Russian leader Putin meets with German leader Angela Merkel in Berlin
I remind you that we watch Europe because it is a FLASHPOINT of global tensions—an area of prophetic importance. A future European power will wage world war once again–it will happen in the near future– very possibly in the lifetimes of most of you reading this blog.
The map of Europe over the past 1000 years has not changed much. Nations in Europe have long painful memories that make trust and forgiveness highly unlikely. As a result, Europe has been a place where wars continually flare and metastasize. Estimates of death vary, but most experts believe that nearly 100 Million people died around the world between 1914 and 1945, due to world wars and the concomitant effects of war, which include starvation, disease, famine and devastating ethnic purges. Europe was the flashpoint for these massive casualties. But why is Europe so prone to war?
Crowded with nations, it is also crowded with people. As hard is it may be to believe, you will find that Europe has more people per square kilometer than does Asia. Europe is a patchwork of small and large nations. According German researchers Pan and Pfeil there are 87 distinct peoples of Europe; including Russia, Europe boasts a population of 780 million people. The 28 nations that make up the European Union–this Union of nations in Europe has 24 official languages. If ever there was a location on earth that could be called ‘Babylon’, it would be Europe.
Map of European languages
No other combination of nations matches the Bible’s warning of a final revival of the Roman Empire, a prophecy in the book of Daniel describes this mix of ethnic groups and nations of Europe—“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay ”(Daniel 2:41-43). Such a symbolic mixture of iron and clay is Europe’s many national, economic, cultural, religious and ethnic differences. But all these differences have created distrust, hatred and nationalistic tendencies—our nation is better than your nation. The continent is dominated by old grudges and unhealed wounds that go back hundreds of years.
George Friedman in his book FLASHPOINTS gives us this observation concerning why the European Union came into being:
The most important question in the world is whether conflict and war have actually been banished or whether this is merely an interlude, a seductive illusion. Europe is the single most prosperous region in the world. Its GDP collectively is greater than that of the United States. It touches Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Another series of wars would change not only Europe, but the world. The answer to the question of whether Europe has overcome not only the thirty- one years, but the long millennia of conflict that preceded it, is at the center of any consideration of the future. That’s the reason I’ve written this book. In many ways this is the subject that has shaped my life and thoughts. I was born in Hungary in 1949 to parents born in 1912 and 1914. My family was shaped in the horrors and terrors of Europe, not only in the thirty- one years (the period of time from 1914 to 1945—World War 1 & 2), but in their aftermath. We left Europe because my parents were convinced that there was a deep corruption in the European soul that could be hidden for a while but would always show itself eventually.
Those who lived through the thirty- one years then had to live through the Cold War, where the decision of war and peace, the decision that would determine if they lived or died, would be made in Moscow and Washington. That there was no war in Europe is worth considering later, but as the threat receded the European commitment was that the thirty- one years never be repeated. Europeans ceded their empire, their power, even in some ways their significance, to the principle that they should never again experience the horror of those years nor live on its precipice as they did in the Cold War. The institution created to ban their nightmares was the European Union. Its intent was to bond European nations so closely together in such a prosperous enterprise that no nation would have any reason to break the peace or fear another. Friedman, George (2015-01-27). Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Europe does not want to see a repeat of the great World Wars—wars that ravaged their continent, killed their young men and destroyed 6 million Jews. With this in mind the survival of the European Union is a high priority to many of the leaders in Europe.
The European financial crisis can destabilize the world. What happens between Greece and Germany, for example, could send large waves of uncertainty throughout Europe—a Greek exit will cause the world stock markets to spasm. People do not want to see their retirement accounts take a nose-dive, nor do they want to see their home values collapse because of financial instability that emanates from Europe.
Why is Germany important? Germany is the political and economic hub of Europe. Germany has the fourth-largest economy in the world. It receives over 50 percent of its income from exports, half of which went to the European free trade zone. Germany is Europe’s major creditor. Southern Europe is Europe’s major debtor (this would include Greece). The Germans insisted on austerity to address Europe’s massive debt problem. International institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, agreed with Germany’s solution for Europe—stop spending money on social programs—and fire more state workers.
This austerity approach to southern Europe’s financial troubles has created resentment—Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy have seen a significant rise of anger towards Germany… because of the tighten your belt approach Germany has imposed upon these nations. The old attitudes of mistrust and resentment are once again rising in Europe. Trust between nations is deteriorating. This can lead to a fragmentation of the 28 nations of Europe called the EU (European Union). If this occurs, at the very least, you will see a swoon in the world stock exchanges. Why– Because, stock markets hate uncertainty.
Germany has intense interest in having the European Union (EU) survive. Remember, Germany is dependent on exports—it exports much to EU member states. Yet it is Germany that must lead Europe through the economic crisis. “Germany must do everything it can to discipline the European Union without motivating its members to leave”—George Friedman of Stratfor. This is an almost impossible challenge for Germany.
