China’s Power on Display in Standoff With Philippines

China’s Power on Display in Standoff With Philippines

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China’s state-run PLA Daily published a commentary on May 10 with a title that could scarcely have been more provocative: Don’t Attempt to Take Away Half an Inch of China’s Territory. The article warned the Philippines and the world against mistaking “China’s kindness for weakness.”

“Anyone’s attempt to take away China’s sovereignty over Huangyan Island will not be allowed by the Chinese government, people and armed forces,” the commentary said.

The tirade was prompted by a standoff between China and the Philippines that began on April 10 when a Philippine warship accused Chinese fishermen of illegal entry and poaching in Philippine waters and attempted to arrest them. The attempt was blocked by the arrival of two Chinese government vessels, which ordered the Philippine ship to leave the shoal. The Philippine ship refused to back down, saying the Huangyan territory lies within Philippine waters.

On May 17, a group of Filipino protesters, headed by a retired military officer, set sail to Huangyan Island to plant the Philippine flag on the shoal in defiance of China. Likewise, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario called on Filipinos “to unite and make a patriotic stand to defend what belongs to the Philippines—even if it would entail sacrifice.”

But Philippine President Benigno Aquino iii has taken a different stance, saying the Philippines does not have the resources to fight China. “Even in boxing, they are 1.3 billion, we are 95 million,” he said. He forbade the protesters from planting the Philippine flag on Huangyan.

Why would Aquino refuse to stand up to Beijing’s belligerency? The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea says there’s no question that Huangyan is Philippine territory. A country’s exclusive economic zone, it says, is 230 miles from its coastline. Huangyan is 140 miles from the Philippine coast, and 542 miles from the nearest part of China.

Furthermore, doesn’t the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty between Manila and Washington guarantee that the U.S. has the Philippines’ back?

The trouble for Manila is that China is its third-largest importer. China is also the world’s number one energy consumer, so even if the Philippines managed to keep Beijing away from Huangyan’s undersea riches, ultimately it would need to negotiate with China to sell them. The Philippines relies on Beijing to help it finance new mines; it needs Chinese tourists to fill its casinos; and it depends on China for myriad other market matters. The Philippines’ economic dependence on China makes it difficult for Manila to do anything but bend to Beijing’s demands.

As far as the U.S.-Philippine defense treaty goes, the U.S. told Manila in June of 2011 that it may not always be willing to support the Philippines. Two weeks ago, in a meeting with Philippine officials, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a similar stance, saying the U.S. will not take any sides in the Huangyan conflict.

It’s true that Manila has recently sought to reaffirm military ties with Washington, holding joint military drills in the very waters that are disputed. Such measures buy Manila time and allow it to appease local nationalists in the short term. But Beijing will not respond well to saber-rattling, and time will reveal the U.S.’s Asian activities to be just that.

There has been much talk of a U.S. military tilt toward East Asia—in part to help justify Washington’s withdrawals from the Middle East and Europe. But if America’s new focus truly is on Asia, it would not shy away from taking the side of one of its oldest Asian allies in this dispute.

Since it has law on its side, the Philippines asked China to bring the dispute to an international court. “The whole world knows that China has myriad more ships and aircraft than the Philippines. At day’s end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer,” said del Rosario.

In a move revealing how little regard China has for international law (and how weak such laws are), Beijing ignored the proposal and reiterated its demand for the Philippines to withdraw its ships from Huangyan. Beijing also told its citizens that they are not safe in the Philippines, and halved the number of flights from China to the Philippines. China’s leadership is in transition, and its rulers will do all they can to avoid appearing weak on sovereignty. Beijing has not yet brandished its power, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. And, as Aquino said, the Philippines—without U.S. backing—does not have the resources to fight China.

As China’s economic heft and military might continue to grow, and as American will fades, watch for Beijing’s belligerent behavior to simultaneously increase. The Philippines and other Asian nations will be compelled to abandon the sinking U.S. ship. This shift will lead to the establishment of a colossal Asian power bloc, and—ultimately—to the most hope-filled event in history! To understand more, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Europe Needs a New Charlemagne, Says German Finance Minister

Europe Needs a New Charlemagne, Says German Finance Minister

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As the city of Aachen awards the annual Charlemagne prize, European leaders congratulate each other on following in the legacy of Charlemagne. But what is this legacy? It contains a dangerous warning for you today!

Europe must forge a political union with a strong figurehead, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in Aachen May 17 as he collected the Charlemagne prize for outstanding commitment to European unity.

