President Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom was very successful and has given the British people a much needed boost in the midst of Brexit.
The British would probably have been ok even without the US, but Trump’s promise of a trade deal couldn’t have come at a better time. Mrs. May ceases to be prime minister at the end of the week, having failed in her bid to do a “deal” with Europe. (She will continue in a caretaker role until a new leader of the Conservative Party is chosen.)
Mr. Trump made the effort to talk to Boris Johnson and to meet with both Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, the three most likely men to replace Mrs. May. He already knew the first two. He also spent some time with Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit party. Mr. Trump is firmly on the side of Brexit, which will put a dent in the European Union, arguably America’s greatest trade rival.
Some voices were raised against Trump. PBS said the “streets were flooded” with demonstrators. 250,000 were expected; 75,000 turned up, according to organizers. Others felt the number was considerably less. Hardly a flood! An opinion poll found that 46% of the British people supported the visit; only 40% were against. Those numbers were a lot better than on his previous visit. People have seemingly become aware that he is in favor of a strong, individual nation state, and against globalization.
He was well received by the royal family, in spite of the revelation of a negative comment made by Meghan Markle prior to her marriage to Prince Harry.
Criticism from London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, continues but it did not influence anybody else. Mr. Khan, a Muslim, began his spat with Trump when the president introduced curbs on immigrants from Muslim countries. His negativity only strengthens how actor John Cleese described London a few days ago as a non-English city – it’s unlikely to be in step with the rest of the country from now on. Jeremy Corbyn was another critical voice. The leader of the Labor Party seems happy to meet with terrorist leaders but not with the US president.
President Trump extolled the virtues of the Anglo-American alliance, two nations that have been the greatest alliance in history. It took Robert Tuttle, a former US Ambassador to the UK on Sky TV, to add another three countries: “Canada, Australia and New Zealand.” The Australian prime minister sat behind the Queen and President for the celebrations commemorating D-Day. The Canadian prime minister was also present. All three countries contributed to the D-Day landings.
There are now two clearly defined ideas when it comes to the future of the western world. Angela Merkel gave the commencement speech at Harvard University. Her priority is still globalization. While Trump’s speeches in England were all about the nation state. Comments posted to websites talked about role reversal – that Merkel believes in freedom while Trump is for fascism. Such comments show people’s ignorance. Nationalism is a far cry from fascism. And fascism is more likely to come out of the EU than the US. Too many people on the left are too quick to label a conservative “fascist.”
Other challenges lie ahead. Britain is in the midst of a constitutional crisis; the US seems headed for one.
Britain’s is all to do with Brexit. And the referendum on the subject was won three years ago by supporters of the country leaving the EU. Parliament will not support the British people’s vote and, instead, is split between those who support Brexit with a deal and those who wish to remain members of the EU. Those supporting Brexit with a deal are not facing reality as the EU will not give them a deal it could accept. The uncertainty has gone on for three years, eroding any respect for Britain that the EU might have had. If they upset the EU any more, they may find themselves kicked out of the organization.
On the anniversary of D-Day today, June 6th, the Daily Express Head of News, Paul Baldwin, mused on the anniversary of the landings: “It’s interesting and quite moving to think that 75 years ago today one of the biggest armadas ever assembled was about to set off and head for northern France and liberate Europe from the yoke of Nazism. And we’re now seeing 75 years later that Britain is, at best, tolerated by our European neighbors and at worst, possibly despised.” (Daily Express 6/6)
Not only is there uncertainty over Brexit. There is also uncertainty over who will replace Mrs. May as PM. The choice is most undemocratic.
“At some point in June or July roughly 124,000 people in Britain can expect to receive a ballot paper in the post. It will offer them the names of two Conservative MPs (members of parliament). The one they select will, shortly thereafter, enter 10 Downing Street as prime minister. The rest of Britain’s 66 million inhabitants will have no say whatsoever.” (“The Referendums and the damage done,” The Economist, 6/1).
The new leader will serve out the term of this government. Then he will have to stand for election with everyone else and may be defeated. More uncertainty.
