Guttenberg’s Next Test?

Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

Guttenberg’s Next Test?

Having been blooded in the bull pit of German federal politics, handling the economics portfolio for Chancellor Merkel with seeming relish, Germany’s rising political star, the young Baron Guttenberg, is facing his first test in his new job as Germany’s minister of defense.

Recently the German army crossed a threshold, one first crossed by the Luftwaffe in the Balkan wars of the 1990s when they bombed military and civilian targets in Serbia. Now the German military contingent stationed in Afghanistan has drawn blood in battle. This is the first time that a German ground-based combat force has killed enemy troops in battle since World War ii.

This is a watershed for Germany. Now, all of a sudden, each of the three arms of its military forces have drawn blood in battle—the Luftwaffe in Serbia, the navy in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia, and, most recently, the German army in the city of Kunduz in Afghanistan.

Reporting for the New York Times from Kunduz, journalist Nicholas Kulish observes, “Soldiers near the northern city of Kunduz have had to strike back against an increasingly fierce campaign by Taliban insurgents, while carrying the burden of being among the first units to break the German taboo against military combat abroad that arose after the Nazi era” (October 26).

As the third-largest contingent of foreign troops in Afghanistan, Germany had, until recently, faced criticism from nato coalition partners for its lack of involvement in combat. Germany has been content to station its troops in the quieter northern region of Afghanistan, leaving the areas of more intense insurgency aggression in the south largely to the American and British contingents. However, the Taliban and al Qaeda have taken the battle to the Germans in a deliberate ploy to cause division within the fighting coalition in Afghanistan.

Though German politicians still play down the task of the German army in Afghanistan as not much more than handing out gifts to the populace and reconstruction efforts by its engineers, the grunts on the ground see their task more realistically. One German sergeant declared, “The word ‘war’ is growing louder in society, and the politicians can’t keep it secret anymore” (ibid.). Nicholas Kulish comments, “Indeed, German politicians have refused to utter the word …. But their line has grown less tenable as the insurgency has expanded rapidly in the west and north of the country, where Germany leads the regional command and provides a majority of the troops.”

Being aware that any risk to postwar German declarations of pacifism is a political hot potato in Germany, the Taliban is seeking to apply pressure on Berlin by stepping up the heat on the German force in Afghanistan, quite literally taking the battle to the Germans. This coincides with al Qaeda’s tactic of terrorist threats being publicized via video and other recorded messages in a deliberate effort to stir concern among the German populace back home.

Together, the Taliban and al Qaeda are seeking to force German politicians to withdraw their military contingent in Afghanistan and thus divide and weaken the nato alliance in the process.

But the Taliban and al Qaeda may not have taken one individual into consideration in this equation, Germany’s new defense minister, Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

The newly appointed minister of defense takes up his portfolio right at the time of greatest pressure on Germany to make a choice to either fight back in Afghanistan, and turn the tide on both al Qaeda and the Taliban in the process, or simply adopt an appeasing stance.

In considering the likely reactions of the young minister of defense, one ought to look at his background in his previous portfolio. Faced with the daunting task of stabilizing the German economy at the peak of the global financial crisis, Guttenberg proved worthy of the battle, refusing to capitulate to opposition on a number of burning issues. Again, during the controversial Opel takeover, he refused to yield to EU Commissioner for Competition Neelie Kroes’s pressure to reconsider a deal that was patently in Germany’s interests to the detriment of Opel’s workforces in other European Union countries. Guttenberg held to his guns and the deal was done.

This is not a man who backs down willingly. After all, he hails from a long line of crusading forefathers, known for their tenacity in battle. “As Guttenberg’s own father, speaking about the family, put it in an interview with the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, ‘We are raised in such a way that we are, if necessary, prepared to die for the things that we believe are right …. That’s the family ideal’” (Global Post, August 12).

As the astute team at have reported, German elites are already gearing up to force the consolidation of EU defense-related industries so as to regulate the standardization of the production of EU weaponry and associated infrastructure. This is a precursor to the founding of the European military force that will be triggered by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

Baron Guttenberg is well placed, given his strong connections with, and support from, the EU’s captains of industry, to propel this program forward. But he is as yet untried in the higher profile politics of defense.

Here he faces two tests.

The first is to gain political support to strengthen Germany’s commitment in Afghanistan and to turn the tide of public opinion to supporting taking the battle to both the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The other test will be facing up to Germany’s foreign minister, Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle, and gaining his support to change Germany’s postwar pacifist foreign policy into one that not only permits, but endorses, the drawing of blood by German soldiers in combat.

If any man can face up to this task—given his family heritage, his support from the German elites, and his mentoring by that other indomitable warhorse of German politics, the Franz-Josef Strauss-groomed Edmund Stoiber—it is the young baron from Bavaria.

Bible prophecy forecasts a push by the “king of the south” at a “king of the north” during these very times we are living through (Daniel 11:40). Herbert W. Armstrong, long ago, identified a German-led pan-European bloc as being the prophesied king of the north. Our own editor in chief has clearly identified an Iranian-led Islamic bloc as being the biblically named king of the south. He has also explained that the “push” at the king of the north by the king of the south is a foreign-policy push.

It is that “push” by the king of the south, already being felt by Germany via the Iranian-influenced Taliban, and Iranian-supported al Qaeda, that will trigger a powerful northern army blitzkrieging Iran and its supporters like a proverbial whirlwind!

You need to understand just how clearly current world events are demonstrating the rapid fulfillment of these Bible prophecies for our day. Read our booklets The King of the South and Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany to gain a firm grasp on both the reality and the immediacy of these events. Then you need to read our booklet The Epistles of Peter—A Living Hope! That latter booklet will give you a hope far, far beyond that which any human politician can promise in this present volatile world.

Keep watching Germany. Watch Iran. And watch for Iran’s proxies, the Taliban and al Qaeda, to step up the pressure on Germany till the inevitable prophesied whirlwind takes Iran’s recalcitrant leaders right out of the headlines once and for all.