An historic upheaval is taking place around the world as the US and UK, the two leading Anglo-Saxon powers, inadvertently separate from other nations.
It started a year ago with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. One year later, the country is about to enter dialog with other EU nations, a divorce settlement that is going to have a lasting effect on both the UK and the EU.
The historic upheaval continued last week when President Trump ended an international trip with a NATO meeting in Sicily that made it clear the US will no longer guarantee the security and independence of other NATO countries if they are invaded by Russia. This effectively ends Clause 5 of the NATO Treaty that required all member nations to come to the aid of another member if attacked.
The only time Clause 5 has been invoked was on September 11th, 2001, in defense of the United States. Alliance members came to America’s aid.
A third development could end America’s leadership role in the world.
I posted a few weeks ago an article on the 70th anniversary of America’s replacing Britain as the world’s chief superpower and international policeman. The question I asked was: “Could 70 be it for the US?” (February 19th).
It looks increasingly likely that, indeed, 70 could be it!
I say this following President Trump’s announcement yesterday that the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.
Climate change has certainly become politicized. It’s also true that it has cost jobs, in the US and other countries. But the fact is that 195 countries in the world signed the deal – the only two that didn’t were Syria and Nicaragua.
More is at stake than a simple climate deal to reduce carbon emissions.
What’s at stake here is America’s global leadership.
Next time the US goes to other nations and asks for help (Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 are two examples, the fight against ISIS more recently), it’s likely the country will be rebuffed.
The dispute within NATO also risks the US president losing the accolade “Leader of the Free World.” In recent days, Angela Merkel seems to be filling that role.
Jacob Hellbrunn, editor of the American magazine National Interest, asked in the May 28th issue, Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?
“Donald Trump entered office hoping that he could splinter the European Union. But what if his presidency has the effect of further unifying it —against America?
“. . . Until now, the core relationship in American foreign policy in Europe has been with Germany. That tie appears not simply to be fraying but on the verge of snapping. It will be no small irony if Trump has impelled Europe to transform itself into a unified great power.”
Two days later, the National Interest, in a separate article by Salvatore Babones, once again addressed the issue of Germany:
“Germany is not among America’s “closest and oldest allies.” That honor surely goes to the United Kingdom. And second, Merkel didn’t single out just the United States. She said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States or the UK for its security. In other words, Merkel wasn’t just declaring her independence from Donald Trump. She was declaring independence from Theresa May, too. But can Germany defend Europe itself? And even if it could, would Europe want it to? The most likely answer to both questions is “no.” (“Can Germany defend Europe on its own?”)
The last question and answer overlooks the possibility that the US may push the Europeans into standing on their own; and the only leader, in such a situation, is Germany. This likely development has been made more likely by Brexit, even though London says it is not turning its back on Europe. The outcome of Thursday’s election in the UK could be decisive here – a change of government, even a hung parliament where no party has enough votes to govern effectively, would seriously weaken Britain’s role relative to the EU.
Yesterday, it was France’s turn. Emmanuel Macron, the new President of France, took the unprecedented step of announcing France’s “disappointment” at Mr. Trump’s decision and inviting scientists from around the world to fight climate change from France. Paris was where the deal to fight climate change was signed in December 2015. The new French prime minister described Trump’s decision as “calamitous.” (It should be noted that this was the first time ever that a French president addressed the world in English from the Elysee Palace. It was clear to whom it was addressed.)
CBS’ Ben Tracy put it well this morning when he said: “The president (Trump) is fundamentally shifting alliances around the world” (CBS This Morning).
Note the following from a British newspaper Friday morning:
“One senior European NATO diplomat said: “Trump showed that we have fundamental differences about what NATO is for. NATO is designed to defend the territory of its members, not stop terrorism or immigration. We are heading in opposite directions.” (NATO joins forces in fight against ISIS – but it’s branded as POINTLESS in Germany” (Katie Mansfield, Daily Express, June 2nd).
Many Bible students know that another superpower will soon replace the United States as the world’s global leader. Some have felt that Donald Trump would reverse America’s fortunes by putting “America First” and strengthening America’s role in the world. At this point in time it seems more likely that he will speed up the rise of an alternative global power that will rival the United States of America. Revelation 13, 17 & 18, together with Daniel 2 & 7 describe this new superpower.