout).

If, in the 1970s, America was weakening internally and turning inward, today the situation is many times worse. This is witnessed by the many strong words and protests taken against the “egocentric” rule of the United States. Today, anti-Americanism is manifesting itself in much more than a “quiet shaking of the head.”

America was until recently the world’s lone superpower—but it severely neglected that leadership role. As a result, other nations, most notably the EU, are vying to fill the vacancy.

“Superpower” Defined

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a superpower as “a nation or state having a dominant position in world politics; one which has the power to act decisively in pursuit of interests which embrace the whole world.”

Ask yourself, honestly: Does that definition sound like America? If so, surely most nations would support America’s actions. Yet, in reality, this is not what is happening today.

On the world scene, the U.S. is mocked, scorned, ridiculed and threatened. Jealousy, resentment and America-bashing abound. Unpredictable nations like Iran, Iraq, Libya and North Korea—and even some allied nations—are attempting brazenly, others subtly, to send America hurtling out of the top spot. This situation is not unlike the children’s game King of the Mountain: Whoever gets to the top becomes the immediate target.

The simple truth is, America no longer has the desire or will to take the lead! It has neglected its critical leadership role, long ago abandoning the idea of setting the right example for the rest of the world to follow. It has become inward-focused. Thus, the world’s nations have become disillusioned, no longer content to look to the U.S. for guidance or help.

Asian specialist Philip Bowring, in an article for the International Herald Tribune, wrote this on May 31: “Much of the world has long wanted the United States to take leads because it believed that America was well motivated and in the forefront of social and technological progress. It likes to see America lead by example.”

Complaints from around the globe are mounting against the United States. As Bowring wrote, nations know that whenever America “lectures other countries on the need for legal frameworks and institutions, its own refusal to accept international jurisdiction is seen for what it is”—hypocrisy.

A hypocritical nation is easily despised. The U.S. claims to abide by international rules in the interest of all; but this is not how other nations view it. The American-led nato war against the Yugoslavian nation of Serbia is a good example. Yugoslavia was in a civil war. No nation, even a superpower, can rightfully interfere in such a conflict without violating international law, yet the U.S. broke that law, initiating an illegal war in the Balkans. In the process, U.S. air force bombers, from 14,000 feet up, killed innocent Serbian civilians—a coward’s war indeed! People can clearly see a double standard and have now turned their support away from the U.S.

Recently, the EU nations colluded within the United Nations to oust the U.S. from its long-held seat on the UN Human Rights Commission—an entity which the U.S. was instrumental in creating in 1947. And worse, nations with brutal human rights records—China, Sudan and Libya—have been added to the commission!

The vote against the United States is just one of many links in the chain of dissatisfaction. The UN climate is such that nations with far worse records can divert attention from themselves by focusing world attention on contentious U.S. issues. The issues that effected the rejection of the U.S. include its refusal to approve the ban on anti-personnel land mines, rejection of establishing an international criminal court, and ongoing use of the death penalty.

Kyoto Protocol Criticism

One cause of recent criticism is America’s rejection of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, a treaty designed by 163 countries.

This set of international rules demands that industrialized nations drastically decrease the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that come from burning fossil fuel. The concern addressed in the 1997 mandate is global warming and its (unproven) consequence of worldwide upset in weather patterns and harmful effects on human societies. U.S. industries are allegedly some of the greatest producers of CO2 emissions. (President Bush recently countered that China and India were the world’s biggest polluters.)

Whether or not global warming is a genuine threat, the framework for the Kyoto Protocol appears to be inherently weighted against the U.S. The burden is upon American industry to comply with this agreement, while other rapidly increasing industries in China, India and Mexico are allowed to operate unabated. Not surprisingly, hypocrisy can work both ways.

Early in his first term, President Ronald Reagan faced a similar situation with Law of the Sea Treaty. One hundred and fifty countries had negotiated the treaty for years, and so Reagan was being pressured into accepting it. Secretary of State Alexander Haig knew the treaty was flawed but explained that the U.S. had no choice but to sign.

Reagan refused, believing that making good decisions was what he was supposed to do as president. He thought it natural to say no, even if 150 countries had already agreed to a “really stupid” and harmful treaty (Wall Street Journal, June 11). For Reagan, good leadership was “the whole thing.” And eventually, because of the cold war, Europe’s will bent to that of its great protector, America.

