Fears that America is turning inward were often expressed during the election campaign that resulted in Donald Trump becoming the next president.
As if to prove the fears well-founded, US media has concentrated on domestic concerns for the new presidency.
But, overseas, there is also great concern, as evidenced by the following report from Europe.
“Donald Trump’s victory, as well as Brexit, ought to speed up plans for EU defense integration, Germany has said.
“Europe needs the common political will for more security policy relevance. The outcome of the election in America could provide an additional impetus,” German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said in an opinion article in the Rheinische Post, a German newspaper, on Thursday (10 November.)
“The Brexit decision and the election in the United States have set a new course” for Europe, she added.
She said it was “difficult for Germany and Europe, on the day after the election, to assess what to expect from a Trump presidency.”
She predicted that the US would initially turn inward “to heal the tremendous internal turmoil in the country” that arose from Trump’s divisive campaign.
She said EU security would continue to depend on the US and on NATO, but she said Trump’s victory meant that Europe, and Germany as “a great nation in the centre of Europe”, would have to be “more self-reliant on security issues”.
Von der Leyen spoke of “building a common security and defense organization” that would concentrate on stabilizing African and Middle East countries in order to alleviate the flows of refugees coming to Europe.” (italics mine)
(Andrew Rettman, “Germany: Trump victory to speed up EU military union,” EU Observer)
An army to rival Russia: Germany calls for joint EU defense budget to take on Putin (Nick Gutteridge, Daily Express, October 19th)
Two weeks before the US election, Nick Gutteridge of the Daily Express (UK) wrote that Germany wants a European military force to rival Russia’s. This would, of course, also mean that it would rival America’s.
The European Union has approximately 500 million people without Britain. It is also the world’s biggest single market with a currency that is used more widely than any other. It, therefore, has the potential to be the world’s greatest military power.
These articles are particularly significant in the light of President-elect Trump’s comments that NATO countries are not contributing enough to their own defense. He is also on record as saying that NATO has outlived its usefulness. However, on Monday he made it clear that he is committed to the military alliance. The alliance was founded in 1949. At the time it was said the organization was intended “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down”. That cynical comment is effectively negated by Germany’s new dominant role on the European continent, the leader of the EU and the country set to dominate the EU’s military force.
The proposed military force was not possible until June’s Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. Britain has always opposed a European military union believing that it will undermine US-led NATO. Some other countries in the EU are not in favor, either. When the military union comes into existence, possibly as early as next year, it’s likely only a dozen countries will join.
Note the following from Der Spiegel, Germany’s leading news magazine:
“For 100 years, the United States was the leader of the free world. With the election of Donald Trump, America has now abdicated that role. It is time for Europe, and Angela Merkel, to step into the void.
The West was constituted in its modern form in January 1917. World War I was raging in Europe at the time and in Washington, D.C., President Woodrow Wilson told his country that it was time for Americans to take responsibility for “peace and justice.” In April he said: “The world must be made safe for democracy.” He declared war on Germany and sent soldiers to Europe to secure victory for the Western democracies — and the United States assumed the leadership of the Western world. It was an early phase of political globalization.
One hundred years later: Trump.”
While President Wilson did say the words quoted above, his enthusiasm was soon dampened by Congress and America did not really get involved in the world until 25 years later. It wasn’t until after World War II that the US rose to prominence, replacing Great Britain in it’s super power role. February 1947 was the month when it was first realized that Britain was handing over its international policeman role to the Americans. You can read about this in “Picking up the reins” by Norman Moss. So, when President Trump is sworn in, it will be just a few days before America’s leadership role turns 70. Babylon, the world’s first super-power was at the top for only seventy years. President-elect Trump wants to put “America First” – is it possible for the US to turn its back on the rest of the world? Mr. Trump says no. But others are not so sure.
Today’s Wall Street Journal carried the headline:
“European Union Backs Plan to Expand Military Coordination”
Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the election of Donald Trump give fresh impetus to Europe to come up with new plans for security cooperation.”
While Donald Trump is reassuring the European NATO allies of America’s commitment, the continental Europeans are hedging their bets.
The next few years could see the alliance unraveling.
Bible students are well aware that the biblical book of Revelation, which describes events in our age, tells us that ten nations will come together in Europe to form a formidable political and military union. These ten are the next prophesied super-power. They are also the last, as their brief period of dominance ends with the Kingdom of God.
“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14)
POLLSTERS WRONG AGAIN
We used to get frequent annoying and intrusive calls from pollsters asking all kinds of questions to try to determine our views on different issues and what we thought of the candidates. This year we got no such calls.
I suspect the reason is that we no longer have a landline. Perhaps this goes part of the way to explaining how the polls got it so wrong. Most young people only have a cell phone — that’s also the case with many older people who can no longer afford to have both a landline and a cell phone.
This may partly explain why the polls were wrong. They were also wrong over Brexit, predicting the people would vote to “Remain” in the EU. The “Leave” campaign used a company called “Cambridge Analytica” to help them win. The UK company used data from over 5,000 people to determine the best way to get their message across.
Donald Trump hired the same company for his campaign.
In both campaigns they found that 3% of voters were “shy Tories.” This was the term they used to describe very conservative people who kept their views to themselves. Many people felt intimidated in conversations with intellectuals who would try to bully or shame them into supporting “Remain.” The same “shy Tories” in the US were secret Trump supporters — after Mr. Trump’s more outrageous comments it didn’t seem respectable to hold to pro-Trump views.
But support Trump they did.
These voters want change.
As with Brexit, a big issue was immigration and the perception that many new immigrants refuse to assimilate and even threaten national security. They also want to “drain the swamp,” to reduce both the size and the cost of the federal government.
Germany: Government Carries Out Raids, Bans Religious Organization
Germany’s government has banned an Islamic organization known as True Religion, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, the New York Times reported Nov. 15. The announcement comes as German authorities carried out raids on nearly 200 properties associated with the group across the country. De Maiziere said the group was a recruiting pool for potential militants, adding that 140 supporters of the group have traveled to Iraq or Syria to join the Islamic State. Though police confiscated materials during the raids, no arrests were made. A number of attacks in Germany over the past year have fueled fears of migrants. (Stratfor, 11/15/16)