The US has a constitutional crisis pending, as most Democrats want President Trump to be impeached, claiming his behavior warrants this. More likely, it’s because they know there is no prospect of winning the 2020 election and want to find some way to get rid of him so that a Democrat is more likely to win. In other words, it’s all politics.
But, the process of impeachment would damage the US considerably. Financial markets hate instability. Trump has been good for business; any attempt to remove him would likely have a negative effect on the economy.
So, both countries may have constitutional crises’ at the same time.
This would make ineffective the famed Anglo-American alliance, upon which the free world has been largely built.
Consternation has been expressed this week that the US currently has no Ambassador to South Korea, at a time when war between the US and North Korea is a definite possibility. Nothing has been said about the fact that the US has no Ambassador to the European Union, also at a very critical time.
On Sunday, in a British television interview, President Trump described the EU’s trading policies as “unfair” to the US and threatened increased tariffs on imports from the 27-member nation trading club.
The US president, Donald Trump, claimed in an interview with ITV broadcast on Sunday that the EU had been “very unfair” on American exporters, and that it would “morph into something very big” that would “turn out to be very much to [the EU’s] detriment.”
Washington is currently examining the case for protecting US economic interests on national security grounds, including the imposition of import tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Responding to Trump’s comments, a spokesman for the European commission told reporters in Brussels that the EU was ready to hit back if its importers were made to suffer.
The spokesman said: “For us trade policy is not a zero sum game. It is not about winners and losers. We here in the European Union believe that trade can and should be win-win.
“We also believe that while trade has to be open and fair it also has to be rules-based. The European Union stands ready to react swiftly and appropriately in case our exports are affected by any restrictive trade measures by the United States.”
(“Brussels prepared for trade war with US if it restricts EU imports,” Daniel Boffey, The Guardian, 29th January, 2018).
There is an assumption in the United States that America is the biggest trading power in the world and can dictate to others when it comes to trade. This may not be the case.
“The adjusted GDP of the 28 EU member nations is bigger than both China and the US, the traditional list of world’s economic super powers.
“In nominal U.S. dollar terms, the European Union (plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland) accounted for 25.4% of world output in 2014 according to data from the International Monetary Fund. That was greater than America’s share (22.5%) and well in excess of China’s—13.4%,” said Quinlan.
(“Europe is bigger than the US”, Bob Bryan, Business Insider, 30th June, 2015).
These facts will have changed in the 2 ½ years since this was written. When the United Kingdom leaves the European Union next year, the figures will need to be further adjusted. But the figures do convey that the US, the EU and China are each roughly on a par when it comes to the size of their economies.
What is not conveyed here is how powerful the European Union is through its trading agreements. Whereas the US has twenty major trading partners, the EU has eighty. These countries will all likely side with Brussels if a trade war worsens.
Nobody is likely to benefit from a trade war. The latest tariffs the US imposed on Chinese washing machines, for example, will increase the cost of purchasing a washing machine in the US. This will apply to thousands of products as tariffs are increased by all three economic powers.
There’s a lesson from history here. The Smoot-Hawley Act, passed by Congress in 1930, raised tariffs on over 20,000 items imported from other countries. One side effect was that US trade decreased by over 50% increasing unemployment. This period became known as the Great Depression.
The first shots have been fired in a new trade war. It’s not likely that the US will come out ahead here, certainly not in the long term. Putting “America First” will mean the rest of the world coming together in a renewed commitment to globalization, leading to the new global economic system predicted in Revelation 18.
Note the following just after Angela Merkel’s speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Wednesday “protectionism is not the answer” to world problems, addressing the Davos economic summit before US President Donald Trump appears to defend his “America First” agenda.
“We think that shutting ourselves off, isolating ourselves, will not lead us into a good future. Protectionism is not the answer,” Merkel said in a speech in the Swiss resort.
She spoke a day before the arrival of the US president whose aggressive trade policies have raised concern among defenders of globalization.
“Let us not shut off from others, let us keep pace with the best in the world and let us canvas for this multilateral approach,” Merkel said.”
Headline in WIN (World Israel News)
German FM in Israel rejects US Jerusalem move, warns of European ‘frustration’ (1st February)
During a visit to Israel, German FM Sigmar Gabriel blasted those who oppose a Palestinian state, demanding a two-state approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We went to see “Darkest Hour” recently. Although not perfect, the movie is a fairly accurate attempt at showing what Winston Churchill was up against when he suddenly became Prime Minister in May, 1940. Forgotten now is how close Britain came to being invaded by Hitler’s armies. The future of the world depended on what was to follow – if the UK had fallen, other nations would have had to sue for peace on Hitler’s terms. Those “other nations” included the United States, which was totally unprepared for war in 1940.
Britons like to say that they “stood alone” against Hitler. Certainly, in Europe that was true. But forgotten now is a simple fact: at the time, Britain ruled a quarter of the world’s people. All these nations fought with Britain. Two and a half million Indians were in the British Army, plus hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Caribbean. Additionally, the British dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Southern Rhodesia) played a major role.
In the event of another threat to Britain, none of these countries will be likely to come to her aid.
Watching the movie, you can also see clearly the similarities with today. Whereas, in 1940, Britain was faced with an enormous military threat from Germany, today it’s an economic threat – from the German dominated EU. As the Brexit negotiations continue, the EU has the advantage, because the Brits are allowing them to. There seems to be a lack of backbone in standing up to Brussels, Berlin and Paris. The FT’s Philip Stephens today described the mess as “Britain’s nervous breakdown.”
Sadly, there is no Winston Churchill waiting in the wings!
Note the following headline from the British Daily Express newspaper following an incident were young leftists stormed the Churchill café, screaming that Churchill was a racist. Nigel Farage is the man who led the Brexit campaign. Churchill was an Empire-loyalist, an unforgiveable sin in today’s Britain!
“Nigel Farage TEARS APART ‘pig-ignorant’ lefty gang who terrorized Churchill café. NIGEL FARAGE aimed a furious tirade in the direction of a group of protesters who burst into a Winston Churchill-themed cafe in London while chanting Britain’s wartime leader was a “racist.”
You will remember that Donald Trump reportedly described African countries as “****hole countries.”
At least two countries on the Dark Continent are capitalizing on this.
Namibia is promoting tourism with posters proclaiming that “Namibia is Africa’s Number One ****hole country.”
Namibia is not the only country to take advantage of Trump’s words.
According to the Wall Street Journal yesterday, “A Facebook page run by a marketing group promoting tourism in Zambia – famed for the Zambezi River that feeds the spectacular Victoria Falls – includes a slogan welcoming visitors to “****hole Zambia.” “Where beautiful vistas and breathtaking wildlife are our Trump card!” says an accompanying post.
We’re back from Indianapolis after delivering one of our cats to our daughter and family. We stayed three nights, to see the family and for the cat to get adjusted to her new situation.
I offered to go get some cat food, but our daughter and granddaughters would not allow me near the pet food aisle after my last blog!
I don’t know what it is but whenever I visit them I go into “vacation mode” – I don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to relax. This is not fair to them. We help take care of three (sometimes, five) grandchildren in Lansing; then have four when we visit Indy.
Our family Sunday ended up being a day in front of the television with our granddaughters who introduced us to the British series “Father Brown,” available on Netflix. It was actually quite good, though some things did irritate me. For example, whenever the priest prayed in Latin, the closed-caption subtitles simply said: “Prays in a foreign language.” Don’t most people know that Latin has been the lingua franca of the Catholic church for almost 2,000 years?
Family members are all trying to be healthier, which meant no junk in the house. If I had remembered that, I would have taken some goodies to nibble between meals. I was so hungry, at one point I called our daughter in Lansing and said: “Can you come down immediately and bring some food?” I was just being humorous – it’s a 4+ hour drive; and I could have gone to a local grocery store if I thought I might expire.