Likewise, President Bush is holding fast to his decision not to sign the Kyoto Protocol, believing it would greatly harm the American economy. Yet, that hasn’t stopped the criticism. Many heads of state and government officials are brazenly using the Kyoto Protocol to bash the U.S.

French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius said in a speech to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministers, “Whether it’s about climate change or money laundering and tax havens, the leading world power cannot brush the problems of the planet aside.” This, despite the fact that since 1990 the U.S. has invested $18 billion on climate research. That is more than the EU and Japan combined.

America is being accused of ignoring the world’s problems for saying no to a fatally flawed treaty. Would Laurent Fabius have America alone undergo the most drastic reforms no matter the harm caused? If the Kyoto Protocol is so good for the world, why haven’t any countries in the European Union ratified it? Still, they criticize Mr. Bush at full volume!

Is CO2 Really the Issue?

The National Academy of Sciences released a report on what the science community knows about climate change. Most news agencies reporting on the story wrote that global warming was real, calling the report an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol.

“I can state that simply this is untrue,” replied Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and one of the 11 scientists who prepared the report (Wall Street Journal, June 11). “I cannot stress this enough,” he said. “We are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future.”

So much uncertainty exists because no one really knows the causes of climate change. Thirty years ago scientists feared global cooling. Some climate change is normal. Yet politicians, activists and the media twist scientific reports to echo their opinion that the U.S. must ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

“My own view,” said Lindzen, “consistent with the panel’s work, is that the Kyoto Protocol would not result in a substantial reduction in global warming” (ibid.).

The bottom line is, Europe and many other nations are hypocritically vilifying the U.S. for refusing to comply with a scientifically dubious, unfair protocol that Europe itself hasn’t ratified. The only conclusion to draw from these facts is that something much deeper is going on than would appear.

Consider the extreme views expressed over the U.S.’s decision. “We are all environmental criminals,” said Patrina Dumaru, climate officer for Pacific Concerns Resources Center based in Fiji. She continued, “But there must be a new category for the United States. I would like to see an international justice system that would recognize this crime.”

An “international justice system” is already on the rise—and perhaps someday it will “recognize” America’s crimes. European Commission President Romano Prodi recently announced that the European Commission has launched a new program to make the European Union into an environment-friendly economy. Prodi, head of the EU’s executive law-drafting body, believes the EU will become theworld leader in sustainable economic development. He said, “We are committed to fulfilling our international responsibilities…. We believe we should start by putting our own house in order and thus provide global leadership in translating rhetoric into action” (Reuter, May 16).

These are the words of an ascending superpower.

Who’s Climbing the Mountain?

President Bush recently stated, “I appreciate good competition,” naïvely adding this: “I believe the stronger Europe is, the better it is for America” (Telegraph, London, June 15).

The EU wants nothing more than a “stronger Europe” via a larger EU!

At a meeting in Göteborg to discuss EU enlargement, all 15 heads of EU nations formally declared, “The enlargement process is irreversible” (Agence France Presse, June 17). This came right after Ireland voted not to ratify the Nice Treaty, a condition necessary for European enlargement. Curiously, Germany’s Constitution forbids national referendums.

The EU is ready to compete with the U.S. for global leadership. In time, the spirit of this “competition” will be proven not to be good. The German-led EU is clearly asserting its dominance on the world scene, and not only in the environmental arena. It is in the process of filling the power void left by the U.S.’s generally indecisive and lackluster foreign policy.

President Bush’s administration has lost the fight to convince the North Atlantic Council that there is a common threat of a ballistic missile attack with 37 different states in control of over 13,000 missiles. “German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said it was important that no decisions be made on the missile defense issue until further consultations have occurred” (Associated Press, May 29). The United States is respecting these wishes, waiting on Germany for “further consultations.”

What the U.S. seems blind to is Europe’s openly stated aim to check American power. Europe does not want what is best for America!

Richard Burt, ambassador to Germany under President Reagan, said that because the Soviet threat is gone, “there are some Europeans who want to define Europe in opposition to the United States” (Associated Press, June 14).

The May 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal Europe pointed out that Germany, along with France, speaks with authority about world issues, and that “these two core governments of the EU are steering a course away from the U.S.”

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, in a May 28 speech on the future of the EU, used the occasion “to lambaste the U.S. on everything from the death penalty to its rules on financial disclosure…. Franco-German policy seems driven more by a desire to strike an independent posture than to construct a rational policy” (ibid.).

France, Germany and the rest of the EU are quickly climbing the mountain of world dominance. In reality, France is entertaining a mere illusion of leadership. Germany is the real boss.

Allies Prophesied to Turn

Your Bible prophesied that America’s “allies” would change the way they feel about this once-world-dominating country. In Lamentations 1:2 it is written that “all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.” Jeremiah 4:30 states, “thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.”

This is already happening!

Many nations, principally a German-led European Union, are now plotting to overthrow the U.S. They see an apprehensive approach in American foreign policy—and, cautiously but steadily, are moving in for the kill.

The Washington Post accurately revealed the U.S.’s foreign-policy fears when it stated, “The [Bush] administration has shown reluctance to get or stay involved in places of the world that need help: the Balkans, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone. It has not much increased funds for the military or for foreign aid. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has given an impression, perhaps false, of preoccupation with pulling forces back—from the Balkans, from the Sinai Peninsula, from Germany” (op. cit.).

Many European leaders see the U.S. heading toward isolationism, thus giving the opportunity for them to act independently from America. The U.S. lacks the vision to see its own problem of internal weakening. The latest actions of the EU and other nations of the world prove that America is becoming the world’s pariah, moving rapidly closer to the day when God’s words will be fully accomplished!

Whatever America might do to try to solve its leadership problems, it will not succeed without God’s help. No nation will. That is why God will allow America (as well as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the other nations of modern Israel) to soon suffer like never before.

Sometimes one hopes for a strong and equal Europe if only to save Americans from overweening pride and ignorance,” said Peter Schneider, a writer based in Berlin and author of 18 books (Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2001). Schneider also asked this question: “What to do, then, when the justified [the U.S.] have eyes only for the sins of others and not for their own?”

The world can see America’s sin, but, more importantly, so can God! God will use the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—the European Union led by Germany—as His instrument in chastising America for its national sins.

Power On…Power Off! Power On?

Californians are facing rolling blackouts this summer. What is the real cause behind California’s energy crisis?
From the July 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

California has long embodied the spirit of the American dream. It is a special land offering great opportunity. Geographically it is the third-largest state in the nation. California has been richly blessed with a moderate climate and incredible natural resources. Its seaside location, breathtaking mountain vistas, lush green valleys and ancient forests have drawn multiple millions of tourists to this legendary land.

California is known as the Golden State, and for good reason. Historically, men have searched for, fought for and mined its most precious metal—gold. Yet, ever since the first Spanish settlement in the 18th century, agriculture has been vital to California’s bustling economy. The state virtually supplies the nation and global markets with fresh fruits and vegetables during the northern hemisphere winter. Another one of California’s most famous economic hallmarks is Silicon Valley—the seat of America’s high-technology industry.

One seventh of all U.S. exports come out of California. The state is a major economic player in the Pacific Rim. If California were a nation, it would have the world’s sixth-largest economy. California is the locomotive driving the economies of both the United States and Asia.

As California goes, so goes the nation—and Asia. This is why we should maintain a close watch on California’s threatening woes.

The Cursed State

Over the last decade, the Golden State has suffered a string of curses of biblical proportions, including earthquakes, floods, drought and wildfires. In 1992 there was much publicity about the severe “five-year drought” that had been plaguing the Sacramento water basin. That drought is essentially not over! June 15, the U.S. agriculture secretary announced that seven counties in northern California qualify for federal drought aid. Wildfires have already begun for the summer months in California.

Now added to California’s natural disasters is the threat of rolling electric power blackouts. Much publicized in March, dire forecasts about this summer’s power crisis were given to California residents. Let’s discuss a few of the warnings given by news reports.

Dark Predictions

Since March, dark predictions concerning the blackouts have filled news headlines. Newspaper articles have warned that blackouts will severely strike California’s economy. On April 21, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that California would lose from $2 billion to $16 billion this summer. In addition, over the next three years some 15,000 jobs could be lost in the Bay area alone. This article stated that “Energy experts predict that the state will face at least 34 days of rolling blackouts this summer, when demand will rise as air conditioners are cranked up in homes, schools and work places.”

