How Russia Outmaneuvered America

How Russia Outmaneuvered America

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

The fascinating power politics behind an overlooked coup in Central Asia
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

This tiny Central Asian state had witnessed street protests before. Discontent and restlessness were widespread: The president had promised political freedom, democratic reform and transparency—but he turned out to be even more despotic and corrupt than the man he replaced in a revolution five years earlier. Public demonstrations against his regime, however, had always fizzled.

This time was different. Very different. Within a blur of 24 hours, Kyrgyzstan was transformed. On April 7, the capital erupted in bloody riots, the president fled, the deputy prime minister was taken hostage, the interior minister was killed, and the government fell. A new chief executive assumed power and quickly appointed defense, finance and interior ministers. Within days, it appeared the nation’s security services were firmly under the control of the new interim government.

Apart from some 79 deaths, several hundred injuries and some property damage, it was remarkably seamless for a revolution.

In fact, there is little reason to believe it erupted spontaneously. All the evidence points to a well-orchestrated, well-planned and -executed operation—and much of that evidence points to Russia.

While a stunned United States and Europe were scrambling to formulate a diplomatic response to the coup, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin enthusiastically became the first world leader to recognize the new government—within hours of it taking power. Russian Federal Security Service agents were reportedly present during the riots. Asia Times reported on rumors that emissaries from Russia’s foreign and military intelligence “played a significant covert role in neutralizing Bakiyev’s military and security power base by persuading senior Kyrgyz officers to keep most of their forces off the streets” (April 13). Immediately after the takeover, Russia had 150 more paratroopers on the ground, joining the forces it already had on its five military bases in the country. Russian offers of political and financial support soon followed. And Russian agents had apparently persuaded the Kyrgyz High Command to back the new government.

What this means is that, by all appearances, Kyrgyzstan is just Russia’s most recent conquest in its near abroad, after having secured Ukraine just months ago by influencing elections there, and practically taking Georgia by force in 2008.

It also means that America’s foothold in strategically crucial Central Asia has been significantly pried loose.

Central Asia is a strategic battleground—particularly for Russia, China, Europe, Iran and America. Its location as a crossroads between Asia and the Middle East—combined with its energy wealth—make it central in the region’s balance of power.

While Kyrgyzstan doesn’t have the resources that other Central Asian countries do, it is extremely valuable real estate. Russia views it as an important buffer against Islam’s northward push. Radical Islamists exploit it as a transit route. China has commercial interests there, and eyes it as posing a potential threat to its own missile sites, situated near the two nations’ shared border. nato considers it pivotal to its designs on expanding its presence into Central Asia. As Stratfor wrote on April 9, “The country lies in a key geographic location nestled against China and Kazakhstan, and surrounds the most critical piece of territory in all of Central Asia: the Fergana Valley. Whoever controls Kyrgyzstan has the ability to pressure a number of states, including Kazakhstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”

Kyrgyzstan has also grown in significance because it hosts America’s only remaining military base in Central Asia. Manas air base, just outside the country’s capital, is now the main supply base for U.S. troops in what has become America’s chief theater of war, Afghanistan. Each month, 50,000 American troops pass through there.

So crucial is this base, that Washington has gotten its hands filthy in order to hang on to it, propping up and enriching a patently crooked government. Amid the series of “color revolutions” in the former Soviet and Balkan states in the early 2000s, the U.S. encouraged and celebrated the apparent surge in democracy. In Kyrgyzstan, it backed Kurmanbek Bakiyev in ousting the nation’s president in the “Tulip Revolution” of 2005. But Bakiyev has proven himself a tyrant—and Kyrgyzstan has suffered terribly for it. In five short years, the nation has gone from relative stability to basket case, a nearly failed state plagued by cronyism and economic mismanagement. A U.S. State Department report last year accused Bakiyev’s government of pervasive corruption, judicial abuses, bullying of media, arbitrary arrest and detention, child abuse and child labor, trafficking in persons, killing and torture. Yet Washington—supposed defender of democracy, human rights and the rule of law—stood by him, paying millions (which many say he personally pocketed) to continue leasing Manas. In 2006, Bakiyev threatened to evict the U.S. if Washington didn’t pay more rent. The U.S. subsequently upped its annual payment from $80 million to $150 million.

Russia has always hated America’s presence in its backyard. All the Central Asian countries besides Afghanistan were once a part of the old Soviet Union; for years now, Russia has been on a mission to haul those states and its other Soviet-era satellites back under its umbrella of influence. Along with China, it has worked hard to dislodge America’s presence from the region entirely. In 2005, it successfully pressured Uzbekistan to evict the United States from its air base in the country, leaving Kyrgyzstan with Central Asia’s last remaining U.S. military base.

“America’s presence in Moscow’s and Beijing’s backyard has gone a long way in keeping these two nations in check—even curbing their efforts to dominate the surrounding regions,” we wrote at the time. “The eviction of America from Central Asia will constitute a severe geopolitical defeat for the U.S. and significant win for Russia and China. … We can expect Russia and China to succeed in evicting America from Central Asia” (theTrumpet.com, Aug. 8, 2005).

In February of last year, Russia focused on finishing the job. It offered several lollipops including over $2 billion in aid to President Bakiyev, who—in a display of the shallowness of his loyalty to anything other than himself—promptly announced plans to close Manas. The U.S. responded by offering this scoundrel more than triple the original rent, and Bakiyev flip-flopped again, agreeing to keep the air base open. The Kremlin, which had already supplied over $400 million of its pledge, was furious.

