World Watch Today

Netanyahu believes the President is Passive

Steven LeBlanc

Netanyahu lashed out at the Administration this week concerning the Iran Nuclear deal:

“It appears that they have given up on that commitment and are accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few years, will develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear weapons,” he said in Israel.

“They might accept this but I am not willing to accept this,” he said in remarks delivered in Hebrew and translated. “I respect the White House, I respect the president of the United States, but in such a fateful matter that can determine if we exist or not, it is my duty to do everything to prevent this great danger to the state of Israel.”

The Administration despises Netanyahu and is enraged that the Prime minister is going to speak to Congress on March 3rd. Secretary of State John Kerry effectively called Netanyahu a serial alarmist, and warmonger. National security adviser Susan Rice denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress, calling it “destructive” to the relationship between the United States and Israel.

As the clock ticks toward an Iranian/US agreement, Netanyahu has absolutely no trust that America under President Obama’s leadership would act in a timely manner to prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold. The Israeli Prime Minister cannot help but to notice that the President has demonstrated a pronounced lack of US will when dealing with international conflict. President Obama embraces what he calls “Strategic patience” which is a synonym for passivity. Mr. Netanyahu sees that Russia pushes deeper into Ukraine and that Iran now extends its hegemony over Sanaa, Beirut, Bagdad and Damascus (a total of four Arab capitals). And there of course is ISIS—the President has responded with extreme slowness and a consistent lack of clear strategy.

Many in Israel are overwhelmed with worry. US intelligence agencies do not have a good track record when it comes to appreciating nuclear advancement of world powers; they were taken by surprise when India, Pakistan and North Korea joined the nuclear club. Iran is next. Netanyahu will seek to warn the world yet again when he speaks on March 3rd. Netanyahu’s focus on the Iranian threat is a continual reminder of Washington’s double mindedness (I Corinthians 14:8), its lack of strategy regarding international conflict and its confusingly slow response to global bullies.

Panic...Greeks pulling money out of Greek Banks

Steven LeBlanc

02202015a

Greek depositors—overwhelmed by the fright of a Greek default or an exit from the Euro zone (which would mean a return to the drachma)—have been pulling millions of Euros out of the nation’s banks over the last few days. Nearly 900 million Euros flowed out of Greek banks on Tuesday alone.

Germany’s Wolfgang Schaeuble and Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis met IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who heads the Eurogroup. It looks like a temporary agreement has been reached but disagreement can enter at the last moment and talks could collapse. Talks continue through the weekend.

Germany does not want Greece to leave the Eurozone, but neither will Chancellor Merkel cave to Greek whining. If Greece leaves the Eurozone Germany stands to lose over 80 Billion Euros, not a pleasant thought, but not hopeless. But the odds are that Greece will yield to the ECB [European Central Bank] rules to restructure Greek debt…after all, a Greek exit would threaten the newly elected Greek Syriza government, given that most Greeks say they want to keep the euro. If Greece were to leave the short-term impact on Greece would be financial chaos–Already Greeks are withdrawing huge sums of their money from Greek banks.

02202015b

There is endless debate as to what would happen to the European Union if Greece leaves the Eurozone. Some say if Greece leaves then it is just a matter of time before Spain and possibly Italy would leave, wreaking havoc in the world financial markets. Others say, let Greece leave, a Grexit will only strengthen the remaining members of the Eurozone, and finally the European Union will be rid of one of its most difficult members. I simply do not know what will happen should Greece leave—so we wait and watch.

What is especially interesting is the leadership role we are witnessing out of Germany. Angela Merkel’s ascendency to become the most powerful leader in Europe is linked closely to the euro crisis. It was European leaders who had to make money available for the bailout of Greece. Given that Germany had the most money to offer, Germany’s Angela Merkel quickly became the most important leader in Europe. All eyes are on the German Chancellor.

Many Greeks consider Merkel to be an economic Nazi, and they hate her. But Greece takes little responsibility for its wild spending, so Greece should not complain—let’s remember the truth of scripture: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”—Proverbs 22:7. Germany is very rich and Greece is very poor—whose fault is that!

The German conundrum that threatens Europe

02 16 2015

President Obama with Angela Merkel of Germany (EU flag; blue with yellow stars)

George Friedman writes a great piece on the power of Germany in Europe, entitled Germany Emerges.  He is the Chairman of Stratfor, a company he founded in 1996 that is now a leader in the field of global intelligence.  His book Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe is well worth reading.  Here are some excerpts from the recent article he wrote that may be accessed from the following web address [emphasis throughout is mine]:

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/germany-emerges

The world that Merkel [leader of Germany] faces today is startlingly different. The European Union is in a deep crisis. Many blame Germany for that crisis, arguing that its aggressive export policies and demands for austerity were self-serving and planted the seeds of the crisis. It is charged with having used the euro to serve its interests and with shaping EU policy to protect its own corporations. The vision of a benign Germany has evaporated in much of Europe, fairly or unfairly. In many places, old images of Germany have re-emerged, if not in the center of many countries then certainly on the growing margins. In a real if limited way, Germany has become the country that other Europeans fear.

It is important to understand the twin problems confronting Germany. On the one hand, Germany is trying to hold the European Union together. On the other, it wants to make certain that Germany will not bear the burden of maintaining that unity. In Ukraine, Germany was an early supporter of the demonstrations that gave rise to the current government. I don’t think the Germans expected the Russian or U.S. responses, and they do not want to partake in any military reaction to Russia. At the same time, Germany does not want to back away from support for the government in Ukraine.

There is a common contradiction inherent in German strategy. The Germans do not want to come across as assertive or threatening, yet they are taking positions that are both. In the European crisis, it is Germany that is most rigid not only on the Greek question but also on the general question of Southern Europe and its catastrophic unemployment situation. In Ukraine, Berlin supports Kiev and thus opposes the Russians but does not want to draw any obvious conclusions. The European crisis and the Ukrainian crisis are mirror images. In Europe, Germany is playing a leading but aggressive role. In Ukraine, it is playing a leading but conciliatory role. What is most important is that in both cases, Germany has been forced — more by circumstance than by policy — to play leading roles. This is not comfortable for Germany and certainly not for the rest of Europe.

The Germans are trying to find some sort of cover for the role they are playing with the Greeks. Germany exported more than 50 percent of its gross domestic product, and more than half of that went to the European free trade zone that was the heart of the EU project. Germany had developed production that far exceeded its domestic capacity for consumption. It had to have access to markets or face a severe economic crisis of its own.

But barriers are rising in Europe. The attacks in Paris raised demands for the resurrection of border guards and inspections. Alongside threats of militant Islamist attacks, the free flow of labor from country to country threatened to take jobs from natives and give them to outsiders. If borders became barriers to labor, and capital markets were already distorted by the ongoing crisis, then how long would it be before weaker economies used protectionist measures to keep out German goods?

The economic crisis had unleashed nationalism as each country tried to follow policies that would benefit it and in which many citizens — not in power, but powerful nonetheless — saw EU regulations as threats to their well-being. And behind these regulations and the pricing of the euro, they saw Germany’s hand.

This was dangerous for Germany in many ways. Germany had struggled to shed its image as an aggressor; here it was re-emerging. Nationalism not only threatened to draw Germany back to its despised past, but it also threatened the free trade essential to Germany’s well-being. Germany didn’t want anyone to leave the free trade zone. The eurozone was less important, but once they left the currency bloc, the path to protectionism was short. Greece was of little consequence itself, but if it demonstrated that it would be better off defaulting than paying its debt, other countries could follow. And if they demonstrated that leaving the free trade zone was beneficial, then the entire structure might unravel.

Make sure you read the full article at Stratfor.com… viewing of the article is free.  And remember, as I have stated time and again, numerous prophecies indicate that a charismatic despot (also called the “beast”) will eventually lead a European-based power, deceitfully gaining influence as a peacemaker and then becoming a Hitler-type figure—(following the historical model of Antiochus Epiphanes as stated in Daniel 11:20–32). The revival of this Satan-directed, beast-power, with ties to Rome, will surprise the world (Revelation 13:1–7). Prophecy tells us that 10 kings voluntarily surrender their sovereignty to a powerful leader (Revelation 17:12–13).  Germany will play a leading role–Steven LeBlanc

Europe's Dangerous Disagreement

Steven LeBlanc

02 10 2015
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Gemany’s Angela Merkel

I am watching Europe closely—viewing a Union of nations (European Union) that is attempting to work through a serious disagreement.

We see in a prophecy in Daniel chapter 2 a human model representing the succession of human empires, the ten toes, the final empire to rise in Europe, are portrayed as part iron and part clay. So the final Gentile kingdom will be “partly strong and partly fragile” (Daniel 2:42). Note that iron does not mix well with clay (verse 43). Europe is a mix of ethnic groups with various agendas. In the near future the Bible says that these diverse nations will put aside their national differences for a short time to astound the world. A European dictator will receive support and funding from various leaders (Revelation 17:12-13). This has not taken place yet, but it will take place in the near future. The timing of the rise of this European dictator is in God’s hands, it is God who sets up and takes down leaders and nations (Daniel 4:25; 5:21).

With prophecy telling us to look for a revived European Beast syndicate—let’s review what is taking place in Europe right now.

Europeans are very nervous… will Europe and Greece agree on a new strategy for handling Greece’s huge debt problem? Will the European Union (EU) begin to fragment creating a wave of panic that pummels the world financial markets?

At the moment all eyes are on Germany to see if it will cave to Greece’s demands. Greece’s current program of loans ends on the 28th of February. Be sure to view the news that day, to see what the outcome will be in Europe.

The eurozone crisis has confirmed that Germany, with the most vibrant economy and the deepest pockets, is the supreme power player in the European Union. As the British Foreign Office has rumored to have said, ‘In today’s Europe, you can’t change things unless Germany is with you.’ Even if nations were to leave the EU, Merkel and Germany would determine the exit terms.

Pundits who are following the European debt storm say the German position is simple: If Greece wants to leave, let it go. A German economist on the BBC’s Today program described Greece as a man standing on a roof threatening to jump, with Germany as a concerned bystander offering to help him with his problems. This image fails to mention that the bystander is tied to the potential jumper and is likely to suffer significant injury should the man jump—BBC World Service.

The Great Fear
What is called the Grexit (Greek exit of the Eurozone) would severely shake the confidence of Greece and the Eurozone members. If Europe kicks Greece out, then Alexis Tsipras of Greece could turn to Russia for financial help. The thought of Russia gaining influence in Europe’s backyard would be extremely destabilizing. Greece would lose its relatively cheap access to lending, and easy access to Europe’s trade matrix. What is most problematic is that if Greece leaves this could excite Spain to follow, and then Italy, a contagion could spread within the European Union igniting fear in global markets.

Newly appoint leader of Greece, Alexis Tsipras has promised to stop what he has called the ‘fiscal waterboarding’ at the hands of Germany. But northern European leaders, led by Angela Merkel, are glacially opposed to any compromise with Greece. They fear that if Greece gets its way, voters across the eurozone periphery will turn to anti–austerity parties in the hope of securing better bailout terms.

The European political scene is dangerous and unpredictable, new political Parties can be formed and lead the polls within months. Look at what has happened in Spain—Podemos is only 12 months old but it consistently tops the polls in Spain. Podemos, like Syriza in Greece, is opposed to the German austerity measures that were imposed upon Spain over the last few years to blunt the swelling debt within the country. There are elections in Spain this year, Podemos has come from nowhere to become a major player in Spanish politics with huge popular support—this is a very disturbing tide that Germany fears—the rise of anti German/anti-austerity parties in Europe. But let’s keep in mind that the Greek debt crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.

Worried about France
James Forsyth makes this clever observation in his recent column in the British Spectator magazine (31 January 2015):

The country that really keeps European policy makers up at night isn’t Greece or Spain, but France. Its economy is sinking, with no signs of a sustained or sustainable recovery. Its unemployment stands at a record high of 3.5 million, it has had to abolish the much-hyped 75 per cent tax rate on the rich after it turned out to be an abysmal failure, and its tax revenues are so weak that it’s now looking at a deficit of 4.1 per cent of GDP — far outside the 3 per cent limit supposedly demanded of EU member states. If the European Commission applied its own rules properly, France would be fined for this continuing inability to get its books in order.

The great debate is whether France is, in economic terms, part of northern Europe or stagnating southern Europe. Tellingly, the day after the Greek result, François Hollande invited Tsipras to the Elysée while Nicolas Sarkozy went to Berlin to see his old ally Angela Merkel, reflecting the division between the current president and the past president over what role France should try to play in Europe.

Everyone seems to be focused on Greece debt at the moment, but the truth is the big nations of Europe such as France and Italy are on the verge of drowning…Europe is truly in trouble.

Back to the Greek Crisis—so how do you solve the Greek debt crisis? Germany and Greece have two very different ideas. Greece Syriza’s party leader, the 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras — a former Communist youth member — favors an irresponsible approach: Writing off most of Greece’s debt, a weight he describes as “not just unbearable, it objectively cannot be repaid.” But Germany has drawn the line on Greek debt. Germany is against writing off more of Greek debt, someone has to pay for those write-offs, and Germany is not in the mood to use its money to throw at the Greek problem.

German leader Angela Merkel told the Hamburger Abendblatt: “I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation. “She said: “There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece’s debt.” Greece still has a debt of €315bn – about 175% of gross domestic product. At the same time Angela Merkel asserted she did not want Greece to leave the eurozone. She said: “The aim of our policy was and is that Greece remains permanently part of the euro community. Europe will continue to show its solidarity with Greece, as with other countries hard hit by the crisis, if these countries carry out reforms and cost-saving measures.”

Tensions are rising in Europe, and European and American stock markets swoon daily depending on the latest news out of Europe—the financial markets are jumpy. The ECB (European Central Bank) threatens Athens with bank funding cutoff on February 28th unless Greece yields to the ECB’s rules. The next few weeks will see volatility in the press and world financial markets—all linked to what will happen to Greece and how the EU responds to the Greek debt challenge. This European debt impasse is very important—pay attention to Europe!

Dangerous Europe

Steven LeBlanc

The European Union is struggling to survive. Below is the latest thinking from Statfor intelligence founder George Friedman. Statfor is one of the world’s premier intelligence services. Mr. Friedman has just released a book entitled The Emerging Crisis in Europe:

Possible Seismic Changes Ahead
There are then three drivers in Europe now. One is the desire to control borders — nominally to control Islamist terrorists but truthfully to limit the movement of all labor, Muslims included. Second, there is the empowerment of the nation-states in Europe by the European Central Bank, which is making its quantitative easing program run through national banks, which may only buy their own nation’s debt. Third, there is the political base, which is dissolving under Europe’s feet.

The question about Europe now is not whether it can retain its current form, but how radically that form will change. And the most daunting question is whether Europe, unable to maintain its union, will see a return of nationalism and its possible consequences. As I put it in Flashpoints:

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 collective GDP 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 entire world.

To even speak of war in Europe would have been preposterous a few years ago, and to many, it is preposterous today. But Ukraine is very much a part of Europe, as was Yugoslavia. Europeans’ confidence that all this is behind them, the sense of European exceptionalism, may well be correct. But as Europe’s institutions disintegrate, it is not too early to ask what comes next. History rarely provides the answer you expect — and certainly not the answer you hope for.

This is a perceptive observation by Mr. Friedman.

Let me state emphatically that this is not to say that Europe is about to implode immediately, but it is important to watch the stress that is in play in Europe.

You need to watch Europe closely because the Bible tells us that in the future a European –centered “beast” power is the final resurrection of the Roman Empire, one of the four great gentile empires of Daniels’ vision (Daniel 7)—it will be the final manifestation of the empire that fights Christ as His return (Revelation 17:12-14).

In one of Daniel’s visions, God pictured four empires as rapacious beasts. The fourth beast (Rome) is pictured as a predatory, war-making creature, having 10 horns—indicating 10 successive resurrections (Daniel 7:19–25). A tyrant will change times and laws, and will persecute true Christians (Daniel 7:21–25). Other prophecies indicate that a charismatic despot (also called a “beast”) will eventually lead this European-based power, deceitfully gaining prestige as a peacemaker and then becoming a Hitler-type figure—(following the historical model of Antiochus Epiphanes as stated in Daniel 11:20–32). The revival of this Satan-directed, beast-power, with ties to Rome, will surprise the world (Revelation 13:1–7). Prophecy tells us that 10 kings voluntarily surrender their sovereignty to a powerful leader (Revelation 17:12–13).

This European matrix will dominate the global economy (Revelation 18). The Prophets including Amos and Hosea, and Isaiah (chapter 10) and Jeremiah 30, disclose that this German-dominated structure of nations will attack America and British-descended peoples, and will carry them into captivity because of their national sins.

We are watching closely the European Debt Crisis to see how it impacts the world economy. Remember, the European Union’s economy is the largest trading bloc in the world.

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