One More Nation to Build

One More Nation to Build

Michael C. Barton/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The U.S. takes on yet another impossible task.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In January, America added a long-term nation-building mission to the top of its ever expanding “fix it” list. Haiti, the Caribbean nation that was leveled in a catastrophic earthquake on January 12, is now a ward of the United States.

This comes in the midst of a near-total collapse of America’s economy that began in October of 2008. It comes at a time when deficit spending and federal debt have skyrocketed to levels not seen since World War ii. It comes during a painful recession where 17.3 percent of the American workforce is either unemployed or underemployed. And it comes as America’s military might is stretched paper-thin across Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now the U.S. is taking on the impossible task of fixing a nation that was, by all accounts, broken long before the devastation it suffered on January 12.

During two centuries of “independence,” there have been at least 34 coups d’état in Haiti. This nation’s litany of despotic governments has been rife with incompetence, cronyism, corruption, gangs, drug trafficking and violence. As recently as 2006, according to the Corruption Perception Index, Haiti’s governmental effectiveness and stability ranked dead last in the world.

It’s one of the worst governments this world has ever produced. And Haitians have endured generations of misery and suffering because of it. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its 9 million people survive on less than $2 per day. Only 10 percent of Haitians have electrical service. Fifty-four percent live in abject poverty, many of them without access to potable water or sanitary facilities.

Life expectancy is low, infant mortality is high and disease is widespread. Only sub-Saharan Africa has a higher rate of aids cases.

This was Haiti before the earthquake. Now add tens of thousands of rotting corpses, 3,000 prisoners on the loose, pillaging and looting what’s left of Port-au-Prince, and an obsolete government that disappeared overnight.

This is the next big project for the United States of America.

Haiti’s Disaster Now Belongs to America

As with many unnatural disasters, the magnitude of the devastation in Haiti wasn’t fully known until after the dust began to settle. When the massive scale of the tragedy began to emerge the morning after, President Obama directed his administration to put together an “aggressive effort” to save lives. He mobilized forces needed to assess the overall damage.

At a meeting with his national security team on Thursday, January 14, the president made it clear that Haiti must be given “top priority.” The United States, he said, had coordinated relief and rescue operations with an international coalition, including the government of Haiti, the United Nations and countries across the Americas and beyond. He told Americans to view his $100 million pledge to help relief efforts as an investment.

On Friday, President Obama told Haitian President Préval that America was committed to the Haitian people. That same day, the aircraft carrier uss Carl Vinson anchored off the coast of Haiti.

The next day, on January 16, President Obama met with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to lock down his new mission statement for the United States. At the Rose Garden, just after their meeting, President Obama announced, “At this moment, we’re moving forward with one of the largest relief efforts in our history—to save lives and to deliver relief that averts an even larger catastrophe. The two leaders with me today will ensure that this is matched by a historic effort that extends beyond our government, because America has no greater resource than the strength and the compassion of the American people” (emphasis mine throughout).

This will be a long-term effort, he said later, that will not be measured in days or weeks, but in months—“even years.”

President Clinton, since the days of his honeymoon with Hillary in Port-au-Prince 34 years ago, has always been fascinated by Haitian culture and has championed democracy for the island nation. He sees this extraordinary catastrophe not as a drain on American resources or a financial albatross, but as a tremendous opportunity.

Haiti, President Clinton said on January 16, is “one of the most remarkable, unique places I have ever been. And they can escape their history and build a better future if we do our part.”

Hillary Clinton’s entourage landed in Haiti the same day her husband made that head-spinning statement. She became the first White House cabinet member to arrive at the catastrophic scene.

The United States “will be here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead,” she told the people of Haiti, before touring the capital to get a firsthand look at the damage.

The next day, the Sunday Times filed this report: “The American secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, flew into Haiti yesterday [January 16] to spearhead a huge aid operation that the U.S. administration hopes will serve as a symbol of America’s humanitarian spirit and an example of the prowess of its armed forces. …

“Hillary Clinton’s visit to tour the devastated capital came as President Barack Obama committed himself to throwing the full might of America’s military machine into relief efforts—sending in ships, helicopters and up to 10,000 troops, as well as $100 million (£61 million) in aid to help the victims. …

“This is the first big humanitarian disaster since Obama took office a year ago and he is clearly anxious to avoid the mistakes of Bush, much criticized for his bungled response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans” (January 17).

President Obama called the Haiti operation “one of the largest relief efforts in our history.” He explained, “I will not put up with any excuses for us not doing the very best in this time of tragedy.”

Read it again and grasp the significance of what is happening here. On January 16, it had become undeniably clear: The monumental task of rebuilding a destroyed nation had landed squarely on the shoulders of a superpower in the midst of rapid decline.

Haiti’s insoluble problems now belong to America.

A New “Top Priority”

“Haiti had barely functioning ministries even before the earthquake,” one expert on Haiti told Reuters. “The Obama administration can describe this as a partnership, but it is one where one partner is doing all the work and has all the authority” (January 17). The Washington Post said Haiti’s government was so overwhelmed by the foreign aid that overnight it became “largely invisible.”

And yet, as Reuters pointed out, America had little choice but to become Haiti’s de facto government. The U.S. “must either step up to the task of relief rebuilding,” it wrote, “or open itself to criticism and … a possible new flood of Haitian refugees.”

The United States is now responsible for fixing what has been broken in Haiti for over two centuries. And like so many other nation-building enterprises the U.S. has embarked upon over the last half century, it will not turn out well in the end.

Consider Iraq. On Jan. 16, 1991, U.S. forces invaded Iraq and, to this day, are still looking for a way to get out.

Nineteen years after the start of the Gulf War, on the very same day (for more on the significance of January 16, see “America’s Next Iraq,” page 4), U.S. Secretary of State Clinton landed in Haiti to “spearhead” one of the largest relief and rebuilding efforts in American history. Barely one week into the mission President Obama said will take “years,” there were already 11,500 U.S. troops on the ground in Haiti, a little nation with a population the size of the Chicago metropolitan area.

And more money, more resources and more military personnel were on the way. The Pentagon—yes, the Pentagon—announced that it would send a second Marine unit—yes, a secondMarine unit—“to support what has become an expanding relief effort for the Defense Department”—yes, the Defense Department!

These 4,000 marines had been scheduled to leave for Afghanistan that very week! But instead of fighting against terrorists that are currently making great gains in Kabul, they were re-routed to one of the largest relief and rebuilding efforts in the history of the United States. This, according to the Christian Science Monitor, “presents the Pentagon with a delicate balancing act, since the already-overstretched U.S. military can ill afford to get mired in a security-and-stabilization mission” (January 20).

Too late. It’s already mired in Operation Haiti—will be for years. No matter the cost, Haiti is now “top priority.”

A Hypocritical Nation

President Obama concluded his January 14 remarks at the White House by making a personal appeal to the people of Haiti. “Few in the world have endured the hardships that you have known,” he said. “Long before this tragedy, daily life itself was often a bitter struggle. And after suffering so much for so long, to face this new horror must cause some to look up and ask, ‘Have we somehow been forsaken?’

“To the people of Haiti, we say clearly, and with conviction, you will not be forsaken; you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you. We know that you are a strong and resilient people. You have endured a history of slavery and struggle, of natural disaster and recovery. And through it all, your spirit has been unbroken and your faith has been unwavering. So today, you must know that help is arriving—much, much more help is on the way.”

That Haiti’s leaders have already squandered billions of dollars in aid no longer matters. That Colombia uses Haiti as a convenient back door to sneak drugs into America is of little concern. That more than half of Haitians practice voodoo—irrelevant.

In addition: That the United States is bankrupt and cannot afford the war against terrorism, let alone one of the largest humanitarian missions in its history, is altogether unimportant. That we can’t even solve our own problems of corruption, greed, incompetence and cronyism, or our obsessions with celebrity and pornography, or eliminate our many addictions and diseases—none of this matters.

Haiti, the deluded thinking of our leadership goes, is an opportunity for American righteousness to shine forth!

You may think God has forsaken you, but America will not? Who do we think we are?

Haiti is under a curse, one popular American preacher maintains, but America somehow is not? How self-righteous!

No wonder God says He’s coming against us with fiery wrath to correct a hypocritical nation! (Isaiah 10:5-6). God, it says in Ezekiel 5:8, is against us!

That’s how we know this won’t turn out well for the United States in the end. Far from being an opportunity or a blessing, Haiti is yet another heavy millstone that now hangs around the neck of a once-mighty superpower that is frantically kicking and flailing to stay afloat.

These Are Great Days!

What a momentous time to be alive.
From the February 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

During a fiery trial, it’s not easy to be filled with hope. Had you lived in London during 1940, for example, how easy it would have been to slip into the depths of despair and discouragement. Yet, even as London was bombarded by German bombs, Winston Churchill grasped the significance of the moment for the British—indeed, for all defenders of freedom and democracy.

“Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war,” Churchill told the House of Commons on June 18, 1940. This harsh reality, Churchill went on to say, actually presented Britain with a magnificent opportunity. “If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.”

With the prospect of survival for the West fast sinking into the abyss, Winston Churchill was the lone voice of hope for a brighter tomorrow.

After Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as prime minister in May 1940, Chamberlain stayed on as a member of Churchill’s war cabinet. But because of his poor health, Chamberlain had to leave the cabinet later that same year. Upon learning about Chamberlain’s decision to resign, Churchill encouraged the former prime minister to return to his post as soon as his health improved.

“Let us go on together through the storm,” he told Chamberlain. “These are great days.”

Indeed. As Churchill predicted, it was Britain’s finest hour.

Today, storm clouds are again gathering around Britain and the United States—two nations that have long been on course for decline. And numerous Bible prophecies tell us that our peoples are about to be thrust into the worst time of suffering ever experienced by human beings (Matthew 24:21-22).

The fact that we’re entering this world crisis without a Winston Churchill-type leader on the scene is, in so many ways, terrifying.

But at the same time, these are great days!

With Britain and the Western world teetering on the brink of annihilation during World War ii, “the people of the land” set Winston Churchill to be “their watchman,” and he rallied the West to stand up to the fascist bully in Germany (see Ezekiel 33:1-6).

This time around, however, no political watchman can save the United States and Britain from the destruction and captivity.Only God can! And so, in these latter days, God has raised up His watchman—not to marshal military forces against the enemies of freedom—but to proclaim an end-time warning message.

It’s God’s way of pleading for our peoples to repent of their many sins. “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

What great love and hope there is in this advancewarning—delivered just before disaster strikes. Request our free booklets Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet and Winston S. Churchill: The Watchman to get the full impact of this watchman warning being delivered to a dying world.

Another free booklet of ours, Daniel—Unsealed at Last!, thoroughly examines the four world-ruling empires described in Daniel 2. These four kingdoms, the Chaldean, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman empires, were prophesied to continue in succession right up to the establishment of another worldwide kingdom—to be set up in our day.

Notice Daniel 2:44: “And in the days of these kings [the group of European nations that will soon become the world’s next superpower] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed ….” In the days of these kings, God’s Kingdom—the fifthkingdom—will be established over all the Earth!

Could there be any other days as great as these in which we are now living? There will never be another opportunity like this for those who lend their support for God’s watchman warning. As my father has often exclaimed, “What a momentous time to be alive!”

That doesn’t mean the road ahead will be easy. But if we stay the course and weather the storms, God’s Word assures us a bright tomorrow.

During his often-repeated speech at Harrow School in October 1941, a year after he encouraged Neville Chamberlain to continue on through the storm, Winston Churchill elaborated on the “great days” theme he used to uplift the former prime minister. Before the speech, the students at Harrow sang the school song for Churchill, who had attended Harrow when he was a boy, adding this extra verse in his honor: Not less we praise in darker days / The leader of our nation, / And Churchill’s name shall win acclaim / From each new generation. / For you have power in danger’s hour / Our freedom to defend, Sir! / Though long the fight, we know that right / Will triumph in the end, Sir!

Having heard the additional verse during a Harrow visit the year before, Churchill had arranged in advance with the school headmaster to make one slight alteration to the lyrics: changing the word darker to sterner.

“Do not let us speak of darker days,” Churchill said near the end of his speech, “let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”

In light of Ezekiel 33, those same words, with another minor adjustment, could just as easily apply to today. These are not dark days. These are great days—the greatest days God’s people have ever lived!

The Detroitification of America

The Detroitification of America

Pawel Gaul/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Like a forgotten downtown billboard, Detroit proclaims a warning about the rest of America for any who will stop and look.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

If ever an American city was a warning for the nation, it is Detroit. Its crumbling mansions, overgrown boulevards and abandoned factories drive a message home to those who will pay attention. We cannot afford to ignore this once-great city. Why? What killed Detroit is killing America.

Detroit used to be synonymous with wealth and prosperity. It was a city humming with big-finned cars and Motown rhythms. Factories churned out products that ended up on store shelves around the world. Full employment empowered high salaries, flourishing schools and manicured storefronts, with flashy neon lights lining the boulevards. Multiple generations of families shared the same streets and barbecues.

In its heyday, Detroit had the highest median income and highest rate of home ownership in the country. It also had one of the highest standards of living of any major city in America—and hence, probably the world. People flocked there to transform the American dream into reality.

Today, the view from General Motors world headquarters, downtown at Renaissance Tower, is different.

Shattered Dreams

Take the average Detroit high school student to the top for the panoramic view, then describe in chrome tones what the Motor City used to be like. He would probably think you were joking.

There are two reasons that student would be confused.

One: The reality on the ground is that the city is a ruined, decaying, post-industrial, almost post-apocalyptic ghost town. At its peak, Detroit boasted almost 2 million residents. Today, more than half of that number are gone. Astoundingly, even the dead are leaving. Suburban dwellers who don’t want to risk heading into the city to visit gravesides are having their deceased relatives dug up and transferred to local cemeteries.

More surreally, unburied bodies are piling up as well, the Times reported in November. That month, the number of unclaimed bodies reached a record high. The dead were not murder victims—although crime is soaring, and Detroit remains the murder capital of America. Most of these dead died of natural causes; it is just that family members cannot afford to bury them; the city can’t afford to bury them either, so they pile up in the freezers.

Two: Most students have a poor grasp of history. In 2008, less than 25 percent of freshmen actually ended up graduating from high school—the worst rate in the country. Almost half of Detroit adults are considered functionally illiterate.

Gazing out over Detroit, you would see a city in transformation—or is it disintegration? In contrast to the shiny new GM tower, Detroit is cannibalizing itself. Over 60,000 abandoned, gutted and stripped houses populate the landscape. With each new foreclosure, another home opens itself up to vandals, thieves and arsonists. On one street alone, you can see six partially burned homes without moving your feet. Wrecked, abandoned homes push property prices down further, which encourages other underwater homeowners to mail in the keys too.

The situation is so bad that banks are now refusing to retake ownership of some homes. The cost of back taxes and repairs just isn’t worth it. Houses sell for $1. Livable ones sell for $6,000, less than the price of some ride-on lawn mowers. The city has no money to demolish the death traps, so they remain standing.

Then there are all the abandoned commercial and industrial structures, lurking like monolithic skeletons. Who would want these properties? They were made to produce massive amounts of quality products—something foreign to today’s Detroit. And with all the years of industrial chemicals polluting the soil and groundwater, no one can afford the remediation costs.

At night, you look down on whole patches of city that are dark. Parts of Detroit have reverted to hollowed-out, pre-industrial places where no one lives or works or stands in the streets anymore—only mile after mile of lonely concrete bones.

Punctuating those dark patches are regularly appearing spots of flickering flame. The Weekly Standard called Detroit the “city where the sirens never sleep.” Since the city is overwhelmed with buildings to demolish, firefighters are often forced to risk their lives fighting fires at the same old structures.

Fading From History

But as troubled as Detroit is, it is positioned to get worse. Official U.S. unemployment stands at 10 percent, but real national unemployment is over 17 percent and rising (as measured by the Labor Department’s U6 unemployment figure, which includes part-time workers who want full-time jobs and discouraged job seekers who have stopped looking for work). Unemployment in Michigan is 20.9 percent. In Detroit, virtually half the workforce is unemployed—a rate far higher than during the Great Depression. And there is no U-turn in sight.

With so many people out of work, property owners had better hope that lawmakers are able to keep extending unemployment insurance. Residents should also hope that the Chinese keep lending America money, because if they ever stop, so will the welfare payments. And that means that Detroit is a powder keg with massive explosive potential. The gangs of Detroit will head to the suburbs.

America needs to wake up to what Detroit has become.

“Detroit’s history has gone the way of Rome and Athens and Constantinople,” says L. Brooks Patterson, a longtime executive from Oakland County, which includes Detroit’s northern and more affluent suburbs. “It is what history does. History moves on. And history has moved away …. Detroit will never again be where those other cities were ….”

Once a cradle of the middle class and a bastion of economic productivity, Detroit is now a stark example of the unraveling of both. It has often been said that as GM goes, so goes the country. How much more should America then pay attention to Detroit? This city is the home of not just GM, but also Ford, Chrysler and a host of other manufacturers and businesses and families.

The forces that built Detroit into an economic superpower also helped build America into a superpower. Now the forces that destroyed Detroit are doing the same throughout the country.

Motoring the Detroit Express

America’s failed industrial policy promotes the offshoring of American manufacturing. Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee felt it first, but now those same policies are promoting the offshoring of America’s other strategic industries too. The job losses have spread to New York and Los Angeles. Power-hungry unions more intent on getting rich than on making a quality product impacted Detroit’s Big Three, but the same types of unions hold hostage and handicap many American businesses. Big business, in the search of short-term profit above all else and at the expense of mistreating employees, gave rise to the unions. Corrupt politicians looking to purchase votes sell themselves to the highest bidder—this too is a national phenomenon. Consumers, fat on the wealth of previous generations, wax lazy. Just like in Detroit, increasing debt is looked to as the national savior for America’s economic ills.

Detroit’s downfall has many causes—books have been written. But the most fundamental and important cause is one that most observers have overlooked.

The primary cause of Detroit’s (and America’s) dramatic downfall can only be understood by identifying the source of its original prosperity.

Yankee ingenuity, work ethic, economies of scale, proximity to resources, mass transportation, low taxation and a skilled labor pool are all factors. But they are not the most important and essential factor.

The reason America (and Detroit) became so prosperous stems from an ancient promise God made. You can read about it in the book The United States and Britain in Prophecy. It is because of that promise that America became the inheritor of almost half a continent—and not just any continent. When the pilgrims arrived they became the recipients of a vast, pristine land, overflowing with the choicest of agricultural, mineral, hydrologic and geographic blessings imaginable.

America’s historic leadership in industry and technology—the fact that America used to be the largest oil, coal and steel producer in the world, that it used to be a major net food exporter, that it once was the world’s factory, that it used to control and own the strategic Panama Canal sea gateway, that it is the only country to ever put a man on the moon—was a blessing that directly trickled down from the fulfillment of that promise.

In short, it was God who showered blessings upon Detroit—and America. It was God who provided America with its formerly unrivaled levels of prosperity.

And it is because the conditions of retaining those blessings have been broken that those blessings are now being removed. It is all about cause and effect. Sustained blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience—it is a basic principle of the Bible (Leviticus 26). And it is a principle that we would all do well to remember.

Detroit is a warning for America. Read the billboard. Detroitification is heading toward a city near you.

Keep an Eye on the Balkans

Trouble could be brewing.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

The Balkans is a region people tend to forget about. Sandwiched between the Adriatic and Black seas, the peninsula is a hodgepodge mix of religions, peoples and cultures. The complexity and obscurity of the Balkans—together with its geographic situation—fosters the perception of the region as a largely irrelevant backwater to Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

History punctures this perception.

Historically, the Balkans is where civilizations have converged and clashed. During the Middle Ages, the peninsula fell under the control of the Byzantine Empire. In the 15th century, it became a focal point of the westward-bound Ottoman Turks. In the 19th century, it emerged again as a point of tension between East and West during the Crimean War. When the great European war comes, observed Bismarck, it will “come out of some … foolish thing in the Balkans.” Turns out, he was right. Less than 50 years later, the Balkans was where Germany instigated the First World War. Twenty years after that, it became a key strategic theater for Hitler and the Axis powers. And don’t forget the Balkan crises of the 1990s.

It is no surprise then that a decade later, the Balkans is emerging once again as the convergence point of Russian and European ambitions.

Bringing the Balkans Into Europe

In November 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Serbian President Boris Tadic in Berlin, where she expressed Germany’s full support for Serbia’s entry into the European Union. Serbia’s hopes were further boosted in January, when Spain’s foreign minister promised that his country’s EU presidency would do its utmost to integrate Serbia into the EU. “2010 is going to be a key year for all the Western Balkans,” said Miguel Moratinos. “I can guarantee on behalf of the Spanish presidency that we will do everything that is possible to advance in this direction.”

It appears Serbia will not be making the trek alone. On the same day Merkel announced her support of Serbia last November, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to proceed with Albania’s request to enter the rapidly evolving 27-member bloc. By January, EU leaders were talking about easing visa restrictions to make it easier for Albanians to travel through Europe.

Doubts about the EU’s ambitions in the Balkans were put to rest by a letter that circulated among EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on January 25. According to Deutsche Welle, the letter ambitiously stated that in 2010 the EU should “complete accession negotiations with Croatia, start talks with Macedonia, reinforce its role in Bosnia, abolish visas for Albanian and Bosnian citizens and advance Serbia’s bid to join the bloc” (January 27).

“This is the right moment to renew at high level the EU’s commitment to the [Balkans] and to set out the course ahead in concrete terms,” Dimistris Droutsas of Greece and Michael Spindelegger of Austria said in the letter.

Reporting on Germany and the EU’s statements in support of Serbia’s accession last November, Stratfor noted that they were “the clearest indication thus far from the European Union that it is serious about bringing the rest of the Balkans into the European Union as soon as possible” (Nov. 17, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).

While enthusiasm in Brussels for integrating the Balkans into the EU excites many west of the Urals, not everyone is pleased.

The Russia Factor

Under strongman Vladimir Putin, Russia has been actively reasserting itself regionally and globally. Since 2000, the Kremlin has secured power over much of its periphery, particularly along its border with the European Union. (This, essentially, was the reason for Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008.) Strategically and historically, the Balkan Peninsula—though it doesn’t fall within Russia’s immediate sphere of influence—has been a critical steppingstone for periodic European incursions into Russia.

From a defensive standpoint, the Balkans demands the Kremlin’s watchful eye. But for the offense-minded Putin, the peninsula requires much more. This is why last October, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made a much-publicized visit to Belgrade, where he offered a €1 billion (us$1.4 billion) loan to the Serbs and openly discussed the possibility of a strategic partnership with Serbia.

The next month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, where, according to the Eurasia Daily Monitor, he encouraged the “Sarajevo government to oppose U.S.- and EU-proposed constitutional and economic reforms” (Nov. 9, 2009). Beyond its political wrangling in the region, Moscow remains a primary economic player in the Balkans, particularly in the energy sector.

Russia also has intriguing military designs on Serbia. On October 21, Russia signed a deal with the Serbs to construct a humanitarian center for emergencies in the southeastern city of Nis. While it was billed as a regional hub for emergency relief in southeastern Europe, some experts couldn’t help but notice the political and military nature of the planned facility. With the center’s connection to the highest levels in the Kremlin, analysts at Stratfor reported that “it has the potential to redefine how the world looks at the Balkans and Russia’s involvement in the region” (Oct. 21, 2009).

The humanitarian center will be operated by the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations. Rooted in Russia’s foreign military intelligence directorate (also known as the gru), this ministry handles more than just national emergencies. Stratfor reports that “it is involved in the suppression of militant activity in the Caucasus and is in charge of the Russian civil defense troops,” which essentially gives the ministry its own military force, as well as access to the Russian military. When you consider the connections, “it has to be considered that Moscow might lay logistical groundwork [in Serbia] that—intentionally or not—has military value” (ibid.).

What do Germany and the EU think about that? Stratfor continued, “Despite [some] limitations, which make the move largely symbolic for the near future, Moscow is on its way to setting up its first logistical center with potential military uses outside of the former Soviet Union. In addition, the center will be run by a ministry that serves as the wing of the Russian military intelligence unit. If one puts this in the context of the recent visit to Belgrade by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev … it must be concluded that Russia is moving into the Balkans with enthusiasm.”

Remember, that was the end of October. In November, Germany and the EU informed Serbia (and Albania) that they were ready to put them on the track for full EU membership. The timing is interesting. Coincidences of this nature are rare in international relations. It certainly appears the Balkan Peninsula, particularly Serbia, is emerging once again as a major point of tension between Russia and Europe.

The Outcome

Ultimately, Europe and Russia face two options. The first is to sit down together, debate their strategic interests, and carve up Eastern Europe and the Balkans between them. Hitler and Stalin did that very thing in 1939. The alternative is to allow the tension to mount until it erupts in armed conflict. More than likely, as the Trumpet has forecast, we will see the first option. Watch for Russia and Germany/Europe to come together and hash out some kind of non-aggression pact akin to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact struck just days before World War ii.

It is also possible that the Kremlin, concerned by the rapidly evolving and strengthening European superstate, could decide it needs to send the EU and the West a shot across the bow. The provocation by the Kremlin of a military or energy crisis in a place like Serbia, or maybe Ukraine, would certainly caution Berlin and Brussels against ignoring the strategic interests of its eastern neighbor. It would also likely bring Germany and Europe to the negotiating table with Russia.

Whatever happens, history demands that we keep an eye on the Balkans. And so does Bible prophecy. In May 1953, Herbert Armstrong wrote about a crucial end-time prophecy: “Suddenly the world will behold a United States of Europe!” he wrote. “Some of the Balkan nations which have been under Russia’s boot will be members of it!” (Good News).

That statement alone explains Germany and the EU’s moves to invite Balkan nations into the European fold. Mr. Armstrong based his forecast about a united Europe (which will include an eastern bloc) on multiple Bible prophecies, including Daniel’s spectacular prophecy in Daniel 2. This prophecy is key to understanding both European history and prophecy. To learn more about it, request a free copy of Daniel Unlocks Revelation.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Balkans!

Here Europe—Feel Free to Spy on Us

The White House signs away its internal security to the EU.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

An executive order by President Barack Obama in December created quite a stir.

Signed by the president on Dec. 16, 2009, the order is headlined, “executive order amending executive order 12425 designating interpol as a public international organization entitled toenjoy certain privileges, exemptions, and immunities.” It reads, “By the authority vested in me as president by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including Section 1 of the International Organizations Immunities Act (22 U.S.C. 288), and in order to extend the appropriate privileges, exemptions and immunities to the International Criminal Police Organization (interpol), it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12425 of June 16, 1983, as amended, is further amended by deleting from the first sentence the words ‘except those provided by Section 2-c, Section 3, Section 4, Section 5 and Section 6 of that act’ and the semicolon that immediately precedes them.”

This automatically brings Interpol under Section 2-c of the International Immunities Act, which reads, “Property and assets of international organizations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, unless such immunity be expressly waived, and from confiscation. The archives of international organizations shall be inviolable.”

Just what does this mean to the average citizen of the United States? To answer that question, we need a little history about Interpol.

The Rise of a German Intelligence Model

In 1923, Dr. Johannes Schober, president of the Vienna police, established the International Police Commission (ipc). Within four years, at a conference in Berlin, member countries of the ipc adopted a German idea to establish National Central Bureaus of investigation (ncbs) in addition to establishing centralized police records registries.

In 1938, the Nazis seized control of the ipc, relocating its headquarters to Berlin. They maintained control of European policing till the end of World War ii.

Based on the same German model of the ncbs, Interpol was established in Paris after the war. It became an autonomous body in 1956. In 1989, just before the Berlin Wall fell, it moved to new headquarters in Lyon, France.

Throughout the 1990s, Interpol upgraded its systems to adapt to the latest technological improvements in data search, maintenance and sharing between various sub-regional bureaus, launching its first website in 1997.

In 2001, a Command and Coordination Center was established coordinating the operations of Interpol’s 187 member countries. By 2004, it had planted a liaison office at the United Nations staffed by a special representative, and in 2008, a special representative was appointed to the EU in Brussels.

The real concern here is the degree to which Interpol is becoming associated with the global security initiatives of the European Union. The EU is itself a very German idea, closely associated with the old Nazi vision of centralized government in Europe.

An Interpol media release in 2008 stated, “The concept of strategic global partnerships is central to Interpol’s future mission as enshrined in its Global Security Initiative (gsi), with the organization having entered into a variety of partnerships with the European Union, United Nations and the private sector” (Nov. 4, 2008).

So just what is this EU Global Security Initiative? According to Interpol’s website, it is “the strategic vision that will guide Interpol’s development and its support for global policing.”

That may seem a worthy goal. However, when matched with another even greater initiative of the EU—the EU’s Program for Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security (gmes)—the closer cooperation between Interpol and the EU raises significant red flags. It is the same strategic vision that the German national socialists held back in the 1930s! The fact is, it illuminates the direction that EU elites are taking in their imperial quest for global rule.

Surveilling the Whole Globe!

gmes is a powerful semi-space project being developed by the EU for the total strategic surveillance of the whole globe. Its potential to override and excel any equivalent initiatives developed by opposing powers in the race for global hegemony, in the wake of America’s decline, is staggering.

Integrating observation of the planet by both satellites and ground-based technology, the gmes project is being sold under the deceit of its being mainly for use in environmental control. As described by the European Parliament’s Directorate General for Internal Policies, all conceivable applications of the project “can be classified under the topics of atmospherics, marine, land, security and emergency.” Though an EU-conceived, -developed and -funded initiative with EU strategic goals in mind, the scope of its applications is “not restricted to the European area”; rather they are “worldwide.”

Of real concern as to the surveillance power of gmes and its potential strategic use by imperialist EU elites is the Directorate’s declaration that “gmescan be the appropriate strategic tool to support Europe on geopolitical issues through unified earth observation. gmes has strategic importance due to the EU’s role as a global actor … and makes an important contribution to the EU’s civil security [police] needs” (emphasis mine throughout).

Though couched in terms that would appeal to global warmists, carbon traders and old-fashioned greenies, the essence of this document is in the recurring military and “civil security” themes that thread their way through its verbiage. “Emergency response” (read rapid reaction force), “land monitoring,” “marine services,” “external border surveillance,” “crisis prevention”—all phrases used in the Directorate’s description of the gmes project—can all too readily connote not just police usage, but also military usage, especially in terms of the EU’s emerging role in global defense and security.

Already well advanced, though given little publicity, the gmes project will rapidly deploy a series of space satellites over the next five years. The Metop satellite was deployed in 2007. Next will come the Pleaides satellite in 2010-11, the Jason 3 and the system of three satellites termed the Radarsat Constellation in 2012-15, and the five-satellite system “Sonic” over the same period. The whole program is conceived, developed, funded and controlled by the EU. The major contributor is Germany, which so far has committed €1.15 billion to the deal. And there’s more.

The gmes program is designed to dovetail with the EU’s Galileo project, which will eventually send 30 satellites into circular orbit at an altitude of 23,000 kilometers above Earth. A global, space-based location-identification system, Galileo is planned to be superior to both the U.S.-based gps and Russian Glonass systems.

The newly ratified Lisbon Treaty/EU constitution grants control of the entire global surveillance system jointly to the European Parliament and European Commission. Prime end users will be EU global police and peacekeeping missions.

Giving the EU License to Spy

The above may well signal danger to those who fear the “big brother is watching you” potential of such a powerful system of global surveillance and intelligence gathering. But perhaps of deepest concern is the European Parliament Directorate’s indication that “Civil and defense applications increasingly draw from the same technological base, and there is an increasing overlap of functions and capabilities required for military and non-military [police] security purposes which often allows for the use of the same technology for the development of both security and defense applications. … The decision whether global positioning or Earth observation systems … are to be used for security or defense purposes is primarily political in character, not technological.”

That language simply puts EU elites in charge! And sadly—as many an intelligent observer both within and outside of Germany has noted—too many of those elites are tainted with the same imperial vision of their old Nazi mentors.

The point is that, since the EU-based Interpol is to become a prime end user of this surveillance technology, what the White House has now permitted through this latest executive order is the completely unchecked usage of gmes and Galileo by the EU via Interpol to extract intelligence of strategic value to the imperialist European Union, destined to be used to counter American power!

Next to the U.S. signing up a year ago to the regulation of its economy by the EU-controlled Financial Stability Board, this has to be one of the most significant foreign-policy blunders of America’s current administration. It literally permits the EU to spy on the U.S. unfettered by any control from its government.

Newt Gingrich has accused the Obama administration of “very quietly” signing an executive order that removes “all American constraints” from Interpol.

“Freedom of information acts don’t apply,” he said. “All the constraints that you as a citizen could use against an American police force, based on a recent Obama-signed executive order, give Interpol—which has relationships with Syria, Libya, with Iran—it gives them all sorts of extra legality in the United States in a way that has never, ever before been offered to Interpol” (Politico.com, January 5).

When one truly understands what is at play here, shades of Europe’s medieval Inquisition, with a high-tech, space-age touch, loom large—especially considering what happened when Interpol’s predecessor was taken over by the Nazis!

Sound extreme? Only to those ignorant of the real power behind this European empire. As our editor in chief wrote last month, this is none other than the seventh and the final resurrection of an ancient police state, the “Holy” Roman Empire!

You need to read our February edition to fully grasp what is afoot and just what is at stake. We are witnessing the appearance, yet one final time, of this old and brutish empire that has shed more blood throughout its long and cruel history than any other politico-religious entity on Earth!

Yet, to those truly attuned to this final resurrection of this old church-state combine, its arrival on the world scene is a great harbinger of hope! For it is perhaps the greatest of signs at the moment that the long-awaited and -expected coming of the Messiah, the only true peacemaker, is just about here!

How Russia Is About to Change the World

How Russia Is About to Change the World

Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

In a remote corner of the globe, a port bristles with cranes, smokestacks, mammoth ships—and trouble for Europe.
From the March 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In January, Russia made a world-changing move. It completed a new oil pipeline and port complex that sets Russia up to become a more powerful oil exporter than Saudi Arabia. The ramifications for Europe and Asia are profound: The shape of the global economy—and the global balance of power—will soon be altered forever.

December 28 was a big day of ceremony in Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pushed a button that transformed global oil dynamics. The button released thousands of barrels of Siberian crude into a waiting Russian supertanker and heralded the opening of Russia’s first modern Pacific-based oil export facilities.

The multibillion-dollar, state-of-the-art oil terminal was a “great New Year present for Russia,” Putin said during the inauguration. The strategic terminal, located in the city of Kozmino on the coast of the Sea of Japan, is one of the “biggest projects in contemporary Russia” he said, not only in “modern Russia,” but “the former Soviet Union too.”

Putin has every right to be enthusiastic about his new port. Kozmino will unlock a two-way gate through which Russia’s vast Siberian oilfields will gush into Asia’s energy-hungry economies—and Chinese, Korean and Japanese currency will flow into Russia.

If the seven ships scheduled to berth in January are all filled, the port of Kozmino will instantly become Russia’s third-most important oil outlet. As of January 20, five of the ships had set sail will full cargoes.

In a symbolic move highlighting Russia’s warming relationship with China, Hong Kong received the first shipment.

Kozmino’s importance will exponentially grow over the next year. Currently, all Siberian oil shipments into Kozmino are delivered by train—but that will soon change. Phase one of the East Siberian-Pacific Ocean Pipeline (espo) was also completed during December. Phase two will connect the Siberian fields directly to the new port. When phase two is finished in 2014, total exports could jump from the current rate of 250,000 barrels per day to over 1 million. Kozmino will transform into one of the largest oil centers in the world—capable of handling 14 percent of total Russian oil exports. It will be one of the most strategic geopolitical assets in Russia’s arsenal.

Russia pumped more than 10 million barrels of oil per day during November. With Saudi Arabian production falling, Russia is now the world’s largest oil exporter. Toss in Russia’s natural gas exports, and Russia is the biggest energy superpower in the world by far. That does not even count Russia’s massive uranium resources and nuclear expertise.

But here is why the new port in Kozmino could radically affect the future of both Asia and Europe. For over a century, Russia’s entire energy infrastructure has focused mainly on supplying Europe. That has now changed forever!

Russia’s Energy Weapon

The first and now-complete phase of the espo pipeline, which connects Russia’s Siberian oil fields to within just a few kilometers of China, is already destabilizing global oil dynamics and shifting them in Russia’s direction. “espo is what political strategists might call a ‘game-changer,’” wrote the Telegraph. “It means that Russia will be able to send its oil either east or west—so it can drive a harder bargain when selling crude to Europe” (Dec. 26, 2009; emphasis mine throughout).

Previously, when Russia has had pricing disputes with Europe, Moscow had to play the embargo card with an obvious bluff. It had no alternative outlet for its oil. Without the Europeans, its oil would sit in the Siberian oil fields of Samotlor and Tyanskoye, costing money instead of making it. But now Moscow can turn off the tap to Europe and still pump in the profits by opening the pipe wide to its energy-hungry Asian partners.

But Russia’s stranglehold on Europe is about to get even tighter—much tighter. By 2012, the espo pipeline will be twinned with a pipeline for natural gas exports so Russian gas supplies can also flow east instead of west if necessary.

This development is truly scary to Europeans.

Moscow has already demonstrated that it is unafraid to turn off Europe’s energy supplies when it feels it needs to. In the middle of winter 2006, Russia shut off gas supplies to Germany and several other countries in order to punish Ukraine. Since then, it has used the same method each winter to strong-arm its former Eastern European satellites back into accepting Russian dominance.

The message is clear: Russian oil and gas supplies are a strategic weapon to be used—or not used—to freeze opponents into submission.

Europe’s Only Choice

Europe, in a tenuous relationship with Russia to begin with, desperately needs to secure another energy source. Only one other region in the world can supply the energy to warm and lubricate modern Europe’s homes and industries: the Middle East. Countries like Germany, which imports 90 percent of its oil, are now likely to become much more dependent on one of the most volatile regions of the world for energy supplies.

It is inevitable that Berlin will seek to expand its ties with oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council members: the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and especially Saudi Arabia, the world’s second-largest petroleum producer. Europe has no choice but to become much more intimately involved with the affairs of the Middle East, from where it currently gets 40 percent of its oil.

It is therefore no surprise that Germany, the most dominant nation in Europe, has made sure it has troops on the ground surrounding this Middle Eastern “golden triangle” of energy production (Gulf Cooperation Council members plus Iran and Iraq). On the seas, the European Union’s naval presence is growing too. The European anti-piracy task force operates in both the Gulf of Oman and the Gulf of Aden. Forty percent of the world’s ocean-borne oil is shipped through the Gulf of Oman.

Europe is critically dependent on imported oil. And Germany knows it must have a strong presence in the world’s most oil-rich region if it is to secure its flow and the country’s future.

The Bible predicts that a major military clash will soon occur in the Middle East—specifically between a European power, led by Germany, and radical Islam, led by Iran.

Daniel 11:40-45 indicate that Iran will continue to push at this European power until it finally responds in “whirlwind,” blitzkrieg-type fashion. As we have explained for almost 20 years—and has been borne out repeatedly in real-world events—the “king of the south” spoken of in these verses is radical Islam under the leadership of Iran. And as Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote as far back as November 1996, a big part of Iran’s push against Europe “is probably going to involve oil.”

Amid an Unstable Climate

The Middle East is a powder keg that could explode at any time. Syria dominates Lebanon and is stirring up trouble there. Iran is about to create a nuclear weapon and has said it wants to wipe Israel off the map; it is test-firing missiles that can strike European capitals. Israel knows that the window to prevent Iran from getting the bomb is closing. Hamas is preparing to violently take East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.

And to top it off, the world is suffering through its worst depression since the 1930s. Oil prices remain above $70 per barrel, and the International Energy Agency has indicated that world oil production will now peak in 2020—10 years sooner than it previously estimated. Some analysts think the world has already reached peak oil production.

In this climate of global instability, Russia’s recent moves on the world’s oil stage will be amplified in dramatic fashion. By unlocking Siberia’s energy reserves, Russia is simultaneously binding Asia together and lighting a fire under Europe.

Watch for the development of an Asian alliance between Russia, China and Japan. And watch for Europe’s next moves toward the Middle East.