Washington’s policy of trying to secure a place in Central Asia by purchasing a self-interested despot was always flimsy stuff. Now, we see Russia’s cagey, and deadly effective, countermove. Analysts can connect a series of dots showing how the Kremlin stirred up the Kyrgyz public’s agitation with Bakiyev—and prepared pro-Russian, virtual puppet leadership to replace him.

How long do you suppose it will be now before the U.S. gets bounced?

Kyrgyzstan’s new interim leader, Roza Otunbayeva, has said America can stay in Manas, but Russian officials reveal they’re going to urge her to shut the base down; the current lease expires in June. The U.S. says it can find other ways to supply its war effort, but reality is that the alternatives would all depend even more on Russia.

Bottom line: Russia successfully schemed to overthrow a U.S.-supported government. Through canny manipulation, it fortified its power position over the U.S. considerably and could now seek to tighten the screws on America’s supply lines to Afghanistan. Washington got badly outmaneuvered. (And, heightening the humiliation, this is the nation with which President Obama just signed a new nuclear disarmament treaty that will save the Russians hundreds of billions of dollars.)

Watch. This summer, we may see Russia allow the U.S. to continue using Manas to fight the Taliban (one of its own enemies, after all) in order to extract even-more-precious concessions from a weak-willed White House, such as in Eastern Europe. Whichever way it chooses to do so, expect Moscow to exercise its increased leverage against America to accelerate its former archenemy’s already rapid loss of influence in the world.

WorldWatch

From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Europe

Europe is waiting for a decisive answer from Germany on what to do with Greece. On February 3, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia announced that he would take the unprecedented step of monitoring the Greek government’s spending. However, apart from issuing vague promises that Greece will not go bust, Europe has not revealed its plan of action. The European Union, however, has jumped on the chance to give itself more powers. It took the unprecedented step of denying Greece its right to vote at an EU meeting in March as a show of disapproval. It has also threatened to invoke Article 126.9 of the Lisbon Treaty, which would force Greece to follow the EU’s program of taxation and spending in order to cut its deficit.

The Dutch government collapsed on February 20 over a disagreement within the ruling coalition over the country’s participation in the Afghanistan war. The Labor Party wanted to keep its campaign promise and bring all Dutch troops home; its coalition partners, the Christian Democrats in the cda and cd, wanted to leave 500 to 600 soldiers in the country as per nato’s request. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands ordered a new election for June 9. One of the biggest beneficiaries will probably be Geert Wilders and his right-wing anti-Islamic Freedom Party. Opinion polls indicate the Party for Freedom would increase its number of seats in the 150-strong parliament from 9 to 24—making it the second-largest party after the Christian Democrats. During local elections at the beginning of March, Wilders’s party came first in one of the two cities where it fielded candidates, and second in the other. Wilders could well be a member of the next government. Watch for more such successes as Europe’s citizens turn further against Islam and immigration.

The Catholic and Orthodox churches must unite in order to defend Europe’s Christian roots, Pope Benedict xvi told a group of Romanian bishops on February 12. As the bishops concluded their regular consultation with the pope, Benedict emphasized the need for them to work with their Orthodox counterparts. This came less than a fortnight after the pope admonished English and Welsh bishops to be generous toward any Anglicans wishing to return to Rome. The Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches are all coming together.

The Catholic Church has been hit by another massive sex scandal, this time in Germany. Around 100 priests and members of the laity are suspected of abuse. “[T]he wall of silence is coming down here in Germany,” wrote Spiegel Online. “It started when Berlin’s Canisius College, an elite Jesuit high school, recently disclosed the sordid past of a number of members of the order who had abused students at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. After that, new victims began coming forward on a daily basis. … A tremor is currently passing through the Catholic Church in Germany” (February 8).

Mideast

Iran celebrated the 31st anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution on February 11, with large-scale rallies in Tehran and across the country. At the same time, security forces cracked down on anti-government protesters holding opposition rallies.

Meanwhile, on February 7, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his atomic chief to enrich uranium to a higher, weapons-grade level of purity. Tehran says it is now enriching uranium to 20 percent.

Additionally, Japanese intelligence sources have revealed that a North Korean shipment of 45 tons of yellowcake—enough for several nuclear bombs—that was originally bound for Syria before Israel struck a plutonium plant under construction there in 2007, was reshipped to Iran two years later. debkafile said this revelation suggests Tehran may be secretly hoarding even more enriched uranium from black-market sources.

President Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials met with Syrian and Hezbollah leaders in Damascus on February 25. Ahmadinejad also had a meeting with leaders of Palestinian terrorist organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Iran and the Persian Gulf state of Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding for defense cooperation on February 24. The fact that Qatar, an ally of the U.S. in its war on terror, is actually strengthening defense ties with the biggest state sponsor of terror demonstrates the unreliable nature of America’s “moderate” Arab allies.

Iran continues to interfere in Iraq. On February 16, America’s commanding general in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, revealed that the two politicians who organized the banning of about 500 Sunni candidates from running in Iraq’s March 7 elections were linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Earlier in the month an appeals panel lifted the ban, a decision that was subsequently overruled by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, despite U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urging Iraqi officials to reconsider. The Maliki government blasted the U.S. for interfering, illustrating just how weak America’s influence in Iraq has become—and how strong Iran’s. As a result, a major Sunni political bloc, the National Dialogue Front, said it would boycott the election.

On the economic front, Iran is seeking to double its trade with Iraq to $8 billion this year, an Iranian official said February 21. Iran is Iraq’s largest trade partner, and has been the biggest investor in its Shiite neighbor since 2003.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has stated that the Lebanese government will officially support Hezbollah in any future conflict with Israel. “I think they’re betting that there might be some division in Lebanon, if there is a war against us,” Hariri said in an interview with the bbc, published on February 10. “Well, there won’t be a division in Lebanon. We will stand against Israel. We will stand with our own people.” Hariri has been considered a moderate in the past—before capitulating to Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian sponsors.

Just two days after Hariri’s statement, the U.S. announced a boost in military aid to Lebanon. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. would provide Lebanon $267 million in military aid. Of course, as U.S. think tank Stratfor points out, “If the United States were to train and equip the Lebanese military, it would run the very real risk of having those trained individuals and all that equipment fall into the hands of one of the many militant groups operating out of Lebanon” (February 17). To avoid this scenario, the U.S. offer reportedly included the development and training of an elite army unit separate from the main Lebanese military, specifically to combat Hezbollah. However, there is no guarantee that Hezbollah would not be able to infiltrate such a force, just as it has the Lebanese Army. The U.S.’s desperation in trying to undercut Hezbollah is evident in that to do so, it is increasing military aid to a government that is openly promising to support the terrorist group in any conflict with Israel.

Asia

Thousands of angrycitizens from across Japan marched through the streets of Tokyo on January 30 to protest the continued U.S. military presence on Okinawa. At present, around 47,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed throughout Japan, more than half of them at the Futenma Air Station on Okinawa. Claiming the U.S. military base is a major source of noise, pollution and crime, a growing number of Japanese are demanding it be removed. In 2006, Tokyo and Washington agreed to relocate the facility to a less-populated area on Okinawa, but polls show a majority of Japanese want a total end to the U.S. military presence in Japan. The pressure on Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is not just coming from the public. Mizuho Fukushima, who leads Hatoyama’s coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (sdp), said her party may quit the coalition if Japan allows the U.S. to stay in Okinawa. Without the sdp, Hatoyama would be unable to pass legislation. This protest was just another of many indications of a change in the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. can no longer count on Japan’s support.

The new leader of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, has begun the process of rebuilding Kiev’s relationship with Moscow. Even before he was sworn in on February 25, Yanukovych announced several pro-Russian defense policies and said nato integration would no longer be a goal for Ukraine. He declared his support for the Kremlin’s plan to create a post-nato European security treaty and renewed a call for a Russian-led consortium to take ownership of Ukraine’s strategic gas transit pipeline network. In response, Russia announced a resumption of diplomatic ties with Ukraine. The message is clear: Yanukovych owes his power and position to the Kremlin, and Moscow expects Ukraine to begin cooperating more wholeheartedly. Rather than launching a “hot” war, Russia has clearly waged a campaign of intimidation, subversion and propaganda. 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.

China expanded its lead as the world’s foremost agricultural producer in 2008 with its food production jumping 30 percent, according to a February 23 note by the World Trade Organization (wto) secretariat. It is another sign of an unmistakable trend: China continues to grow as an economic powerhouse.

China and Russia spoke out in early March against levying harsher United Nations sanctions on Iran, maintaining that negotiations are the best way to resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear program. France, Germany, the U.S. and the UK have presented China and Russia with a proposed set of sanctions targeting Iran’s banking, shipping and Revolutionary Guards Corps. In the coming months, China and Russia are sure to continue to complicate the West’s plans with their reluctance to support any substantial action against Iran.

Beijing and Moscow arrived at an initial agreement on March 4 for a pricing formula for the supply of Russian natural gas to China whereby the price of the gas will be connected to oil prices. Some of the details of the agreement are still undetermined, but talks are progressing quickly. The Xinhua News Agency reported on shortages of fuel used for heating in several Chinese cities during last year’s especially cold winter; the shortages ended after China imported natural gas from Central Asia. Beijing wants to ensure it has sufficient supplies throughout the country this year. Watch for Russia and China to continue to cozy up together economically as a precursor to military alliance.

Latin America/Africa

Argentina is once again pushing its claim to the Falkland Islands. British firms have begun exploring for oil around the Falklands, prompting an angry response from Argentina. The drilling is “illegitimate” and a “violation of our sovereignty,” said Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana, promising that “we will do everything possible to defend and preserve our rights.” On February 11, Argentine authorities boarded a ship they claimed was transporting pipes to the Falklands for the oil excavations. On February 16, the government announced it would prevent ships from traveling through Argentine waters to the Falklands, prompting the Royal Navy to stand by to protect ships traveling there.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed Argentina a major diplomatic victory on March 2 by backing its demands for negotiation with Britain over the Falklands at the UN. This was a major insult to Britain, and further proof of what the Trumpet has been writing for some months now: that the British and American “special relationship” is over. “This was a spectacular slap in the face for America’s closest ally,” wrote the Telegraph, “at a time when thousands of British troops are fighting alongside the United States on the battlefields of Afghanistan” (March 3). “British possession of these islands has meant British control of one of the great sea gates of the world,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong in 1982. “God prophesied that, because of disobedience, we should lose these islands in this end time. All have been lost except these Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong and some other incidental islands” (member and co-worker letter, April 21, 1982). Now Hong Kong is gone. The EU threatens Gibraltar. Watch for Britain to lose the Falklands soon—either to Argentina, or the EU.

The EU plans to restart talks with Mercosur, the Latin American trade bloc, this year to cement a free-trade agreement. Mercosur, led by Argentina and Brazil, was engaged in talks with the EU for such a deal in early 2008, but the discussions stalled. The Plain Truth magazine forecast in May 1962, “[T]he United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.”

Few nations would celebrate the birthday of despot-extraordinaire Robert Mugabe. Yet on February 21, China threw the Zimbabwean president a party at its embassy in Harare to celebrate his 86th birthday. China is hungry for resources and has no qualms about dealing with genocidal dictators to get them. Chinese troops have been seen walking the streets of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest cities. Asia and Europe are destined to become locked in a fierce competition over Africa’s resources.

All companies operating in Zimbabwe that have over $500,000 worth of assets must be at least 51 percent owned by “indigenous” Zimbabweans—or blacks—by 2015, according to a law that went into force March 1. The companies affected have 45 days to send the government a plan of how they will accomplish this. Violently removing farm owners from their land has led to catastrophic famines in Zimbabwe. Doing the same thing to business will make things even worse.

The South African anc-led government continues to show solidarity with Iran even as the West grapples with trying to stop the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear threat. South Africa’s Speaker of Parliament Max Sisulu met with his Iranian counterpart, Ali Larijani, in Tehran on January 23. Additionally, South Africa has been cultivating a close relationship with Russia. These two countries together possess most of the world’s strategic minerals—some 90 percent of them. Back in 1997, we wrote in our booklet South Africa in Prophecy, “[I]f an African National Congress (anc)-South African Communist Party (sacp)-dominated government in South Africa forges links with the Islamic-Arab crescent in consortium with Russia, only those who bow to radical Islam and a Communist-led anc may get their raw materials!” The relationship between South Africa and Iran is one to watch.

Anglo-America

On February 1, the U.S. Defense Department officially scrapped its two-war doctrine. In the past, the United States military has been prepared to simultaneously fight two major conventional wars single-handedly. However, the new Quadrennial Defense Review focuses on non-state threats and reliance on allies, stating, “The United States cannot sustain a stable international system alone.”

Also in early February, Congress approved the federal government to go into debt by $1.9 trillion more. The vote increased the notional cap on federal debt to $14.3 trillion.

On February 18, a Texas man intentionally crashed his single-engine airplane into a government building in Austin, Texas, killing an employee of the Internal Revenue Service, which he was targeting. Less than a month later, a California man dressed in a suit and carrying two semiautomatic weapons calmly walked up to two police officers at the Pentagon and shot them both before being killed in return fire.

News sources reported in February that American forces in Iraq will cease all combat operations on September 1 and transfer all operations to Iraqi forces. Although last year was the third-deadliest for U.S. troops in Iraq, the war has slipped from headlines and from the president’s priority list. President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, has only mentioned the war, in passing, three times in his formal speeches, focusing instead on domestic issues such as health care. As the Trumpet has long forecast, America’s involvement in Iraq—and its withdrawal—will only lead to a takeover by Iran.

The Canadian press reported that a new study revealed the average Canadian family’s debt climbed to can$96,100 in 2009. The survey found the average debt-to-income ratio at 145 percent, the highest ratio recorded by the 11-year-old study.

A February Ofgem report estimated that although energy bills for British consumers have doubled over the past six years, they could rise another 25 percent by 2020. The survey also revealed the nation’s energy security situation is deteriorating as fast as its North Sea reserves. By 2015, Britain will be importing three quarters of its gas, which it relies on to generate 40 percent of its electricity and to heat almost every British home.

A February poll found that most British voters believe they are living in a “broken Britain.” Nearly three out of five said they hardly recognize their country, and are deeply pessimistic. The survey showed that 42 percent admitted they want to emigrate.

One True Religion—One True Church!

Religion is relevant to life in the 21st century.
From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Despite centuries of secularist efforts to tear religion down, it has returned with a vengeance to become the most divisive force in society today. Whether it be marriage, family, human relations, or discourses on morals and ethics in a confused and confusing society, religion is woven through the entire debate on the future of civilization.

Religions of all forms have created a foundation whole societies for generations. But it is the two great evangelizing religions—Christianity and Islam—that have wrought so much destruction over the centuries in their clashes against each other, and in recent times caused so much suffering for the Jew in particular. These three religions—Judaism, Islam and Christianity—have had the most powerful influence on society over the past 2,000 years.

Sooner or later, any thinking person who believes in what Sir Winston Churchill termed “divine Providence” has to ask and seek to answer the question, “What is the true religion?”

So let’s consider that question. A good place to start would be to define the term religion.

The Britannica Dictionary defines it, “Any system of faith and worship.” Though such a definition includes all three religions that accept one or both testaments of the book known as the Holy Bible, it also includes those that don’t. It is thus too broad for our purpose. We shall narrow that definition to embrace “A system of faith and worship that claims to believe in the one true Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”

As our audience is formed primarily of those who do believe in one omnipotent God, it is to these three predominant religions that we look to prove the answer to our question, “What is true religion?”

The Truth About God

Judaism, Islam and Christianity in its three major forms—Roman Catholicism, Orthodox and Protestant—all purport to believe in one true God. To the Jew, that is yhvh, as revealed in the Torah. To the Islamic believer, it is Allah, as revealed in the Koran and the writings of Mohammed. To the Roman Catholic, the Godhead is triune—consisting of the God of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ of the New Testament, and a personified Holy Spirit—plus Mary, queen of heaven. To the Protestant, the Godhead is the trinity, without the attachment to Mary.

Why is it that these three religions, all claiming to believe in the God of the Abraham of the Torah (the Old Testament), two of them claiming Abraham as their ancestor, so thoroughly disagree on a singular definition of the God that Abraham worshiped?

The Old Testament definitions of God are clear, precise and impossible for the open mind to misunderstand. He is the beginning of all things (Genesis 1:1). There are no other gods apart from the one true God (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60; Isaiah 45:5; Joel 2:27). He is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:7-8). He prophesies the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10; 48:3-5). He never changes (Malachi 3:6). He prophesied the coming of the Messiah, the city of His birth, the exact duration of His earthly ministry and His return to set up God’s government over all (Daniel 9:25-27; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 9:6-7).

Concerning the true historical figure of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, those familiar at the time with the prophecies of His coming to the Earth to fulfill His short 3½-year ministry would have known the prophesied timing and location of His birth in Bethlehem. That is clearly why scholars of those ancient prophecies came to Bethlehem to search Him out in the early autumn of 4 b.c. They had computed the time of the event from the prophetic accounts in the Old Testament (Matthew 2:1-6).

The only provable historic accounts of the Messiah’s prophesied birth are recorded in the New Testament of the Bible. The subsequent eyewitness accounts of His ministry, the history of the early Church, plus that of the first apostles ordained by Jesus Christ, are recorded there.

The True Church Must Exist!

Thus to the mind opened to the revelation of truth, there can only be one true religion. That is the one that embraces all of the teachings referred to above—and which is also fulfilling Christ’s commission to His disciples to go into all the world and preach His original, unembellished message to everyone (Mark 16:15).

That being the case, we have to recognize that Christ established a church founded upon His direct leadership under the administration of one of His disciples, the Apostle Peter, to fulfill the commission He gave it, prophesying that it would never die out! (Matthew 16:18).

Where is that church today?

Christ established only one church under and by His divine authority, based on one divinely inspired body of doctrine (Ephesians 4:5). He is the personification of the Word of God (John 1:1). That means, by definition, that the one true Church He established will not only exist today, but it will also possess the same, unchangeable doctrine He gave it at the beginning. It will be founded not upon only one testament of the Bible, but two, for as one of the foundational apostles of the Church, the Apostle Paul, declared, the true Church is founded upon the apostles and the prophets! (Ephesians 2:20).

That church will exhibit faith not in a triune god but in a Godhead comprised of Father and Son (John 14:6-14). It will not worship at the throne of the queen of heaven. It will have no history of slaughter through crusading to extend its empire (Matthew 10:14). It will be a small flock, comprised of the weak and the base of society (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). It will be an embattled church (John 15:20), persecuted but vibrantly energetic in fulfilling its mission by the power of the Holy Spirit, the very power of Almighty God! (Acts 1:8). It will be a church given to fulfilling a mission of prophecy! (Revelation 10:11).

Where is that one true Church today? It must exist, for Jesus Christ its Head declared of it that the gates of the grave would never shut it down—it would never die!

A Coming Clash of Religions

Like it or not, religion, the church and Jesus Christ are vital topics of discussion once again. Even a mass-circulation newsmagazine has asked the question, “Jesus—Will He Ever Return?” Yet again, religion dominates international relations, particularly in the hottest spot of international tension, the Middle East. It is at the core of the pope’s cry for a great evangelizing of Europe. Religion is at the heart of the war in Afghanistan. Religion is the spur for Islamist terror. It is at the very foundation of the Jewish state.

Your Bible prophesies the coming clash between two powers, a great northern power and a southern power, each driven by religious zealotry to seek universal domination. Religion is about to affect your life profoundly, whether or not you are a believer. Believe it or not, your Bible prophesies of a global power that will soon dictate whether or not, and how often, you will eat! (Revelation 13:11-18).

There is only one true Church that can explain to you the relevance of today’s tumultuous world events to your life, where this is all leading, what you can do to cope with the impact, and the guaranteed outcome. Believe it or not, the church Jesus Christ founded so long ago does exist in its original purity of doctrine amid and despite all the religious and anti-religious confusion that floods society today.

You need to read two basic booklets, which are entirely politically incorrect, mincing no words and pulling no punches in revealing the plain truth about the one true God, and the reality of God’s Word. Request our free booklets Does God Exist? and The Proof of the Bible and begin to experience the power of the Word of God working in your life!

Why China Is Fleeing the Dollar

From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Most Americans have little idea what is happening to the economy. Many people think America is emerging from a vicious little recession and will soon be back on the road to prosperity. America always has, so it always will, is the common reasoning.

Yet this time, things may turn out very different. On January 8, cnbc reported that the U.S. Federal Reserve purchased an unprecedented 80 percent of all U.S. treasury securities issued in 2009.

This is earthshaking, game-changing news with possibly lethal repercussions. Here is why.

How America Went Into Debt

During 2009, the federal government ran a $1.4 trillion deficit—the largest in world history, more than triple the size of the previous year’s record-breaking deficit.

Since Americans save so little money, foreigners have come to provide almost all the federal government’s borrowing needs in recent years. They do this by purchasing U.S. treasury bonds. This was a win-win for them: Not only would they earn interest on their money, but also, since American consumers tend to spend the borrowed money purchasing foreign-made goods, a good proportion of the money cycled right back to them.

From 2006 through November 2009, Beijing lent $527 billion to America through treasury purchases alone. Hong Kong lent an additional $100 billion. Other countries like Japan lent hundreds of billions more. Then there were the hundreds of billions of dollars they lent to government-sponsored entities like mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But now it is as if the foreign nations see the writing on the wall. They realize that America is addicted to debt and that their loans might never get repaid. As a result, America’s most important source of lending is drying up.

Want to Buy Some Treasuries?

On February 17, the Department of the Treasury reported that last December, foreign demand for U.S. treasury securities fell by more than in any month ever recorded.

China led the pack. It reduced its dollar holdings by over $34 billion—about 4 percent of its holdings. For six months in a row, China not only stopped lending money to the federal government, it actuallysoldtreasuries.

China has been America’s most important creditor. Is China just rebalancing its portfolio for the short term, or is this the beginning of a structural move away from the dollar? If China is trying to quietly get out as much of its money as possible while it can, the greenback could be in a lot of trouble. At the very least, it could mean higher interest rates for America—which would really hurt consumers, who are loaded with debt. Not only that, but it would set a dangerous precedent. China holds most of the world’s supply of investable funds. That means that where China invests, and how long it supports the dollar, and what it does with its own internal credit policies, sets the tone for investors all over the world.

Perhaps that is why oil-exporting nations like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and Venezuela have been net sellers of treasuries since June too. Thus, two of America’s four most important foreign creditors are awol.

All things being equal, this exodus of foreign money would have caused massive credit contraction capable of smothering America: interest rates skyrocketing into the double digits, zombified Wall Street banks with broken business models, small businesses unable to roll over their debts, a housing market in a renewed free fall, soaring consumer bankruptcies, and unemployment worse than the Great Depression.

So far, this has not happened. Why? Faced with the above list of catastrophes, the Federal Reserve decided to risk the biggest catastrophe of all in a forlorn attempt to avoid the inevitable financial reckoning.

To prop up the economy, the Federal Reserve began doing the one practice anathema to all fiat-currency-based economic systems: creating money out of thin air.

Funny Money

Remember that $1.4 trillion deficit America ran last year? Eighty percent of that—$1.12 trillion worth—was funny money. The U.S. government needed money, and since foreigners were unwilling or unable to provide it, the Federal Reserve simply turned on its digital printing presses and electronically sent over some ones and zer0s.

But the Fed didn’t just print money to give to the government to spend. It also created close to $1 trillion to prop up asset prices in America. It printed money to give to the big banks and to purchase toxic mortgages from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was theft and highway robbery on a grand scale because the Fed did nothing to earn this money: It simply said it had the money, and it was so. Consequently, all other money in circulation—yours, your grandma’s and Uncle Fred’s money—became worth less. The Fed now has over $2 trillion worth of assets on its balance sheet—mostly money it willed into existence over the past year.

No wonder foreigners are beginning to flee the dollar. The Fed is doing what every failed fiat currency system in the history of paper money has done. To governing officials under financial pressure, the temptations of the printing press are too great.

The results are always disastrous. Once you start down the money-printing road, it is almost impossible to turn back.

The history of money printing says the dollar is doomed. Maybe that is why the Chinese have dumped their Fannie and Freddie investments. During 2009, they took the Fed’s newly created money and ran while the dollars still had some value remaining. After all, the dollar has lost almost a third of its value over the past decade.

Prettying Ourselves Up

Did you know that this exact scenario in which America finds itself was prophesied thousands of years ago?

Speaking of the modern nations descended from ancient Israel, of which America is currently the most geopolitically prominent, the Prophet Jeremiah warned that a time would come when America’s trade partners would abandon it despite America’s best attempts to pretty itself up. “And when you are plundered, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, though you enlarge your eyes with paint, in vain you will make yourself fair; your lovers will despise you; they will seek your life” (Jeremiah 4:30; New King James Version).

America has two choices: Raise interest rates to try to attract its economic lovers back to lend more money (which means America’s debt payments would mushroom, potentially derailing the economy), or continue to destroy the dollar to pay the bills. Neither option is attractive. Expect America’s foreign lovers to keep voting with their feet—as they head out the door.

Will Crisis Oust Britain From the EU?

From the April 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

Forty years ago, amid great industrial upheaval and economic stagnation, Britain was branded as “the sick man of Europe.” Margaret Thatcher rose to the occasion, stared down Britain’s militant labor unions, privatized languishing state-run services and rescued the nation from crisis.

There simply is no 21st-century Thatcher to come to Britain’s aid amid a far greater crisis facing the nation today.

Britain risks overtaking Greece as the sickest economy in the EU. Yet it is faced with a greater problem than Greece. Greece, as a member of the eurozone, does have a lender of last resort with which to plead its case for a bailout: the European Central Bank. Britain, which refused membership of the euroclub in order to maintain its own pound sterling currency, can hardly seek favor with the Eurobank in times of crisis. It would probably have to turn to the International Monetary Fund, like the Third World nations that usually receive imf largesse. This would result in a tremendous loss of national prestige—that is, assuming embattled Britain has any remaining prestige to lose.

Writing for the Telegraph, Ambrose-Evans Pritchard mused, “The Greek crisis is a dress rehearsal for attacks on any sovereign state with public accounts in disarray. While Britain went in to this crisis with a much lower public debt than Greece or Italy (though higher total debt than either), it now has the highest budget deficit in the oecd [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] rich club—and perhaps the world—at 13 percent of gdp.

“I have a very nasty feeling that markets are about to pounce on Britain. … A disorderly fall in sterling at this stage (i.e. collapse) could prove as traumatic as default” (February 15).

A few days later, the Telegraph reported, “Britain’s public finances may end this year in a worse state than those of Greece, economists warned yesterday, raising serious fears over the economic stability of the country” (February 19).

Emphasizing the problem, the annual January surge in tax receipts that normally boost the British Treasury did not occur. Instead, for the first time in 17 years, public finances plunged into the red in the first month of the year. Official figures showed that the government actually borrowed £4.3 billion in January to keep the nation afloat. “The Office for National Statistics said the government had never before had to borrow cash in January, adding that the shortfall meant it had now borrowed £122 billion so far this financial year, equivalent to around £2,000 for every man, woman and child in the country” (ibid.).

The cost of such borrowing is proving more expensive to Britain than the cost of loans to the ailing Spanish and Italians. Added to this is the huge exposure of British banks to those EU nations presently in the greatest economic difficulty, the so-called Club Med, or pigs nations—Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. A consequence of all this, which just adds to Britain’s financial and economic woes, is that the market is not buying British bonds. Then there’s the bad news from the real-estate market, indicating that mortgage lending fell by 32 percent in January.

This all adds up to one sorry mess for Britain. It is not only that Britain risks the loss of its triple-A credit rating. Leading academics, economists and businessmen have warned that “without action on the public finances, Britain could face a crippling fiscal crisis” (ibid.).

Over the past 20 years, Britain has increasingly sold off not only crucial businesses but also numerous strategic assets. It has even yielded up the administration of some of its counties to foreign entities. Yet, despite retaining its beloved but battered pound sterling, Britain long ago began signing over its national sovereignty to the European Union. That action was consummated with the government signing the European constitution, thus virtually making Britain an EU vassal state subject to the whim of Brussels/Berlin.

Herbert Armstrong prophesied long ago that Britain would either opt out or be kicked out of the European Union. The day of that occurring may be closer than we think. If Berlin is prepared to play hardball with a fellow European nation like Greece when it is in a tough spot, what do you really think, based on the lessons of history alone, it might do to the offshore islands of Britain if faced with a similar situation there? Britain has placed its economy in a tenuous situation by allowing not only many of its top brand names to be taken over by EU member nations, in particular Germany, but too many of its strategic assets—and too much of its national debt, also.

How NOT to Have A World Without Nukes

How NOT to Have A World Without Nukes

©iStock.com/The Trumpet

President Obama’s nuclear nonproliferation efforts will lead to another global war.
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

The post-World War i disarmament movement, as journalist Walter Lippmann observed in 1943, was “tragically successful in disarming the nations that believed in disarmament” (emphasis mine throughout). Those who weren’t believers, of course, were responsible for the nightmare of the Second World War.

History is now repeating itself.

In April, one year after his pledge in Prague to seek “a world without nuclear weapons,” U.S. President Barack Obama told the New York Times that he would not use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state, even if that nation attacked the U.S. with biological or chemical weapons.

The administration’s new position on nuclear weapons was spelled out in the Pentagon’s Nuclear Policy Review (npr), also released in April. One of the report’s key conclusions is this statement: “The United States will continue to strengthen conventional capabilities and reduce the role of nuclear weapons in deterring non-nuclear attacks, with the objective of making deterrence of nuclear attack on the United States or our allies and partners the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons.”

It’s a striking contrast to the wording used in the 2001 npr: “Nuclear weapons play a critical role in the defense capabilities of the United States, its allies and friends. They provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats, includingwmd and large-scale conventional military force.” Of the seven nations that report identified as the most significant threats to the United States, five of them didn’t even have nuclear weapons.

Even in 1997, during the Bill Clinton years, a presidential directive warned that the U.S. wouldn’t use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states except “in the case of an invasion or any other attack on the United States.”

In fact, ever since the beginning of the Cold War, every U.S. administration has at least allowed for the possibility of using nuclear power to answer dangerous threats from non-nuclear enemies. The policy has never been spelled out explicitly. It was meant to be ambiguous in order to keep potential adversaries off balance, in hopes that they wouldn’t attack.

The Obama doctrine effectively removes any ambiguity. It lays America’s cards on the table for all to see. It marks the first time any U.S. president has publicly outlined specific circumstances in which America would not use nuclear weapons if attacked.

Thus, America’s enemies now know they can avoid a devastating nuclear counterstrike as long as they comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. As columnist Charles Krauthammer explained, “It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections” (April 9).

Leaving aside the immoral absurdity of the above scenario, strategically speaking, it’s dangerously naive and childish. “Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?” Krauthammer asked.

Evidently, the current administration in the White House believes the answer is yes. The Obama administration firmly believes that the dream of a nuclear-weapons-free world won’t happen unless the United States sets the example and dismantles its nuclear arsenal first.

“This approach,” Vice President Joseph Biden wrote in the Los Angeles Times on April 7, “provides additional incentive for countries to fully comply with nonproliferation norms.”

The opposite is true. This approach actually accelerates proliferation—particularly among rogue states and ascendant powers rushing to fill the power vacuum left by the United States.

Can Russia Be Trusted?

In the same week President Obama pared down the list of conditions for using nuclear weapons, he signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia, agreeing to slash America’s nuclear weapons arsenal by one third and to cut in half the number of missiles, submarines and bombers used to deliver them. This, the president said, will set the stage for further cuts. “It is just one step on a longer journey,” he added.

A majority of Americans, meanwhile, oppose downsizing the U.S. arsenal. Only 31 percent believe Russia will even honor the agreement.

All one has to do to know Moscow’s intentions is look at what it was busy doing in the lead-up to signing this treaty: Distributing as many weapons as possible to America’s enemies—and promising nuclear assistance to anti-American Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.

A week before the treaty, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visiting Venezuela for the first time, signed 31 agreements in oil, trade—and nuclear power. The two leaders signed a letter of intent to build a nuclear power station, which of course Chávez hastily assured the world would not be used to build a nuclear bomb. Upon returning to Moscow, Putin said Russia’s arms exports to Venezuela may exceed $5 billion. Already, Venezuela has bought $4 billion worth of military equipment from Russia in the past five years.

That same week, China took delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia as part of a contract worth up to $2.25 billion. Meanwhile, as American Thinker reported, “Russia has been conducting quite a business by selling the same S-300 ‘Favorit’ (the world’s most powerful and efficient air defense system) to many countries hostile to the U.S. and Israel: Syria, India, Algeria, Malaysia, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia”—and possibly Iran (April 7).

On the day Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the arms reduction treaty with President Obama, he made a point to say there are limits to Russia’s support for sanctions against Iran for its nuclear ambition. According to the Washington Post, Medvedev objects to the kind of harsh sanctions “that would create economic hardship for Iran, foment financial chaos or lead to regime change” (April 9). In other words, Russia opposes anything that might conceivably convince Tehran to set aside its nuclear weapons program.

Added to that, within days of the April 8 signing, Medvedev was already warning the United States that Russia might withdraw from the disarmament treaty if the U.S. didn’t meet Russian demands regarding U.S. missile defense plans in Europe.

Russia certainly has its own idea of arms control.

But never mind that—President Obama believes in unilateral disarmament.

No New Weapons

Besides dismantling nukes and promising not to use the remaining arsenal to retaliate against a chemical or biological attack, President Obama also reassured potential enemies that America will not conduct nuclear testing, or pursue new military missions, or develop any new nuclear weapons, or develop new capabilities for nuclear weapons.

Out with the old—and out with the new! Even the New York Times sees America’s Cold War stockpile of weapons as “an aging, oversized, increasingly outmoded nuclear arsenal” (April 6). But don’t count on there being any upgrades—at least not during the present administration.

Meanwhile, absolutely nothing prevents Russia, China or the European Union—not to mention Iran and North Korea—from continuing the research and development they need to build the next generation of nuclear weapons.

And they will continue to build even as America continues its one-man-nuclear-disarmament show. The president firmly believes that America’s national security, as well as that of its allies, “can be increasingly defended by America’s unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses.” The greatest threat facing the U.S. and the rest of the world, President Obama said on April 6, “is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states.”

Why focus on nukes when the “greatest threat” now comes from “violent extremists”? Who these violent extremists actually are is an open question, judging by the revisions being made to the official document outlining America’s national security strategy. According to Associated Press, President Obama’s advisers are currently removing terms like Islamic extremism and jihad in order to “emphasize that the United States does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terror” (April 7).

Thus, the strategic approach to fighting radical Islam is effectively this: Close your eyes and hope they go away. And as for the possibility of global nuclear war, the npr assures us that threat is now “remote.”

It couldn’t be more wrong. Nuclear war is the greatest threat facing America! Prophecy says so (Amos 5:3; Matthew 24:21-22)—which is why America’s quest for a nuke-free world is of special significance. It’s actually accelerating the fulfillment of those end-time prophecies. Even 20th century history teaches this lesson.

“Not Simply to Talk, But to Act”

Following the Nuclear Policy Review and the disarmament treaty with Russia, 47 nations joined forces with President Obama in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit. “Today is an opportunity,” the president said on April 13, “not simply to talk, but to act. Not simply to make pledges, but to make real progress on the security of our people.”

Yet, in coming away from the summit, one of the biggest “achievements” was convincing China to at least talk about the possibility of sanctions against Iran. According to news reports, President Obama reassured Chinese President Hu Jintao that if Iran responded to sanctions by cutting off its flow of crude into China, the United States would intervene to help China re-stock its oil supply.

As if Iran is somehow holding China over a barrel because of its crude oil supply. It’s China that’s holding the United States over a barrel! Iran’s destabilizing presence in the Middle East is a strategic benefit to China because it counterbalances American dominance in the region.

Surely there must be someone in Washington who understands that.

Not surprisingly, the day after China agreed to talk sanctions, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official in Beijing was quick to clarify. He said, “China supports a dual-track strategy and has always believed that dialogue and negotiations are the optimal channels for resolving the Iranian nuclear issue. Sanctions and pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the issues.

It was yet another flop that negotiators hardly stumbled over en route to their next diplomatic achievement: the disarmament of Ukraine. Then Canada. Then Malaysia and Mexico.

To think—it was the largest gathering of world leaders to assemble on American soil since World War ii—and the best they could come up with was the disarmament of Canada. Meanwhile, the most dangerous nuclear threats facing civilization barely entered the discussion, and the prime minister of Israel backed out of the summit for fear of being ambushed by Arab leaders about giving up his own nation’s nuclear arsenal.

What a stunning display of national weakness on the part of America. It’s nothing short of a step-by-step reenactment of the 1930s. At that time, Britain and France demilitarized, supposing Germany was disarming also. Hitler exploited this spirit of appeasement to actually re-arm, with Soviet help. And when he went on the offensive, Britain and France were unprepared to respond.

It will happen again. And it will result in the greatest explosion of violence this world has ever seen.

Only then, after yet another painfully sad repetition of history, will the illusion of arms control be horrifically revealed as a tragic success.