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Europe: What I am watching now

Steven LeBlanc
07102016
These are disturbing developments I continually monitor within the European setting. Economic distress, political battles, refugee issues and more will contribute to destabilizing Europe, this will eventually lead to the rise of a European dictator who will bring a short-lived degree of unity to Europe (this will occur eventually-not immediately). This is a short list (and by no means complete) of what I am watching now:

TERRORISM, MIGRANTS, AND CRIPPLING DEBT: IS THIS THE END OF EUROPE?—Vanity Fair Magazine

Will Europe Unravel: Brexit means the U.K. left the EU, will other nations follow—if so this will create a massive economic shock wave felt around the world? Geopoliticalfutures.com founded by George Friedman states the following: The European Union was created with two purposes in mind. The first was to maintain peace. Europe had been wracked with war and horror in the 20th century. Conflict wrecked its economy, psychologically traumatized the continent and lost Europe its place in the world. Integration promised to bring the nationalist tensions that caused the conflicts under control. The EU’s second purpose was to ensure prosperity through the creation of a free trade zone, with a level regulatory system managed from Brussels, and a selectively utilized single currency. European integration, particularly the integration of Germany into a single system, was designed to achieve both ends. The vision, vague and never agreed to by all parties, was the creation of a federation, or at least a confederation, that would result in some variation on the United States of Europe.

The lesson here is simple: Europe desperately want to be unified but continually finds itself grappling with disagreements and misunderstandings. As I have written previously: In the book of Daniel we see an end-time Europe that is partly strong and partly brittle. The divisions we are seeing within the European Union today regarding refugees, the jihadist threat—the economy, showcase that biblical reality of disagreement and division within Europe: Daniel 2:40-43: “And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay.” We watch Europe’s pattern of brief unity, then division, then war—this pattern has played out again and again, down through history.

Dangerous levels of unemployment in Europe: watching southern Europe, where unemployment has remained at more than 20 percent for years, and high unemployment plagues France feeding a groundswell of frustration. The overwhelming difference between the lives of southern Europeans, including the middle class, and Germans, who enjoy 4.2 percent unemployment, is intense. Europe as a whole has stagnated economically—people are becoming ANGRIER.

Italy’s banking crisis: As much as 18 percent of Italy’s loans will not be repaid, this means the balance sheets of Italian banks are horrible. A non-preforming loan is a loan that simply is not being repaid. Only a drastic improvement in Europe’s economy can help Italy come out of its banking crisis. What is very clear is that Europe’s economy is not getting better it is getting worse. What is particularly dangerous is that Italian banks take loans from other European banks. These European banks, including German banks, have borrowed against Italian debt. Italy has the fourth largest economy in Europe, behind Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Should Italian banks begin to fail this will create shock waves throughout Europe.

German banking crisis: The international Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a shocking 63 page report warning that the German banking and insurance sector is in deep trouble. On page 42 of the report we are told that, “Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks in the global banking system”. Deutsche Bank is Germany’s biggest bank. In just the last year, Deutsche Bank has laid off tens of thousands of workers Low interest rates are cutting into Deutsche Bank’s ability to earn money. If Deutsche Bank were to severely stumble—this could set off a banking crisis in Europe that sends a wave of panic around the globe.

Anti-German sentiment grows in Europe: In the past year Germany has feuded with Italy over banking regulations, clashed with France over defense spending. Germany has repulsed Hungary, Poland, Austria and France over its migration policy (pressing Europe to embrace refugees from the Middle East and North Africa). The Greeks are still angry at Germany over imposed austerity. All of this leading at greater cracks within Europe.

Unrest in Europe is leading to the rise of Nationalism (anti-EU, nation first movements) throughout Europe: More wars have been fought over national identity in Europe than anywhere else in the world. A worsening economy and the refugee crisis is fueling the anti-European Five Star Movement in Italy, the Alternative for Germany party in Germany, the Front National party in France, Jobbik in Hungary, Austria’s far-right Freedom Party, Italy’s Eurosceptic, anti-immigration Northern League (Lega Nord), Geert Wilders anti-EU Party for Freedom (PVV) has surged to the top of Dutch opinion polls. The anti-immigration, nationalist Sweden Democrats (SD) tops the polls in Sweden, and there are more parties of the anti-EU, anti-immigrant bent gaining traction in Europe.

The ‘other’ German problem: There is another European economic crisis looming. Germany gains nearly half of its GDP from exports. German prosperity depends on their ability to export and the ability to export depends on the active demand of their consumers in Europe, America and Asia. Germany exports heavily to the EU, and the Italian banking crisis, if it unravels, is likely to cause an EU-wide banking crisis, and an even greater weakening of the European economy. A worldwide recession would wound deeply German exports, and inevitably drive up unemployment—which Germany fears. A steep rise in unemployment in Germany would open the door to the right-wing Alternative for Germany party, currently led by Fauke Petry.