And then there is Russia…Germany and eastern European nations such as Poland and Romania are concerned about Russian advances into Ukraine. An increasing number of European nations fear that NATO cannot or will not defend them, and that America is shying away from conflicts around the globe—whom can Europe trust to defend against an aggressive Russia? We will address that topic in a future blog.
The Vatican has become the latest country to recognize the state of Palestine, a new treaty was finalized on Wednesday but has yet to be signed. Most Israelis are angry that the Pope has made this decision. The Israeli leadership believes that by acknowledging a Palestinian state the Vatican has legitimized the Hamas terrorists who govern Gaza, and also has embraced the corrupt Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank.
The strategy of the Palestinian leadership has been to convince as many nations, and institutions as it can, to endorse a fictional “state” so as to create a sense of inevitability that will pressure Israel into embracing world opinion on the Palestinian issue. Now the Pope has officially joined other world governments that claim the need for a separate Palestinian state –a decision they see as is inevitable.
Much of the world agrees with the Pope regarding a Palestinian state; 135 nations, and Parliaments in Britain, Spain, France and Ireland are included among those who have pressed their governments to recognize Palestinian statehood. Do not forget that the Palestinians were offered an independent state in 2000, 2001 (which included an offer for almost all of the West Bank, Gaza and part of Jerusalem) and again in 2008. The Palestinian leadership refused to talk with Israel in 2013 and 2014 under the Obama administration-led plan that included a two-state solution.
Where does the Pope derive the authority to claim that a country exists that has never existed in any legal, or national sense. Under the rule of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the Ottomans, and the British, there has never been a Palestinian state. But most importantly it is God who determines the boundaries of nations. Acts 17:26–”From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and boundaries of where they live”.
Has the Pope determined where the Palestinian state’s borders begin and end? What scriptures assure us that the Palestinians have a right to a state within the boundaries of Israel? There are no such scriptures!
What the Palestinians have learned is that if you continue terrorist activities long enough the international community, including the Vatican, will cave into pressure and yield to your wishes.
The Pope’s embrace of a Palestinians State will surely be used for propaganda purposes. Israel now becomes even more isolated within the international world that is heavily biased towards the agenda of Palestinian terrorist leaders.
Anti-Russian Protestors rally at Independence Square, Kiev Ukraine
Russia’s Vladimir Putin is meddling at the edges of Europe. But why is he doing this? Most Americans have no idea where Ukraine is located on a map, nor do they care, but they should. Ukraine is turning out to be a major flashpoint in Europe.
Putin doesn’t view individual European countries as a particular threat to Russia, but he definitely views the European Union as a major threat to Russia’s security. Most of Ukraine is anti-Putin (except for small sections in the east and south Ukraine). Putin is particularly determined not to allow Ukraine to fall under the leadership of the European Union. You need to pay attention to the nation of Ukraine (population 45 million).
The violence in Ukraine and fear of regional spillover has come as quite a shock to Europeans living in Central Europe. The country is vital to Russia as a buffer against the West, and as a route for delivering energy to Europe. Don’t forget energy is the engine of the Russian economy. Europe needs Russian gas and oil; Russia needs Europe’s hard currency, it is an uneasy marriage that could turn into a vicious European fight.
Europe is facing its biggest security challenge since the end of the cold war. So worried is Germany over Russian aggression in Ukraine that the German military is moving to revamp its lagging military. Berlin, after limiting defense spending for 25 years, will boost its military budget by 6 percent over the next five years. This is all due to Russia’s grab of Crimea and its incursion into eastern Ukraine.
And now this from Germany, “The Kremlin’s behavior has put the importance of the Nato defensive alliance before our eyes. We thought for years we would not need to defend our borders, but now the facts show otherwise,” says Henning Otte, parliamentary defense spokesman for chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling CDU/CSU bloc.
Well know political analyst Charles Krauthammer writes this about Ukraine: “THIS IS NO TRIVIAL MATTER,” “Ukraine is not just the largest European country, it’s the linchpin for VLADIMIR PUTIN’S DREAM OF A RENEWED IMPERIAL RUSSIA, hegemonic in its neighborhood and rolling back the quarter-century advancement of the ‘Europe whole and free’ bequeathed by America’s victory in the Cold War.
President Putin of Russia continually exploits weakness in the EU nations, and seeks leverage and influence in Europe through Russia’s exports of natural gas. Europe, especially Germany, is heavily dependent upon Russian natural gas to run its factories and to heat its homes. The Russian state energy giant Gazprom is one of the world’s biggest energy companies—a bully in the European neighborhood. The European Union as a whole relies on Russia for a third of its natural gas. Several countries, including Poland, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia, depend on Russia for well over half their supply. Katusa, Marin (2014-10-17). The Colder War: How the Global Energy Trade Slipped from America’s Grasp (Kindle Locations 2237-2239). Russia may control as much as one-third of the world’s natural gas. This makes Russia a first-rate power.
Much of Russian gas heading toward Europe flows through a 930-mile-long, 40-inch pipe buried in Ukrainian soil. Currently, about a 30 percent of European Union gas comes from Russia, and at least half of that supply flows through Ukraine. In Russian eyes Ukraine serves as a buffer against NATO, and a major transit hub for its energy that it sells to Europe. There is no way that Putin will allow Ukraine to fall into the arms of the European Union, not while he rules Russia anyway.
It may seem that Russia is paranoid of the West, and it is, but understand 25 million Russians (one in eight of the total population at the time) died in World War II, Russians want neutral countries on their border, countries that are aligned with no one (except Russia). Ukraine is an open plain for any army marching toward Moscow. Russia wants a Ukraine with strong ties to Russia that serves as a buffer state. It does not want Ukraine to become a missile-hosting member of the European Union.
At about A.D. 90, the Apostle John recorded a shocking prophecy: “And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16). That means an army of 200 million men. This is an end-time prophecy that will involve Russian, China and other Asian nations. It refers to this Asian confederacy as the “kings of the east” (Revelation 16:12; Daniel 11:44). This confederacy will attack the European Beast power (Daniel 11:44). This is why watching Eastern Europe and the nations of Asia is a high priority. This attack has not taken place yet, but it will take place when God’s timing for this event unfolds. Because of its strategic setting, Ukraine is not a minor player on the world stage.
26 by Court Decision
Alabama* (Feb. 9, 2015), Alaska (Oct. 17, 2014), Arizona (Oct. 17, 2014), California (June 28, 2013), Colorado (Oct. 7, 2014), Connecticut (Nov. 12, 2008), Florida (Jan. 6, 2015), Idaho (Oct. 13, 2014), Indiana (Oct. 6, 2014), Iowa (Apr. 24, 2009), Kansas (Nov. 12, 2014), Massachusetts (May 17, 2004), Montana (Nov. 19, 2014), Nevada (Oct. 9, 2014), New Jersey (Oct. 21, 2013), New Mexico (Dec. 19, 2013), North Carolina (Oct. 10, 2014), Oklahoma (Oct. 6, 2014), Oregon (May 19, 2014), Pennsylvania (May 20, 2014), South Carolina (Nov. 20, 2014), Utah (Oct. 6, 2014), Virginia (Oct. 6, 2014), West Virginia (Oct. 9, 2014), Wisconsin (Oct. 6, 2014), Wyoming (Oct. 21, 2014)
8 by State Legislature
Delaware (July 1, 2013), Hawaii (Dec. 2, 2013), Illinois (June 1, 2014), Minnesota (Aug. 1, 2013), New Hampshire (Jan. 1, 2010), New York (July 24, 2011), Rhode Island (Aug. 1, 2013), Vermont (Sep. 1, 2009)
3 by Popular Vote
Maine (Dec. 29, 2012), Maryland (Jan. 1, 2013), Washington (Dec. 9, 2012)
America continues to embrace same-sex marriage. Many of our national leaders exhibit no FEAR of God whatsoever–Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” (NRSV)
Verse 28…Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
America continues to abandon God…National punishment is ahead of us.
– The stats above are taken from procon.org-
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
The Greek government is in a hazardous position. It needs money to pay its debt obligations and is running out of choices. Greek leaders will have to introduce painful measures to secure European funding and bargain with its creditors — its most stubborn creditor being Germany.
In the face of this swelling crisis, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party are trying to hold together a parliamentary majority and sustain public support. To do so, Tsipras has to demonstrate strength in negotiations with Germany. This means combining Greek patriotism with anti-German threats. Members of the Syriza government have called for a referendum on a eurozone pullout. Germany fears a pullout could start an exit from the European Union by other countries, starting with Spain. Tsipras has entered into bilateral talks with Russia, a move to show the EU that Greece has other options..
Another Greek line of attack is to soften German creditors by bringing up Nazi reparations, implying that Germany is a debtor itself and has no right to press the Greeks with more austerity. Greeks passionately believe that it is Germany that owes Greece because of World War 2 atrocities against the Greek people.
Nazi Reparation payments
Reparation payment is a serious threat to Germany. Germany’s Angela Merkel must continue to maintain the perception of being a strong leader in negotiations over Greek debt. Berlin knows that making a payout to Greece could set a precedent that would refresh other European claims, particularly those of Poland and Italy. In a time of continuing crisis within the European Union, the issue of Germany’s guilt for the actions of the Nazi regime has received new notoriety, and, as nations within the EU grow more angry with German austerity measures, German reparation payments for Nazi atrocities will continue as a relentless topic of discussion.
The disagreement between Germany and Greece is troubling all of Europe and could cause the world’s stock markets to tumble. Should Greece leave the Eurozone, other nations may follow leading to a nasty economic shake-up that could send Europe back into recession.
It is God who sets up and takes down nations (Daniel 4:25; 5:21). Will the 28- member European Union fragment? Most likely that will take place sometime in the near future. Revelation 17 describes an end-time European power that consists of 10 leaders who give their power to a beast dictator who we believe will be European.
“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 on one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast”. (Revelation 17:12,13).
I continue to monitor Germany’s effort to reign in the erratic Greek leadership.