Mike, our son-in-law, is a very good cook and the food was excellent. I decided to join the healthy eating and then continue it at home, which is what I’m now doing. I feel better already. I’ve had no indigestion for a week and feel more energetic. The dog food last week probably helped.
It was really nice to have a break from everything, including world news.
BACK TO MORE REALITY
The terror attack in New York on Tuesday is a reminder of the constant threat to our lives that emanates from radical Islam. It’s also a constant reminder of how hopeless our governments are – they keep letting in Muslims en masse, trying to claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.”
Trump called immediately for Congress to abolish the Diversity Visa Waiver program. This is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year from usually poor and backward countries to enter the United States. They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US. Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years. Most of these people go straight to the bottom of our economic ladder, competing for jobs with low income Americans.
(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1, 150,000 people per year. That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)
President Trump immediately called on Congress to change the law. That’s commendable. The law needs to be changed. But, then, why didn’t he react the same after the Las Vegas mass shooting? Changes to the law are desperately needed.
It’s been over twenty years since the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia. 35 people were killed in a little over half an hour. The conservative prime minister, John Howard, immediately called on parliament to pass tough controls on assault weapons.
“Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.
“At that stage the gun lobby was the ruling lobby in Australia,” says Philip Alpers, associate professor at the University of Sydney. “What happened at Port Arthur is that they were outpaced, outflanked and outwitted by a man who had the power to move in 12 remarkable days.”
“Tim Fischer was leader of the National party and Howard’s deputy prime minister in the Coalition government, charged with persuading skeptical country voters to support, or at least accept, reforms. “Port Arthur was our Sandy Hook,” he says. “Port Arthur we acted on. The USA is not prepared to act on their tragedies.” (The Guardian 14th March 2016).
The Sandy Hook massacre of kindergarten children took place on December 14th, 2012. Congress did not pass any laws following the deaths of 26 people, including 19 children. If the country could not make any changes after the deaths of so many young children, it’s doubtful they will ever come.
President Trump and others reacted to the Las Vegas shootings by saying, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”
Then, when will it be the time? Immigration policies make the situation worse – the killer at Virginia Tech ten years ago was from South Korea. The Boston Marathon killings were also the work of new arrivals.
Changes can be made without encroaching on the Second Amendment, which says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Today, the US definitely has a “well regulated militia,” so America’s needs have changed. At the same time, people do have a right to defend themselves. There’s a balance. It’s time for a national debate.
On the highly successful Australian TV show, “Janet King,” Janet, a senior employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS; sometimes referred to as “Crownies”), is appointed by the country’s Governor-General to head a royal commission into gun violence. It’s time the United States had a presidential commission to look into mass casualty gun violence, with the remit that it report back to the president and the public within twelve months, making recommendations to effectively reduce gun violence.
NEW ZEALAND MAKES THE NEWS
Before we leave the Antipodes, New Zealand has a new, radical prime minister.
Jacinda Ardern is only 37 and the third female leader of the country. She wants to restrict immigration into New Zealand – one of her first acts was to ban the sale of homes to people living outside of the country. She is a left-wing republican, meaning she would like to end NZ’s relationship with the Crown thereby giving greater power to the politicians, of which she is the chief! Interestingly, she is also a former Mormon who has strong views on churches that encourage families to shun former believers like herself; she left the church over its anti-homosexual stance.
QUOTE: “President Xi (of China) believes that America is in steep decline and China rising in a power game that will define our century” (Carrie Gracie, China Editor, BBC News, 11/2). President Trump is about to visit China.
Today, November 2nd, is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to commemorate the celebration, boycotted by the anti-semitic socialist Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.
The famous Balfour Declaration was announced in the middle of World War I by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, at a time when Great Britain was the dominant power in the world. It committed His Majesty’s Government to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish people. It was one of the most important documents of the twentieth century and a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It led directly to the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East, the country now called Israel.