The award ceremony is an annual reminder that the leaders of the European Union see themselves as following the path of Charlemagne. In his acceptance speech, Schäuble laid out his vision for a “new form of political order” in Europe, led by a single European leader.

Schäuble’s speech made clear that European leaders want to recreate a Charlemagne-like empire.

The euro crisis has taught us that “a common monetary policy also requires the pooling of important parts of the financial and economic policy,” he said. But Schäuble envisions Europe going further. “We’ve got to create a political union now,” he said. The European Commission would become a European government, but, most importantly, Schäuble said he wanted a single European president, elected by “direct popular vote across the European Union.”

“I would be for the further development of the European Commission into a government,” he said.

And while this change would require “evolution, not revolution,” Schäuble warned that “the world will not wait too long for us and therefore it is important to act quickly.”

The Legacy of Charlemagne

In his speech, Schäuble praised Charlemagne, holding him up as a role model for modern Europe. The medieval emperor held Europe together “not only militarily, but also through educational reform, the introduction of a single administration and European literary culture,” he said.

He continued: “Charlemagne also had very similar problems that we modern Europeans do” as he introduced “the silver denarius, creating a single currency area.”

The night before, Christine Legarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, praised Charlemagne for the same reasons. “Charlemagne is often referred to as the Pater Europae, the leader who forged a cohesive unity out of a divided western Europe, and unleashed an intellectual and cultural revival,” she said. “He is also famous for his economic reforms—he harmonized and unified a complex array of currencies, introducing a new currency standard, the livre, based on silver.”

Astoundingly, she also praised Charlemagne’s rule as an “age of peace.”

While trying to walk in the footsteps of Charlemagne, these leaders hide where those footsteps led.

They talk of literary culture, a Carolingian Renaissance and a new silver currency. But they skip the wars, brutality and massacres.

“The first three decades of Charlemagne’s reign were dominated by military campaigns,” says the Encyclopedia Britannica. Charlemagne was really a bloody dictator who, like Hitler and Napoleon, tried to subdue the continent of Europe.

His most stubborn enemies were the Saxons, in north-central Europe. Charlemagne didn’t just slaughter Saxons on the battlefield. At one time he executed 4,500 Saxon prisoners.

But perhaps Charlemagne’s longest-lasting achievement was to introduce Europe to new brutality in forcing people to convert to Catholicism.

The New Encyclopedia Britannica says: “The violent methods by which this missionary task was carried out had been unknown to the earlier Middle Ages, and the sanguinary [bloody] punishment meted out to those who broke canon law or continued to engage in pagan practices called forth criticism in Charles’ own circle” (“Charlemagne, Emperor”).

Charlemagne was allied closely with the pope. Thousands of Saxons were forced into being baptized into the Catholic faith. Strict laws enforcing Catholic worship were enacted throughout Charlemagne’s European empire. The penalty for cremating someone, the old pagan way of dealing with the dead, was death. In contrast, the penalty for murder was to pay compensation to the man’s family, provided the murdered man wasn’t a priest, of course. All children had to be baptized before they were a year old. Unauthorized public meetings were outlawed (so observing the Sabbath on Saturday was illegal).

This is the legacy that European leaders praise—a bloody relationship between church and state.

This legacy of Europe is a powerful warning. Has a large part of Europe ever been united under one man, and not gone on to inflict massive bloodshed?

Schäuble praised Catholicism as one of the pillars that unites the Continent. “What unites us Europeans?” he asked. His answer: “It has something to with the Judeo-Christian character of Europe in its infancy, with the legacy of classical Greece—the triad of Athens, Rome and Jerusalem.”

The legacy of Charlemagne shows us what is coming next for Europe. History shows that to really be united, the European Union needs the help of the Vatican.

History shows that violence and Catholicism are the only ways to unite Europe. That’s the only way Europe has ever been united in the past. The weapons may have changed since then, but not the character of the people.

This is the direction the unified government and single leader that Schäuble wants will lead. It has to—that is the only direction it has ever gone in the past. After all, they are following in the footsteps of Charlemagne.

Europe’s history gives a powerful warning for us today. To understand this history and gain vital insight into where Europe is heading, read our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. It will clearly show you how every leader of a united Europe has led the continent in this direction, and how this will happen one last time.

High Risk, First In, Last Out!

High Risk, First In, Last Out!

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The German secret service is taking on new life under a highly motivated director.

Germany’s secret service is a highly motivated spy force that maintains over 6,000 operatives in over 300 locations across the world.

Der Bundesnachrichtendienst (bnd) is today’s outgrowth of the Gehlen Organization, the spy network established by notorious Nazi Gen. Reinhard Gehlen with the implicit support of successive postwar American administrations.

It is well documented that Gehlen recruited former officers and operatives from Hitler’s SS (Schutzstaffel) and Gestapo to staff the fledgling postwar German secret service. Some of these were known to have been party to horrific crimes under the Nazi regime, especially against the Jews. Most of them have since either retired or died, yet still the whole culture of today’s bnd senior cadre—as with many of today’s German institutions—is permeated by the vision of the nation’s old elites for the revival of German imperialism.

Since Germany’s reunification in 1990, the secret service has grown into a highly efficient outfit with a cutting-edge approach to surveillance. For example, a recent parliamentary report revealed that in relation to online surveillance, the bnd checked 37 million e-mails and data connections in 2010, five times the number it checked in 2009.

With so many of its old ex-SS and Gestapo operatives having been channeled in the early postwar years through the Vatican’s “ratlines,” especially to Argentina, North Africa and the Middle East, it is not surprising that the bnd developed a reputation for an outstanding intelligence record in these regions. The most noteworthy example was the bnd’s data reporting in advance almost the very hour of Israel’s surprise attack on its Arab neighbors in the June 1967 war.

Though the bnd has generally stayed out of the spotlight of controversy, some recent headlines indicated a degree of laxity in a couple of cases in which the bnd was involved: the loss of plans for its new Berlin office complex; and what was reported as a botched involvement with a neo-Nazi group. These lapses led to a leadership change at the top.

Gerhard Schindler’s rise to the top in German intelligence has been rapid. He was appointed second lieutenant in the Bundeswehr upon graduating from high school in 1972. He became a police enforcement officer with the West German Border Guard while the Berlin Wall was still in place. Between 1983 and 1989, he received a promotion to a new office every second year. Further promotions followed till Schindler’s appointment as head of Germany’s counterterrorism unit in 2003.

This occurred under the chancellorship of Gerhard Schröder when Frank Walter Steinmeier, current leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (sdp), was the chancellor’s chief of staff and oversaw German intelligence. Thus, since Schindler is an original Steinmeier appointee, it is perhaps not surprising that the sdp favorably commented on his appointment as head of Germany’s secret service in November of last year, despite his being a Free Democratic Party member.

Under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, Schindler was promoted as the head of the Public Security Directorate General. Now, just four years later, he has gained Germany’s top intelligence job.

The most significant public statement that Schindler has made since gaining office is, “I don’t want to change the attitude of the staff. In my whole career I have never met so many highly motivated colleagues as here.” With an eye to developing global disorder, he added, “The service must become more willing to take risks …. There must be no hesitation in the world’s crisis regions. We must be the first to go in and the last to leave.”

Here is a man for the moment. Germany is seeking to take a lead role in the Middle East peace process. Its agents are well embedded in North Africa, working with the German military in establishing beachheads for further southward and eastward expansion of German hegemony. Schindler’s hints at ramping up bnd risk-taking gel with recent reports of German elites strengthening their nation’s presence at key points surrounding crucial Middle East oil fields and sea gates.

Thus, the choice of Schindler as Germany’s intelligence chief appears to align directly with the motives of German military advisers, especially given their current recommended strategy in the Middle East. As German-Foreign-Policy.com recently reported, “While the [German Institute for International and Security Affairs] is publicly debating the possibility of a nato war on Syria, the German government’s former ‘coordinator of German American Cooperation,’ Karsten D. Voigt (spd), asserts that the current dispute between the West and Russia over the adequate policy towards Syria is not about ‘human rights versus dictatorship,’ but geostrategic interests” (March 6; emphasis added). Objective analysts would agree.

From a Bible prophecy perspective, there can be no doubt about the fact that Germany is pursuing an alliance with Sunni regimes in the Gulf states as a bulwark against further encroachment south by Iran. This gels with the prophecy of such an alliance revealed in Psalm 83.

“Whereas Russia would prefer a ‘secular dictatorship,’ the usa—according to Voigt—is trying to bring a ‘Sunnite majority regime’ to power. This, in fact, corresponds to Washington’s and Berlin’s new course focused on Islamist circles in the Arab countries and cooperation with also the Muslim Brotherhood. This is why particularly the Islamist countries Qatar and Saudi Arabia were pushing for the recent interventions in the Arab world in close coordination with the West, including with Germany” (ibid).

With Berlin now effectively influencing American Middle East strategy to its own ends, and as the U.S. administration continues to draw down its own militarily forces from this region, watch for the bnd under Schindler’s leadership to take on a higher risk approach to shoring up Sunni regimes in the Middle East, and to be first in and last out when German strategic interests are at stake.

Spanish Banks Downgraded

Stock markets around the world fell on Friday after Spanish banks were slapped with credit downgrades. Moody’s downgraded its credit score for 16 Spanish banks, causing investors to question the stability of the euro currency.

With Greece’s banks already melting down, investor attention has shifted to Spain and its government’s ability to bail out its beleaguered banking sector. Spanish banks are overexposed to a real-estate bubble that has imploded, and the country is suffering from a recession and a 25 percent unemployment rate.

Representatives from the G-8 countries, which include the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Russia, Italy and Canada, are now meeting at Camp David to try to come up with a solution to prevent the crisis from spreading.

Based on Bible prophecy, the Trumpet expects that Germany, supported by Italy, will take an even stronger lead in dealing with this crisis. Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti arrived in Washington ahead of the summit, a subtle indication that Rome is stepping up to a greater leadership role. Continue to watch what Germany and Italy will do at this economic crossroads.

Italy Calls in the Army to Protect Tax Collectors

Italy Calls in the Army to Protect Tax Collectors

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Anarchist attacks increase as Italy struggles with 30 percent youth unemployment.

Italy’s Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri announced May 13 that Equitalia, the private company that collects taxes, and Finmeccanica, an aerospace and defense conglomerate, may receive military protection after they were attacked by anarchists.

Cancellieri warned that the army may also need to protect Italy’s high-speed rail network.

The defense proposals came after gunmen shot Roberto Adinolfi, ceo of one of Finmeccanica’s subsidiaries, Ansaldo Nucleare, in the leg. The “Olga Cell” of fai (Informal Anarchist Federation) claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was punishing “one of the many sorcerers of the atomic industry.”

Equitalia is regularly attacked. On May 12, anarchists threw two petrol bombs at one of its buildings.

With 30 percent youth unemployment and an unelected government, the anarchist movement should have little trouble recruiting.

The Interior Ministry said it has assigned bodyguards to 550 people. It’s increased security at 14,000 locations, and redeployed 4,200 military personnel already on duty in Italy.

The Trumpet has long forecast that the euro crisis would cause riots and unrest, which would in turn cause governments to adopt authoritarian measures.

“Social unrest and riots will eventually force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in 2009. For more information on how this will happen, see his article “Did the Holy Roman Empire Plan the Greek Crisis?

Wildfire Season Begins in American Southwest

Wildfire Season Begins in American Southwest

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Firefighters are battling the first major wildfires of the 2012 season in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

In Arizona, four separate fires, as yet uncontained, have engulfed nearly 21,000 acres, turning them to cinders and ashes.

Beginning on May 13, one of the Arizona fires, named Gladiator because it began at a residence on a street with the same name, has burned 5,400 acres about one mile east of the historic town of Crown King. More than 460 firefighters are working to keep the fire away from the area, which includes some 300 residences. Three hundred and fifty residents have been evacuated.

High winds and dry conditions from drought have fanned the flames, and fire officials are expecting much of the same conditions to continue. Fire and weather experts believe that Arizona, New Mexico and Texas will have above-normal potential for fires throughout 2012.

Although some experts see this as a slow start to the wildfire season, this could be a catastrophic warning of what is to come considering that during 2011, a total of 73,484 wildfires burned an estimated 8,706,852 acres of land across the United States, as reported by the Earth Sky website. Wildfire activity during 2011 was exceptionally high and was only exceeded in the historical record by wildfire activity during the years 2006 and 2007. Could 2012 exceed 2011?

Why is America again threatened by a another summer of raging wildfires? Is it possible that God may have something to do with it?

Most people have difficulty believing that God would have anything to do with a raging wildfire.

Yet, the Bible is filled with promises of God blessing obedient people with ample rainfall and cursing disobedient people with drought, which can lead to raging wildfires.

God promises the modern-day nations of Israel (for more on who these nations are, request our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy), upon obedience to His commandments, “rain in due season” so the “land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:4).

However, God also says the modern-day nations of Israel will experience curses if they don’t obey. Amos 4:7 says, “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.” God is sending severe and extreme droughts, as well as raging wildfires, to motivate people in this nation to repent.

The raging wildfires our nation has experienced over the last decade are warnings of far greater disasters that the U.S. and the world will soon experience. Powerful forces of nature are yet to be fully unleashed (see Revelation 6:5-8 and Revelation 8:4-12). Relief from raging wildfires will only come if we repent. For more information related to this subject, read our booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters?