The Pope Destroys Catholicism’s Left Wing

The Pope Destroys Catholicism’s Left Wing

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The Catholic Church is ready to burst onto the political scene in Europe.

For years Pope Benedict xvi and his predecessor John Paul ii worked quietly to move the Catholic Church to the right. Last week, that was largely achieved as Benedict appointed one of his disciples as the new archbishop of Brussels.

As of 1999, “the liberal bloc in the European church had long been led by three towering cardinals: Carlo Maria Martini of Milan, Basil Hume of Westminster … and Godfried Danneels of Brussels,” wrote John Allen Jr. in the National Catholic Reporter. Last week, Danneels became the last of these three to go.

His replacement is André-Mutien Léonard—known as “the Belgian Ratzinger” because of his right-wing views.

As rumors of Léonard’s appointment circulated last week, Allen Jr. wrote that if they were true “the changing of the guard at the senior levels of the European church will be virtually complete” (emphasis mine throughout).

“By Catholic standards, the facelift has been remarkably swift,” he wrote. “In Milan, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi followed Martini in 2002; in Westminster, Archbishop Vincent Nichols took the reins from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor last April, who had succeeded Hume in February 2000. Now it seems that Léonard, 69, is poised to arrive in Brussels.”

The liberals have been booted out of power. Their replacements have been more centrist Catholics—until the appointment of Léonard on January 18.

Allen Jr. said that “By some accounts, Léonard may represent a more dramatic change in tone” than Tettamanzi or Nichols. Bert Claerhout, editor of the Catholic weekly KERK&Leven (Church and Life), said that the choice of Léonard is clearly a conscious choice for a totally different style and approach: for more radical decisiveness rather than quiet diplomacy, for more confrontation with the secular society instead of dialogue, reconciliation and the quiet confidence that the tide will ever turn.

Belgian politicians are taking note, and fear clashes with the Vatican’s new man in Brussels. “Church and state are separate in Belgium, but when there are problems in our society, all the social partners sit down around a table, including representatives of secularism and of religion,” said Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx. “Cardinal Danneels was a man of openness, of tolerance and was able to fit in there. Archbishop Léonard has already regularly challenged decisions made by our parliament.”

As his nickname would suggest, Léonard is a man Benedict can trust. Allen Jr. wrote that the appointment of Léonard reflects “a tendency under Benedict xvi to entrust important assignments to people with whom he’s personally familiar.” Léonard worked with Benedict on a couple of occasions, including when Benedict was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the modern name for the old Office of the Holy Inquisition), the office entrusted with the universal enforcement of Catholic doctrine.

The Catholic Church has been working quietly behind the scenes to influence the EU for years. But the Vatican has made very few public pushes for power in Europe. Why?

Part of the answer is that the Catholic Church is accustomed to operating in the shadows. But also, the Vatican may have been biding its time while it maneuvered all of its pieces into position. Today, there are no powerful liberal voices left in the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. Benedict can now go on the offensive, without having to worry about dissension within the most senior and influential ranks of the church.

The Catholic hierarchy is now arrayed for battle. Watch for the Vatican to push for more power within the EU. The Catholic Church has already pushed to have Sunday worship enshrined in EU law, but so far has been unsuccessful, though it is embodied in the law of the church’s traditional protector, Germany. Perhaps its efforts will now be redoubled.

Although the Catholic Church has been successful since World War ii operating in the background, the past few years have seen the more affluent nations of Western Europe, in particular, become less committed as practicing Catholics and more secular. (On the other hand, the ex-Soviet satellite countries, since release from under the Soviet bootheel, have flocked back to the Church of Rome.) Governments in the traditionally Catholic countries of Spain and Portugal have angered the church with their leftward drift. Both have liberal laws on homosexual “marriage.” Spain has made divorce easier and has repeatedly tried to liberalize abortion laws. Yet even in these countries, where over 80 percent of the population is Catholic, the church has done little more than organize popular protests.

But now the Catholic Church may be about to stand up and confront secular Europe. Men like Léonard certainly want to.

If the Vatican has indeed been waiting while it consolidated its power, then it will now move quickly to recover lost ground. Watch for the Catholic Church to explode onto the European political scene.

What Is Behind the Controversy Over Germany’s Kunduz Bombing

An interview with Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser

The Creeping Europeanization of NATO

The Creeping Europeanization of NATO

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The Balkan wars of the 1990s changed the whole character of NATO. Its inevitable Europeanization will soon be complete.

The year 2010 is an important one for the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is also an important year for the development of the European Union’s defense force.

Last April at a summit held in Strasbourg/Kiel, nato’s secretary general was directed by the organization’s heads of state and government to develop a new nato Strategic Concept. This exercise should be completed by the time of nato’s next summit, expected to take place toward the end of 2010.

This is not the first time nato has been tasked with changing its agenda. nato’s original mandate largely ensured the maintenance of the balance of power of the Cold War years during which the United States and Russia’s Soviet Union each stared down the other across the Atlantic Ocean and an even greater ideological divide. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed to many that nato became redundant. However, certain European elites had a different view. nato’s role changed dramatically when it acceded to pressure to engage in the illegal Balkan wars of the 1990s. “Germany ensured a big enough conflict in Kosovo to provide a pretext for intervention” (Freedom Today, October/November 1999).

The Anglo-Saxon nations dutifully followed through as willing lackeys of German imperialism acting out its part under cover of the EU common foreign policy. nato was put to work overseeing the horrible little wars that broke the Yugoslav Republic asunder, introduced the term “ethnic cleansing” to the foreign-policy lexicon, and ended with the former Yugoslavia’s constituent states becoming virtual colonies of the rising EU empire.

Occasionally one comes across a paper on this subject that is noteworthy for its sharpness of focus. Few are written by academics. Most are written by clear-thinking realist citizens of the world. The piece from which the above quote and subsequent quotes are rendered—unless otherwise indicated—was written, in its time, by a subject of the Crown. Sadly, as of Jan. 1, 2010, the writer may no longer claim to be so, for he, like all residents of British heritage resident within the United Kingdom, is now a citizen of the European Union.

That aside, the article published under the headline “nato’s Malign Metamorphosis to Aggressor” in the October/November 1999 edition of Freedom Today is profound in that what it warned of a decade ago is so rapidly becoming a reality today. The year 2010 is set to even more rapidly accelerate the process toward the most dangerous change of all in nato’s remit.

The illegal Balkan wars, commencing under combined UN and nato jurisdiction, soon became nato’s campaign when the United Nations withdrew from the scene. At that point, Edward Spalton wrote, “nato changed its character utterly, in contradiction of its own charter. In concert with the developing Western European Union (the supra-national, united armed forces of the European Union) it … became an imperial entity, waging its first war of conquest.” Unseen by most at the time, this was in fact the first territorial war of the seventh and final resurrection of an ancient entity—the Holy Roman Empire (read our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire for more details).

Spalton mused on the fact that, at the time he wrote the above article, the citizens of the European Union did not fully grasp “the enormity of this metamorphosis” of nato to the role of imperialist aggressor rather than defender of freedom. And they still haven’t today! Least of all have their compatriots across the Pond.

The reality of what obtained 10 years ago has become even more entrenched over the past decade. It is set to be more fully consolidated under nato’s new Strategic Concept. Citizens of the 27 nation-states of the European Union were, in 1999 (and are now even more so since the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty on January 1 this year), but “pieces in the great game being played with their countries by the unaccountable, undemocratic, supra-national agencies of new nato and the EU.”

There is a great contrast between those two entities, nato and the EU, in respect of their individual original mandates. The one, nato, was established as a protector and defender of the free democracies of the U.S., Britain, Canada and the democracies of Western Europe. It was the sole bastion of organized international resistance to the forces of tyranny. The other, the European Union, from its earliest beginnings, was never intended to be democratic. As Edward Spalton so rightly pointed out, “From its inception the EU worked to destroy the sovereignty of European democracies.” In that effort it has now succeeded by virtue of the ratification and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution.

Imperialist in motive and intent, the EU is patently, by definition of its present state, an empire, an expansionist imperialist entity of 27 nation-states and a collection of Balkan colonies. The third edition, revised, of the Oxford Dictionary defines an empire as “a large group of states ruled over by a single … ruling authority.” That is an apt description of the EU monolith within the context of the unreadable EU constitution in the guise of the Lisbon Treaty. In Spalton’s words, the British people, unknown to themselves, have become “accomplices in the creation of an old-style continental land empire.”

If you check the history of those European continental land empires, you will find that they have, since Charlamagne, been a continuing string of resurrections over the past 1,200 years of one cruel old enterprise: the Holy Roman Empire! And what we now see as the latest of European continental land empires is none other than the seventh such resurrection of that same ancient system.

As originally conceived, nato was, as Spalton so rightly pointed out, “an organization of sovereign states cooperating under international law for a limited purpose.” But since the Balkan wars, that role has been confined to the dustbin of history. Today’s nato “has arrogated to itself the right to go adventuring in other states.”

It would be a grave enough danger to the world should such an enterprise be permitted to continue to exist. But a far greater danger is posed to the remaining free democracies of the world should nato, in its present imperialist guise, become linked with the EU empire in pursuing that empire’s strongly Romish/Teutonic objectives.

That, in fact, is what is now happening.

Commenting on EU-nato relations being on the agenda for discussion at today’s meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Committee, EUobserver points out that “nato and the future of EU defense are closely intertwined” (January 22). That is really understating the reality of the situation. As Edward Spalton pointed out, fully a decade ago the EU’s Western European Union (weu) was already “defined as the EU wing of nato. Under the guise of closer cooperation, this is nothing less than the creation of an EU army, navy and air force.” Using Britain as an example, Spalton rightly stated that individual EU member nations are sacrificing their national military powers to the point that “their command will be so integrated with the weu as to be beyond control or recall by Parliament.”

In the very year that the Bundeswehr engaged German forces in combat for the first time since World War ii—deployment of the Luftwaffe in the Balkans—Supreme German Military Commander Gen. Klaus Naumann “gave a strong hint of weu and new nato thinking when he said: ‘German troops will be engaged for the maintenance of the free market and access without hindrance to the raw materials of the entire world.’ The implication is that if the entire world does not agree, so much the worse for it. We have ways of making you trade!” That startling observation will have our long-time readers instantly recalling powerful Bible prophecies that speak of a great northern power that will impose its devastating will on international trade for a brief moment in the near future (Daniel 11; Revelation 13).

The extent to which General Naumann’s prediction has already advanced to fulfillment may be judged from the fact that the Bundeswehr, under various EU, nato and UN mandates, has, since 1999, deployed its forces in 13 theaters outside German borders. These have all been to the south and the east—from Bosnia to the Horn of Africa, from Gibraltar to Afghanistan and right on up to the Mediterranean approaches to “the pleasant land” (Daniel 8:9). Long-time Trumpet readers will grasp the prophetic significance of this strategy.

Now, let’s bring this scenario right up to date.

The next two weeks will have great bearing on “nato’s malign metamorphosis to aggressor.” The key is the war in Afghanistan. Check the following very busy calendar of related events:

January 23—Chancellor Angela Merkel issues a public statement confirming German government support to strengthening the German presence in Afghanistan.

January 25—Germany’s defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, addresses a town hall meeting in Washington on the subject of the war in Afghanistan. The same day, Germany’s Chancellor Merkel meets with senior government ministers to discuss Germany’s strategy on the war. EU Foreign Affairs Committee also meets to discuss EU-nato relations.

January 26—nato meets with Russian representatives to discuss the war in Afghanistan.

January 28—A nato-led summit of senior representatives of all parties involved in the war in Afghanistan convenes in London to discuss the future direction of the war.

February 6-8—The annual Munich Security Conference convenes, with the war in Afghanistan and the weu/nato’s role high on the agenda.

February 11—EU summit held, with the war in Afghanistan again prominent on the agenda.

The outcome of these meetings will influence the development of nato’s new Strategic Concept, which is due to be tabled at the nato summit in October. What is guaranteed in October is that nato’s new Strategic Concept will reflect a stronger than ever symbiosis between the strategic military goals of the German High Command under the cloak of the weu, and nato’s new mandate. One of the greatest supporters of this relationship is none other than Germany’s Defense Minister Guttenberg.

War and Germany’s relation to that term are now assured of regular headlines in Europe throughout 2010 due to the “crisis” that the German press and mass media have been all too readily complicit in dubbing—and keenly popularizing—as the “Kunduz affair.” As we have noted before, the German elites are expert in creating a “crisis” and then imposing their solution on that “crisis.” Thus it is with the Kunduz affair. It presents these elites with the classic opportunity to finally bring the argument for the revival of German militarism out into the open.

Guttenberg is on record, even prior to being drafted into Chancellor Merkel’s government, as having declared that two things are necessary for Germany to find its true role in European and global security and defense: a change in public opinion in Germany and an acceptance by the German government of the necessity for the Bundeswehr to deploy in expeditionary combat roles. The Kunduz affair presents Guttenberg and the German elites who pull the strings behind the scenes in the EU with the ideal opportunity to shape both parliamentary and public opinion to meet both these goals within the current year.

The inquiry into the Kunduz affair is likely to last the best part of the year. In the meantime, the U.S. is applying heavy pressure to the German government to get it to commit to a greater role in Afghanistan. This is right up the German elites’ alley. For years they have publicized, via the German media machine, the image that Germany is extremely reluctant to break the “war” taboo from which they claim the “German public” seek to hide under the image of shame for atrocities committed in two world wars. To have the Americans wheedle away and cajole Germany into accepting the role of aggressor in combat is tantamount to having Germany’s old enemies invite the Germans to take up arms in anger yet again. As Herbert Armstrong prophesied, when they do, ultimately the Germans will say to their Anglo-Saxon enemies, “You made us do it!”

There’s a masterful psychology at work here that is destined to see the instigator of the previous two world wars seemingly pushed by the victors in those horrible conflicts into a repetition of its role as aggressor yet once again. Totally complicit in this grand game of strategy is the enterprise that the Anglo-Saxons created to, as nato’s first secretary general, Lord Ismay, declared, “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

The great paradox is that it is highly likely that nato’s new Strategic Concept will result in pushing the Americans out, and elevating the Germans to the lead position in concert with Germany concluding a non-aggression pact with Russia. Such a scenario would leave the European combine leeway to continue its territorial expansion not only south and east, but to also suddenly pose a strategic threat west of the Atlantic.

Doomsday Clock Scientists Lose Credibility

Doomsday Clock Scientists Lose Credibility

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Was the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists justified in saying that mankind has bought itself some time?

On January 14, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (bas) moved the minute hand of its symbolic Doomsday Clock back by one minute, citing a “more hopeful state of world affairs” regarding the threat of nuclear war and global climate change. The clock is now set at six minutes to midnight.

The “Doomsday Clock,” created in 1947, is a symbolic measurement of the likelihood that mankind will begin nuclear war, with midnight representing the zero hour—global destruction. The farthest from midnight the clock has ever been was in 1991 when the Cold War era ended, and it was set at 17 minutes to midnight. The nearest to the zero hour it has ever been was in 1953 when it sat at two minutes to midnight following the announcement that the U.S. and the Soviet Union had tested thermonuclear devices within less than a year of each other.

The bas reported that the most recent change represents new optimism on the part of its panel of scientists—including 19 Nobel laureates—about the threat of nuclear war, and global cooperation on climate change.

“The main factor,” bas board member Lawrence Krauss told National Public Radio, “was that there’s been a sense that there’s been a sea change in the possibility for international cooperation regarding both nuclear weapons and climate change.”

“There are now—largely, one would have to say, as a result of the election of Barack Obama—new international talks and agreements to reduce arms,” he said.

To those keeping close watch on global developments relating to nuclear proliferation, this statement likely comes as a shock. An unbiased evaluation of global trends since the clock was last adjusted in 2007 reveals that the threat of nuclear war has only multiplied in that time.

U.S. Appeasement

A U.S. administration operating on a policy of appeasement and trust of enemies has convinced this panel of scientists that the world is a safer place because of its softening stance, but the opposite is true. The Obama administration abandoned the missile defense system that would have served as a major deterrent to a nuclear attack on its allies. Have America’s disarmament policies really lessened the threat of nuclear war? Has our willingness to perpetually suspend judgment on Iranian designs in the name of diplomacy removed the world one inch from the danger of nuclear war?

Our policies of appeasement have only shown Iran and North Korea how quickly our will to counter their aggressive actions is evaporating. Those policies have emboldened the rogue nations of the world.

