Betrayed

Betrayed

GERARD JULIEN/AFP/GettyImages

Hosni Mubarak was hung out to dry. Now look who is really celebrating his fall.
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

In America, the story amid all the recent tumult in the Middle East of Egypt’s people rising up to thrust Hosni Mubarak from power was broadly reported as a wonderful, feel-good story. Western romantics view the revolt as a garden-variety democratic uprising led by freedom-seekers yearning for modernity.

President Barack Obama described the scenes of jubilation many observed on television screens on February 11 this way: “We saw mothers and fathers carrying their children on their shoulders to show them what true freedom might look like. We saw a young Egyptian say, ‘For the first time in my life, I really count. My voice is heard. Even though I’m only one person, this is the way real democracy works.’ We saw protesters chant ‘Selmiyya, selmiyya’—‘We are peaceful’—again and again. We saw a military that would not fire bullets at the people they were sworn to protect. And we saw doctors and nurses rushing into the streets to care for those who were wounded, volunteers checking protesters to ensure that they were unarmed. We saw people of faith praying together and chanting—‘Muslims, Christians, We are one.’”

This, they say, is good for the Middle East. It’s good for America.

“What we’ve seen so far is positive,” President Obama insisted at a press conference a few days after Mubarak resigned. “I think history will end up recording that at every juncture in the situation in Egypt that we were on the right side of history” (emphasis mine throughout). He even claimed some of the credit for Mubarak’s expulsion, saying one reason for the “peaceful” transition was America’s consistent support for the anti-regime movement!

The mainstream view would have you see Egypt as a country hungry for freedom and peace after a generation of brutality under the boot heel of a dictator. But that view ignores several crucial facts both of history and of current reality in that country.

The reality is far different—and far more revealing about what to expect in Egypt and throughout the region in the time ahead.

Preparing Mubarak

After a terrorist organization with links to the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in October 1981, a startled world watched with wonder. How will this sudden, unexpected jolt impact world events? Will Sadat’s relatively unknown successor continue the pursuit of peace in the Middle East?

What few people realized at the time was that Hosni Mubarak had been carefully groomed to follow in the steps of his predecessor.

Anwar Sadat recruited Mubarak to be his vice president in April 1975, two years after the general had won praise for drawing up a successful air campaign that was used against Israel during the Yom Kippur War.

“I need a vice president who will share with me state responsibilities at all levels,” Sadat told Mubarak. Then, as if sensing his newfound devotion to peace might endanger his life, Sadat intoned, “No one can foresee the future, and state secrets must not be known by one person alone.”

For the next six years, President Sadat gradually handed Mubarak the day-to-day responsibilities of running Egypt’s government. This allowed Sadat to focus more of his attention on foreign policy—in particular, the Middle East peace process.

That’s not to say Mubarak was left out of the loop when it came to foreign affairs. Whenever possible, during the countless discussions Sadat had with foreign dignitaries, Mubarak could be seen sitting nearby, quietly taking notes. When circumstances prevented him from attending high-level diplomatic meetings, he would be thoroughly briefed by the president himself.

“There was nothing he did or said that I did not know,” Mubarak related about Sadat. “I have learned a great deal from him.”

And when President Sadat paid with his life for his courageous stand against religious extremism and his commitment to making peace with Israel, Mubarak vowed to stay the course, however unpopular that might be in the Arab world. In response to the assassination, for example, Mubarak cracked down hard on the religious extremism. He arrested more than 350 radical Islamists for their involvement in the assassination plot.

At Sadat’s funeral, Mubarak boldly stated, “I declare that we will honorall international charters, treaties and commitments which Egypt has concluded. Our hands will not cease to push the wheel of peace in pursuance of the mission of a departed leader.”

During an exchange with a reporter from Israel, Mubarak advised him to go and tell the people of Israel, “Don’t worry.”

Two years earlier, Anwar Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially recognize the State of Israel. It was Sadat who made the historic peace pact with Israel. But it was Mubarak who honored that agreement and maintained the peace for three decades.

Is it any wonder why so many Israelis hold Hosni Mubarak in such high regard? Mubarak is the primary reason Israel has cut military spending and reduced its troop presence along the Egyptian border—even as Egypt’s militarily establishment has grown to be one of the strongest in the Arab world.

None of this is intended to whitewash Mubarak’s flaws. He did rule with an iron fist. His administration was corrupt. But he was not Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He never declared jihad against Israel or the United States. To the contrary—this strong man of Egypt honored Sadat’s promise and maintained a cold peace with the State of Israel for 30 years!

During that same time, Egypt has been America’s most important and strategically significant ally throughout the Arab world.

