World Watch Today

Expecting the next European war

When we think of Europe most Americans think of fashion, quaint cafes, the Eiffel tower, fascinating architecture and endless historical sites. But history thinks of Europe very differently… Europe’s past is the location of massive wars, ethnic cleansing and brutal concentration camps.
05 05 2017

Berlin, Germany devastated by allied bombing during World War II

Europe’s history of fighting is far from over.   Europe remains a small continent, fragmented into many parts and crowded with many ethnically dissimilar nation-states.  It has a history of resentment and bitterness and ethnic violence.  Europe’s anger against other Europeans is still very much alive.   The fact is all nations have memories, and all but the most powerful nations feel wronged by some crime that cannot be made right.  This will help you understand Europe today and why there will be future European wars.

Suffering on the continent over the past 100 years has been staggering.  For example Poland in the past has been brutalized by both Russia and Germany; the Serbs killed thousands of Croats and Bosnians in the decade of the 90s; and during World War II the Ustaše regime in Croatia viciously killed thousands of Serbs at the Jasenovac concentration camp outside of Zagreb.  Revenge killing is a well-known modus operandi in Europe.  No nation really trusts others.  Friendships between nations are shallow and superficial at best.

Over the years France has been repeatedly invaded by Germany; the British do not trust the French, the Greeks despise the Germans…Germany believes it must protect itself from Russia and western Europeans.  In Belgium the Walloons do not trust the Flemish, the Flemish look down upon the Walloons; the Greeks despise the Turks, the Turks believe they are part of Europe, when no one else in Europe believes Turkey should be considered European.  And lets not forget…the Hungarians and Romanians dislike one another immensely. The differences and old wounds are almost endless when it comes to Europe.  Old wounds have a way of reopening.  War will be part of Europe’s future—the old wounds will chafe again.

Let’s not forget that the First World War was essentially European; 16 million people died in World War 1, most of the dead were Europeans.  The Second World War was truly global, but it was Europe that suffered the most during World War II.  No one can be certain of exactly how many died in Europe in World War II, but a conservative number is 51 million, this included soldiers and mostly civilians.  In 1939, Europeans numbered about 550 million.  An astounding 10 percent of all Europeans perished during the six years from 1939 to 1945.  But numbers do not capture the awfulness of war—the starvation, millions killed, the sadness, and the fear, the millions of orphans.

Poland lost over 16 percent of its population during the 2nd world war, Germany more than 10 percent; the Soviet Union lost 14 percent.  The greatest losses took place in the “Bloodlands” of Eastern Europe; Poland and the area we call today Belarus were hit particularly hard.  Between 1942 and 1947, 17 million people died in Eastern Europe, killed by Stalin or Hitler.  By Eastern Europe I mean the general area that encompasses what is now Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, and western Russia.  But even countries to the west like France lost half a million, and Italy and Britain lost almost a half million during the 2nd world war.

Geopolitical analyst George Friedman sums up the devastation that overtook Europe this way in his outstanding book, FLASHPOINTS, “combining the 55 million dead from World War II and over 16 million from World War I, in the thirty-one-year period from 1914 to 1945 approximately 71 million Europeans died in general warfare. When you add roughly 20 million killed or starved under Stalin, the number rises to 91 million. Add in the Russian and Spanish civil wars, and sundry other conflicts hardly worth mentioning, such as Turkey’s war with Greece and Armenia, and the number of 100 million is conservative.

The Balkans and ethnic cleansing

And there have been recent European wars.  In the Balkans, there were about a quarter of a million casualties in the 1990s thanks mostly to the aggression of Slobodan Milosevic a Serbian and Yugoslavian president.  The term ethnic cleansing originated in former Yugoslavia in the 90s.  It bears repeating… all nations have memories, and all but the most powerful nations feel injured by some wrong that cannot be made right.  This is especially true of the Balkans. By the Balkans I am talking mostly about former Yugoslavia.  Catholic Slovenia and Croatia, Orthodox Serbia and Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina (thought of as Muslim but with a large Serbian Orthodox population) these merged together into a temporary nation whose ethnic hostilities boiled beneath the surface; this became the communist state of Yugoslavia headed by Marshal Josip Broz Tito who suppressed in-house ethnic conflict with an iron fist.   But he died and 25 years ago the Balkans erupted into a vicious war.