Iran

A litany of headlines show Iran making great strides toward nuclear armament. In December, the Times of London cited secret Iranian documents revealing that Tehran has been working on a “neutron initiator”—the trigger used to detonate a nuclear bomb. This discovery further exposed the deceit of Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes.

Compounding the significance of Iran’s nuclear advancements is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s desire to plunge the world into a nuclear abyss for religious reasons.

North Korea

2009 saw a North Korea of unprecedented defiance. Since President Obama took office, North Korea has successfully tested a bona fide nuclear weapon and a long-range missile, withdrawn from the 1953 armistice agreement with South Korea, and announced that it will weaponize its plutonium reserves. In response to these belligerent acts, the Obama administration showered Pyongyang with concessions, including caving in to Kim Jong Il’s demand for bilateral talks.

Russian Arms Reduction

High on the list of 2009’s celebrated international peace talks was July’s discussion between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about cutting the nuclear arsenals of their respective countries. But even a cursory look at the agreement made reveals these reduction plans to be ludicrous—at least for the U.S.Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer called the agreement “useless at best, detrimental at worst,” because Russia agreed to dismantle a certain quantity of its archaic offensive nuclear warheads in exchange for the U.S.’s elimination of a comparable amount of its state-of-the-art nuclear defense weaponry. In this laughable scenario, Russia loses nothing, and the U.S. loses everything.

Pakistan

Although Pakistan’s nuclear weapons haven’t yet come under direct attack by Islamists, the looming threat is increasing. Never before have Pakistan’s weapons been in so much danger of being stolen by terrorist organizations.

In 2007, militants attacked nuclear weapons facilities in Punjab, Sargodha and Kamra. In 2008, they blew up gates to the Wah weapons complex leaving 63 people dead.

The U.S. government is funneling substantial funds into Pakistan’s military because the stakes are so high. So far the terrorists have been kept at bay, but the threat is growing.

Climate Concerns Equated With Nuclear Threat?

Perhaps more shocking than the bas’s ill-founded optimism about the nuclear threat is that these scientists also attribute their bolstered hope in mankind’s safety to renewed international efforts to curb global warming.

Explaining their decision, the bas board stated that “for the first time ever, industrialized and developing countries alike are pledging to limit climate-changing gas emissions that could render our planet nearly uninhabitable. These unprecedented steps are signs of a growing political will to tackle the two gravest threats to civilization—the terror of nuclear weapons and runaway climate change.”

The two gravest threats to civilization?

By equating the real and deadly danger of nuclear war with the unproven and widely disputed threat of global warming, this panel has hijacked its own credibility. Amazingly, this bas statement comes in the immediate wake of the recent “Climategate” scandal, which further exposed the flimsy, one-sided science behind global warming theory. Especially in the aftermath of this scandal this panel ought to have know better than to cheapen the Doomsday Clock symbolism by associating it with such spurious science.

By suggesting that the scenarios of global warming and nuclear war pose the same level of danger to mankind, this panel negates any credibility it might have had in assessing the danger of either.

The Timing Is Off

Krauss was careful to point out that the January adjustment was the first time in history that the bas has moved the clock’s time by an increment as small as one minute. In explaining that the board’s optimism is reserved, he said, “If we don’t follow up on all the talk that’s been happening with action, it could go much closer to midnight. On the other hand, if all of these things that we hope are going to happen happen, it could move much further away.”

So the move was essentially based on talk—on diplomatic initiatives. But an objective analysis of our diplomatic track record shows that these efforts will prove fruitless in most situations, and counterproductive in others.

However slight the adjustment, the bas’s optimism over these talks showcases man’s refusal to admit that the problems threatening us are too big for us to solve. The fact that the optimism is reserved doesn’t mitigate its being shockingly misguided. It highlights mankind’s unwarranted confidence in its ability to solve its own problems.

Six thousand years of strife-ridden history have failed to teach our experts that man does not know the way of peace. Herbert W. Armstrong, the late founder and editor in chief of the Trumpet’s predecessor, the Plain Truth, explained mankind’s plight in the context of its ultimate hope-filled conclusion (The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like):

When we take a hard, cold, realistic view of conditions and trends, they do point inevitably to a fast-approaching world crisis of combined nuclear war, starvation, uncontrollable disease epidemics, crime and violence, and the extinction of human life on this planet.Man has no solution! The farther he goes, the more destructive are his efforts.And yet—absolute utopia is soon to grip this Earth in our time, and we shall see world peace.

It will take Christ’s intervention to keep us from annihilating ourselves, and to usher in true peace. Man’s inability to effect peace should have become more evident in the last two years. But, as the danger intensifies, man’s delusion that he is able to solve his own problems has only grown stronger.

There is no cause for optimism about mankind solving its problems, but there is every cause to be optimistic about God’s solutions to humanity’s troubles!
The bas scientists made an inept judgment in publicizing the absurd fantasy that humanity has gained ground in achieving safety in the last two years, and the decision renders them unworthy to be labeled as experts. Still, the mounting global dangers are leading to the greatest imaginable news! They are an indication that Jesus Christ is on the brink of His return to Earth—to prevent mankind’s self-destruction—and show the world how to have lasting peace and joy!

There is no cause for optimism about mankind solving its problems, but there is every cause to be optimistic about God’s solutions to humanity’s troubles!

For more about this hope-filled future—a future in which the concept of a Doomsday Clock will be totally irrelevant—read Mr. Armstrong’s inspiring booklet The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like.

U.S. lauds strengthened EU foreign-policy powers

At a meeting last Thursday with the European Union’s new foreign relations chief, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the upgrading of EU foreign policy under the Lisbon Treaty.

“These are historic times for the EU. I expect that in decades to come, we will look back on the Lisbon Treaty and the maturation of the EU that it represents as a major milestone in our world’s history,” Clinton told press in Washington. “As the EU develops a more powerful and unified foreign-policy voice in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty, our transatlantic partnership will continue to grow.”

In a further indication that America’s historic relationship with Britain is being sidelined in favor of closer ties with the main powers on the Continent, EUobserver reported that Clinton “declined to mention [EU Foreign Minister Catherine] Ashton’s British nationality in the context of the U.S. and UK’s old ‘special relationship,’ amid concerns in some European capitals that Washington is increasingly keen to do business with Brussels rather than on a bilateral level.”

EUobserver went on to say that Clinton’s “remarks also stand in contrast to fears voiced in the European Parliament last year that the U.S. tried to scupper Lisbon ratification because it does not want to compete with a stronger Europe on the international stage.”

The fact is, as theTrumpet.com has made note of previously, the current U.S. administration is actively pushing for a stronger Europe on the world stage—and that is exactly what it is destined to get.

Read this recent column by Ron Fraser for insight into where America’s relationship with Europe—and particularly Germany—is destined to lead.

The Week in Review

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Germany’s joint cabinet session with Israel, its surging military industry, Russia’s European flank and “the Belgian Ratzinger”

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Middle East

Relations between crucial allies Israel and Turkey deteriorated further last week following an incident where Turkey accused Israel of humiliating its ambassador after he was summoned by the Israeli deputy foreign minister. The move, initiated by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, followed recent Turkish television dramas demonizing Israeli soldiers as murderers of Palestinian children and depicting Israeli diplomats as child abductors. Israel’s attempt at tough diplomacy, however, backfired; Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was forced to back down and give a full apology. It was a dramatic display of the crushing limits of Israel’s “toughness.”

The first-ever joint cabinet session between Germany and Israel on German soil was held Monday in Berlin. It was co-chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, each of whom had 10 high-level officials in tow. These joint government consultations are a “very special event,” a German spokesman said ahead of the meeting. “Germany only conducts such meetings with a very few partners.” At the meeting, officials discussed strategies for bolstering political, economic and security relations between Jerusalem and Berlin. High on the agenda was Berlin’s efforts to mediate the prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel, as well as the billion-euro deal for the purchase by Israel of a German-built submarine and two stealth navy vessels. Beyond these peripheral issues, German and Israeli leaders tackled two issues central to Israel’s existence as a sovereign state: the ailing Middle East peace process and the Iranian nuclear program. Bible prophecy foretold this developing relationship—and reveals that it will end in tragedy.

The P5+1 group—the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany—met in New York on January 16 to discuss the nuclear stand-off with Iran. While the United States said the talks were constructive, Russia and China reportedly opposed any new measures against Iran. In a further setback to the West’s efforts, an Iranian official has said Tehran will not allow uranium to be shipped out of the country, diplomats in Vienna said Tuesday. Under a multinational nuclear deal made last October, most of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium would be sent out of Iran temporarily.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said in a meeting with Iran’s Deputy President Mohammad Reza Mir-Tajeddini that Lebanon’s relations with Iran are excellent, and that the two countries coordinate their positions in the UN Security Council, Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal reported January 17. In a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’d Al-Hariri in Beirut, Mir-Tajeddini said that Iran assists all the resistance movements that are fighting the enemies of the Arab and Islamic nation. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani made the same point recently when he said Iran was proud of its support of Hamas.

Iran’s Mehr news agency reported January 16 that the foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan signed an agreement at a summit in Kabul banning the use of each other’s country to harm each other. The foreign ministers voiced support for a regional solution, announcing a follow-up security summit in Islamabad, an economic summit in Kabul, and a summit in Tehran attended by officials from countries neighboring Afghanistan.

Europe

A German firm may be working with Iran to upgrade its gas network, just days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed Germany’s commitment to protecting Israel from Iran. The firm will provide 100 gas turbo-compressors, along with the technical knowledge to upgrade Iran’s gas distribution network, Ali Reza Gharibi, head of Iran’s Gas Engineering and Development Company, told the Mehr news agency on January 19. Although Gharibi did not name the German firm, industry experts say he was referring to Siemens. The National Iranian Gas Company, however, denied that any agreement existed, saying instead that there was a contract for an “Iranian company to build 100 turbo-compressors in Iran using a foreign partner’s know-how.” But even if this particular deal turns out not to be authentic, Germany and China are Iran’s top two trading partners after the United Arab Emirates, according to official figures. Still, even given Germany’s collusion with Israel’s enemy Iran, watch for the Jewish state to draw closer to it.

Concerns that the nation of Greece could go bust have led the European Commission to renew its attempt to audit member nations. With a budget deficit forecast at 12.7 percent, Greece is in dangerous financial territory. Yet even this figure contains “severe irregularities,” according to the Commission. The EU is using this as an opportunity to grasp more power. The European Commission has tried to seize the authority to audit member states before, but EU nations blocked it to protect their own independence. Now that view is changing, as more politicians believe the EU needs the muscle to prevent member states from descending into the same situation as Greece. That the EU would grab more control is exactly what theTrumpet.com predicted would happen as a result of Greece’s financial fiasco. Continue to watch for the EU to use the financial crisis of its own making to expand its power.

January 12, two of Germany’s top military manufacturers—Rheinmetall and man Group—announced their intention to merge their military vehicle production. The resulting combine will produce a new national champion and leading supplier for wheeled military vehicles in Europe. According to MarketWatch columnist David Marsh, the amalgamation, which has been in the works for a year, has been pushed by the political class. The German government is a big supporter of bulking up German military industry, and “has been providing behind-the-scenes assistance to make sure industry goes in the right direction,” reports Marsh. The new combine “meets the long-held German desire to build industrial companies with world scale in the defense field.” This is an alarming developing, considering the history of these firms. Rheinmetall and man Group have been at the forefront of German military manufacturing for decades. During World War ii the two firms worked together to produce the Panther tank. Both firms, despite the Allies’ initial ban on arms production, soon returned to weapons manufacturing. In fact, many German industrial giants of World War ii are now thriving, including ThyssenKrupp and Messerschmitt. Should we be worried? In 1996, the U.S. government declassified a top-secret World War ii document that exposed agreements made between several of Germany’s largest industrial giants and top German officials at a meeting just nine months before the war’s end. German industrialists were instructed to place existing financial reserves at the disposal of the Nazi Party “so that a strong German empire can be created after the defeat.” Germany’s recent corporate revival is just the precursor to a much larger non-peaceable event. For additional information, read our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

The Vatican has signaled its intent to become a more conservative influence in Europe through its appointment of the new archbishop of Brussels. Known as “the Belgian Ratzinger” because of his conservative views, André-Mutien Léonard will fill the office, it was announced at a conference on January 18. Many in Belgium fear he will be more involved in Belgian politics than his more liberal predecessor, Godfried Danneels. “Church and state are separate in Belgium, but when there are problems in our society, all the social partners sit down around a table, including representatives of secularism and of religion,” said Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx. “Cardinal Danneels was a man of openness, of tolerance and was able to fit in there. Archbishop Léonard has already regularly challenged decisions made by our parliament.” Catholic newspaper editor Bert Claerhout said that the choice of Léonard “is clearly a conscious choice for a totally different style and approach: for more radical decisiveness rather than quiet diplomacy, for more confrontation with the secular society instead of dialogue, reconciliation and the quiet confidence that the tide will ever turn.” The appointment clearly shows what the Vatican is planning: to confront and catholicize a largely secular Europe.

Asia

On January 16, Taiwan and China entered into a new phase of economic partnership when three long-awaited policies went into effect liberalizing financial ties across the Taiwan Strait. Chief among Beijing’s motivations for the agreements was a desire to increase influence over Taiwan through economic dependence. China is committed to bringing Taiwan back under its wing, and will do so by military action if necessary—but so far, U.S. support of Taiwan has deterred China from using such force. Instead Chinese leaders are trying to win Taiwan back gradually through social, political and economic methods. Some Taiwanese perceive closer relations with China as a step toward Taiwan gaining greater freedom to bolster ties with other countries—ties that could help it resist China in the future; they feel the need for that insurance because the U.S. support Taiwan has depended on since 1949 is less reliable all the time. But a boost in Taiwan-China relations will prove counterproductive in protecting Taiwan’s freedom. Herbert W. Armstrong predicted Taiwan’s fate over 50 years ago: “Will Red China invade and capture [Taiwan]? In all probability, yes …. The Red Chinese ‘save face,’ and the United States, with many American troops now on Taiwan, will again lose face!”

It has been a good week for the Kremlin. Russia emerged as the only clear-cut winner from Sunday’s national election in Ukraine. Meanwhile, it appears the heretofore pro-West nation of Georgia is coming to terms with Russian power and is positioning itself for a future within the Russian fold. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich won the election with 35 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko came second, with 25 percent. But because neither candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, the two must now compete in a runoff election on February 7. Experts say the race for president is wide open. Ultimately, the winner won’t much matter—we already know the real victor. Prior to the election, think tank Stratfor wrote, “Whichever of these candidates wins, Ukraine will return to the Russian fold after the presidential election” (January 15). The more pro-European western part of Ukraine may still give the Kremlin some trouble, but the east (and the national government) is now firmly in Russia’s grasp. Georgia is taking note. There, politicians can see Russia consolidating its power over its neighbors. With the change in Ukraine, and the new customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Russia only has one more nation to bring to heel: Georgia. “It appears that for the first time in years a political force is emerging in Georgia that is ready and willing to cooperate with the Kremlin,” writes Stratfor (January 19). Georgia will not be the only nation taking note of Russia’s success in Ukraine. Its actions are a warning to all of Europe, and especially Germany.

Anglo-America

This week in politics, Massachusetts surprised Americans by voting a heretofore unknown Republican into its U.S. Senate seat. On Tuesday, voters handed the seat that belonged to Edward Kennedy for almost 47 years to Scott Brown. The victory is viewed by some as a commentary on the party of his opponent, Democrat Martha Coakley, and on the Obama administration. Brown’s ability to block Obama’s health-care bill, combined with upcoming midterm elections, promises to consume Americans’ attention and political capital on domestic events while the world outside becomes a more dangerous place by the minute.

Florida is feeling some major effects from the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. The Miami Herald reported, “The Obama administration is preparing to handle applications from as many as 200,000 undocumented Haitian immigrants who want to live and work legally in the United States under a new immigration program unveiled last week in the aftermath of Haiti’s destructive earthquake” (January 20). Estimates quoted by the Herald said that Haitian immigrants in the U.S. send more than $1 billion back to Haiti.

On the other coast, California experienced heavy rains this week, and authorities urged residents to evacuate. There have been four Pacific storms in southern California, causing flooding in San Jose and flash flood watches in several other urban areas, including Los Angeles. Some counties there have extensive flood-control systems, but many of them are already full.