Silicon Valley businesses could be some of the hardest hit by unreliable power. The Chronicle quoted Don McIntosh, facilities director for Sunnyvale chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices: “A one-hour loss of power would be disastrous for us…. You have the potential for ruining an entire batch of [silicon] wafers. In addition, it could take up to three days to recalibrate all the tools.” The article reported that McIntosh’s company is looking for alternate sources of uninterrupted power for the summer.

Clearly, a power-on, power-off, power-on scenario will severely hurt California’s economy. On March 23, Stratfor Systems reported that a downturn in California’s economy would be nasty. “A slowdown in California will, therefore, exacerbate Asia’s downturn, most notably in those countries that rely on exports to the United States. It will also undermine U.S. exports, as the state produces nearly 30 percent of the nation’s exports to the region.” America’s economy is already lagging. The California blackouts carry the potential to make things far worse.

Besides economics, there are public health and safety issues to consider as well. On May 16, the Sacramento Bee warned California residents that water supplies would be threatened because pumps could fail during power outages. Staff writer Chris Bowman wrote, “State health authorities are notifying public water utilities to secure emergency water and backup power so fire hydrants won’t run dry and drinking water remains safe during blackouts. The notice, which is being issued this week to all 8,700 public water systems in the state, also advises utilities to warn the public that tap water could turn cloudy or [become] contaminated during a prolonged power outage at the utilities’ well pumps.”

The threat to California’s water system is a serious one. All effective urban water systems require constant pressure to keep water clean and flowing. Since many water systems have cracks in pipelines, a lack of water flow allows for back seepage, which leads to contamination. If pumps do not operate continually, even raw sewage can be sucked back into water supplies. This represents a real public-health hazard. Rolling power blackouts will force California residents to boil water before use. This health problem could become more than just a matter of inconvenience.

Even worse is the loss of water at fire hydrants, considering California’s problems with wildfires. In addition, a loss of electrical power at the water pump will adversely affect agricultural communities already suffering from drought. It takes electrical power to move irrigation water.

There are other public safety issues accompanying blackouts. When traffic lights go out, accidents happen. Traffic jams increase and most assuredly tempers will flare. People will be trapped in elevators. The elderly and very young will suffer from the heat; some elderly could die from heat exposure.

Complex Crisis

California’s electric power problems need some quick solutions. Unfortunately it appears that at this point there is  more finger pointing than constructive meetings taking place. Can the right solutions be found and implemented? A recent Gallup poll shows that 68 percent of Californians see their energy situation as very serious. While most of the country is concerned about the higher costs of gasoline and natural gas, Californians are concerned if they will have power at all. The mood in California is very negative. In fact, most Californians feel they will get stuck with both darkness and higher utility costs. Higher electric rates will represent a loss of income. A very serious social situation is brewing in California.

California’s energy crisis is complex. Few truly understand what is actually taking place.

Some feel that liberal news media have misrepresented what is truly happening in California. We must remember that shocking headlines sell newspapers, but don’t necessarily give real understanding of the facts. Many reporters, through a lack of research combined with the desire to scoop a story, have communicated glaring errors. Since March, news stories have discussed various causes for California’s electric power crisis: lack of power plants, rapid growth in population, skyrocketing demands outstripping supplies. But what actually caused the California blackouts in March 2001? Was it a lack of power supply?

Attempting to clarify the real issues in California, Brill’s Content reported this in June 2001: “But the problem in California isn’t a lack of supply. It’s that the energy producers have withheld supply from the utilities at strategic moments to protest the utilities’ failure to pay debts, as Los Angeles Times reporter Julie Tamaki pointed out in March. The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights points out that the blackouts have hit at just the moments when the suppliers wanted to extract new concessions and subsidies from the state, such as agreements to cover the utilities’ debts to the suppliers. In total, California has 55,500 megawatts of power-generating capacity and 4,500 megawatts purchased through long-term contracts from out-of-state suppliers—approximately 15,000 megawatts more than peak demand….”

The truth is, the March blackout was manufactured so producers could drive a hard bargain with utility companies.