The Balkans is important to European history. We should remember what Bismarck said in 1888: “If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans.”  How prophetic that statement was.  When Gavrilo Princip, a member of “Unification or Death,” a Serbian group, assassinated Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo (Bosnia) in 1914, it set in motion the 1st world war.  Today the nations of former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo) are at peace, but the peace will not last long.  As we have learned over the centuries, in the Balkans peace is fleeting.

The European Union intended to achieve what the Romans, Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler had all failed to do: create a united peaceful Europe.  Today Europe is relatively peaceful.  But Prophecy tells us it will not remain that way.  The peace in Europe today is simply the calm before the storm.  Keep in mind that conflict in Europe can occur quickly.  Let’s not forget the recent past.  Germany was weak, divided, and barely armed in 1932.  By 1938 it was the great military power on the Continent.  Nightmares can come to pass quickly.

In the not too distant future– we are told that political turmoil in Europe (Revelation 17), will lead to a newly formed confederation of states that will be beastlike (terribly destructive).  We are told in the book of Daniel, that God often removes and sets up leaders according to His purpose and insights: Daniel 2:21– He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings…thus we watch Europe with this in mind, and with intense interest!

European leaders will eventually choose one single dictator, the prophesied “beast,” which will set up a system that will be extremely brutal (Revelation 17 verses 12 and 13).  European extremism will return to European cities.  Jesus Christ himself will destroy this end-time empire, and then Christ will establish the Kingdom of God on earth, that Kingdom will rule the nations with justice and force.  Europe is important—we will continue to watch this year’s important election process on the Continent with a discerning eye—Steven LeBlanc

George Friedman's Insights on North Korea

Who will be Iran's next supreme leader?

04 17 2017a

Sadeq Larijani; possibly Iran’s next Supreme Leader

There is increasing talk in Iran as to who will replace Supreme Leader Khamenei when he dies.  The death of Khamenei will mark the biggest political change in the Islamic Republic in the last 30 years.

The supreme leader is the most powerful person in Iran, with absolute authority over all segments of the state.  Iran’s supreme leader is 77 years old. Rumors that he suffers from cancer have circulated for the past few years.   We know from Iran’s state-run news agency (published photos of him recovering from prostate surgery), that he is battling cancer.

04 17 2017b

Supreme leader Khamenei when he was in the hospital for prostate surgery

More recently, we know that the Iranian government is treating his succession with urgency; there is talk that the Supreme leader himself is vetting potential leaders.  A new person in that position could dramatically alter the course and tone of Iran’s foreign and domestic policies. In the hours following Khamenei’s death, the Speaker of the Assembly of Experts will assemble an emergency session to choose a successor. The next supreme leader is likely to be one of three men: Sadeq Larijani, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, or Ebrahim Raisi.

The favorite is the current head of Iran’s judiciary, Larijani, 56, who was born in Najaf, Iraq, to an influential family: He is an elected member of the Assembly of Experts.

Larijani has exhibited an absolute devotion to the supreme leader. He has never claimed the status of grand ayatollah, thus showing veneration to Khamenei’s authority. And he supports the notion that the Assembly of Experts should exercise minimal supervision over the supreme leader, an extreme view within the seminary.  Khamenei has described Larijani as a “learned, brave, cerebral, revolutionary mujtahid [an authoritative interpreter of Islamic law] and devout scholar” and has compensated him for his faithfulness by promoting him to key positions.

As head of the judiciary, he demonstrated his conformist zeal, fervently attacking Rouhani for supporting the nuclear deal. Further adding to his influence, Larijani chairs the board of trustees of Imam Sadiq University, which trains civil officers for key political positions in the Islamic Republic. His involvement in such pivotal institutions has given him a deep understanding of Iran’s maze of power.

When it comes to relations with the USA, Iran will continue its guarded and no-nonsense strategy, cooperating on some issues (for example, helping with the fight against the Islamic State) while spurning to do so on others (for example, maintaining its hostility toward Israel). And as long as the United States sustains its end of the nuclear deal; Iran will continue to maintain a limited and fractured relationship with America. It is silly to hope that pressure from the Trump administration will produce any political change in Iran.

When watching nations and geopolitical trends ALWAYS keep in mind that the spirt world is at toiling behind the scenes, often demons are motivating and influencing world leaders to make certain decisions. It reminds me of the lying spirit that swayed King Ahab as recorded in 1 Kings 22. In 1 Kings 22 we are told of a council of war between the kings of Israel and Judah. Treacherous King Ahab and the good Jewish King Jehoshaphat were planning war against Syria to regain land that Israel had lost. At the council, God’s prophet Micaiah was brought before the two kings, he revealed an perceptive vision from the throne of God and how the world of angels and demons can sway world leaders:

Micaiah viewed God sitting on His throne and the spiritual host of heaven around Him. “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him [Ahab].’ The LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets’” (verses 21-22). God was allowing Ahab to be persuaded by his advisors (influenced by a lying spirit) to engage in a battle that would lead to Ahab’s death.

The lesson for us is that at times lying demonic spirits work through government advisors [types of false prophets] to prevail upon leaders to make foolish decisions. The Bible tells us there is a parallel world where demons seek to confuse and influence world leaders.  With this background; I cannot help but to consider that demon spirits will be involved in the sequence of discussions that will lead to who will be the next Supreme Leader of Iran.—Steven LeBlanc

FRENCH ELECTIONS: We are closely watching the French Presidential election process.

03 21 2017

The Spectator is a weekly British conservative magazine. It was first published on 6 July 1828, making it the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language. BELOW: The U.K. spectator magazine out of London give us a succinct impression of the first televised debate between 5 French candidates:

Macron and Le Pen both fail to dazzle in first French Presidential debate

Gavin Mortimer

It was the burkini that brought Monday night’s debate to life between the five main presidential candidates for next month’s French election. For the first hour of the televised debate there had been much posturing and postulating but no sharp exchanges. That changed when Marine Le Pen accused Emmanuel Macron of turning a blind eye to the burkini, the Islamic swimwear that last summer caused such controversy in France. Macron rejected the charge, telling Le Pen in a forceful exchange she was a dangerous provocateur. The centrist candidate, who claims to be ‘neither left nor right’, then went on the counter-attack, accusing the National Front leader of sowing divisions within society by attempting to make four million French Muslims ‘enemies of the Republic’.

It was one of the few memorable confrontations during three hours of debate that told us little that we that we didn’t already know. Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left candidate, is a Gallic George Galloway, a sharp wit to accompany his crackpot ideology, while his Socialist rival Benoit Hamon bore more than a passing resemblance to a ventriloquist’s dummy so leaden was his performance. Francois Fillon, the centre-right candidate whose ethics have dominated the headlines in recent weeks, seemed relieved to be able to finally discuss campaign issues, but he lacked sparkle as he tried to convey a statesmanlike air.

As for Macron and Le Pen, who according to the latest poll are neck and neck in the race for the Élysée Palace, their performances will have pleased their supporters but probably have done little to sway those who say they’re abstaining from the election, which according to Le Monde, could be as much as 32 per cent of the population. Macron was articulate but lacked authenticity, prompting a withering attack by Le Pen, who sarcastically lauded his ‘mad talent’ for hot air. ‘You’ve spoken for seven minutes,’ she said. ‘I am incapable of summarising your thoughts. You haven’t said anything. It’s absolutely empty.’

Le Pen, in contrast to the polished prose of Macron, radiated pugnacity, snorting with derision when at one stage Hamon said immigration to France had remained stable over thirty years. It doubtless delighted her supporters but what will it do to the undecided voter who fears Macron is right when he accuses the National Front leader of seeking to divide still further a country already struggling with its identity?
The other issue on which Le Pen took aim at Macron was Europe. ‘I want to be the president of the French Republic’, she said in her opening address, ‘I don’t aspire to govern what has become a region, a vague region of the European Union. I don’t want to be Madame Merkel’s vice-chancellor’. The unashamedly pro-Europe Macron mocked Le Pen’s wish to leave the EU, pointing out that across the Channel ‘all those people who said Brexit would make everything possible, the day after [the vote] they did a runner’. Francois Fillon, who shares Macron’s view on the benefits of the EU, joined in the attack, accusing Le Pen of wanting ‘to drag the country into social and economic chaos’.

‘That’s called Project Fear, Mr Fillon’, retorted Le Pen. ‘It was used before Brexit’. As for what the people made of it, that depends where you look on Tuesday morning. An online poll in Le Parisien, the daily newspaper for the French capital, had Mélenchon way out on front, while readers of the centre-right Le Figaro believed Fillon had scored best. A poll for the TV station, BFMTV had Macron the winner.

In truth, no one candidate stood out from their rivals but they’ll have another chance to impress on April 4th in the second debate and a third opportunity a week later. Not that all the French will tune in. Purchasing a selection of newspapers from my local kiosk in Paris this morning I asked the vendor if he’d watched the debate. ‘Are you serious!’ he exclaimed. ‘I’ve got better things to do with my time’.

WHY WATCH EUROPEAN ELECTIONS? Eventually, in the not too distant future– we are told that political turmoil in Europe (Revelation 17), will lead to a newly formed confederation of states in Europe that will be beastlike (terribly destructive). European leaders will then choose one single dictator, the prophesied “beast,” which will set up a system that will be extremely brutal (verses 12 and 13). European extremism will return. Jesus Christ himself will destroy this end-time empire, and then Christ will establish the Kingdom of God on earth, that will rule the nations with justice and force.  Europe is important—we will continue to watch this year’s important election process on the Continent.

Continued Unrest in Europe, Chancellor Merkel's visit to America

03042017
The current rise of nationalism in Europe is the result of European institutions’ failure to cut high unemployment and control the flow of immigrants coming into the EU. Eight years after 2008, Europe still has not solved its economic problems. 18 months after the massive invasion of refugees into Europe, there is still no clear and efficient policy to address the issue of refugees. Adding to the political chaos in Europe, and also troubling German, French and Italian leaders, is that Donald Trump has challenged the idea that free trade is always beneficial; and he is even questioning NATO. Right-wing parties across Europe are asking the same questions.

We are seeing a return to nationalism in Europe and the United States, because to many in Europe and America, internationalism, which became popular after World War II, is viewed as smothering individual economies and neutering national sovereignty.
Eventually, in the not to distant future, we are told that political turmoil in Europe (Revelation 17), will lead to a newly formed confederation of states in Europe that will be beastlike (terribly destructive). European leaders will then choose one single dictator, the prophesied “beast,” which will set up a system that will be extremely brutal (verses 12 and 13). European extremism will return. Jesus Christ himself will destroy this end-time empire, and then Christ will establish the Kingdom of God on earth, that will rule the nations with justice and force

Meanwhile, EU leader Germany is still insisting Russia to do more on its end to apply the Minsk rules, the understanding intended to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine signed by Kiev, Moscow and Ukrainian separatists. But EU sanctions are becoming a source of division within the bloc, divisions that could widen depending on the outcome of upcoming elections in Europe. This leaves Ukraine in a dangerous position in regards to the EU. Kiev is now looking for additional alliances with countries like Poland and the Baltics.

What is of great interest to me in the coming weeks, is Angela Merkel’s visit to the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit the United States on March 14th to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, what Reuters reported on March 3rd. The March meeting will occur ahead of a gathering of G-20 finance ministers in Germany. The American President will visit Germany in July for a G-20 summit. Germany, like many European nations –their leaders fear that the policies of the new U.S. government could create havoc in the global order — Germany (Angela Merkel) is especially concerned about what “Trump may do”. The source of Germany’s greatest fear is German exports. Angela Merkel will do everything possible to avert a trade war with the United States, such a war would be devastating to the Germany economy. The German economy is heavily dependent upon its ability to export German goods.

We will watch closely Chancellor Merkel’s visit with the President. Remember Luke 21:36: Watch and pray that you may be worthy to escape the great trouble that is ahead of us.—Steven LeBlanc

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