Russia boosts its military preparedness: The Kremlin is moving troops and equipment to the country’s western border regions and ramping up the Baltic Fleet in an effort to demonstrate Moscow’s commitment to modernizing its military. Low oil prices continue to hurt the Russian economy. Russia is deeply concerned about Ukraine, as it needs Ukraine as a type of buffer against the West. Russian military efforts will increase thus causing tensions with Poland. Poland’s historical Catch-22 is that it is caught between a potent Germany and a controlling Russia. Poland does not trust Russia.

Europe is overwhelmed with political disagreement, unemployment challenges, refugees and lack of stability—this is the type of setting that foreshadows major political change. Watching world events coupled with understanding Prophecy helps us to maintain that sense of urgency in our lives, and continually fuels the need to focus on the work of God which is proclaiming and teaching about the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

Europe is angry, and that is dangerous!

Steven LeBlanc
06 27 2016
A fractured Europe has always been a danger, to itself and the world. For the first time in its history we now have a major European nation electing to leave the Union of 28 nation-states (the EU)—what are the potential prophetic implications of a fractured Europe—which is openly growing angrier?

Europe is dangerous
Never forget that two world wars, which were essentially European wars, caused an unprecedented slaughter and devastation to millions of human beings, which included the extermination of six million Jews and other minorities in the Holocaust. Europe is dangerous. Don’t make the mistake that many make today, thinking Europe is mostly about cafes, great restaurants, honeymoons, and a multitude of historical sites. Europe is the “Bloodlands” of the world. It will become the hub of the Beast’s activities in the years ahead of us. A tyrant will rise in Europe who will drag the world into another world war. Pay attention to Europe!

After two horrific world wars European leaders were desperate to come together to avoid future bloodbaths. European integration was seen as THE remedy to any future threat of another world war. From the European Economic Community in 1957 to the European Union, the continent has made relentless efforts to restructure not only its economy but also most importantly, to work to keep the peace in Europe. Of course we have seen war in Europe recently. War in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended up in genocide against one of its ethnic people, the Bosniaks (the Bosnian War took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995). And now we have the ongoing small grade war between Russia and Ukraine. The point I am attempting to drive home is don’t be so naïve to think that Europe will never again succumb to another shattering bloodbath.

So why did the British (United Kingdom of Great Britain-UK) choose to leave the European Union—with a population base of over 500 million people? Look at it this way–the UK is weary of seeing its money used to bail out the likes of Greece, Portugal or Italy in terms of their debt problems. And the British don’t want to take in refugees/immigrants from the Middle East—they don’t believe in importing terrorists no matter how generous the intentions may be of other Europeans who are embracing vast numbers from the world of Islam. Britain has said NO to remaining in the European structure –it wants to define its own fate—as opposed to bowing to the bureaucrats in Brussels. How well Britain will do on its own is yet to be seen.

Britain is important—it has a population of 65 million people– and don’t overlook the fact that the city of London, is one of the world’s largest financial centers. As Bank of America notes, post Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the Euro STOXX Index 50 experienced its largest ever 1-day loss after the British voted to leave the EU. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has resigned and the British pound is getting slaughtered. European bank stocks were crushed on the day of the exit, down 15–25%. U.S. Treasury bond yields made their biggest one-day jump ever, and oil is getting thrashed. The decision in Britain affects the whole world, including America.

The EU has been unable to forge a strategy that would fix massive unemployment in southern Europe and revive the stagnant economies in other parts of the Union. The EU’s founding treaty promised prosperity. It has failed. Germany has the healthiest economy in Europe, but even it struggles to flourish.

We live in a GLOBAL economy…money moves with relative ease around the globe to find the best returns. Chinese can buy U.S. real estate, Apple can sell iPhones in the Netherlands, and German owned BMW builds cars in South Carolina. Britain’s exit sends a message that countries need to rely not on Brussels, but on themselves. The great fear in Europe– as I write—and the Financial markets and the leaders of Europe are waiting to see as well–will other nations in Europe choose to bolt from the EU?

Nationalism on the rise in Europe
Nationalism (Nation first thinking), continues to make its impact felt across the Continent and will continue to rise. Nationalism is a commanding force. It’s the glue that holds people together especially in unclear times. It celebrates a country’s culture, history and religion. It instills national pride and a sense of strength while also, at times, creating a fighting spirit—which can, lead to the rise of dictators who take advantage of the people’s anger. This is what happened to Germany in the 1930s.

Concerning the European far right–Climbing in popularity in France is right-wing leader Marine Le Pen who is the leader of the National Front party. Ms Le Pen had told a gathering of far-right parties in Vienna: “France has possibly 1,000 more reasons to want to leave the EU than the English.” Ms Le Pen said the EU was responsible for high unemployment and failing to keep out “smugglers, terrorists and economic migrants”. “The European Union has failed as a political union,” she said. Le Pen called the continued flow of Syrian refugees into Europe “madness” and urged for an end to the open-border policy that is a hallmark of the European Union.

The mood in Europe is one of rising anger. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats wrote on Twitter that “now we wait for swexit!” Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the populist Danish People’s Party, said a referendum for Denmark to leave the union would be “a good democratic custom”. Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders said the Netherlands deserved a “Nexit” vote while Italy’s Northern League said: “Now it’s our turn”.

Beatrix von Storch, of Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD party, praising “Independence Day for Great Britain”, demanded that Mr Schulz (EU parliament President) and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker resign. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said Scotland will have to re-evaluate what is best for the Scottish people in the wake of the vote.

Angry nations seek out strong leadership, but that does not always end well.

Revelation 17 reveals that a soon coming European power will comprise 10 nations working under the direction of a false Christian church. The Apostle John recorded this vision: “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (verse 3). An angel explained to John what the vision meant: “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. … And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (verses 9-12).

In prophecy, a woman symbolizes a church, and beasts represent governments. This vision shows a church-state bloc that has risen and fallen repeatedly in history: the Holy Roman Empire. Bible prophecy reveals that 10 kings will give their power to a single dictator, who is symbolized in prophecy as a ”beast”—a powerful, magnetic figure who will wield power for a brief period at the end of this age before the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:12-14). That merging of power is connected with the arrival of a spiritual resurgence led by another charismatic leader (as described in Revelation 13), a false Christian leader of Catholic persuasion.

What is taking place in Europe is more significant than you recognize!

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Saudi Arabia's dangerous financial troubles

Steven LeBlanc06102016

Saudi Aramco – 12.5 million barrels per day– Saudi Aramco is by far the biggest energy company in the world, generating more than $1 billion a day in revenue

I am watching Saudi Arabia—Population of 32 million — Saudi Arabia is on the verge of its most significant change in decades.  The Kingdom is in financial trouble and is seeking to avert internal chaos.  Changes coming to this desert Kingdom have the potential to reshape not only the Middle East but also the entire world.

Saudi Arabia—and Aramco (the state owned oil company)—holds the world’s second largest proven crude oil reserves. Since the Saudi government nationalized Aramco, the company has become the tiara of the kingdom and the key catalyst behind Saudi Arabia’s economic wealth.  But now the combination of low oil prices and regional chaos directly threatens Saudi Arabia’s survival.  Saudi Arabia is not in disastrous straits at the moment; it has sufficient reserves—dollar reserves– to sustain the country for a few years. However, if these reserves do run out, it will face a mammoth political storm.  Saudi Arabia has gone through almost $100 billion in reserves the last few years. Reserves now stand at roughly $650 billion. It is bleeding foreign currency reserves and is seeking to stanch the “bleeding”.

The Saudis have been spending lots of money to keep the Arab world—from totally collapsing.  Many Arab states have either crumpled or been severely weakened. Saudi Arabia now confronts at least two key external challenges: Iran and the Islamic State—to fight them both costs vast amounts of capital.

Saudi Arabia has to spend a lot of money to keep up with its proxy war against Iran—its great enemy in the region.  Remember Saudi Arabia is Sunni—Iran is Shiite.  These nations do not fight each other directly but instead they wage expensive proxy conflicts throughout the region. When protests began in 2011 against the Iranian-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Saudis used their oil wealth to back rebel groups, most of which are to erratic degrees jihadist, in order to attack the Assad regime.  All of this costs money.

In Bahrain, the Saudis intervened when protests by the Shiite majority population, also backed by Iran, imperiled the pro-Saudi Sunni monarchy. The Saudis are also involved in a military war in Yemen, where Iran is sponsoring Houthi rebels. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the Iranians appear to have the upper hand.  Other than fighting proxy wars, Saudi Arabia also supports Arab states in battling economic havoc, including Bahrain, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt.  As well, the Royal Family is attempting to lead a Sunni Arab coalition against Iran—and using their dollar reserves to buttress those relationships.  This is putting a tremendous strain upon Saudi foreign currency reserves.

So what is the strategy to build up cash reserves?  The Wall Street Journal reports the following:

“The planned initial public offering of oil colossus Saudi Aramco has kicked off a scramble among banks for a role in a deal that could generate $1 billion in fees and help define success or failure on Wall Street for years to come.

By virtually any measure, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., as it is formally known, is one of the largest enterprises on earth. Saudi Arabia has said the state-owned company could be worth $2 trillion to $3 trillion—roughly equal at its midpoint to the total market value of every other publicly traded oil and gas company in the world, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Ever since Saudi Arabia indicated in January that it’s eyeing a public listing for Aramco, senior bankers at the world’s largest financial institutions have been swarming around the company’s headquarters in the coastal city of Dhahran seeking to ingratiate themselves with officials in the kingdom and win a piece of the biggest investment-banking deal ever.”

This strategy to take the nationally owned Saudi oil giant Aramco public is a clear demonstration of just how serious the Saudi financial crisis is.  So I am watching closely the upcoming public stock offering of the biggest oil company in the world (oil colossus Saudi Aramco).  And, always keeping in mind that Saudi Arabia is prophetically significant–We believe Saudi Arabia is home to the descendants of Ishmael: “He (Ishmael) will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

The leader of German, right-wing party speaks about Muslims

The leader of German, right-wing AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) party speaks about Muslims–

She is rising in popularity in Germany–take the time to watch this video clip–Steven LeBlanc

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