Heralding the End of an Empire
When the Cold War ended, the glittery idea of a “new world order” came into fashion. Many envisioned a more cooperative, unified globe on the horizon. “Tolerance is the alpha and omega of a new world order,” said Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in June of 1990. He advocated troop cuts, anti-weapons treaties, one world economy, increased global trade, a global communal security structure—a sunshiny, join-hands-around-the-world future.
U.S. President George H.W. Bush evoked the theme when ordering troops to punish Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for attacking Kuwait. The Gulf War, he said, was a marvelous example of squashing the offensive use of force, promoting collective security, and cooperating among the world’s great powers. He used the phrase “new world order” no fewer than 42 times between the summer of 1990 and the end of March 1991. Critics saw it as ominous code for something else: unchallenged American global dominance. After all, the Soviet Union’s collapse had left the U.S. the last remaining superpower, towering over all other nations.
It was in this political climate that the Trumpet magazine launched in 1990. Remarkably, among all the forecasts we have made in our analysis of world events over two decades, perhaps the one that has appeared more frequently than any other is that the United States would weaken to the point of being completely eclipsed as a world power.
Demonstrating the Trumpet’s political neutrality, this forecast has remained constant through two Republican and now two Democratic presidencies. For most of these 20 years, it has been a stubbornly contrarian view.
Nevertheless, we have held it because it is guided by biblical prophecy, consistent with the understanding elucidated by Herbert W. Armstrong in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. That landmark book explains how not only the United States but also Britain and several other English-speaking peoples descended from the ancient nation of Israel. The tremendous material blessings these nations have enjoyed came about not because of the virtues of the people, but because God was fulfilling promises of such prosperity He had given to the patriarchs of Israel. Today we are witnessing the subsequently prophesied removal of those blessings because of the peoples’ disobedience to God.
Year after year the Trumpet has tracked evidence of this national decline in several areas, including the quality of leadership, foreign relations and diplomacy, the will to use military power effectively, political and corporate integrity, economic vitality, industrial capacity, character and morality, family stability, physical and mental health, race relations, education, and spiritual well-being. In all of these areas and more, poisonous seeds have been sown; poor choices have accumulated; sins have mounted—and the resulting prophesied curses have grown sterner.
In recent times—particularly amid the current financial crisis—the evidence has grown so overwhelming that this reality is now becoming accepted more generally: America is the incredible shrinking superpower.
Fighting a Losing Battle
One of Herbert Armstrong’s strongest assertions after World War ii was that “America has won its last war.” He based the statement on several prophecies that, in the days preceding Jesus Christ’s return, the mightiest military in the world would become enfeebled, stripped of strong leadership and willpower, and finally conquered.
Consider the military conflicts the U.S. has been involved in since. Though Korea and Vietnam enjoyed the support of “Second World” Communist-bloc nations, both were poor and technologically bankrupt—and still gave America fits. Cuba, Iran, Grenada, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan—despite being minor powers, all have delivered a black eye to America in one form or another.
The Trumpet had only existed for a year when the Gulf War began in 1991. After a short ground invasion, the Bush i administration claimed victory in the war. Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry strongly challenged that assessment.
“The truth is we won a battle in Kuwait. We did not win a war. The job was left unfinished,” he wrote in the May 1991 issue. “Saddam Hussein is still in power—even stronger in some ways—and has turned Iraq into a killing field. Isn’t [that] a sign we didn’t win the war? That we lacked the will to win as it says in Leviticus 26:19?” What the U.S. did was essentially kick a massive problem down the road. “This will probably plague and haunt President Bush and America for the rest of our lives!” he wrote. That prediction has certainly proved true in the 19 years since.
Mr. Flurry was most critical of how, after encouraging the Kurds and Shiites to rise up against Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration abandoned them. Hussein then restarted his murderous rampage against these peoples, creating a humanitarian disaster. Mr. Flurry called this “the greatest betrayal in U.S. history.” “President Bush’s ‘new world order’ has brought some of the greatest shame on our nation’s history!” he wrote. “American leaders say the U.S. has no UN mandate to interfere in Iraq on the refugees’ behalf. This statement alone shows that we lack the will to use our power for a just cause. And if the Iraqi refugee crisis isn’t a just cause, nothing is!”
The following judgment, written over 18½ years ago, has played out in America’s foreign policy to this day, when President Obama is announcing his exit plan from Afghanistan before even sending troops into battle: “America still fears getting bogged down in a Vietnam-type civil war in Iraq. Even after we had them almost defenseless! That is because God has broken the pride of our power—our will to win!”
Mr. Flurry’s statements were informed by God’s promise to a disobedient nation in Leviticus 26:19: “I will break the pride of your power.” He expounded on a similar prophecy later that year in the December 1991 issue: Hosea 1:5, which says, “And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel ….” “It is hard for our people today to accept the fact that our nations are going to be destroyed in the coming Tribulation. They say, How can this happen? We have our great military power to protect us!” Mr. Flurry wrote. “But God is going to ‘break’ our military power. The word bow refers to military might. … America and England have won their last war!”
The truth in this assessment was made even more plain after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. While much of the media was impressed with America’s military response, the Trumpet focused on how it actually confirmed the condemnatory prophetic view. After quoting Leviticus 26:19 in our November 2001 issue, we wrote, “America’s military power is unprecedented, but it lacks the will to use it. Look at what it took for us to finally do something! And even America’s show of retaliation has, thus far, been a cautious, coalition-conscious strike against a tiny group of Muslim extremists known as the Taliban—a governing body the rest of the world does not even recognize.
“But what about the string of terrorist acts that led up to September 11—those we did nothing about? The first World Trade Center bombing, the American base in Saudi Arabia, Khobar Towers, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the uss Cole. Terrorists have been emboldened by America’s broken will in these instances. Years of skittishness over losing [a] single soldier in combat created a climate that ended up costing nearly 3,000 civilian lives in a single day.
“Now, after the most inconceivably brutal terrorist act imaginable, Americans seem unified in the fact that we had to respond militarily. What does God have to say about this? ‘[Y]our strength shall be spent in vain …’ (verse 20).” Sadly, this analysis was deadly accurate: Over 5,200 American lives and nearly a trillion dollars later, Iraq and Afghanistan both threaten to revert to being terrorist havens the moment the U.S. leaves them.
In the same November 2001 issue, the Trumpet focused on the fact that the U.S. wasn’t targeting the world’s number-one state sponsor of terrorism—Iran. In fact, Washington absurdly asked Iran for its help among a global coalition of anti-terrorist nations! “[W]e can see unequivocally that the terrorist snake will survive America’s aggression—head intact, and stronger than ever,” we wrote. “In plain terms, the U.S. is taking on the impossible task of prosecuting a war without offending the enemy! … While the U.S. wants to eliminate terrorism and is becoming much more aggressive in trying to do so, its efforts will fall short. It frankly does not have the necessary will to tackle the enormity of the problem!” True enough: In the more than eight years since, Iran has actually grown stronger.
After the U.S. stormed Baghdad in 2003 and President Bush proclaimed “mission accomplished,” the Trumpet continued to view events in terms of how they would play out in the long term. In November of that year, in an article called “Why We Cannot Win the War Against Terrorism,” Mr. Flurry wrote, “President Bush and Prime Minister Blair have courageously restricted Iran’s influence by toppling the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq. However, these are ongoing terrorist wars. We will still lose those wars if our nations don’t unite behind our leaders. That is almost certainly not going to happen.” Perhaps no issue has divided America and Britain more than these wars; today, even President Obama is alienating his base by sending more troops into Afghanistan. Terrorist enemies know they have nothing to fear from a nation so internally fractured.
Few events have confirmed the accuracy of biblical prophecy more than this protracted military campaign, where the world’s greatest military, sapped of will, is losing ground on several fronts against primitive bands of terrorists and spending its strength in vain. If only America would acknowledge it.
Breaking the Brotherhood
Another remarkable set of prophecies the Trumpet has highlighted are proving relevant: those centering on America’s alliances in our day. The Bible is clear that the modern nations of Israel—the U.S. and Britain primarily—will turn against each other and against the Jewish state called Israel (biblical Judah), in favor of sham alliances with other foreign states, particularly Germany. It also speaks of their isolation and abandonment by those nations—and ultimate betrayal at their hands.
Mr. Flurry discussed this in one of the Trumpet’s earliest editions. “God says the nation[s] of Israel [are] going to be attacked by their ‘lovers’—unless they repent (Ezekiel 23:9, 22),” the June 1990 issue said. “Their ‘loving’ relationship with Germany is a snare.”
Consider those words in light of America’s ambassador to Germany recently labeling Berlin “Washington’s most important ally.” This past December, Ambassador Philip Murphy called the U.S.-German relationship the most important of the past 60 years, saying, “We need strong partners—and nowhere are there better or more committed partners than in Europe. And Germany is the centerpiece of the European Union.” He certainly has that last part right.
But what a snub against Washington’s actual most important ally, Britain! That relationship, as well as the one with Israel, has turned extremely chilly during the Obama presidency, as the Trumpet has documented in recent issues. A shocking example occurred in November, during a visit to d.c. by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Caroline Glick reported, “It isn’t every day that a visiting leader from a strategically vital U.S. ally is brought into the White House in an unmarked van in the middle of the night rather than greeted like a friend at the front door; is forbidden to have his picture taken with the president; is forced to leave the White House alone, through a side exit; and is ordered to keep the contents of his meeting with the president secret” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 13, 2009).
This shameful, despicable treatment poignantly fulfilled a prophecy we began to highlight in our March/April 2004 issue. “For many Arabs, the number-one reason to hate America is its support for Israel. As the U.S. war against terrorism continues to yield high bills, a steady body count and a booming crop of anti-Americanism worldwide, is it possible that Americans will begin to think, Why are we making ourselves such a target over that little country?” we wrote. “Prophecy suggests such an eventuality.
“In Zechariah 11:14 is a prophecy that God would ‘break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.’ This may well refer to a future rift between America (biblical Israel) and the Jewish state (Judah). If America turned its back on the Jews, it would leave little Israel isolated and vulnerable.”
As that Trumpet predicted, the White House has taken to offending allies like Israel in hopes of currying favor with Muslim states in particular. But it is gaining no such benefit, even as it sacrifices hard-won, longstanding friendships. The net result is just as the Trumpet prophesied in our September/October 1992 issue, after a major United Nations conference. We wrote that the U.S. “has taken another giant step toward complete and total isolation from the countries which it has helped and befriended. The entire 23rd chapter of Ezekiel speaks of how biblical Israel and those who associate with her in this end time will be completely alienated from the rest of the world.” The article then quoted Jeremiah 30:12-14 and concluded, “This is what the United States is setting itself up for: abandonment by its political and financial lovers!”
While this prophecy hasn’t played out to nearly the degree that it will in the time just ahead, it is certainly unfolding on schedule.
It was these same biblical prophecies that informed Herbert Armstrong’s forecast, as early as 1945 and continuing until his death in 1986, that when the nations of Europe would unify as the Bible prophesies they will, Britain ultimately would find itself outside this continental alliance. In 1956, for example, Mr. Armstrong wrote, “The Germans are coming back from the destruction of World War ii
in breathtaking manner. Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe. But Britain will be no part of it!”
Even in recent years as Britain appeared fundamental to the nucleus of the European Union, the Trumpet has followed this forecast, repeatedly prophesying of Britain’s inevitable exclusion from the German-led Continent. “The financial capital of Europe is rapidly shifting from London to Frankfurt,” we wrote in August 1999—anticipating the transformational changes occurring today. “Bible prophecy indicates that Britain will ultimately not be a part of the European Union. The British public reject the switch from pounds to euros,” a symbolic move that presaged Britain’s political separation. “Soon Britain will not be able to continue sitting on the fence, hiding behind its coveted euro opt-out clauses and veto powers,” the August 2000 issue said. “Britain will have to decide whether to be in or out.”
Informed by these prophecies, in the July 2000 issue the Trumpet began bringing to light a trend destined to balloon into a crisis: the encroachment of EU law on British sovereignty. “There is reason for concern. Already in several instances British law has been superseded by the rule of the European ‘big brother,’” we wrote. “Britons are slowly starting to wake up to the fact that becoming a signatory to the next EU treaty would not only erode their power to regulate their national economy, it would restrict the use of their military forces, impose Roman law over the top of British common law, and draw them into a European super-police-state,” the November 2000 issue stated. As this prophetic analysis projected, this question has become a bitter pill to the British electorate, and will likely contribute significantly to their returning a Conservative government to power in their national election this year. That in turn will likely accelerate Britain’s alienation from Europe—and hasten the treachery it is prophesied to be victimized by.
Where God Pins the Blame
The Bible traces the decline of the modern nations of Israel particularly to the leaders. “[T]he whole head is sick,” prophesied Isaiah. “[T]hey which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isaiah 1:5; 3:12).
For 20 years the Trumpet has tracked the disappearance of quality leadership within the governments, industries, educational institutions and families of the U.S. and Britain—a trend that is at its worst crisis point today (Isaiah 3:1-4). “It is so clear in many different areas that our society is disintegrating through lack of strong male leadership,” we wrote in April 1992. “De facto relationships, unhappy marriages, rising divorce rates, absent and/or neglectful fathers and now more and more absent working mothers—this is the environment that is at the root of our social disintegration,” that year’s May issue said.
Speaking of Isaiah’s prophecy, our April 1993 issue said, “This is a 2,700-year-old prophetic description of national suicide. It’s a graphic example of cause and effect, leading to national captivity! The cause is lack of strong, godly leadership. The effect is social, economic and military destruction.”
“For a nation to be great, it must have a great leader. Everything revolves around a strong leader who will lead the people to face the necessary sacrifices and hard truths,” Mr. Flurry wrote in January 2000. “Today our people want to hear ‘smooth things’ and ‘deceits.’ It’s the only way a leader can get elected.” The several U.S. elections since, including three for president, have revealed a steep slide even further down that dangerous slope. The American people “are too engrossed in self to ever have the will to remain a superpower,” Mr. Flurry continued. “It won’t be long before we have to face reality. We are a phony superpower waiting for disaster, if we don’t awaken.” What a lightning-bolt verdict! And how painfully true.
Even at that time, referring to specific issues like the Gulf War and the handover of the Panama Canal, Mr. Flurry made another prescient statement: “The American people are being bombarded with foreign-policy surrenders on the part of their leaders!” (ibid.). A decade later, these surrenders are accelerating. Evidence of the end of America’s reign as a superpower has become undeniable. The U.S. is fulfilling the Bible’s description of its decline in finer and finer detail, as is Britain.
This fact, while sad, should build our faith in the certainty of the ultimate outcome prophesied in Scripture and described in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. That outcome is that, while the immediate future will be grim, it will lead to the humiliation and ensuing repentance of these peoples! That is wonderful news.
The Bible’s prophecies—and the Trumpet’s proclamation of them—were given by God in advance to facilitate that repentance, even if only within individual readers at this time. That is the crucial underlying message of this 20-year review of the Trumpet’s biblically informed analyses.
Heed the warning today, turn to the God who issued those prophecies, before they are fulfilled—and that same Almighty God will fulfill His promises to protect you from the trials to come!
Those who respond to God’s calling today will actually have the opportunity to help Him usher in the real “new world order”—not an impractical dream of men, but the genuine and wonderful World Tomorrow that will spring to life after this tired age of man culminates in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ!