Russia’s Attack Signals Dangerous New Era
Russia’s attack on Georgia in August marks the beginning of a dangerous new era in history. This was the first military strike of a rising Asian superpower—and there will be more!
It is critical you understand the meaning behind this attack.
Look at a map of the Caucasus region (see page 3). Almost all of Russia’s oil comes from the Baku region on the western Caspian Sea. The Baku-Supsa oil pipeline cuts right through Georgia, and until recently it transported oil through this strategic area free from Russian control. Since Russia’s invasion, that is no longer the case. Russia now has control over the oil and gas going through those pipelines, amounting to many billions of dollars’ worth!
Russia is determined to be an energy superpower in an age when the whole modern world is hungry for energy. If Russia sees its primary source of oil being threatened, it is going to fight!
We can understand Russia’s violent actions far better in light of some recent history in the Balkans.
Breaking Promises to Russia
“U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton had promised the Russians that NATO would not expand into the former Soviet Union empire,” wrote George Friedman of Stratfor. “That promise had already been broken in 1998 by NATO’s expansion to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic—and again in the 2004 expansion, which absorbed not only the rest of the former Soviet satellites in what is now Central Europe, but also the three Baltic states, which had been components of the Soviet Union” (August 12).
Today, you have the son of one of those presidents trying to also bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. I don’t believe Russia will ever allow that to happen.
Friedman continued, “The Russians had tolerated all that, but the discussion of including Ukraine in NATO represented a fundamental threat to Russia’s national security. It would have rendered Russia indefensible and threatened to destabilize the Russian Federation itself. When the United States went so far as to suggest that Georgia be included as well, bringing NATO deeper into the Caucasus, the Russian conclusion—publicly stated—was that the United States in particular intended to encircle and break Russia” (emphasis mine throughout).
Making Georgia a part of NATO would put the security of Russian oil on the western Caspian at serious risk. All it would take is 30 minutes of bombing to knock out this major source of Russian energy! So as far as Russia is concerned, this is a matter ofsurvival. I don’t believe America’s president understands just how serious this issue is to the Russians.
However, I also don’t believe that Russia is so afraid of the United States. Yes, the U.S. could bomb that area—but that is highly unlikely. The nation the Russians truly fear is Germany.
Turning Kosovo Over to Germany
Dr. Friedman went on to describe Russia’s response to the decision by Europe and the U.S. to support Kosovo separating from Serbia. Moscow was against it because it didn’t want similar independence movements in Russian territories getting any stronger. “The Russians publicly and privately asked that Kosovo not be given formal independence, but instead continue its informal autonomy, which was the same thing in practical terms. Russia’s requests were ignored. …
“From the Kosovo experience, [Moscow] concluded that the United States and Europe were not prepared to consider Russian wishes even in fairly minor affairs. That was the breaking point. If Russian desires could not be accommodated even in a minor matter like this, then clearly Russia and the West were in conflict. For the Russians, as we said, the question was how to respond. Having declined to respond in Kosovo, the Russians decided to respond where they had all the cards: in South Ossetia” (ibid.).
Russia wanted a war—and for an important reason! Kosovo was the breaking point.
Remember that history. Germany supported the independence of Croatia and Slovenia. All of Europe and America were openly hostile to Germany’s action at that time, but Europe caved in when Germany threatened to pull out of the European Union. Soon, civil war broke out in Yugoslavia. The U.S. secretary of state at the time said Germany was responsible for the war in the Balkans—but he quickly shut his mouth. The “superpower” America fell in step with Germany!
This foreign-policy shift in 1991 enraged America’s traditional allies Britain, France and the Netherlands. These nations saw what Germany was doing, not only in Yugoslavia, but all over Europe. Postwar Europe had hoped to keep powerful Germany under control—with help from the U.S.! Instead, America helped Germany enforce its will on Europe!
Once the U.S. released and then supported this European beast in Croatia and Slovenia, there was no stopping it. It didn’t cease until all of Yugoslavia was under its strong influence or control!
Kosovo was a turning point in the Yugoslavia war. After this state essentially came under German influence and control, the rest of Yugoslavia was certain to fall. When Germany’s oppressive influence moved beyond Croatia and Slovenia, the careful observer could see that Germany’s ambition was to control all of Yugoslavia.
Germany’s defense minister at the time, Volker Rühe, urged the use of force against Serbia regardless of backing from the United Nations. “We must avoid to be dependent on a Russian veto,” he said at a meeting of nato defense ministers. He said that the relationship between NATO and Russia meant that “Russia has no veto whenever NATO needs to act.” Russia was going to veto it, and Germany wanted to get around that—and convinced the U.S. to join in!
So Germany led the U.S. into breaking its promises to Russia.
You can read about this history in my booklet The Rising Beast—Germany’s Conquest of the Balkans. In that booklet, I called Yugoslavia “the first military victim of World War III”—that is how significant this was!
Russia rightly blames the U.S. for what happened. We lied to Russia about expanding NATO, and then ignored Russia over Yugoslavia, which culminated in Kosovo declaring independence this year.
The U.S. allowed itself to be a tool of Europe—and helped its rise! America bombed Serbia into submission and then handed it over to a German-led European Union! If you know Europe’s history and prophecy, you realize what a shameful act that truly was! America likes to think of itself as squeaky clean and righteous, driven by only the purest motives. But this was truly an act of treachery—and incredible weakness.
We have written quite a lot about this issue, and receive many sympathetic letters from Serbs who were double-crossed by America. Remember: The Serbs were America’s allies in World Wars I and II, and Germany was our enemy! In the Yugoslav wars, everything wasturned around.
America is one of the modern nations descended from biblical Israel. We have a history with God. We should be setting the example for the world! When we make a promise, we should keep it! And we should be placing our faith in God rather than in our enemies. Today, Yugoslavia is gone because of our evil.
The Intelligence Digest of Aug. 11-25, 1995, said this: “Germany’s control of Western Europe is exercised through the European Union (EU), and American support for German dominance of the EU has been evident since at least 1990. … [Washington] is following an intentional policy the purpose of which is to leave both east and west Europe under complete German domination. …
“So Germany, with the full backing of America, is to be the sole great power of Europe.”
In biblical prophecy, God condemns America for treating the Germans like our “lovers”! He prophesies that this relationship will end in our destruction! (See Ezekiel 23; you can read about this prophecy in our book Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet.)
Russia shrewdly evaluated these events and saw an opportunity.
In not taking action over the Kosovo issue, “Moscow had two motives, the lesser of which was as a tit-for-tat over Kosovo,” George Friedman observed. “If Kosovo could be declared independent under Western sponsorship, then South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia, could be declared independent under Russian sponsorship.” Those two breakaway regions have many Russian sympathizers. “Any objections from the United States and Europe would simply confirm their hypocrisy.” In other words, Russia could say, Hey—that’s what you did in Kosovo and the Balkans—you just went in and conquered the whole area! Don’t accuse us for simply doing what you did!
This strategy worked to perfection once Russia invaded Georgia. “The Russians knew the United States would denounce their attack,” Friedman wrote. “This actually plays into Russian hands. The more vocal senior leaders are, the greater the contrast with their inaction, and the Russians wanted to drive home the idea that American guarantees are empty talk” (op. cit.).
Does Russia fear America? Not very much. And it is using this opportunity to make the U.S. look stupid and weak before the whole world!
Russia had been planning for this invasion for some time. As Ralph Peters wrote in the New York Post, “Let’s be clear: For all that U.S. commentators and diplomats are still chattering about Russia’s ‘response’ to Georgia’s actions, the Kremlin spent months planning and preparing this operation. Any soldier above the grade of private can tell you that there’s absolutely no way Moscow could’ve launched this huge ground, air and sea offensive in an instantaneous ‘response’ to alleged Georgian actions. …
“Every one of these things required careful preparations. In the words of one U.S. officer, ‘Just to line up the airlift sorties would’ve taken weeks.’
“Working through their mercenaries in South Ossetia, Russia staged brutal provocations against Georgia from late July onward. Last Thursday, Georgia’s president finally had to act to defend his own people.
“But when the mouse stirred, the cat pounced” (August 12). How much have you read about this in the news?
Vladimir Putin is called the prime minister of Russia, but that is a cover-up. He really is the dictator of Russia. He called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century.” That gives you some insight into his thinking. He is trying to resurrect the Soviet empire. He may not want to exercise the kind of brutality of some of his predecessors, but he certainly is intent on using whatever power is necessary to secure his country’s resources! When this former kgb agent calls the Soviet collapse a “disaster,” you have to believe he is going to do something about it! Remember how Adolf Hitler told the world exactly what he was going to do in his book Mein Kampf, years before he did it? Why will we never heed such warnings?
Friedman concluded, “The war in Georgia, therefore, is Russia’s public return to great power status.”
That is exactly right. The Bible warns us to expect a great power rising from the East. It calls it “the kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12). The attack on Georgia was the first act of war from the kings of the east!
Melik Kaylan wrote in the August 13 Wall Street Journal about the damage the attack on Georgia will do to the world, especially America. “Having overestimated the power of the Soviet Union in its last years, we have consistently underestimated the ambitions of Russia since. … [F]ew have noticed the direct strategic threat of Moscow’s action to U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Kremlin is not about to reignite the Cold War for the love of a few thousand Ossetians or even for its animosity toward 5 million Georgians. This is calculated strategic maneuvering.”
Maneuvering for what? “[M]ake no mistake, it’s about countering U.S. power at its furthest stretch with Moscow’s power very close to home.”
Russia is challenging America. The Soviet empire is making a comeback! “In effect, we in the West are being challenged by Russian actions in Georgia to show that we have the nerve and the stamina to secure the gains not just of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but of the entire collapse of Soviet power,” Kaylan wrote.
These Central Asian countries are prime trade partners with Afghanistan. If Russia gains control of them again, it could choke off trade to Afghanistan, which could seriously hamper U.S. and NATO efforts there. “We could walk away from this challenge, hoping for things to cool off, and let the Russians impose sway over the lower Caucasus for now. But no one will fail to notice our weakness. If we don’t draw the line here, it doesn’t get easier down the road with any other border or country. We would be risking the future of Afghanistan, and the stability of Iraq, on the good will of Moscow and the mullahs in Tehran. This is how the game of grand strategy is played, whether we like it or not” (ibid.).
Look at the response of the U.S. to this catastrophe. Russia knew it would be weak and timid—and it was right!
America: An Unstable Ally
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has been a strong ally of the U.S. He graduated from two colleges in the U.S. and has been trying to build a strong democracy in Georgia. His nation is so strongly pro-American that it named a street in its capital after George W. Bush. The New York Times wrote, “In recent years, Mr. Bush has lavished praise on Georgia—and the so-called Rose Revolution that brought Mikheil Saakashvili to power—as a model of democracy-building. The feeling was mutual: When Mr. Bush visited Tbilisi in 2005, the authorities estimated that 150,000 people showed up to see him” (August 10).
What are those 150,000 people thinking now? Surely they are bitterly disillusioned with the U.S. “We killed as many of them as we could,” one Georgian soldier told the New York Times. “But where are our friends?” Good question!
During his 2005 visit to Georgia, President Bush told its people, “As you build a free and democratic Georgia, the American people will stand with you.” Did they?
The U.S. is building a pattern of such weakness and disloyalty. Look at Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf decided to join America’s war on terror—and that decision probably cost him his job! Now that he has resigned, that nation has become far more dangerous—and it has nuclear bombs!
Look at Lebanon. The U.S. applauded its move toward democracy—but then did nothing when Hezbollah took over. Right now, this Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization has veto power over the Lebanese government!
Over and over, the countries that trust America are going down!
What do you suppose the Iranians are thinking as they watch Russia wrest Georgia away from its alliance with the U.S.—and America does nothing? That is inspiring to them! They rejoice over every sign of American weakness—of which there are plenty. They are in a waiting game with the U.S. over Iraq, ready to take control after the U.S. leaves. The most popular U.S. presidential candidate seems intent on pulling U.S. forces from Iraq just as soon as he can get away with it.
Wait and see: The tide is about to turn in Iraq. God has broken the pride of our power (Leviticus 26:19).
Russia and Germany—Behind the Scenes
Let’s look more deeply at some evidence of what may be occurring behind the scenes with Russia’s invasion.
Russia has much at stake in the Caucasus (see sidebar, page 6). It is extremely sensitive to anyone getting close to that area. Again, it doesn’t fear the U.S. much—but it does fear Germany, and will do what it needs to in order to neutralize it.
Actually, Russia and Germany fear each other. Russia supplies quite a lot of Europe’s energy—especially Germany’s—and that gives it power.
By attacking Georgia, Ralph Peters wrote, “The Kremlin is telling Europe: We not only have the power to turn off Siberian gas, we can turn off every tap in the region, any time we choose” (op. cit.).
The Wall Street Journal added, “… Putin’s Russia got its hands around the energy-needy throats of Germans, the French, Italians and many other Europeans.” This is a cutthroat business! “When this crisis ends, Georgia will be either a model for a world that works or a world whose members do business with knives,” it said. “If the world’s foreign ministries, ceos, investors and policy intellectuals can’t see the implications for their world in Georgia’s fate, it’s time to reorder our best efforts to playing by Mr. Putin’s rules” (August 14).
That is the way it is so often in this world! That is reality—and it is about to get even more fiercely competitive!
But look at history. Every time competition between Russia and Germany heats up, they form a deal with one another—just before going to war!
On April 1 on theTrumpet.com, we wrote, “On the one hand, Russia needs Ukraine and Georgia to be aligned with itself. It cannot afford to have NATO forces based in countries so crucial for its own national security. … Recently, however, U.S. President George W. Bush met with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. At this meeting, Bush said that Washington would push for Georgia to be given a Membership Action Plan (map), a road map to entry into NATO. Bush also said it would do the same for Ukraine.
“By pushing for NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine, the United States pits itself directly against Russia.”
Many in NATO are all for giving out the maps. Last year, the Merkel administration said it supported giving maps to Ukraine and Georgia. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German minister of foreign affairs, also sounded like he was in favor of Georgia joining NATO.
However, Steinmeier, for one, has since come out against the plan. “Now Berlin is arguing strongly against a Georgian map,” we wrote in April. “It says Georgia is not qualified for a map because of unresolved conflicts on its territory. Berlin has also argued, off the record, that ‘Russia has no veto, but Russia’s views must be taken into account’; ‘Russia is a factor [in decision making] and this is undeniable,’ and ‘Russian concerns cannot be ignored if we want a real partnership with Russia.’ This is the opposite of what Germany said a year ago. Steinmeier is now saying, ‘I cannot hide my skepticism’ about Georgia and Ukraine joining the alliance.”
Why would Steinmeier suddenly be so against moving toward NATO membership for Georgia or Ukraine? Germany is sending mixed signals to the world. But what are the German leaders saying privately to the Russians about Georgia and Ukraine?
Germany knows Russia can be very brutal. Perhaps Putin told Germany, We didn’t do anything about Kosovo and the Serbs—you’d better stay out of the Caucasus! If you give us problems over Georgia or Ukraine, we’re cutting off your energy—or we’re going to war! And we have a lot of nuclear weapons!
I believe Germany may well have been complicit in Russia’s plan to attack Georgia! If Russia formed an agreement with Germany over the Georgia situation, then Russia would know the only possible other nation it would have to be concerned about is the U.S. And Russia knew that America was too weak to do anything about it!
Russia has Germany—and all of Europe—over a barrel. Cutting off part of the flow of gas to a country would wreak havoc on the economy!
Steinmeier’s about-face on Ukraine and Georgia smells rotten! The U.S. is extremely foolish to trust in this nation—to treat it as a “lover.” That ignorance is sure to end in the greatest possible disaster!
The fact that Steinmeier was so quick to dismiss the idea of NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine tells you something else: Germany sees that it doesn’t have a future with NATO anyway! Its ultimate plan is to kick NATO aside and stand as an independent power! It doesn’t respect America’s view on these nations. So America ends up being a dupe all along the way.
The relationship between Russia and Germany is very tense right now. Germany ignored Russia over Kosovo—but Russia will not be ignored anymore. The presence of a deal between these two nations is not a sign of peace. Like the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and so many others before it, it is a sign of exactly the opposite. Both of these nations are looking to secure their shared border—so they can pursue their imperialistic aims elsewhere! It is a precursor to war! That is the way they operate! And the U.S. has no clue.
What to Watch
Herbert W. Armstrong prophesied back in 1956 that Germany would get control of the Balkans. How did he know?
In Daniel 2 is a prophecy depicting a series of world-ruling Gentile empires in the form of a statue. The legs and feet of the statue represent the Roman Empire, which has historically been split into “two legs,” east and west. The feet represent the final rise of this empire in these last days. Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The strong indication of these prophecies, then, is that some of the Balkan nations are going to tear away from behind the Iron Curtain.”
Actually, they didn’t “tear away.” The U.S. helped to tear them away—so they could join the prophesied beast power! That fact would have shocked Mr. Armstrong!
In a letter on Feb. 18, 1980, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “There will now be an effort to bring Yugoslavia into the Holy Roman Empire alliance!” Again—it was the prophecies of the Bible that enabled him to know that!
The Daniel 2 prophecy and several others show that the coming European empire will be comprised of “ten kings,” which could represent 10 nations or groups of nations. Mr. Armstrong often taught that a political or economic crisis would spark these “ten kings” to strongly unite very quickly.
The fact that Russia has launched a war shows just how easily such a crisis could occur!
Will the Georgia strike actually spark European unification? Will a crisis occur over Ukraine? That area is the breadbasket of Russia, and surely it is willing to wage war over that as well.
We have witnessed the beginning of a new era! We saw an extraordinary military strike by one of the kings of the east! And don’t forget China, another of those “kings.” It is making inroads all over the world (see article, page 8). What power those kings of the east are amassing—and so quickly! Europe can see it! And it is formulating a counterstrategy.
The whole world should see this developing and realize: This will inevitably end in nuclear war!
Watch Europe to see how it responds to these dramatic developments in Asia. Another prophecy in Daniel shows what we should be looking for. It says that Europe is about to be taken over by “a king of fierce countenance” (Daniel 8:23). He will be an extremely shrewd, cunning, deceitful strongman.
Watch for the rise of this strongman very soon—perhaps even months from now! As Russia gets stronger, as the world grows more dangerous, as economic problems escalate, the Germans will be crying out for strong leadership! They are looking for a king—with a fierce enough countenance to stand up to Vladimir Putin!
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft [or deceit, fraud, falsehood, treachery] to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many …” (verses 24-25).
Is Angela Merkel going to be that “king of fierce countenance”? No. Germans will be looking for a strongman!
War With the Lamb
We often quote Daniel 11:40, which speaks of a clash in this end time between the king of the north—that European empire—and the king of the south, a radical Middle Eastern power led by Iran. At the time this prophecy is fulfilled, America is so weak, it is not even mentioned!
Notice how this spectacular prophecy continues: “But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (verse 44). The king of the north, after destroying the king of the south, will be troubled by what is happening to its east and north—that is, in China and Russia!
You can already see the fulfillment of this prophecy occurring in embryo today! Europe is deeply troubled by developments in Russia and China. It is plotting what to do about it. Daniel’s prophecy continues, “therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.” This European empire will launch a furious preemptive strike against that Asian army. These events are also described in detail in the book of Revelation. (Request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.)
Revelation says the Asian army will number an astonishing 200 million men! And it is going to counterattack against Europe and obliterate it. This is warfare like this world has never seen.
There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. In Joel 2:11, this Asian army is actually called God’s army. The great Creator God will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power. Then both of these armies will gather in Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming—and both be soundly defeated.
The “king of fierce countenance” will try to fight Christ, and will be “broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25). The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14). That will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!
But realize what horrifying blackness will occur before the dawn of that day. It will be a time of suffering unlike any in human history. And we are already seeing the beginnings of that blackness!
Are you awake to what is really happening in this world?
In the last issue of the Trumpet, I said that we had passed the point of no return for America, Britain and the Jews in the Middle East. (That is also explained in my new booklet on Lamentations.) Within a couple of weeks, Russia invaded Georgia! The first act of war by the kings of the east!
Think about this: The soldiers that marched into Georgia are some of the same soldiers that will march from Megiddo to Jerusalem to be destroyed by Jesus Christ Himself!
That is how close we are getting to the end of this age of man! Are you ready for what is about to occur?