The Resource War

From the January 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

The major events of history have often been driven by the quest for natural resources. Spain approved Christopher Columbus’s mission to the Americas because of the many goods available in the West Indies that could not be found in Western Europe. The Middle East has frequently held the world’s attention because it possesses vast amounts of oil. In World War ii, the Axis powers’ invasions were often motivated by the hunt for resources, both natural and economic. In fact, many of the wars throughout time have been sparked by the quest for resources abroad not available at home.

The Bible speaks of three great powers in the end time: the king of the north, the king of the south and the kings of the east. Students of Bible prophecy will be able to easily identify these three combines as the rising European Union, the Islamic nations (led by Iran) and the Asian hordes (predominantly Russia and China).

The Bible also has a great deal to say about the West: the United States, Britain and the other nations descended from biblical Israel (as explained in The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

But what about the rest of the world? Although regions such as Latin America and Africa do not fall into any of these groups, they do factor in because of their abundant natural resources. At the expense of the entire world, the king of the north in particular will exploit both Africa and Latin America in the very near future. They have, in fact, already begun to do so.

Europe’s Best Friend

There is a long history of cooperation between the European powers and the countries of Latin America. For example, during and after World War ii, Argentina, in particular, was “an outspoken friend of Hitler, sheltering Nazi officers and men, offering safe haven for Nazi ships and submarines” Plain Truth, Oct. 1957).

More recently, Latin America’s resources have been highly valued by Germany. Europe needs the abundant natural resources—such as silver, tin and iron ore—that Latin America can provide. As of late, the EU has made great strides toward economic cooperation with that region of the world.

In May 1962, the Plain Truth predicted Latin America would be economically conquered by Germany. In the words of T.H. Teten in Germany Plots With the Kremlin, “South America will be conquered by business agents, not by guns.” The Plain Truth commented, “Germany’s plans in South America were temporarily halted by her defeat in World War ii.” At the same time, it predicted U.S. involvement would dwindle: “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America,mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce” (ibid.; emphasis mine).

These two trade blocs now have names: the European Union and Mercosur, an economic union of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina, with Chile and Bolivia as associate members.

The February 2000 Trumpet showed just how far this cooperation between the EU and Mercosur had progressed, as trade agreements were being planned between Europe and the Latin American countries. Since that time, considerable progress has been made. Both the EU and Mercosur have made proposals for implementing these agreements. The most recent offer came from Mercosur, which in October 2001 proposed to cut tariffs on EU imports. The offer covered $7.5 billion in agricultural and industrial-product imports over a ten-year period.

“‘It is clear that Patten [EU commissioner for foreign relations] wants to establish strong, non-trade relations with Latin America, combining economic and political ties and presenting a counterweight to the United States,’ said Carlo Binetti, who earlier this year took over as the European representative of the Paris-based Inter-American Development Bank” (Europe, Jul./Aug. 2001). In the very near future, that “counterweight” will outweigh the United States. In fact, “the EU is by far Mercosur’s largest export market” even now (European Report, Oct. 31, 2001).

EU interests in Latin America are, however, not limited to those countries that are a part of Mercosur.

In July 2000, the Comprehensive Agreement—a trade agreement between the EU and Mexico—took effect. Since that time, exports to the EU from Mexico have increased 40 percent. Mexico’s imports from the EU have increased 30 percent. According to Manuel Lopez, head of the EU delegation to Mexico, automotive exports have increased almost 80 percent! (efe News Service, Nov. 13, 2001). Clearly, the EU is making inroads into Mexico, a country that has always considered the United States its top ally. This cooperation between the EU and Mexico will continue to grow, while we can expect Mexico-U.S. involvement to decrease.

U.S. involvement in other Latin American countries is already dwindling. A Washington Post article, “What About Latin America?”, clearly showed that the U.S. does not consider Latin America a priority: “‘The focus is low on the radar screen vis-à-vis the previous administration,’ said one disappointed Latin diplomat in Washington. ‘It’s just the opposite of what we expected’” (Aug. 6, 2001).

As United States interest remains focused on the war on terrorism, we can safely say that U.S. interest in Latin America will only continue to decrease—and the European Union will happily fill the gap.