Yet, the moment Mubarak’s regime started to crumble, the Obama administration wasted little time in hanging him out to dry.

Undermining Mubarak

In fact, for several years now the United States has been actively working to undermine Mubarak’s authoritarian regime.

In early 2005, President George W. Bush said the United States would no longer “tolerate oppression for the sake of stability.” Later that year, in Cairo, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explained how Bush’s freedom agenda applied to Egypt. “The Egyptian government must fulfill the promise it has made to its people—and to the entire world—by giving its citizens the freedom to choose,” Rice demanded.

So, under heavy pressure from the U.S., Mubarak loosened restraints on parliamentary elections. That ended up clearing the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to capture nearly 20 percent of the seats.

The following year, Bush’s freedom agenda was dealt another massive blow when free elections enabled Hamas to seize control of Gaza.

After that, the Bush administration wised up a bit. It stopped complaining about Mubarak’s authoritarianism and Egypt’s human rights violations and Mubarak, in turn, clamped down hard on the Muslim Brotherhood.

President Obama’s anti-colonial agenda has since breathed invigorating life into the Brotherhood. More than that, even, it has actively worked to empower and embolden the movement. In early 2009, for example, when President Mubarak was warning U.S. diplomats about the Iranian “cancer” that was spreading throughout the Middle East, President Obama was hosting meetings with the Muslim Brotherhood at the White House.

In June of 2009, when President Obama delivered his message to the Islamic world in front of a Cairo audience packed with members of the Brotherhood, he said Iran had every right to develop nuclear power.

A few days after the Cairo speech, tens of thousands of angry Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran demanding democratic freedoms after the mullahs had rigged the election in favor of Ahmadinejad. President Obama withstood heated criticism for not supporting a popular protest that was brutally crushed by an Islamic theocracy. He excused American neutrality by saying, “It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling.”

But with the pro-American government in Egypt, America started meddling at the first sign of trouble for Mubarak. When demonstrations exploded in Cairo, President Obama made it clear he sided with the anti-Mubarak protesters on the street. He demanded an immediate “orderly transition” of government.

At the same time, the White House foreign-policy experts decided to consider engaging the Muslim Brotherhood. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on January 31 that Egypt’s new government “has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner.” It was the first time the Obama administration had publicly declared its support for the Muslim Brotherhood to play a role in a reformed Egyptian government.

Mubarak agreed not to seek reelection in September elections. President Obama responded by giving a public speech insisting that the transition “must begin now.”

“You don’t understand the Egyptian culture and what would happen if I step down now,” Mubarak responded in an interview with abc. He feared it would result in a chaotic scene that would enable the Muslim Brotherhood to grab hold of power.

Mubarak then defended his legacy by pointing to his loyal service as president of Egypt. And no matter what one thinks about the way he ruled, it is hard to dismiss the positive fruits of his reign. In the three decades Mubarak ruled over the Arab world’s most populous state—a nation in which most Egyptians have an unfavorable view of America and would welcome an Islamic influence over the government—Mubarak managed to suppress religious extremism domestically while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad. During that same time, he maintained peace with Israel, just as he vowed to do after Sadat was murdered.

And for all this, the United States says thank you by casually tossing him aside in favor of a populist uprising that is already being hijacked by radical Islam.

This is a play-by-play repeat of what happened during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. As the Trumpet has been saying for nearly 20 years, this is leading to an Islamist Egypt.

After Mubarak

In the days that followed Mubarak’s resignation, a massive wave of instability and violence swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Deadly clashes erupted in Iran, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain. In Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah called on Hezbollah terrorists to prepare for invading the Galilee in northern Israel. In the Sinai Peninsula, Bedouin gangs emboldened by the chaos in Cairo escalated attacks against police forces, prompting Israel to call upon Egypt’s military to rein in the violence.

Iran sent two naval vessels through the Suez Canal. This “clear provocation,” to use the words of Israel’s foreign minister, raised fears in Jerusalem that Iran is maneuvering to capitalize on the instability in Egypt. Iran, by the way, hasn’t had a naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea since the Islamic Revolution toppled the shah’s regime in 1979.

Then there is Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which views itself as the guardian of true Islam. Throughout the Egyptian crisis, the Brotherhood kept quiet as its Western apologists defended the movement, saying it was not extremist or violent and that there was no connection between the organization and Iran or al Qaeda or the Taliban, and so on. The Washington Post even said the Brotherhood received its inspiration from the ymca! And then there was the preposterous claim made by America’s director of national intelligence—that the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular.”

Once Mubarak was out of the way, the Brotherhood’s true colors quickly resurfaced.