Bad Legislation

Other news reports have stated that California’s private utilities are bankrupt because of the state-imposed cap on the rates that utilities can charge customers. Yet Brill’s Content reports, “But the major news outlets regularly omit vital context: Legislation deregulating electricity markets passed the California legislature unanimously in 1996. It was exactly what the private utilities wanted; certainly no bill would pass the legislature unanimously if pg&e or Southern California Edison [were] opposed in whole or part. The law was a remarkably lucrative deal for the utilities. They received $28 billion in ratepayer subsidies for what the utilities call ‘stranded costs’—previous plant investments gone bad—and were allowed for the first time to invest in unrelated businesses in the United States and abroad.” In essence, reports that the private utilities are near bankruptcy do not give a true picture of reality.

Pg&e did declare bankruptcy in April. But few articles have discussed the assets of pg&e’s parent company. Pg&e is expected to have a hard time with creditors in bankruptcy court because of assets gained since 1996. Brill’s reported, “The deregulation legislation passed in 1996 allowed the utilities to restructure themselves; their newly created holding companies have extracted billions of dollars from their utility subsidiaries and used the proceeds to buy back stock, pay out huge dividends to share-holders and make out-of-state investments. The parent companies have also profited from the price increases in the wholesale electricity market, as one subsidiary (electricity generation) has sold at superinflated costs to another (utility provider).” The shocking point Brill’s is making here is that the utility companies have gouged themselves. What is playing out now in California is a war among producers, utility companies and state officials—caused by bad legislation!

The critical question is, do the key players involved really understand the high risks involved statewide, nationally and internationally?

A Political Crisis

California’s real energy crisis is political, not electrical. Yet very little has been said in the press about the role of politics in this serious crisis. Government officials and lawmakers have received little bad press. Some feel California’s liberal press is giving liberal leaders a free ride. It appears that everyone but the politicians has been held accountable for California’s energy crisis.

Most news reports have failed to show that California’s 1996 legislation is at the heart of the problem. Most assume that the bill deregulated electric rates. But in fact, electric rates were never deregulated. Brill’s states, “The 1996 California legislation was a monstrosity of price controls at the retail level and free markets at the wholesale level…. The law guaranteed the worst of all worlds—the highest possible prices from the producers and no incentive for retail consumers to shop around for the best bargain. Why should they when they were feeling no pain?”

In other words, the 1996 legislation ensured that retail consumers would pay less than true market value for their electricity, while at the same time allowing electrical producers to artificially inflate the prices for utility companies. While the utility companies shouldered the burden of higher prices, consumers have not. The effect has been a financial crisis for the utility companies. And now this mess is being handed back to state leaders, who, to be blunt, created it all in the first place.

Is it possible for California state officials to solve this crisis? So far their track record is not good!

The Trumpet does not desire to oversimplify California’s energy crisis or to take sides. Utility companies’ debts should be paid off. However, energy producers should also be prevented from artificially overcharging. Consumers should pay the true market value for the electricity used. No one should be gouged!

Does California need more power plants? Of course—a growing economy needs more energy to sustain growth. Some blame environmentalists for holding up the construction of new electricity plants in the state. But did you realize that in fact 11 new plants have been licensed and six are under construction in California?

Do Californians need to conserve power? Yes, they do—as do all Americans. All states should be developing energy plans that emphasize energy efficiency and renewable energy. Do Californians need to protect their environment? The answer is a resounding yes! But to truly solve its energy crisis, California will need tough, forward-thinking leaders who can make right decisions, no matter how unpopular. Unfortunately, most politicians, lawmakers and leaders are motivated by greed or the need for votes rather than by the conviction for doing the right thing.

California’s energy crisis is just another example of mankind’s proven inability to govern the needs and welfare of other men.

Bible prophecy shows that the United States and Britain will suffer severe economic woes as a punishment for our sins. California’s energy crisis is a sign of poor leadership and the simultaneous withdrawal of God’s blessing on this country. It is doubtful that California will be able to solve this crisis in the immediate future.

Yet, there is good news on the horizon. Jesus Christ will soon return to restore God’s government to this Earth. That government will serve the needs of others and finally solve the social and economic problems so prevalent at this time.

In the meantime, stay close to the Trumpet magazine—your only source for true understanding about today’s current news.