The Plain Truth warned that Latin American resources would flow toward the king of the north: “Flowing across the Atlantic to feed the hungry furnaces of the Ruhr and the other industrial complexes of Europe will come the rich mineral resources of Latin America” (July 1965). Europe has no better friend in the world than Latin America.

And of course, the EU’s interest in Latin America goes beyond economic advantage and the exploitation of natural resources. More than half of the world’s Roman Catholics live in Latin America, and the Vatican is highly supportive of the EU.

In the time ahead, expect cooperation between Europe and Latin America to increase. Given the progress thus far, Mercosur and the EU will probably finalize a trade agreement this year, which will greatly speed Europe’s ability to exploit Latin America’s resources.

The World’s Nightmare

Imagine the news media reported 2.3 million American deaths in a single year from a single disease, and that another 28 million people were infected and expected to die within a decade. Imagine the outcry that would come from every citizen and public official.

Now let us presume that the president announced that all land would be seized from its current occupants and redistributed to the descendants of the Native Americans present when the first colonists settled in Jamestown.

And then, imagine the horror of our citizens if the world reacted with relative disinterest.

In other words, imagine you were living in Africa.

No region of the world has been filled with the suffering that Africa has. It is plagued with disease, violence and dictators who do not care about their own people. The Trumpet has written about the problems besieging South Africa, Zimbabwe and the other African nations many times, and those problems have only escalated in the time since the beginning of the “last hour” was announced by our editor in chief on May 5 last year.

Two months after that announcement, at the July G-8 summit, G-8 members invited the African nations to discuss their many problems, but “failed to propose or support any new relief initiatives” (www.stratfor.com, July 27, 2001). No meaningful progress was made toward halting the aids-induced death of millions and the collapse of the African nations.

In November, the Zimbabwean government banned 1000 white farmers from cultivating their fields and gave them three months to vacate their land. Five thousand farms have been targeted by the government for redistribution to the black majority (Sun News, Nov. 13, 2001).

Although aids is a terrible threat in South Africa (one in nine is estimated to carry hiv), the major cause of death in the nation is violence, according to South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. In addition, there is currently a widespread fear that President Thabo Mbeki will begin the same type of land seizures now happening in Zimbabwe.

Various self-interested rebel groups are also taking advantage of the continent’s resources. In many countries, diamond smuggling is being used to fund rebel groups, giving the benefits of one of Africa’s best resources to criminals rather than to the people who need them. According to bbc News, November 2, 2001, Angola’s deputy minister of mines, Antonio Sumbula, admitted that a million dollars worth of diamonds were still exported illegally from Angola each day.

That is only one African nation; 15 to 20 percent of world diamond production leaves Africa illegally, leaving a trail of death and murder behind it. In fact, the illegal sale of diamonds has provided millions of dollars in virtually untraceable funds to al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in recent years.

The focus of the world is not on Africa, and this situation will not change anytime soon. The destabilization of that region is only going to intensify as time continues. Exploitation of the continent’s resources will only increase, as the world remains largely unsympathetic to the African plight.

Watch

The northern African nations—Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan, Tunisia—are comprised of more than 90 percent Muslims. When the king of the south emerges, these Islamic nations will likely stand in support of Iran. After the king of the north overcomes the king of the south (Dan. 11:40), the natural wealth of these African nations will be at Europe’s disposal. “But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” (Dan. 11:43).

The lower parts of Africa have been sold into slavery before. Will they too become slave labor for the European king of the north? If history is our guide, the possibility cannot be ignored.

As Africa’s resources continue to fall into the hands of dictators, its people become poorer—a situation that shows no signs of improvement. The aids death rate continues to rise. Africa’s plight is terribly severe, yet the great powers make little effort to intervene.

In the future though, the African people will receive the attention of the world’s great powers, who will come, not as saviors, but to exploit African resources one final time before the return of Jesus Christ to the Earth.

The Bible instructs us to “watch and pray” (Mark 13:33). We certainly should watch the hotspots of the world such as the Middle East, Germany and the United States for developing news. Some of the most interesting developments in these parts of the world, however, are fueled by areas that may not play as significant a role in Bible prophecy. To gain a global perspective of world events, keep up with what is happening in Latin America and Africa. This will give you further insight into the actions of Germany and Middle Eastern countries.

Focus on the hotspots, but don’t forget to watch the rest of the world.