Egypt’s Khomeini?

Four days after Mubarak’s resignation, Der Spiegel published an exposé on Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the “father figure” of the Muslim Brotherhood. Back in 2002, the Brotherhood asked Qaradawi to be its leader, but he turned down the offer because of its limitations. He wanted to concentrate instead on mobilizing a “United Muslim Nations.”

The charismatic Qaradawi, an Egyptian by birth, is one of the most popular Muslim clerics in the Middle East. He’s written at least 100 books and his weekly television program is viewed by 60 million Muslims on Al-Jazeera. He hates Jews and has asked Allah to kill “every last one” of them. In a sermon on Al-Jazeera tv in 2009, he said, “Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them—even though they exaggerated this issue—he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them. Allah willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

Since 1981, Mubarak had banned Qaradawi from preaching in Egypt. During his exile, Qaradawi was based in Qatar. But just one week after Mubarak stepped down, Qaradawi made his triumphant return to Egypt. Incredibly, he received a military escort to Cairo’s Tahrir Square—the focal point of the anti-government uprising—in order to deliver a Friday prayer sermon.

President Obama told Fox News on February 6 that the United States shouldn’t worry about the Muslim Brotherhood. He said the Brotherhood doesn’t have a majority of support in Egypt. But this doesn’t square with a Pew Research Center poll conducted just last year. According to the survey, 95 percent of Egyptians want religion to play a larger role in politics, 84 percent favor the death penalty for people who abandon the Muslim faith, and 54 percent believe suicide bombings aimed at civilians can be justified!

The Obama administration and its allies in the media have it exactly backward. Egyptians are not seeking a Western-style democracy. They are revolting against it. They want an Islamic theocracy.

Mubarak understood this, which is why he wanted to stay in office long enough to have a hand in setting up Egypt’s new government. He reportedly said this on the eve of his resignation: “They may be talking about democracy, but … the result will be extremism and radical Islam.”

Sure enough, just seven days after Mubarak fled Cairo for Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt celebrated the homecoming of a wildly popular, radical extremist who prays for the extermination of Jews, approves of wife-beating and supports suicide bombings that target defenseless civilians.

It boggles the mind to think that just at the beginning of this year, Egypt was seen as a bastion of strength and stability in a region known for its restiveness and division.

It’s amazing how fast prophetic events are now unfolding in the Middle East.

The Perilous Pursuit of Peace

When Anwar Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, the Arab world was incensed. Egyptian Islamists began scheming to kill him and overthrow his government. When their plot was discovered in February 1981, Sadat ordered a crackdown that jailed over 1,500 people. But a jihadist cell within the military remained, and in October of that year, during a military parade, a passing truck unloaded its soldiers, who greeted their president with grenades and assault rifle fire. Sadat’s commitment to peace cost him his life.

Hosni Mubarak picked up Sadat’s mantle and took the same bold, unpopular stand for peace with Israel.

Herbert W. Armstrong knew where this was headed long before the Trumpet came along. He actually met with Mubarak on Nov. 21, 1981, just six weeks after Sadat’s assassination. During their 20-minute meeting, Mubarak reiterated his promise to finish what Sadat had started. “We want peace,” he said to Mr. Armstrong—“at least to live in a very peaceful atmosphere with all of our neighbors around us. And we are going to do our best in this direction. I’m going to do the maximum.”

Mr. Armstrong then praised Mubarak for his sincere attempt to continue where Sadat left off. “You’re setting a wonderful example,” Mr. Armstrong said. But he then explained how utterly incapable man is at making peace. Only by the intervention of God Himself, Mr. Armstrong continued, would there ever be lasting peace.

The Egyptian president actually agreed with Mr. Armstrong! Mubarak said, “I think peace will prevail sooner or later, whether we like it or we don’t like it.”

Yes indeed! Even in this age of man, we are often reminded of how human nature is generally hostile to what it takes to achieve any kind of peace. Anwar Sadat, for example, paid with his own blood for a peace agreement Mr. Armstrong knew would be short-lived.

This is why, one week after he met with Egypt’s new president in 1981, Mr. Armstrong wrote this in a letter to Plain Truth subscribers: “The new President Mubarak assured me he intends to continue President Sadat’s efforts for Middle East peace, and he may be sealing his own fate in so doing.”

For three decades, that man just about single-handedly held Egypt’s forces of religious extremism and anti-Israelism in check. Now—as Mr. Armstrong believed could well happen—those forces have driven him from office.

Time will soon show: Egypt, the Middle East, and the world are far more perilous for it.

Is Saudi Arabia’s ‘Egypt Moment’ Looming?

Is Saudi Arabia’s ‘Egypt Moment’ Looming?

Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images

If it is, oil could hit $500 per barrel.

Will Saudi Arabia’s “day of rage” lead to an Egypt-style revolution? Oil is skyrocketing and unrest in the Middle East continues to grow. If tensions explode, oil prices could reach $500 a barrel. What does the future hold for Saudi Arabia?

Last Thursday, Brent crude rose to almost $120 per barrel—nearing levels that could thrust the global economy back into chaos.

And nowhere is the worry more intense than in Europe. Last week, due to the revolution under way in Libya, crude oil exports from there came to a virtual halt. The anxiety was audible among European leaders. More than one fifth of Italy’s oil came from Libya and now may have to be found elsewhere. Sixteen percent of France’s, 12 percent of Spain’s and 8 percent of Germany’s comes from—or used to come from—that North African country.

As Joel Hilliker wrote last week: If “Islamists taking over the Suez Canal [and its oil conduits] made Europe nervous, chaos in Libya is giving it apoplexy.”

The Middle East crisis “shows the extreme fragility of the global system,” says Jeremy Leggett, a leader of the UK industry task force on energy security. “People don’t realize how close we are to a potential precipice …. Governments need to draw up emergency plans and get cracking on proactive measures.”

Global spare capacity is at razor-thin margins, and when supply suddenly disappears, it means that somebody goes without. Wars have been fought over such issues.

According to Barclays, the world now faces “lasting unease in the oil markets.” Oil could easily shoot to $220 a barrel if Algeria stops production too, warns Nomura bank’s oil specialist Michael Lo.

What this means for Europe is that it will have no choice but to look elsewhere for other more reliable energy partners. Since Europe has already experienced Russian energy blackmail, only one other country has both the resources and the purported spare capacity to make up the difference: Saudi Arabia.

But is trusting the Saudis a good bet?

The Saudis say they have the extra capacity. On February 22, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi promised to increase output to compensate for Libyan shortfalls.

Promises are one thing, but it is actions and events that eventually dictate price.

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced that he would immediately disburse an extra $36 billion worth of benefits to his people in an attempt to mollify public sentiment and stop the wave of Arab uprisings. Over the next three years, he pledged an incredible $400 billion to improve education, infrastructure and health care. But with the price of Brent crude still trading well above $100, some traders at least think the country is still a significant risk.

Even a hint that all is not well in Saudi Arabia could send the price of oil into the stratosphere. $220 oil would seem like a bargain.

And Saudi Arabia’s “Egypt moment” may be approaching. A Facebook site out of Saudi Arabia calling for a “day of rage” on March 11 continues to grow, and has seen its subscribers balloon from 400 to 12,000 in recent days, according to the Telegraph. Social networking sites have been blamed for enabling protesters to organize in Egypt and Libya.

Making the situation in Saudi Arabia even more unpredictable is the segregated nature of the nation. The ruling power for the House of Saud comes from its Sunni religious base centered in Medina, Mecca and the west. But most of its money and virtually all of its oil resources are located far into the eastern, Shiite-dominated areas near the border of the tiny kingdom of Bahrain.

Plus, Iran’s rising star is energizing Shiite populations throughout the region. This is what has oil investors so worried. Empowered by the wave of revolutions, Shiite masses in many countries feel their time has come and their era is now.

Bahrain looks especially susceptible to fifth-column uprisings led by Iranian-sponsored elements—and this too could have implications for Saudi’s Shiite-surrounded oil fields.

The 200-year-old Sunni monarchy in Bahrain is fighting to avoid a Egypt-style revolution also. It too has promised massive new spending initiatives to calm the crowds, but it appears that at the very least the Sunni stranglehold on power may be broken. People have been killed, and now exiled leader Hassan Mushaima, wanted for sedition, has announced plans to return next week in what may be a move to echo Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to dispose the shah of Iran 30 years ago.

WikiLeaked cables suggest that U.S. officials believe about a third of Bahrain’s Shiites take their spiritual guidance directly from clerics in Iran.

If the Shiites, who make up about 70 percent of Bahrain’s population, get power, the new “democracy” could push to ban America’s 5th Fleet from its base of operations in the kingdom. It would be a stunning blow to America’s ability to protect the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.

According to the Telegraph, Iran is clearly hoping to bring Bahrain into its orbit. Just three years ago, an aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for Bahrain to be absorbed into Iran as its 14th province.

The Saudis are “terrified” of contagion spilling over into their country and are doing everything possible to prevent a coup in Bahrain, according to Gary Sick, a former White House adviser on the Middle East.

If Bahrain’s monarchy were overthrown, it could in effect give Iran a province immediately adjacent to the biggest and most valuable oil fields in the world. Plus, it would give the ayatollahs a vice-like grip on both sides of the Persian Gulf with which to blackmail the world’s oil users.

This is something Saudi Arabia and Europe especially cannot permit to happen.

Biblical prophecy indicates that no matter the outcome in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia will not fall under Iranian domination.

Scripture indicates a coming clash between a European “king of the north” led by Germany and a Middle Eastern “king of the south” led by Iran. Prophecy says the king of the south will “push” at the king of the north, which will result in a counterinvasion by the European power. Although religion will be a primary motivator for the war, oil supplies will also play a critical role in that endeavor, especially as a tool for Iran to push with.

But here is where Saudi Arabia enters the picture. Psalm 83 talks about a group of Middle Eastern nations that ally themselves with an invading European power (referred to as Assur, which is another name for Assyria, or the German-led European Union today), but for the purpose of destroying Israel. This alliance includes Turkey (Edom), Syria (Hagarenes anciently dwelt in that area), Lebanon (Gebal), Jordan (Ammon) and Saudi Arabia (Ishmael).

Never in history has such an alliance taken place—this Psalm was written for the future, and will be fulfilled in our day.

But this prophecy also indicates by their absence what Middle East nations will not be allied with the king of the north but rather with the king of the south. Coupled with prophecy in Daniel 11 and other scriptures, we see that these nations include Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia, Iraq and of course Iran, which is the king of the south.

Because of these prophecies, we would not expect a mass revolution in Saudi Arabia that would reorient its current and future European-leaning politics in any meaningful way. That is not to say a revolution could not occur, or that Saudi Arabia’s oil production facilities could not be threatened—but if an uprising does occur it will not be the massive politically and ideologically altering kind such as we are witnessing in Egypt and Libya.

So in that sense, is Saudi Arabia’s “Egypt moment” looming? The answer is no.

For more information on the king of the south and the Psalm 83 alliance, read The King of the South and History and Prophecy of the Middle East.

To Lie or Not to Lie

To Lie or Not to Lie

The Trumpet

Many people are of two minds about lying. Is it always wrong?
From the April 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

To lie or not to lie—that is the question.

While people in most cultures trumpet truth-telling, many are lenient about lying. Just look at current books on the subject. In some books you’ll find clear declarations that lying is morally wrong and harmful. In others, you will discover ample justification for the good accomplished by lying. One book actually teaches the art of lying!

Let’s admit it: We are befuddled about lying. Most people hate the harsh connotation of the word, so they refer to lies as fibs, fish stories, fudges, tall tales or spins—which is euphemistic self-deception. We say we expect government leaders to tell us the truth, yet we know they lie to us and accept that they will lie again. “That’s politics,” we say. Even whole nations are willing to overlook lying. For example, the Russian Federation is well known for habitually lying on a grand scale, yet other nations still make pacts with that government.

We fume when someone lies to us. We get vindictive at being called a liar. Yet we readily deceive ourselves—about our health, our finances and even our religion. And when put under pressure, many people opt to lie—often—to bosses, work associates, friends, spouses, parents and children.

What is wrong with us?

The truth is, we are addicted to deception. It comes naturally for us. Deception is the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading; duplicity; fraud; cheating. Synonyms include feigning, guile, hypocrisy, imposture, trickery. Telling a lie is the most sophisticated form of deception.

Sadly, we are good at deceiving others from a very young age.

One interesting study of young children and lying showed that “children from 3 to 6 years of age are able to deceive adults without being detected” (Lying and Deception in Everyday Life). Isn’t this a shocking fact? Most 3-year-olds have well-developed deception skills. Doesn’t this tell us that deception should not be taken lightly?

Deception is no joke. It is a harmful habit that must be broken.

The Easy Lie

How do most human beings deceive or mislead others? Deception is easily divided into four broad categories. To mislead another one can: 1) avoid an issue; 2) omit the truth or parts of the truth; 3) let an untrue statement of another go uncorrected; or 4) tell a bald-faced lie. Most deceit falls into the first three categories. These are the easy lies.

Actually telling a flat-out lie takes more work. Purposely making a false statement to deceive another requires complex mental processes: deep thought, planning and careful construction of the untrue statement. Bald-faced lying is an aggressive act. Floating a lie invites the recipient to prove a statement’s truthfulness. Most people hesitate to boldly lie because they fear getting caught. Humans work hard to conceal deception. Since no one wants to be known as a liar, we operate within a web of ambiguity and deceit. That takes us back to the first three forms of deception, which are the more passive, hard-to-detect types of lies.

So why not just tell the truth?

Herbert W. Armstrong often said that perhaps the hardest thing for any person to do is to admit it when he is wrong. In other words, it is tough for us to face the truth even when it looks us right in the eye. People use deception to hide the truth about personal mistakes, flaws and weakness. Essentially we lie to either protect or ingratiate the self. We work hard to mask insecurity. We want others to always think the best of us.

Athletes feign injury to avoid failure during a high-pressure sporting event. Students pretend to be sick to avoid admitting failure to prepare for a test or to complete an assignment on time. Men and women dye their hair to appear younger for a job interview. The unemployed exaggerate work skills on a resume to land a job. Teachers raise grade scores to help a student enter college. Supervisors overstate recommendations to secure a promotion for a favorite employee.

Do we see all these examples as harmful lies? They all are. Yes, every example. Who is most hurt? The liar is, always! How? Individuals who use deceit continually are ever expanding their capacity to become better and more sophisticated at deception. Lies breed more and bigger lies.

Lying is an evil that destroys good character.

Bible: Tough on Lying

Eric Alterman, in his book When Presidents Lie, states, “Both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament demonstrate considerable ambivalence when it comes to lying ….” Is the Bible ambiguous about telling lies? No. Unfortunately, through the centuries since Christ, many religious leaders and teachers have agreed with Mr. Alterman. There has been much confusion about lying in the religious world.

Here is the truth. The whole Bible is tough on lying—declaring it a criminal offense by order of the Ninth Commandment. Though religious leaders may teach otherwise, that law is in full force and must be kept. In the Hebrew Bible, Exodus 20:16 states: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” The New Testament quotes Jesus Christ teaching those seeking eternal life, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Matthew 19:18). Lange’s Commentary states that the commandment in Exodus 20:16 forbids “not only [false] testimony before the judge, but in general any untrue testimony.”

Solomon certifies lying to be one of the seven things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). The wise king also stated, “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish” (Proverbs 19:9).

According to the Bible, habitual lying brings about destruction—certainly of one’s reputation, and even of one’s life! In ancient Israel, certain perjury crimes received the death penalty (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).

Is the Bible ambivalent about lying? Hardly!

Alterman continues, “While the Israelites are commanded to not bear ‘false witness,’ any number of cases can be found in the five books of Moses in which the authors appear to genuinely approve of lying, so long as it helps to ensure the survival of the Israelites. The best known of these takes place in Genesis (27:12), when Jacob deliberately deceives his father into giving him his blessing (and inheritance) rather than his brother Esau. Jacob appropriates his father’s blessing and is the better for it ….” Mr. Alterman misses the real lesson of that tragic history. Jacob did not get off for his despicable deception. In fact, he suffered horribly for years afterward. Look at the biblical record (“Jacob’s Tangled Web,” below).

World of Deception

Ours is not an honest world. Every facet of society—government, industry, science, education, religion—is filled with duplicity, fraud, hypocrisy, trickery and underhandedness. In the back of our minds, every human being knows this and still goes along with it. What a paradox. Why do we allow ourselves to live with such wretched harm? A globe-girdling spirit of deceit and hypocrisy smothers our planet. Most drift along with it. Humans have been duped into believing that lying helps us.

Contrary to the belief of many religious leaders and followers, this is not the God of Truth’s world. The Holy Bible reveals that the actual god of this world is the father of lies (Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; John 8:44). Satan the devil rules this planet as a god. But he is no god. He is a fallen, bitter and hopeless angel. He hates the truth and keeps unsuspecting humans in the dark about the importance of knowing the truth and telling the truth. How did Satan get control of the Earth? He stole it from our first parents using the power of a lie. He hoodwinked Eve into disbelieving and disobeying God. Even though not deceived, Adam chose to willingly follow his wife’s lead. He accepted Satan’s lie. The devil continues to spin this same hoax to all living today. Most have been tricked into disbelieving and disobeying God.

Thankfully, Satan’s con is coming to an end. God’s new and wonderful world, founded on the truth, is coming soon. Satan and all other liars will not live in that world (Revelation 21:8).

To break your addiction to deception, you must sincerely extol the truth and truth telling. The Ninth Commandment demands that you seek out, study and live by the truth taught in the Holy Bible. The Book of books affirms that all lying is sin and is as serious as committing murder.

Can humans truly live without lies? We must! Jesus Christ promises His followers, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). No human need live with lies. Embrace the truth. You’ll be free of the addiction to deception.

Thrift: Your Hedge Against Hard Times

From the March 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Are you unemployed? Are you in danger of losing your home? Do your debts devour your income and savings? Does the specter of more hard times ahead haunt you?

Perhaps you are one of thousands of people shouting at the government to fix our collapsed national economies. Your concerns are commendable. Yet, do you realize that the fix rests with you?

How well do we see that individual bad character is the real cause of the global financial crisis? The stark reality is, we helped create it. So, how do we get ourselves out of it? We must stop blaming the government and repair our own character.

Good character will help you get and keep a job. Good character will help you pay off your debts. Good character will provide you a more secure future. How? Read on!

Jeremiah the prophet was given an incredible vision into our tough times. Speaking for God, he tells us how to fix our character, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16). Are we willing to do what a loving God asks?

Figuratively, God wants us to stand in the biggest city and take an honest look at society. It is not working! There is glitz and gadgets but it is all falling apart. Why? It is the people’s fault. Everyone is walking the wrong way. God commands us to reject our modern way of doing things—which is rebellion—and turn back to the old paths. God emphasizes that the old path is the good way that makes life go well.

So, what is the “old” good way that will lead individuals (and nations) out of financial crisis? It is the fiscally stabilizing virtue known as thrift.

Way to Wealth

What is thrift? We don’t know much about it today. It is much more than the name of a second-hand clothing store. History shows that we rejected thrift as a value in the early 20th century. Our current financial crisis warns us that it is time to bring it back.

Thrift means using money and other resources carefully, not wastefully.

Elbert Hubbard, a prolific writer and publisher in the early 1900s, published a pithy pamphlet titled Let Thrift Be Your Ruling Habit. “Thrift is a habit,” this little booklet explains. “A habit is a thing you do unconsciously or automatically, without thought. … The habit of thrift is simply the habit which dictates that you shall earn more than you spend.” In essence, a thrifty person has a sound self-discipline.

Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers, wrote extensively on the subject. After publishing his thoughts on thrift in Poor Richard’s Almanac for over 20 years, he summarized them in The Way to Wealth. This little pamphlet has been a bestseller for over 250 years. It extols thrift as the means to gain and maintain wealth. Ben Franklin saw thrift as a positive way of life, employed by people of outstanding character.

Both of these wise men taught that thrift demands every individual work to make a living. They stressed that real wealth comes in small increments built up over time through hard work. A life of ease—which is laziness—will never produce financial security.

Understanding of the value of working hard is all but vanished from our national thinking. We live in the delusional get-rich-quick age. Many today gamble away whole paychecks in casinos playing slot machines and card games. Others hope to win big while pouring money down the lottery drains. Still others live on the dole, collecting welfare; over 42 million in America alone receive food stamps. Financial consultant Dave Ramsey warns, “Over the last 40 years we have gradually become a nation of consumers, instead of the nation of producers we used to be” (Financial Peace Revisited). Apparently, many people would rather play than work.

Love to Work

Hard work is not drudgery. Mr. Hubbard wrote, “‘All wealth comes from labor applied to land,’ said Adam Smith. … Let us say, ‘All wealth comes from loving labor applied to land.’ The successful labor is loving labor. Loving labor and thrift go hand in hand.”

Do we love to labor? People who love to labor are producers. No matter what job we do, when we love to work we produce. A farmer who loves to work produces fruits and vegetables. A cattleman who loves to work produces meat. A factory worker who loves to work produces goods. People who produce—produce wealth!

“Laziness and idleness costs twice as much as the taxes the government forces upon you,” Franklin wrote (The Way to Wealth (New Modern Edition)). If we do not love to work, we will fall behind financially. Mr. Franklin also wrote, “[A]t the workingman’s house hunger looks in but dares not enter.” Hardworking people rarely lose a job, even in hard times. Those who do, usually find other work quickly. Hard workers are not plagued by fear.

In fact, those who love labor are confident people. Elbert Hubbard explained, “[W]hen you produce more than you consume, your life is a success, and you are filled with courage, animation, ambition, goodwill. The world is beautiful, for the world is your view of the world, and when you are right with yourself, all’s right with the world.”

Ask yourself, “Do I love to work?”

Pay Your Own Way

Thrift insists that people pay their own way. This second principle warns against the bad habit of borrowing to meet expenses and especially wants. Debt is exposed as an injurious handicap. Thrift also orders individuals to step out of the welfare line. There is real personal strength in paying your own way.

Elbert Hubbard stated in his little book, “The habit of thrift proves your power to rule your own psychic self. You are captain of your soul. You are able to take care of yourself, and then out of the excess of your strength you produce a surplus. … [Y]ou are able to take care of some one else …. This is to live.”

A constant borrower is weak and grows weaker with every additional loan. Using a credit card is spending money only if you pay it off in full every month. Any other credit card use is borrowing. Regularly borrowing on credit cards eats up your wealth because of the lender’s interest you must pay. Excessive credit card debt has driven many into bankruptcy. The numbers are staggering: Last year, personal bankruptcies in the United States rose to 1.53 million, up 9 percent from 2009.

“Unnecessary debt is financial insanity,” Mr. Franklin wrote. “Don’t do it.” It is far better to budget than to borrow.

A budget is a written estimate of your income and expenses. It is a tool for building wealth every month. It shows you clearly if your expenses are exceeding your income. If that is the case, it is time to make some cuts. Eliminating things we like but cannot afford is difficult, but wise money managers do it regularly. Cutting unnecessary expenses (and we all have them) keeps you on the path of paying your own way.

“Don’t be a slave to loans,” Franklin admonished. “Preserve your freedom and pay cash for what you purchase, except for something very large like a house. However, only buy a house you can afford.” Thrift means that savings is one of the most important line items in your budget. Saving for the future is a matter of self-discipline. Saving money to pay cash for most things you need is always the best policy.

Live Simply

Our society is a consumption monster. We have been taught to love stuff—lots of stuff! The number-one solution to save the U.S. economy is stimulus packages designed to promote individual spending. Think deeply about this plan. It is definitely not founded on thrift! In this period of economic downturn, experts do not want us to save money—they want us to spend money on more stuff we don’t need. That’s insanity!

Thrift admonishes us to be economical. That is a term few truly understand.

For decades in the U.S. and Britain, Boy Scouts were taught how to be economical. The ninth law in the Boy Scouts Handbook states, “A Scout is thrifty. A Scout works to pay his own way and to help others. He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.” Do we grasp these easy-to-understand values?

Scouts learned that an economical person does not waste resources, which for most of us means money. An economical person uses only what is necessary and takes proper care of what he owns.

The words economy and economical derive from the Greek word oikonomia, from oikonomos, which means household management. Thrift is effective household management, which is good economy at the grassroots level. The global financial collapse reveals that many nations today are failing to manage their own households. It is wasteful government spending that has brought down many national houses.

There is a growing movement on the Web that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items. It is a measure to get people off the “work-spend treadmill” that leads to financial and emotional disaster. It teaches that less is more and encourages people to live simply. “The idea that you need to go bigger to be happy is false,” one participant related. “I really believe that the acquisition of material goods doesn’t bring about happiness.”

Benjamin Franklin taught, “If you spend everything you earn on things you don’t need or on things that add little value to your life, you will have a house full of stuff and a small bank account.” One of the wealthiest men of his time, Franklin knew that a full life is made rich with happy experiences—not stuff.

Living simply is the model of thrift. It leads a person to buy a home meant to meet needs, not impress the neighbors. It leads a person to turn lights off in a room that is not in use. It is not wasting water. It is not wasting time on useless entertainments. As Mr. Franklin stated, “Time is money.” It is being health conscious. It is vegetable gardening. It is not overeating or overdrinking. It is not frequenting expensive restaurants. It is driving one fuel-efficient car. It is owning one television set. It means cutting back on the heat in the winter and on the cooling in the summer. It is not impulse buying. It is having a quality—small—wardrobe. It is looking after appliances, furniture, the car and house.

Teaching economy, Elbert Hubbard declared, “You do not waste anything that can be used. You save it, care for it, reserve it.” Get the picture?

Live to Give

Thrift demands that we share our wealth with those less fortunate. There comes those times when family, friends and neighbors need help—financially and emotionally. Mr. Franklin wrote, “Be humble and help others when you are able. Comfort and encourage them to follow the same path, so they too may find their prosperity.” Operating from a position of strength, a person of thrift is ready, willing and able to meet those needs. Notice also that Franklin exhorts the givers to educate the needy about thrift. Throwing money at problems doesn’t fix them. Everyone must learn to shoulder his own financial obligations (Galatians 6:5). Those living by thrift are the best qualified to teach the financially unstable.

“[T]hrift … is a sister to a good many other beautiful habits,” Mr. Hubbard remarked. Thrift is a magnet that attracts other good character traits like faithfulness, loyalty, truthfulness and caring.

People who work hard, pay their own way and live simply are not selfish, self-centered people. They have learned how to control and subdue the self. They are real givers. In fact, they live to give.

Giving to those less fortunate is golden character. It is the measure of a spiritually wealthy person. Jesus Christ said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving to the needs of others actually brings more blessings to the one who gives! That is a dynamic financial law that few know and teach.

Let’s embrace thrift. It is the hedge that will protect us from hard times. And as we practice it, we will not only help ourselves—we will be in a position to help others.

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

©iStock.com

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!