An independent Jewish nation had not been in existence since Roman times. The Roman Jewish province of Judea rebelled against Rome in 66 AD. The Romans crushed the Jewish Revolt in 70 AD, destroying much of Jerusalem in the process. The Jews rebelled again from 132 AD-135 AD. Once again, the Romans crushed the revolt. This time, the Jews dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. For almost two millennia, they did not have their own country. But scriptures made it clear that the Jews would be back in their homeland, called Judah in the Bible (the Jews were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Zechariah was a prophet 2,500 years ago. His Old Testament book is a Millennial prophecy about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Judah figures quite prominently in events at the time immediately prior to Christ’s Return.
Note Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
And Zechariah 14:2-4 – “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
The last verse is clearly still in the future. Jerusalem, Judah, revived after almost 2,000 years is once again a central point of geographical contention, with neighboring nations and tribes wanting to destroy the country. As if perpetually drunk, they desperately try to destroy her, so far not succeeding.
Five days after the Balfour Declaration, Russia had a second revolution. Earlier in the year, the Czarist regime had fallen and was replaced by a parliamentary system. Elections were scheduled for later in the year. Two weeks before the election, the Bolsheviks (communists) staged a coup on November 7th that overthrew the interim government of Alexander Kerensky. They proclaimed the world’s first communist state. It brought seven decades of misery to the country, with despotic leaders that made the czars look like Sunday school teachers. Communism has gone, but the country remains a dictatorship, though claiming to be a democracy.
The Bolshevik Revolution was the second revolution of 1917; there was an earlier revolution in 1905, which led to the establishment of the Duma (parliament) but still left the czar with ultimate power and authority. Russia’s parliament today is also called the Duma and is the people’s assembly. However, some would say that Vladimir Putin is a new Czar, with all the power and authority.
500th ANNIVERSARY OF PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany. We should all be thankful to Martin Luther. He had the courage to stand up to the Church of Rome, ending the monopoly the Church had in western Europe. All churches today owe their freedom to Luther.
I watched a two-hour documentary on PBS recently about Martin Luther and the Reformation. He is considered the greatest theologian of all time, due to the fact that he wrote more books and articles on the Bible than anybody else. He also translated the scriptures into German.
Later in life, asked to sum up his writings, he replied: “God forgives.” That was of paramount importance to Luther, who struggled all his life with sin, as we all do. Hearing that, I thought about all the churches that have come out of Luther, directly or indirectly. Many have one thing in common – they can’t forgive. How ironic.
VISIT TO NOAH’S ARK
Earlier in the month, we were in Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of us, including four of our grandchildren, took the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark, which is just over the state line in Kentucky. It’s well worth a visit, if only to get a better idea of the size of the original ark. This replica is built according to biblical specifications.
I’m very thankful that the enterprising Australian behind this project was inspired to build the Ark (and the Creation Museum nearby). More and more people are biblically illiterate, so it’s good that somebody has kept the story alive. I found the wall plaques explaining everything interesting, but I do not agree with his theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
We had been told to allow three hours for our visit. With two 5-year-old twin boys, we went through quite quickly, in exactly two hours. We left early — because it was raining!!!
The following evening we had a group of Barbadians over for dinner. Wonderful people. They had actually come from Barbados to visit the Ark. They are also Young Earthers, believing in the 6,000 years. We agreed to disagree and still remain friends. That’s the way it should be.
I’ve been asked why I quote so often from the Daily Express and Daily Mail newspapers, two Conservative British tabloids.
The answer is quite simple: they have the best web sites. Check them out sometime.
The Guardian and Independent, more intellectual papers, are constantly asking for money whenever I check their sites; whereas the Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times make very little available.
The biggest problem with the two papers I use is that they often sensationalize news items.
I will try to find alternative sources, but, realistically I will have to use them occasionally as I don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions to the more highbrow papers; and they have to request money as they have smaller circulations.
(This blog is a fully independent blog that has no connection to any church or secular organization. It was started to keep people informed on international affairs in light of the scriptures. Financial support comes from myself and readers who graciously donate to help cover costs.)
Angela Merkel told supporters they had achieved “something fantastic” (AFP)
First Brexit, then Trump, now the AfD (Alternative for Deutschland). Sunday’s German election was the third electoral upheaval in a western country since June last year when the Brexit vote showed a majority of Brits wanted to leave the EU.
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union received 33% of the vote, which still puts her ahead to form a coalition government with two smaller parties. Her party received one million votes less than last time. The Social Democrats got half a million less votes. These have been the two dominant parties through Germany’s postwar history. The CDU’s more conservative sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, saw a drop of over 10% in support since the 2013 election.
The third biggest party, with 13.2% of the vote, was the AfD, giving them seats in the Bundestag for the first time. The party is considered extreme right-wing and has even been described as a “neo-Nazi” party. It’s anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-euro. It could grow in power and influence as Germany is increasingly threatened by Islamic extremists, let in by Mrs. Merkel two years ago. She will be blamed for terrorist attacks and every other problem created by the Muslims. Mrs. Merkel stands by her decision, yet also says the CDU will win back the voters they lost to the AfD.
The CSU’s late leader, Franz Josef Strauss, once warned that Germany must never have a party to the right of his. It’s now happened. The CSU is expected to quickly move to the right politically before the state election a year from now.
If she can put together a coalition with the Free Democrats (liberals) and the Greens (left-of-center), she will command a majority of seats in parliament. If she is able to continue the coalition with the Social Democrats (socialists), the AfD will be the opposition party in parliament, giving them greater public exposure, enabling them to pose a greater threat next time there’s a general election.
Mrs. Merkel is the world’s most powerful woman and the leader of Europe’s most powerful country. This election is going to have a ripple effect throughout the EU and even the rest of the world, as the EU is the world’s biggest trading bloc.
It’s certainly going to impact Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom, partly because the British lack the self-confidence to truly go-it-alone. Mrs. May addressed EU leaders in Florence a few days ago and was bending over backwards to accommodate their demands. One of her proposals was for a two year transition period, which would mean that the UK would not fully leave the EU until 2021. That’s not what voters had in mind when they voted on Brexit.
The pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage described Mrs. May’s proposal as a victory for Goldman Sachs and other international corporations – certainly not one for the British people.
Monday’s Daily Express warned: “FEARS of a new Franco-German plot to sabotage Brexit and keep Britain tied to Brussels for ever have emerged.” President Macron of France has proposed some revisions to the EU treaties to keep Britain in and stop others from leaving.
Just as the people in the UK are not going to get what they want, Americans find themselves in a similar situation. President Trump seems unable to deliver on his promises – to end Muslim immigration, to build a wall on the southern border, to abolish Obamacare, to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The people voted in support of these, just as the British people voted for Brexit.
If they cannot get their countries back through the ballot box, they may take more desperate measures.
Mrs. Merkel has promised to address the concerns of the German people, including those who voted AfD, whom she wants back in the CDU by the next election. But again, it’s doubtful anything will be done about immigration. It seems to be an issue western leaders cannot handle.
Bible prophecy shows that the Middle East and Europe will be central to the fulfillment of the final end-time events. Right now, Europe is at the forefront, with developments that will lead to a continental upheaval resulting in the revived Roman Empire, a new arrangement that will up-end the Treaty of Rome, which was itself an attempt at a European revival based on the Roman Empire.
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.
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)
Further to what I posted on Monday, here is the front page headline in Tuesday’s Daily Express, a conservative tabloid newspaper in the UK. “Migrants cost Britain 17 billion pounds a year” — that’s about $25 bn. (Remember to multiply by 5 for the US equivalent, as the American population is roughly five times that of the United Kingdom.)
It’s no coincidence that the country can no longer afford naval protection for either the Falkland Islands or Gibraltar.
And it’s not surprising that the country fell behind the NATO requirement that 2% of GNP be spent on defense. President Obama got rather angry with the British prime minister over that.
The irony is that, with even more migrants, the country will need to spend more on defense; but can’t because the migrants need the cash!
This reminds me of a passage in Hosea about Ephraim:
Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they do not return to the Lord their God,
nor seek him, for all this. (Hosea 7:9-10; English Standard Version)
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill