Europe Must Reclaim the Mediterranean

Europe Must Reclaim the Mediterranean

MAHMOUD KHALED/AFP/Getty Images

Preventing radical Islam from gaining a foothold in North Africa and the Middle East is a matter of survival.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

In the world of geopolitics, the map is a prophetic instrument.

Consider the political upheavals in Egypt, and the inevitable emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo’s new government. More broadly, consider radical Islam’s growing presence and influence in places like Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan. As extremist Islamic forces gain footholds in these countries, will they provoke transformations beyond the Middle East and North Africa? If so, where?

For the answers, we need only study a world map. What quickly becomes apparent is radical Islam’s rise as a potent and controlling force in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. And which region, outside that theater, does this trend threaten more than any other? In virtually every conceivable way—politically, economically, strategically, demographically, culturally—it threatensEurope!

A Strategic Threat

As Egypt exploded in February, the Guardian’s Timothy Garton Ash, in an article aptly titled “If This Is Young Arabs’ 1989, Europe Must Be Ready With a Bold Response,” warned that if violent, anti-Western Islamic forces gain the upper hand in Egypt and throughout North Africa, “producing so many new Irans,” then “heaven help us all” (February 2; emphasis mine throughout). The stakes in the Mediterranean could hardly be higher for Europe, Ash stated: “If that does not add up to a vital European interest, I don’t know what does.”

Shamefully, few other commentators have analyzed the rise of radical Islam in the Arab world in this context. Some of Europe’s leaders, though, know precisely what is at stake. On February 4, for example, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, in an article that warranted more attention than it received, warned it was time for Europe to think “geopolitically, not just fiscally, about the Mediterranean.”

In a glimpse of how European elites are digesting events in Egypt, Fischer said that “what the European Union is facing in the Mediterranean region isn’t primarily a currency problem; first and foremost, it is a strategic problemone that requires finding solutions urgently.”

To understand Fischer’s alarm, consider a map of the Mediterranean (pages 2-3). What quickly becomes evident is that radical Islam, under Iran’s direction, is gaining control of strategic assets vital to Europe!

Controlling the Mediterranean

One of Europe’s most important strategic assets is the Strait of Gibraltar. Situated on Spain’s southern tip, dividing Europe from Africa, this sea-lane is the gateway into the Mediterranean Sea. Each year more than 80,000 vessels—many carrying goods to and from the shores of Europe’s largest economies, particularly Spain, Italy and Greece—transit the maritime gateway. The deep-water Port of Gibraltar is one of the busiest and most important in Europe.

From Gibraltar, one can peer across less than 15 miles of ocean and see Morocco, a bustling nation of 31 million, 98 percent of whom are Muslim. Morocco’s government and populace are relatively stable, but experts say Islamic terrorist organizations in recent years have taken root in the country. Some have joined forces with drug cartels smuggling their wares into Europe. Others are actively working to overthrow the Moroccan government.

More worryingly for Europe, radical Islam is gaining power in neighboring Algeria, both as a terrorist force and through various political entities. Following the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, protesters hit the streets in Algeria demanding the removal of strongman President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who since 1999 has governed under a state of emergency rule. And the country has emerged as a terrorist mecca. According to former cia official and counterterrorism expert Charles Allen, al Qaeda is using Algeria as a breeding ground.

Al Qaeda “functions as an umbrella organization for a disparate collection of Sunni Muslim terrorist elements determined to attack what they see as apostate regimes in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania and Morocco,” Allen said. Another expert said the region is emerging as al Qaeda’s next Afghanistan.

For Europe, the rising dominance of radical Islam in territory adjacent to its most crucial sea-lane amounts to a majorstrategic threat!

A thousand miles east of Gibraltar is Tunisia. Apparently, this country, after the recent ousting of its authoritarian president, is embracing the democratic election of a new government. No one knows what it will look like, but experts expect Islamist political parties to emerge with considerable influence, particularly Ennahdha, the leading Islamist party—known for its anti-Western, extremist roots.

From Tunisia, the shores of Sicily are a little over 150 miles away. That region has historically been a staging ground for armies seeking to invade Europe via the Italian peninsula. For Europe, the emergence of a government in Tunisia that identifies with radical Islam and allows the nation to become a launch pad for radical Islam into Europe would be a strategic threat!

Then there’s the Suez Canal, which bisects Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Each day, 2 to 3 million barrels of oil and fuel products pass through the canal and the energy pipelines that transit the Suez desert, which is controlled by Egypt. About two thirds of that energy ends up in Europe, where it accounts for 5 to 7 percent of the Continent’s oil consumption. If radical Islam, via the Muslim Brotherhood, gains power in Cairo, it could shut down the Suez.

For Europe, the transfer of the Suez Canal into the hands of radical Islam would be a strategic and financial catastrophe!

But it’s not just the Suez that poses a potential vulnerability for Europe. Radical Islam has also established a presence, in most cases decisively, in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen. Except for Ethiopia, each of these countries is adjacent to the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden, the vital sea-lanes connecting the Arabian and Mediterranean seas—connecting Asia with Europe. In addition to their role as maritime highways, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden contain vital ports from which Middle Eastern oil is shipped to the world.

For Europe, the thought of the entire Red Sea region falling under the control of radical Islam is a strategic and economic nightmare!

Another sliver of territory crucial to Europe is the Dardanelle Strait and the Sea of Marmara, which connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Historically, these have generally marked the line between Europe and the Middle East. Today, these vital sea-lanes are controlled by Turkey. Since World War i, this nation has been a secular state nurturing warm relations with the West, especially Europe. As long as Turkey remained a secular, pro-Western state, Europe had no need to worry about the sea-lanes.

In recent years, however, Turkey has raised concern in Europe. Hardline Islamist forces have gained greater religious and political influence. More worryingly, Istanbul seems to be losing interest in its relations with the West, including Europe, and instead prioritizing its relations with its Muslim neighbors, particularly Iran. In February, after Iran and Turkey concluded discussions and deals further strengthening ties, Iran’s parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani gloated that “strategic cooperation between the two countries contributes to regional and global peace and stability.”

Europe doesn’t believe that. For Europe, the thought of Iran’s mullahs exploiting relations with Turkey to meddle in the Dardanelles and the Black Sea is deeply alarming!

Furthermore, as Turkey continues to gravitate toward Iran, expect tension between Europe and Turkey over control of Cyprus to intensify. The island nation is a member of the European Union, but over a third of it is controlled by Turkey and considers itself a separate Turkish republic.

Europe recognizes Cyprus’s strategic position—at the crossroads of the Aegean and Mediterranean, and adjacent to the volatile Middle East—and its crucial role in past European ventures into the Mideast and North Africa.

As Turkey slides toward Iran, expect Europe to step up efforts to reclaim the whole of Cyprus!

Other Provocations

Two other trends in the radical Islamic camp also deeply concern European leaders. First, Europe, and particularly the Vatican, are alarmed by radical Islam’s war on Christianity—especially Catholics.

In recent months, radical Islam has intensified its attacks on Christians around the world, particularly in Muslim nations. Most people in the West have only recently woken to this war, and largely as a result of the brutal bombing of Coptic Christians in Alexandria, Egypt, on New Year’s Eve. But in the last few months, hundreds of Catholics have been killed or injured by radical Islamic terrorists, from Russia to the Philippines, Nigeria to Pakistan. It is reaching the point where Pope Benedict xvi and Catholic Europe are bound to respond forcefully to these attacks!

Second, the growth inside Europe of Muslim communities, many of which shelter small but dangerous radical Islamic camps, is impelling Europeans to look for ways to preserve European culture and institutions. The last few months have witnessed a noticeable rise in anti-Muslim attitudes throughout the Continent. In February, several European leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, declared publicly that multiculturalism in Europe has failed. After visiting Europe in February, Daniel Pipes, an Islamic affairs expert, reported, “Perhaps alone in the coterie focused on the Islamist threat to Europe, I am cheerful these days. That’s because I see the anti-Islamist reaction growing even more quickly than the Islamist threat itself.”

The Time Is Right

Truly, when you look at the map and consider the rise of radical Islam, it’s difficult to exaggerate just how much is at stake for Europe in the Mediterranean. Historically, the Mediterranean Sea belongs to Europe. Strategically, the Strait of Gibraltar, the coast of Tunisia, the Suez Canal and Red Sea, the Dardanelles and Cyprus are vital to Europe’s national security.

Since the start of this year, it has become obvious that radical Islam—a vehemently anti-Western, violent, aggressive and uncompromising force—is campaigning to seize control of Europe’s southern flank. Iran is at the vanguard of this uprising.

As reality sinks in, Europe is realizing: Inaction is not an option!

This explains why Joschka Fischer is imploring Europe to seriously engage governments in North Africa and the Middle East that have yet to come under radical Islamic influence. “European officials in Brussels and the major European Union governments should not go for political and economic half-measures when it comes to the Mediterranean states,” he wrote. The EU is certain, sometime soon, to heed Fischer’s advice. It has too much at stake not to!

More significantly, the rise of radical Islam in the Mediterranean—the region Winston Churchill termed Europe’s soft underbelly—will serve as a powerful impetus for Europe to continue to forge itself into a streamlined and dominant political, economic and military superstate. Be assured, events in Egypt are showing Europe that if it wants to survive as a unified power—if it wants continued access to energy and resources from Africa and the Middle East—if it wants to stop radical Islam’s war on Christians—if it wants to purge Islamic extremists from the Continent—then it must summon the political and military will and might to confront Iran and its radical Islamic proxies.

Watch Europe closely. It knows the window of opportunity to tackle radical Islam’s mounting armies is closing. It is about to reclaim the Mediterranean!

Charting the Future

Charting the Future

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Pay close attention to what German leaders said at two recent summits, and you know what to expect in Europe— and the world.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

What a dramatic barnburner of a year 2010 was! What will this year bring? Important clues were dropped at two crucial summits that kick-started 2011 for world leaders—one in Davos, the other in Munich.

A close reading of the stance adopted by elites during these high-power conferences gives more than an inkling of what’s in store for Europe—and, thus, the rest of the globe—in the coming months.

You need to understand the far-reaching ramifications.

The annual World Economic Forum met in Davos, Switzerland, January 26 to 30. In past years, the focus has been specifically on trying to project an economic vision for the world for the year ahead. This year, however, the emphasis was patently geopolitical. This change, though not scheduled, was a natural outgrowth of the participants being deeply concerned about the state of the world. They see risks to global stability accelerating on three fronts—the failure to solve the ongoing financial crisis, the shift of growth and wealth to the emerging economies of the east and south, and revolutionary change in the Middle East.

That focus on geopolitical risks in a time of increasing global economic, political and social dislocation continued as many participants shuttled on to Munich for the annual Munich Security Conference. Here, an important reality became clear. It may well be that the emerging economies, led by China, are setting the pace economically at present. However, it is Europe, specifically Germany, that is charting a new direction for global politics.

The Importance of Munich

The Munich conference was born in 1962 of an idea of Ewald Heinrich von Kleist, son of a prominent military officer of the same name who rose to the status of field marshal under Hitler. Both father and son were involved in the plots to assassinate Hitler. After the war, while the elder von Kleist died in prison in Russia, the younger became a successful publisher. He established the Wehrkunde Conference.

The Wehrkunde brought together cabinet ministers, members of parliament, high-ranking representatives of the armed forces, scientists and representatives of the media from all over the world once a year to meet in Munich. There they convened to discuss matters involving international security.

By 1999, the Wehrkunde had changed its name to the Munich Security Conference, chaired by Horst Teltschik, former national security adviser to the German government. It had by then become the premier annual global security summit.

In 2009, Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger was appointed chairman of the conference. Under his chairmanship, this year’s conference was its largest ever and—it could be argued, given the continuing global economic crisis and the destabilization of the Middle East—its most crucial.

At Munich, Bavaria, Germany now plays the host annually to the most high-profile gathering of world leaders involved in national and international security policy for the year ahead. It is in the corridors at Munich that alliances are considered and debated and global security strategy is refined.

Just a couple of months earlier, nato held its annual summit, during which it laid out the new transatlantic security model in a new strategic concept. Thus, participants at the Munich Security Conference—who also had just come from Davos—had a fair idea of the perceived direction that the West’s efforts at securing global security would take from the one, and a degree of vision as to the economic direction from the other.

This year, a landmark treaty, the start treaty, was officially implemented between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

But, viewing the live streamed video from Munich, it soon became obvious that Germany was emerging as the most lucid and potently assertive voice effecting international policy economically and monetarily, as well as in matters related to the theme of the summit, security and defense.

Guttenberg Spotlighted

The Munich Security Conference opened with a speech by German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. He revealed the new outward-looking perspective of a Germany quickly gaining confidence in its role as a global player.

“Security has a global dimension,” he said. He linked that global dimension with Germany’s recent moves to “launch the most fundamental changes to our military force since the founding of the Bundeswehr,” redesigning the German military to become “smaller, more capable, more efficient and more effective.” He noted that Germany is “joined in this effort by our partners in the [Atlantic] alliance.” These changes, Guttenberg indicated, were to “strike a balance between means and mission” with the overall aim of answering the question, “What do we want to achieve politically with the realignment of the Bundeswehr?”

Given Germany’s history, the answer to that question could have profound impact not only on the Atlantic alliance, but also on the rest of the world.

As if to partially answer it, Guttenberg continued, “We want to improve our strategic weight in the alliance. We want to make an adequate contribution and we want to influence the events.” In this context, Guttenberg does not restrict Germany’s contribution to the transatlantic context. Rather he sees German and nato cooperation providing a “worldwide network of security.”

Toward the end of his remarks, Guttenberg focused on the nation of Israel. He declared that “Israel needs neighbors who want to live with it in peace and which do not threaten its existence. Egypt and Jordan must honor their peace treaties with Israel. Europe has some clout in these countries, and we should use it.”

That latter statement bespeaks the imminent prospect of a regeneration of the Middle East peace process, with Germany taking a lead role—something this magazine has been predicting for two decades.

NATO’s Vision

Guttenberg’s speech was followed by that of nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who drew attention to the overarching theme of the Munich conference: “How to build security in an age of austerity.” He highlighted the danger of reducing defense budgets, declaring that “if the cuts are too deep we won’t be able to defend the security on which our democratic societies and prosperous economies depend.” He emphasized nato using the ongoing financial and economic crisis to “help nations to build greater security with fewer resources but more coordination and coherence” so as to “avoid the financial crisis from becoming a security crisis.”

Alluding to the need for flexibility and a globalist approach toward security in sync with Guttenberg’s stating the need for security to be viewed within a “global dimension,” the nato chief observed that “old certainties no longer hold, tectonic plates are shifting. … At stake is not just the world economy, but the world order” (emphasis mine throughout).

No doubt thinking of Washington’s stick-in-the-mud approach to the Atlantic alliance, Rasmussen stated, “We need a new approach: smart defense, ensuring greater security, for less money, by working together with more flexibility.” That one statement reveals how close Guttenberg’s approach to upgrading the Bundeswehr is to Rasmusson’s vision for nato. The two are of one mind in their strategy for upgrading each force and synchronizing with the other. Both seek a leaner, meaner, more proficient and reactive blending of German and nato military power.

The ongoing financial crisis is accelerating this process. As Rasmussen observed, “The crisis makes cooperation between nations no longer a choice. It is a necessity.” He held up the recent merging of British and French force capabilities as an example, applauding their “fundamental shift towards closer cooperation to develop and share critical defense capabilities” as a real “turning point.” He then praised Germany’s efforts, stating, “I particularly wish to commend Minister zu Guttenberg and the German government for undertaking the reform of the Bundeswehr, to make it leaner and more agile.”

Then the nato leader pointed to the true nature of what European elites are working toward militarily: “A strong, strategic nato-EU partnership would deliver many benefits, in political and operational terms, as well as financially. It makes sense for us in Europe. … I will continue to do all I can to make it happen.”

That statement rings with an air of prophecy. It will happen, but not because Anders Fogh Rasmussen will do all in his power to achieve that end. It will happen because Bible prophecies herald the dramatic rise of a northern European power, dominated by a nation the prophecies identify as being descended from the war men of ancient Assyria. (Proof of this can be found in our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

Realizing Dr. Funk’s Vision

Perhaps the most eye-opening session at Munich was a panel discussion titled “Implications of the Financial Crisis on Global Stability and Security.” In it, the vision of EU elites came into clear focus. Dr. Walther Funk, Hitler’s minister for economic affairs, would be beaming with national pride were he alive today hearing that vision portrayed by today’s EU centralists. For that vision reveals that Germany is about to fulfill his dream of advancing toward global monetary hegemony.

Funk’s vision was to have the exchange rates of European nations controlled by Berlin. This would enable Germany to ensure it could sell its manufactured goods at increasingly favorable prices; this in turn would increase Germany’s wealth at the expense of lesser economies dependent upon it for custom and financial support in the form of expensive loans.

Germany has, in essence, achieved this effect today by ensuring that the European Central Bank sets interest rates for eurozone countries. This restricts the growth of many EU member nations so much that they are becoming increasingly indebted and prone to call for bailout by Europe’s central bankers, of which Germany is chief by far.

Hence the eurozone crisis.

That raises, once again, an important question: Was the euro crisis foreseen by German elites? Was the single-currency policy of the EU—a German idea—a deliberate strategy to make the individual national economies of Europe subservient to Berlin? That question seemed clearly answered by Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, at the Munich conference.

During the first panel discussion, there was an interchange between financier George Soros, EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Olli Rehn, and Wolfgang Schäuble. Soros declared that the euro crisis “is about to be resolved.” And how? “There is now a determination to make up the missing element, which is a common fiscal policy or a common treasury.” He was referring to Germany’s forceful drive to establish EU fiscal regulation under a centralized economic government enacted and controlled by Berlin.

Divergence, Crisis and Success

But Soros went on to raise a particular concern: “I’m afraid that the structure that is being put together will also be flawed. It is clearly visible that it will create problems in the years to come because the euro, which was supposed to bring about convergence, has actually created a divergence within the performances of the various countries. The structure that is currently being discussed will cast this divergence in stone. That will have very serious consequences because you are creating a two-speed Europe between surplus countries surging ahead and indebted countries sinking under the weight of their debt.”

What was intriguing to note was Schäuble’s and Rehn’s response. Here are extracts from their discussion:

Soros: “The euro created a divergence in Europe’s economies. Germany plans a common treasury and a common fiscal policy for the EU. … This creates a two-speed Europe. … Debtor countries sink under the weight of debt while strong economies grow. … This will present a bad political situation allowing for the rise of extremist political groups.”

Schäuble: “The challenge is how to handle the financial crisis versus global security versus global governance.”

Rehn: “A new and enforced economic government is needed. We need a global government to allow the markets to stay close to equilibrium. We need a third way. A rules-based system similar to that which Ludwig Erhard implemented. The German example is the real EU model.”

Soros: “A rules-based system will be flawed due to human imperfection.”

Schäuble: “The global financial crisis happened due to too high demand and too little regulation. We need more regulation. The EU is the classic example of regional cooperation. The Chinese model is not for the rest of the world. The problem of 2008 was due to lack of rules. We need a rules-based system with competition and freedom. Rules and framework—look for these.”

Rehn: “The German approach is a very responsible policy.”

Schäuble: “The deeper the crisis, the better the chance for getting solutions!”

This interchange starkly reveals the anti-democratic stance of the EU’s real controllers, the elites who rule from the European heartland. These elites are determined to impose centralized economic governance on Europe. They are deliberately creating a crisis of divergence between the stronger and the weaker EU members—a crisis as pre-planned as the Greek economic crisis, in which German elites were equally culpable. (You can read more about this in our February 2009 article “Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?”) And this crisis will end with the same results: control of the nations’ economies by centralized authority vested in Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt.

A Single Government

Wolfgang Schäuble observed during the panel discussion that the founders of what is today’s European Union always wanted political union. The ultimate aim is a single European government. The means of achieving it is monetary union. As Sir Richard Body predicted fully 12 years ago in his book The Breakdown of Europe, “The objective of a single currency in the European Union … is to integrate formally and irrevocably all the economies of the member states. They will be merged together into a single economy under the control of a single authority that will be (de facto if not de jure) a government.”

That is exactly what Germany is proposing today.

The most influential thinkers at the Munich Security Conference spoke of the need for security to be global rather than national in extent and responsibility, administered under centralized rather than sovereign national control.

They spoke of economic and financial regulation that is imposed over sovereign national jurisdiction by a centralized authority. “Such thinking is infused with the utopian belief in ‘new order’ governed by an elite of administrators and planners,” wrote John Laughland of the mindset of EU elites.”[L]ike all socialist thought, such ‘new thinking’ is predicated on a radical rejection of humanity as it is now, and indeed of liberty” (The Tainted Source).

Ultimately, this shows a perceived need for a supreme global human authority to which all humanity would be subservient. But as Soros said, such a system would be flawed by human imperfection.

Berlin’s Economic Government

Using the logic put forward by Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany is now moving aggressively to gain full economic and political control of Europe using the economic crisis as the catalyst. Berlin wants all eurozone member states to acquiesce fully to what it calls its “competitiveness pact.” The trouble is, this is an obvious first step toward Berlin taking over the governance of Europe’s once sovereign economies.

German-Foreign-Policy.com wrote of this: “The mark of the German economic policy, aimed at massive salary reductions, general economic insecurity and aggressive export orientation, is unmistakably recognizable within the individual provisions of the ‘EU competitiveness pact.’ The pact, which is described as the nucleus of a future EU economic governing body, provides for the eurozone nations to introduce ‘debt limitations’ patterned on the German model” (February 14).

The proposed European economic policy “threatens sanctions against those countries that refuse to take these steps. The impending ‘European economic governing body’ will be implemented ‘completely along the lines of the German model’” (ibid.).

Ireland, Greece, Portugal and now Spain have been test cases for this “German model” of economic governance.

Joan Marc Simon, secretary general of the Union of European Federalists, gave an up-to-date observation of just how the process operates using Spain as an example: “The front page of today’s Spanish newspapers [February 4] joined the country’s main political actors in cheering the words of Merkel: ‘Spain is going in the right direction with the reforms.’ I almost fell off the chair: A foreign leader coming to Spain—a sovereign nation-state, at least on paper—and telling the democratically elected leaders what they have to do. And everybody finds it normal!”

Simon’s incredulity came from his observation of “the fact that a sovereign country is managing to force other sovereign countries to do what it thinks to be right. In the past this could be achieved only with the use of military force” (Europe’s World, February 7).

He’s right! Simply put, what Germany sought to achieve by military force in 1914 and 1939 it is now well advanced in gaining through implementing a clever, long-term grand strategy of economic and political control by regulation.

What started 50 years ago as a seemingly innocuous European Coal and Steel Community comprising just six nations has evolved over time into the European Union of 27 states today, being brought under one single government.

Simon observed, “[T]he events of [recent] months show that national fiscal sovereignty is gone … to Germany. Germany decides the measures and evaluates its implementation and, whether we like it or not, it didn’t ask for permission to do so.” He calls this “the biggest takeover of national sovereignty by a European member state since World War ii.

Once again, he’s so right.

But that’s really what Herbert Armstrong warned for decades was behind Germany’s efforts to unite Europe. He told us Germany had learned that to seek to take over Europe a third time by warfare was counterproductive. He clearly declared that it would set up an economic empire first, then suddenly militarize it at the appropriate time. He told us that it would then turn our own weapons upon us!

That is what the integration of the German, EU and nato military structure being touted by nato and Germany is all about!

Now that Germany is so far advanced toward economic and hence political control of Europe, the time is fast approaching for it to accelerate military control.

The Munich Security Conference exposed the German plan for what it is. The competitiveness pact is the instrument by which Europe’s governance will be centralized in Berlin. The concept of “network security” highlighted by Guttenberg is the strategy by which nato and EU military power will be progressively merged to enforce that government.

It’s all happening just as Herbert Armstrong said. Request our free booklet He Was Right and see just how far ahead Mr. Armstrong saw into the future we are living through today. It’s a remarkable account of the clear vision the Eternal God gave to him of the events leading up to Jesus Christ’s return. And it will show you just how close we are now to that grand event.

Keep watching Europe for events to accelerate toward the final exposure of what this European Union is all about: in reality, the prophesied seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire!

The World’s Leading-Edge Laboratory

Where scientists go for inspiration (hint: It’s not NASA)
From the March 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

What kind of machine do you need to explore the surface of Mars?

It’s quite a puzzler for the scientists tasked with the job. In fact, the best minds in space exploration have found it easier to get a spacecraft to reach that distant planet than to build a robot that can successfully navigate the rugged Martian landscape—with anything near the agility of your common mountain goat.

On Earth, everything rolls on wheels. On Mars’s boulder-strewn, canyon-covered landscapes, wheels don’t work so well.

To address the problem, scientist Rodney Brooks took an alternative, yet eminently logical approach. From his earliest days of designing robots, Brooks began with the hypothesis that any successful system had to be grounded in the physical world. “I argue for simplicity,” he says. “I’m interested in building something that can’t fail to work.” So he built based on something that already worked.

In this case, he—perhaps unwitting-ly—followed the wisdom of a biblical proverb, and went to the ant. Anyone who has ever seen an ant crawl out of impossible-looking holes or up steep walls can understand why.

The more Brooks observed the tiny six-legged creatures, the more amazed he became. He could scarcely believe humble insects were capable of forming logical descriptions inside “that puny little head with 50,000 neurons.”

By watching high-speed videos of insects running, he noticed that “they fall all the time and hit their metaphorical chin.” But because they are so lightweight and their skeletal strength is so great, they can have missteps and still recover.

While other scientists were building massive, unwieldy, fragile robots, Brooks (in conjunction with another scientist and a high school student) designed a small, lightweight, six-legged, ant-like robot called Genghis. It was good enough to get the attention of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (jpl) and nasa.

Brooks’s ant robot, built in the mid-1980s, represented an established trend in technology—one that has been exploding in popularity in recent years: When science reaches a limit, when it hits a wall, engineers, builders and inventors look to a fascinating source for inspiration.

They turn to the creation.

It only makes sense. Whether or not you believe in the existence of a Creator, the natural world is teeming with eye-popping, mind-stretching engineering and scientific feats that, well, work. Elegantly, beautifully, without fanfare.

Nature’s Drawing Board

Perhaps you are familiar with the seeds of the burdock plant? A bane to hunters and woodsmen for thousands of years, this little-known photosynthetic organism is now the poster child for the burgeoning field of biometrics (or as it is also known, biomimicry).

Even before the fateful day in 1941 when George de Mestral went for a hike in the Swiss Alps, came back covered in sticky burrs and had an epiphany—Velcro—scientists have been copying the methods and systems found in nature and adapting them to everyday problems. In fact, learning and applying the lessons of living things is at the forefront of some of the world’s most cutting-edge technology.

During the early years of jet engines, researchers encountered a perplexing design barrier. As planes got faster and faster, the engines persistently stalled out at certain speeds. The air, instead of flowing into the engine, would for some reason flow around it. Puzzled, researchers looked to nature’s fastest animal: a diving peregrine falcon. How could the bird still breathe, they wondered, while traveling at an incredible 200 miles per hour? Looking at the falcon’s nostrils, they found that a small cone protruding from the front slowed down the air, allowing orderly airflow into the nasal cavity. Fashioning a similar cone in front of the turbine air intake slowed the air enough to maintain proper airflow into the jet engine.

Flight engineers continue to scrutinize the natural world for solutions. For example, it has long been known that the wing shapes of different birds favor different types of flight. Some wings work well for rapid acceleration; others work much better for long-distance cruising: Think sparrow versus albatross. Additionally, birds have the remarkable ability to spread their feathers during the different stages of flight to maximize efficiency. Scientists from Penn State University want to exploit these advantages by building mechanical aircraft wings that can change form. With these next-generation wings, sliding scales cover a shape-shifting understructure that allows the wing to morph in mid-flight to enable faster, more efficient flying and conserve fuel.

Other scientists and planners are trying to boost flight efficiency by mimicking bird behavior. Some birds, like Canada geese, increase the distance they can fly by more than 70 percent by flying in V-formation. Scientists have discovered that when one bird flaps its wings, it creates a small updraft that lifts the bird behind, allowing it to glide more and expend less energy. A team at Stanford University says that passenger airlines could likewise benefit from V-shaped convoy flight. Models suggest that if, for example, groups of three or more jets from West Coast airports flew in formation en route to East Coast destinations, taking turns in front as birds do, the aircraft could use 15 percent less fuel compared to flying alone. Not a bad savings for doing something as simple as imitating bird behavior. In 2009, the Defense Department announced plans to pay Boeing to investigate the merits of formation flight.

Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Leeds in Britain are studying the defense mechanism of the bombardier beetle to see if the insect might help them learn how to reignite stalled gas-turbine aircraft engines in mid-flight. The beetle is known for a highly efficient discharge apparatus that enables it to spray predators with a high-pressure stream of boiling fluid a distance of 200 to 300 times the length of its combustor. Its exit nozzle system—with its incredibly short mass ejection time and long range of spray—may serve as a prototype to help aircraft more accurately squirt plasma into gas turbine combustion chambers during the reignition process.

Engineers at Airbus are also making high-tech, nature-inspired wing modifications. In order to smooth the flow of air over the wings of the aircraft, they are using a striated foil coating inspired by the shape and texture of sharkskin. Intriguingly, scientists have discovered that the rough texture of sharkskin actually helps channel the flow of water over its surface—reducing turbulence and thus drag. Sure enough, the same principle works with airflow. The result of their nature-inspired modifications? Planes creating 6 percent less friction and enjoying increased fuel efficiency.

The sharkskin discovery applied even more directly at the last summer Olympics in Beijing. Swimmer Michael Phelps won a record-breaking eight gold medals there. Training and aptitude were no doubt the biggest reasons for his success, but his swimsuit, fashioned with synthetic sharkskin fabric, definitely provided an edge. In fact, 89 percent of all medal winners at that competition wore sharkskin-model suits.

Similar sharkskin-type coatings are being applied to the hulls of ships as well because their bumpy, rivet-like contours inhibit the growth of barnacles, algae and other organisms that normally like to adhere themselves to boat bottoms.

Higher, Faster, Further—Cooler?

Inventors have designed fabrics that could be used to make clothing that adjusts to help keep you warmer or cooler depending on your body temperature. How? By studying the way pinecones open and close depending on humidity. One new smart textile is constructed with a layer of thin spikes of water-absorbent material that opens up when the wearer sweats. When the layer dries out, the spikes automatically close again. A second layer underneath would protect the wearer from the rain. These fabrics promise to reduce or eliminate the need to wear multiple layers of clothing.

Keeping cool is also a challenge for building engineers, especially when you want to avoid expensive air conditioning bills. To solve this problem, some designers have turned to the humble termite. As it turns out, termites are masters at managing the temperatures inside their termite towers. They do this by constantly opening and closing vents throughout the mound to bring in cooler air from lower levels and release hot air through chimneys. The new high-rise Eastgate Center building in Harare was inspired by these amazing insect mounds. It collects cool air at night and lets it settle to basement levels. Then this air is used to cool the structure throughout the day. The result is a modern building that uses only 10 percent of the energy required by a typical multistory shopping mall.

When engineering solutions are not enough to keep heating and cooling costs down, super-efficient wind turbines can help. For this, the creation is offering solutions too.

Ever wonder why humpback whales have odd bumpy protrusions on the front of their flippers? Despite traditional fluid dynamics that say this isn’t possible, it is because the scallops actually reduce drag and increase lift. This new science—which is actually as old as humpback whales—is revolutionizing wind turbine technology. New airfoils designed with humpback flipper-like bumps on the leading edge reduce stall angles and purportedly increase efficiency enough (almost a third) to make the wind power comparable, on a cost basis, to other, more traditional forms of power generation.

Changing to Survive

The wild Martian landscape is far from being the only challenge in space exploration. High-energy radiation bombards sensitive electronic equipment and extreme temperatures cause drastic mechanical wear and high rates of system failure. To get around these problems, scientists commonly include shielding. They hardwire spare parts, build in redundancy, and take other measures. But the drawbacks are formidable. Spare parts and insulation are heavy and costly. Plus, you can’t carry spare parts for everything, or—in the case of space travel—it might not fly.

Some scientists, however, are taking a radically different approach—one also grounded in the real world of the creation.

What if you could build a circuit board, a computer program or a robot that could adapt depending on conditions? Even better, since there is no post office to deliver spare parts on Jupiter, what if you could build a system that could repair itself? That is what scientists like Adrian Stoica at jpl are working on.

Consider humans. In some ways, we’re quite fragile. We are optimized to live in 70 degree climate, but we have learned to adapt to live in climates between minus-40 degrees in arctic tundra to 104 degrees or higher in warmer climates. We adapt to our environment by wearing clothes, eating high-energy food, drinking lots of fluids, and avoiding intense sunlight. Even a child learns to put on a pair of socks when his feet are cold. This makes us much more resilient.

Scientists like Stoica are developing circuits and even computer programs that adapt when they notice a change in the environment or when they fail at a task.

Working for jpl and nasa, Stoica’s job was to build electronics that could perform functions in extreme environments such as volcanoes or nuclear reactors, or even outer space. As opposed to the standard approach of shielding electronics from the environment, he thought of a second possibility: When the environment changes, why not just replace the broken parts by having the electronics reconfigure themselves?

Thus Stoica designed and built flexible circuits that actually self-adapt to find optimal functionality under radiation, temperature or other environmental changes.

“The human body offers a good analogy,” say Dennis Shasha and Cathy Lazere in their book Natural Computing. “Cuts normally … heal naturally in a few days, broken arms in a few weeks. But an amputated limb requires a prosthetic. If a spacecraft could be designed so that minor failures would be repaired locally and severe failures would be repaired by replacement with a spare part, then the spacecraft [or robot] might survive for [much longer].”

A spaceship that can fix itself might sound fanciful, but consider that the transportation industry is already developing products based on the same concept for use much closer to home. Self-repairing plastics for use in things like aircraft fuselages and automobiles are being tested with the hope that they can make vehicles lighter, more fuel-efficient and safer. When the hollow plastic fibers are stressed or broken, the microscopic tubes release an epoxy resin, creating a “scab” nearly as strong as the original material.

Other scientists are taking the concept of biological adaptation even further: working to produce machines that can not only mimic and adapt to change, but also make decisions and solve complex problems on their own.

“[T]he future,” say Shasha and Lazere, “is a synthesis with nature.” In other words, get ready for some mind-boggling advances.

The Correct Scientific Method

The discoveries—that is, rediscoveries—are coming faster and faster. Considering the vastness of the creation, the potential is virtually limitless.

Consider. Deep-sea sponges have inspired commercial optical fibers. Giant water-capturing fog nets in Chile and Peru were inspired by a Stenocara beetle. Bat-like sonar-emitting canes help blind people locate obstructions. Superhydrophobic paint that won’t collect dirt is coming to storerooms near you—and was inspired by the lotus plant (will you ever have to wash your car again?). Sea creatures related to sea urchins, called brittle stars, have led to improved optical lens designs. The gecko has taught us how to make tape without glue.

Who knows what discoveries the yeti crab or star-nosed mole might hold? How long before we are commercializing rope based upon super-strong spider silk? Or making glass out of dissolved silicon in seawater, like microscopic phytoplankton? What other technologies will the creatures living in deep-sea underwater volcanic vents stimulate?

As scientists know, success in an endeavor requires building on a sound foundation. Often, when scientists and builders get into trouble it is because they build on a faulty foundation. If you begin with an incorrect premise, you’ll end with an incorrect answer.

Creation-based science is proving to have a terrific premise. Why is that? If we are honest, we cannot attribute the supremely developed engineering behind the natural world to random chance. It reveals a mind of stunning intelligence and creativity.

As Herbert W. Armstrong once wrote, “I have said that the tools of modern science are observation, experimentation and reason. Are those tools wrong? Not at all! The error comes from rejection of revelation. For revelation is the true starting premise.”

If you want truth, if you want real answers, God must be your foundation. The Bible reveals that when God saw everything He had created, “it was very good.” God designed the material world with all its physical, chemical and biological laws to work well. The more you look at creation, the more you come to understand that even our most advanced man-made technologies look primitive by comparison.

Although scientists today don’t realize it, as they look to nature for solutions to problems, they come very close to the correct scientific method. Looking to the lessons of living things—which are designed by God, the Supergenius of cutting-edge technology—is about as close as this world comes to asking God for answers.

When God’s knowledge is the foundation of a project, it is inspiring to see what can be accomplished!

Shasha and Lazere say that the future “is a synthesis with nature.” In truth, the bright future scientists are working toward will come as a result of a “synthesis” not with nature—but with the Creatorof “nature”! The Bible prophesies of a time coming soon when all human endeavor will be based on the right premise, and grounded in a robust relationship with God. Under direct divine tutelage, the scientific barriers holding us back today will come tumbling down! Invention and technology will enter its true golden age!

A Chilling Peek at Our Abortion Culture

A Chilling Peek at Our Abortion Culture

©iStock.com/YsaL

From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

In February of last year, federal agents raided a West Philadelphia abortion clinic on the suspicion it was distributing prescription drugs illegally. What started as a routine drug bust ended with a nauseating tour through a disgusting scene one might expect to find in a Third World country—but certainly not in Pennsylvania.

The facility was filthy. Flea-infested cats roamed the hallways. There was blood on the floor, animal excrement on stairwells. The stench of urine permeated the air. Medical instruments were left unsterile. Moaning, drugged-up patients were covered with blood-soaked blankets. And the remains of 45 fetuses were strewn all over the facility, stuffed in bags, jars, plastic jugs, juice cartons—even cat-food containers. Citing “an immediate and clear danger to the public health and safety,” federal authorities quickly moved to shut down the clinic and suspend Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s medical license.

In January, a grand jury finally charged Gosnell with eight counts of murder following the wrongful deaths of one woman and seven newborn babies.

“My comprehension of the English language can’t adequately describe the barbaric nature of Dr. Gosnell,” said District Attorney Seth Williams during a news conference. According to the 260-page grand jury report, Gosnell was running a drug mill by day and abortion factory by night that netted him $1.8 million a year.

“Gosnell catered to the women who couldn’t get abortions elsewhere—because they were too pregnant,” the report charges. “Most doctors won’t perform late second-trimester abortions, from approximately the 20th week of pregnancy, because of the risks involved. And late-term abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are flatly illegal. But for Dr. Gosnell, they were an opportunity. The bigger the baby, the more he charged” (emphasis mine throughout).

Gosnell’s preferred method of performing late-term abortions was to prescribe drugs to induce labor and delivery, which often resulted in the birth of live babies. He then murdered the newborns by severing their spinal cord with scissors—a process he referred to as “snipping.”

In one particularly gruesome case, he induced the labor of a 17-year-old girl who gave birth to a healthy, 18-inch-long, 6-pound baby boy. “This baby is big enough to … walk me to the bus stop,” Gosnell allegedly joked during the procedure. Gosnell then slit his throat and dumped the body into a shoebox.

Prosecutors say the “really big” abortions were generally scheduled for Sundays, when the clinic was closed and the regular employees were gone. On these days, Gosnell and his wife would take care of the “abortion” and then dispose of patient files in order to cover their tracks.

But in numerous cases, Gosnell’s assistants killed babies when the doctor was absent. In one, a nurse played with a newborn baby for several minutes before stabbing him in the neck as she had seen Gosnell do so many times before.

Evidently, this sort of thing happened hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the course of decades. And it’s not like there weren’t red flags along the way. The Philadelphia Inquirer said Dr. Gosnell became a lightning rod for controversy as early as 1972, when nine women experienced serious complications after he experimented with a plastic coil to induce abortions. “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not really attempting to do something,” he said at the time.

Gosnell opened his clinic in 1979; the Pennsylvania Department of Health didn’t inspect it until 10 years later, when it discovered numerous health violations at the facility—all of which Gosnell promised to fix. Inspections in 1992 and ‘93 also turned up various violations. But nothing was done—no investigations followed. After 1993, the grand jury report asserts, the Department of Health abruptly decided to stop site reviews due to “political reasons.” Such inspections, officials concluded, would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

It would be better for women, abortion lobbyists argued, to leave the clinics alone—to let them do as they please. And so, this monster in Philadelphia was able to murder hundreds, perhaps thousands, of babies who survived illegal abortion procedures. And who knows how many women have been abused or permanently damaged by Gosnell’s barbaric practices. He’s been sued 46 times since 1981. And we know of at least one woman who was drugged up so heavily under Gosnell’s care that she later died in his clinic.

What a priceto pay to make it easier for women to get an abortion. Since Roe v. Wade, nearly 50 million unborn babies have been killed in America. And yet our spiritual sickness is so grotesque, we want to make it easier to slaughter more innocent lives—even if it means turning a blind eye to the grisly acts of “doctors” like Gosnell.

The media blackout of Gosnell’s mass murder is even more despicable than the deeds themselves. abc News and msnbc completely ignored the Gosnell case. cbs Evening News and nbc’s Today only covered the story once. cnn and Fox News followed the story for a few days, but that’s pretty much it. Why the silence? Because of a widespread determination to cover up the ugly truth about our culture of infanticide.

Philadelphia’s “house of horrors” is not an isolated case; it’s the tip of the iceberg. And the news media deliberately downplayed it. As Jeffrey Kuhner wrote in the Washington Times, “Exposing what takes place in facilities run by the likes of Dr. Gosnell would shock voters into taking decisive action to make abortion illegal. This is why the killing of innocent unborn children is done largely away from public view. It is a creeping, hidden genocide that can continue only if the fiction of abortion being a ‘medical procedure’ is maintained.

“It isn’t. Abortion is the deliberate, systematic slaughter of babies in the womb. It is state-sanctioned infanticide” (January 20).

God prophesied that people in these latter days would be “without natural affection” (2 Timothy 3:3). Nowhere is this fulfilled prophecy more obviously evident than in our genocidal culture that makes it incredibly easy to snuff out human life by the millions.

Any means by which people cut off that human life demonstrates a pitiable ignorance—a lack of true education—about the purpose for human life and the incredible potential bound up within it. To learn more about God’s divine purpose for man, request a free copy of our book The Incredible Human Potential.

How to Make the Pope Furious

Radical Islam is pushing all the wrong buttons.
From the March 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

If Asia Bibi, a hard-working mother of five living in northern Pakistan, could have known the events that would unfold because of an incident at work on June 14, 2009, she never would have gotten out of bed that day.

On June 18, four days later, a mob of villagers snatched Asia from her home, stripped and beat her in the street, and then marched her to the local police station. Village officials feared the angry hordes (which included Muslim clerics), and without any investigation into the veracity of the claims against her, they arrested Asia and locked her away. On Nov. 8, 2010—after she had been held in isolation in prison for over 16 months—a local court sentenced her to death.

What heinous crime did Asia Bibi commit?

“She was picking berries with other women,” her husband explained, “when she was sent to get water. One of the women [a Muslim] refused to drink the water after my wife dipped her cup in the bucket. This woman said it was contaminated because it was touched by a Christian.” Before long a group of Muslim women had descended on Bibi, insulting her mother, children and religion. Asia tried to defend herself, her husband says, and simply responded by “repeat[ing] the same insults back to them.”

That was it. Four days later, Bibi was ripped from her home and family, viciously beaten, unfairly arrested and thrown in jail on the trumped-up charge that she blasphemed the prophet Mohammad.

Long story short, Asia Bibi is a victim of radical Islam’s intensifying war on Christianity!

Islam’s Hatred Explodes

This tale of religious intolerance, injustice and outright persecution and violence is important because it is not an anomaly. In recent months, radical Islam has intensified its attacks on Christians around the world, especially in Muslim nations, but in Western countries too.

Persecution of Christians by Muslims is now so pervasive and violent, wrote Jeffrey Kuhner in the Washington Times, that “Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the ancient lands of its birth.” Across the Mideast, he lamented, “a creeping religious genocide is taking place” (Dec. 23, 2010; emphasis mine throughout).

These days, there are hundreds, even thousands of Bibis being persecuted, tortured and murdered in a host of countries by radical Islamists.

On New Year’s Eve in Alexandria, Egypt, 21 Coptic Christians were killed and 79 were wounded when a bomb left outside the door of the Two Saints Coptic church exploded. Despite some ridiculous claims that the attack was conducted by the Mossad, Egyptian authorities and various intelligence agencies agree that the attack, the worst in Egypt since 2006, was carried out by Iraq-based Islamic terrorists.

In Russia the next day, radical Islamists used a grenade to set fire to a church in the Muslim-rich North Caucasus region. A week earlier in the Philippines, six people were wounded on the island of Jolo after a bomb planted by Islamic terrorists exploded inside a church during Christmas mass.

In Nigeria, at least 80 Christians were killed in a wave of attacks on Christmas Eve. In one instance, dozens of armed men attacked a church in Maiduguri, dragging the pastor from his home and executing him in the street. In another, more than 32 people were killed and 50 wounded in the central Nigerian city of Jos after a series of roadside bombs placed by radical Islamists exploded. In Nigeria alone, the number of Christians killed by Muslim terrorists numbered in the hundreds.

In Iran, a pastor is slated to be executed for converting to Christianity. In Pakistan, in February 2010, 150 armed Muslims invaded Pahar Ganj, a Christian neighborhood north of Karachi, and ransacked two churches, beat Christians, and torched shops and vehicles—all because a Christian lad touched a piece of fruit on a Muslim vendor’s cart. In Somalia, the Islamic terrorist group Al Shabaab, which controls much of central Somalia, routinely persecutes, even kills, Christians, and is seeking to eradicate Christianity.

Similar atrocities against Christians are becoming increasingly common in the Ivory Coast, Sudan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Lebanon—and the list goes on.

Then there’s Iraq, which in 2010 experienced the worst attack on Iraqi Christians on record. On October 31, as 140 parishioners prepared to take mass in Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Catholic Church, the building was invaded by gunmen from the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq terrorist group. When the church was later stormed by Iraq’s counterterrorism unit, the militants detonated suicide bomb vests, killing 58 men, women and children, including two priests, and wounding 80 more people. On New Year’s Eve, a cluster of 10 bombs was placed near the homes of 14 Catholic families in Baghdad, Iraq. Four of the bombs were defused; the others exploded, killing two and wounding 20. The victims were all Catholic. Since then, attacks on Christians have increased.

Over the past decade, Christian Iraqis have fled the country at a shocking pace: Before 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was about 1.5 million; today, barely 400,000 Christians remain!

Robert Fisk lamented in the Independent last fall that the exodus of Christians from the Middle East has reached “almost biblical proportions” (Oct. 26, 2010).

An Ancient Prophecy Fulfilled

Over the past 20 years, the Trumpet has put the spotlight on a prophecy in Daniel 11:40 that says that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will be precipitated by a colossal clash of civilizations. The scripture reads, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the southpush at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

As we have explained, the “king of the south” mentioned here refers to radical Islam headed by Iran. The “king of the north” is the German-led superstate now being built in Europe that will operate under overarching influence of the Catholic Church. To prove this truth, request our free booklet The King of the South.

The operative word in Daniel 11:40 is push, which in Hebrew means to gore, thrust at or wage war. And notice, it’s the king of the south that pushes and provokes the king of the north.

Radical Islam’s growing campaign of violence against Christianity is living fulfillment of this prophecy!

Based on this scripture, we say with certainty that as Christians flee Iraq, as church members wipe the blood of their brethren from the walls of the Coptic church in Alexandria, as Asia Bibi sits in jail awaiting the noose, the plight of these individuals, and of the larger Catholic community, is not going unnoticed.

The truth is, radical Islam’s fierce hatred for Christianity—and the global campaign of violence and cruelty it has fueled—is infuriating an institution that has historically been Islam’s greatest enemy: the Roman Catholic Church!

Retribution

The day after Islamic terrorists attacked Catholics in Alexandria, Pope Benedict xvi said it was a “vile gesture of death” and that it “offends God and all of humanity.” In his speech, he appealed to Christians: “In the face of the threatening tensions of the moment, especially in the face of discrimination, of abuse of power and religious intolerance that today particularly strikes Christians, I again direct a pressing invitation not to yield to discouragement and resignation.”

That’s a polite way of saying, “We must not give in to the demands of radical Islam.”

If you study the pope’s recent speeches, there is no doubt he is rising to the occasion. He is refusing to be bullied. About the tone and structure of Benedict’s speech after the attacks on the Coptics in Egypt earlier this year, John Allen wrote that they confirm that “religious freedom, and especially the defense of embattled Christians, has become the Vatican’s supreme diplomatic priority” (National Catholic Reporter, January 10).

Over the last few months, radical Islam has gained momentum in its war on Christianity. Don’t expect it to let up on its assault. What we should expect, however, is for the Vatican to begin to respond. Fifteen hundred years of European history—including the Crusades, when tens of thousands of Catholic Europeans responded to Pope Urban’s war cry by slaughtering tens of thousands of Muslims in the Middle East—tell us that the Catholic Church will respond mightily, with force and vigor!

Don’t think for a moment that this world is too sophisticated to relive the Crusades!

In practical terms, two developments are likely.

First, the persecution of various Christian churches and Catholic sects (like the Coptics in Egypt) will drive these groups into the protective arms of the mother church, the Catholic Church. The more these daughter churches seek protection, the stronger the Vatican will become in defending its spiritual family. The more radical Islam encroaches, the more intense and popular Benedict’s campaign to re-evangelize the Catholic community, especially in Europe, will grow. Radical Islam’s assaults will unify Catholicism.

Second, expect the Vatican to increasingly employ its tried and tested strategy of forging a powerful axis with the most dominant European power, then exploiting that power as the instrument by which it can confront its enemy, in this case radical Islam. For the Vatican, the rise of militant Islam is an ideal discussion point with Europeans, millions of whom are alarmed by the encroachment of Islam on the Continent. With a little prodding, and with the support of European governments, the Vatican could begin to make life much tougher for Muslims in Europe—and ultimately for Muslims everywhere!

The mutual threat of radical Islam will strengthen the historic axis between the Vatican and Christian Europe!

Of course, the Trumpet does not claim to know the specific thoughts and designs of Pope Benedict and other Catholic leaders. But we do know what Daniel 11:40 and other biblical prophecies say—and we believe them. We can say with certainty that Pope Benedict xvi is looking at Asia Bibi, and the Catholic victims of the bombing in Alexandria, and the mass exodus of Catholics from Iraq, and is becoming enraged. Even now, he is likely hatching a strategy to confront this enemy.

That strategy, Bible prophecy says, will soon thrust the entire world into a time of unprecedented upheaval and violence!

China Moves to Secure Latin American Oil Reserves

China Moves to Secure Latin American Oil Reserves

Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

America is walking blindly into a situation where 10 percent of its oil imports could be redirected to Asia.

China is positioning itself to supply its ever growing oil thirst with Latin American oil—at the expense of the United States.

Already this year, the Chinese have secured an oil supply of nearly 600,000 barrels per day from Latin America and they are set to purchase far more in the near future. According to the Energy Tribune, the Chinese secured deals throughout Latin America in 2010 worth at least $65 billion in stakes of projects that could eventually produce over 1.3 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Most of China’s Latin American oil investments have been with Venezuela—a country that currently supplies the U.S. with 10 percent of its oil imports. “All the oil that China needs for the rest of this century is underneath Venezuelan soil,” stated Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez last December.

This statement is definitely an exaggeration, as China will require much more oil than Venezuela alone can produce. This, however, is all the more reason for U.S. citizens to be concerned. The anti-American Chávez has never been happy at the fact that he has to sell his oil to the U.S. in order to keep Venezuela’s economy afloat. He would be more than happy to redirect oil exports away from the U.S. and toward China if an opportunity presented itself.

The Chinese are currently planning a Venezuelan oil refinery with a 200,000-barrel-per-day capacity and have already rented a 5 million-barrel storage facility in the Caribbean. All that is left to do is for China to secure a way to economically ship Venezuelan oil across the Pacific to its own shores.

Venezuela has no coastline on the Pacific Ocean and a trans-oceanic oil barge is too large to fit through the Panama Canal. These two facts make it hard to economically ship Venezuelan crude to China.

The president of Colombia, however, announced in early February that the Chinese plan on building a 138-mile-long railway across his country—from the Gulf of Uraba on the Atlantic coast to the port of Cupica on the Pacific coast. This new energy transportation thoroughfare will allow China to ship oil and coal from eastern Colombia—and Venezuela—to Pacific ports, where it can then be shipped across the ocean.

The completion of this railroad—already being hailed as a land-based Panama Canal—could transform the oil politics of Latin America overnight, making China a prime recipient of this oil.

Consider what Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy:

Although all wealth comes from the ground, prosperity and affluence on a national scale always have come by industry and commerce. And commerce between nations has been transacted almost altogether by the sea-lanes of the world—by ships, and, within a continent, by railroads.

America is walking blindly into a situation where 10 percent of its oil imports could be redirected to Asia due to a lack of influence over the Panama Canal and Colombia’s railways. To see how this situation is prophetic, reference our article “Superpower Under Siege” and then carefully read Herbert Armstrong’s classic The United States and Britain in Prophecy.