The week began with the 41st G7 summit, held this year in the Bavarian town of Krun.
The former G8 is now down to 7 since Vladimir Putin started misbehaving himself and invaded Ukraine. He never really belonged anyway. The group is made up of the seven biggest industrial powers in the world – Russia was never the eighth. Even the Belgian economy is bigger than Russia’s. At the same time, Russia under Putin can hardly be described as a model democracy.
The leaders of the seven seem to have had the usual amicable two-day session, during which they discussed Russia and Ukraine, global warming and ISIS. President Obama was more than candid when he said that the US does not have a “complete strategy” when it comes to dealing with the terror group. One year after ISIS captured the city of Mosul, the Administration still doesn’t know what it’s doing! It’s a good thing the president wasn’t in power at the time of Pearl Harbor – Hitler and Tojo would have won!
Fortunately, there are leaders out there who do know what they are doing and who seem to have a clear strategy. Unfortunately, they live in Moscow and the Vatican.
Today, the leader of Russia, no doubt sore at being barred from the summit and all that Bavarian beer, met with the Pope in the Eternal City. This was the second time the two men have met, the first since the Russian annexation of Crimea. Note what Russia Today had to say:
“The two men champion similar conservative values in a rapidly changing world, as well as concerns for emerging threats to Christianity. During their last meeting in 2013, Putin and the Pope discussed the danger Christians face in the Middle East at the hands of radical Islamists.
“The meeting is expected to touch upon Ukraine and the civil war in the east of the country. Pope Francis has been rejecting calls from the Ukrainian Catholic Church to condemn Russia over allegations that it’s fueling aggression, and instead called on all parties involved to cease hostilities.”
Today’s meeting was a test of the pope’s diplomatic skills. Fresh from a visit to Cuba, which was appreciated in both Washington and Havana, the pope was instrumental in breaking the ice between the US and the communist country. Can he help break the logjam over Ukraine?
Perhaps more important to the pope is the state of Christians in the Middle East. Extremists throughout the region are killing Christians at an alarming rate and in a most alarming manner. Russia’s president has said that Russia will protect them. The pope has called for world leaders to intervene and use force against those persecuting Christians. The US president is on record as saying that the US is a “post-Christian” country – he will not be seen to favor Christians over Muslims, reminding people a few weeks ago that Christians did some terrible things to Muslims during the Crusades. At the same time, Christianity is a thing of the past to most western Europeans.
So, what next in Europe and particularly Germany, Rome and Moscow?
Bible prophecy shows that prior to Christ’s Second Coming, there will be a revival of the Roman Empire, in which Rome and Germany will play major roles. You can read about the revived Roman Empire in Revelation, chapter 17. History students will know that this union is not improbable. In 1922, Mussolini proclaimed a revival of the Roman Empire. After his plans failed, six European nations came together to sign the Treaty of Rome in 1957, pledging to form “an ever closer union”, in effect a nicer Roman Empire, not built by force.
For this revival of the Roman Empire to come into its final form, a German led Europe and America are set to go their separate ways. Clearly, there are already differences between Washington and Berlin, the only European capital that counts. Germany is witnessing increasing anti-Americanism, which is likely to get worse with the publication of “Schindler’s List.” Gerhard Schindler is the president of Germany’s BND, the equivalent of America’s National Security Agency (NSA). He has in his possession a list of people in Germany that his BND has been spying on at the behest of the NSA.
“This list has become a potential time bomb both for Germany’s ruling coalition and for the transatlantic relationship. It refers to the documentation of millions of “selectors”— search terms for phone numbers, e-mail addresses and so on — that America’s National Security Agency (NSA) has over the years fed into the computers of its German equivalent, the BND. The Germans monitored these and passed the intelligence back to America. Under a 2002 deal, the selectors may not point to German citizens, European firms or European Union governments.
“But for years the BND failed to check the selectors, according to parliamentary testimony by Gerhard Schindler, its president. It began doing so properly only after revelations of American mass surveillance by Edward Snowden in 2013. The BND then rejected thousands of search terms as impermissible, apparently because they aimed at European firms and governments, including France’s. A big question is just how many problematic selectors had got through. Mr. Schindler says he was informed of the situation only in March. How much Chancellor Angela Merkel knew is unclear.” (“Germans are angry not only with America’s spies but also with their own,” The Economist, June 6th.)
There is likely to be considerable fallout when the list is revealed. In turn, this could affect transatlantic relations.
Add to this a growing disillusionment with a do-nothing Washington that is no longer committed to Europe and seems averse to doing anything significant in the Middle East. This leaves a vacuum in the Western world. Europe is not ready to fill the vacuum yet, but if the West is to be saved, it must do so. And do so soon.
Rome will also play a role here. A revived Roman Empire is not possible without the papacy. Note the following comment in Time Magazine one day before the pope met with President Putin.
“The Bishop of Rome may not represent the United States or Germany, but he is increasingly a superpower in his own right, and the Wednesday meeting is a diplomatic test of how Francis will use his influence.”
(“Vladimir Putin Tests the Limits of Pope Francis’ Powers,” Elizabeth Dias, Time Magazine, June 9th.)
Little attention is given to Berlin, Rome, or Moscow on American television news programs, but developments in these three cities could affect America’s future and very soon.