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Current Events & Trends: September/October 2020

by Beyond Today Editor Estimated reading time: 11 minutes. Posted on 1-Sep-2020
An overview of events and conditions around the world featured in the September/October 2020 issue of Beyond Today.

Will NATO leadership shift from America to Germany?

An analysis piece in The Washington Times noted that “in response to a perception among many in the European Union that the United States has mismanaged the coronavirus outbreak, EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told an audience in Berlin . . . that some European analysts had been talking more and more about the ‘end of an American-led system and the arrival of an Asian century.’ The 27-nation bloc, he concluded, should therefore ‘follow our own interests’” (Daniel Davis, “Transitioning NATO Into a European-Led Force,” May 31, 2020).

The article contends that Borrell has a point, stating: “A wealthy, strong, and—critically—independent Europe is in America’s interest. A re-evaluation of the trans-Atlantic relationship is long overdue . . . The first NATO Secretary-General, Lord Hastings Ismay, famously said that NATO existed to ‘keep the Soviets out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.’ But with the collapse of the U.S.S.R.—along with the rise of France, the U.K., and a reunified Germany as rich nations—the fundamental reasons for NATO’s existence vanished. The once-compelling justification for the United States to underwrite the security of Western Europe has likewise disappeared.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that “President Trump has directed the Pentagon to remove thousands of American troops from Germany by September, a move that would dramatically reshape the U.S. military posture in Europe and reflects growing tensions between Washington and Berlin over military spending and other security issues” (Michael Gordon and Gordon Lubold, “Trump to Pull Thousands of U.S. Troops From Germany,” June 5, 2020).

In a June 23 interview with Deutsche Welle, current NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “The world needs more German leadership . . . NATO needs German leadership. We all need Germany to play an even more important role because Germany is the largest economy in Europe” (“NATO Chief Stoltenberg: World Needs More German Leadership”).

Shortly before that, the same source ran a story titled, “How Will Europe Guarantee Its Security Without the US?” (June 20). Many are pondering the implications. “Germany has been a key component of the US defense strategy in Europe for decades, with US nuclear weapons—to be delivered by German fighter jets in a moment of crisis—stationed here . . .

“If Europe wants to provide its own security it will have to come up with a replacement shield. As things now stand, France would be the only choice in stepping up to the task . . . [But] French missiles have never been integrated into NATO defense planning. Nevertheless, in the past the French have made clear their willingness to allow Germany proximity to its prized arsenal . . . The one seemingly intractable conflict inherent in the idea of a ‘European bomb,’ however, is the question of who would decide to use it when a split-second decision is needed” (ibid.).

It should be noted that Europeans are currently unhappy with both the European Union and the United States. As a National Pulse headline proclaims: “European Union ‘Failed,’ Was ‘Irrelevant’ During Pandemic Says Major, Continent-Wide Survey” (Derek Dunn, July 2). “The news will be seen as vindication of the United Kingdom’s choice to exit the European Union, and the American political right’s continued warnings about European-style socialism and increasing centralization of powers . . . [However] while the results appear to be an unmitigated indictment of the status quo in the European Union, some of those surveyed believe more European integration is the solution to Europe’s irrelevance during the pandemic . . . The European Union may have to make considerable changes, if it wants to justify its existence down the line.”

While it appears at present that America will remain the dominant global power for some years to come, we also know from Bible prophecy where things are ultimately headed—to greatly diminished American power and an ascendant German-led Europe that will end up an enemy to the United States. Perhaps European military power will be further facilitated by America continuing to withdraw from the world scene and eventually handing over a lot of military equipment sitting in Europe to the current NATO allies.

To learn more, be sure to read our free publications The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy and The Final Superpower.

 

 

Iran-China 25-year cooperation plan

A special report from BESA Center (the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies) points to major developments in Asia. Titled “The Iran-China 25-Year Plan: A Preliminary Assessment” (Ofira Seliktar and Farhad Rezaei, BesaCenter.org, July 21, 2020), it presents this analysis:

“On June 23, 2020, the Iranian government announced the Iran-China 25 Year Comprehensive Partnership . . . It amounts to an unprecedented economic, military, and technological collaboration between the two states. Relations between Beijing and Tehran . . . have blossomed under Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is pushing China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to China, the BRI aims to create a huge unified market in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa through massive investment in infrastructure, education, and technology. Critics view the BRI as a thinly disguised effort to achieve Chinese domination over a large swath of the globe.

“Iran would serve as a regional hub for the BRI, giving China extraordinary leeway across a wide range of economic activity. This includes petrochemical production, renewable energy, civilian nuclear energy, high-speed railways, highways, subways, airports, and maritime connections . . .

“A section of the draft agreement reveals an exceptionally high level of military cooperation between the two countries. This includes, among other things, shared development of defense industries, intelligence sharing, and joint military maneuvers. Earlier reports indicate that China and Iran have been working on a large arms deal timed to coincide with the ending of the UN Security Council arms embargo . . .

“The benefits of this arrangement to China are clear. Beijing would accomplish its strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific region. China has already built a string of logistical station ports along the Indian Ocean to Djibouti and the Suez Canal. Dominating Iran would give China a side presence in the Gulf . . . Most of the world’s oil transits through that passage . . .

“For the Iranians, who are operating under the severe pressure of American sanctions, the deal is a lifeline . . . But some Iranian critics . . . believe the Tehran government has sold out Iran’s sovereignty to the Chinese . . . Moreover, China expects Iran to use its oil receipts in an ‘optimal way’ . . . [and not] on the revolutionary export projects so beloved by the late Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani . . . It is not clear whether the Revolutionary Guards would oblige, however.”

Meanwhile, Iran continues to pursue nuclear development, to the great concern of Israel and many other nations (“IAEA: Iran Further Raises Uranium Stockpiles 8 Times Its Limit, Blocks Visits to Sites,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 5, 2020).

The Chinese-Iranian alliance appears to be a further step toward an eventual coalition of eastern powers that will destroy vast numbers of people and will come against European forces in the Holy Land at the time of Christ’s return (see Revelation 9:13-21; 16:12-16)—and against the people of Israel not long after (see Ezekiel 38-39).  Russia will evidently be another major player in this eastern coalition. We see many of the eastern powers currently working together in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), already widely regarded as the “alliance of the East.”

 

 

What people need to know about Black Lives Matter

Many in the Western world are embracing Black Lives Matter (BLM) and displaying this phrase. Yet before championing a cause people should understand what the cause actually is. In this case many want to express solidarity with those perceived to be unfairly discriminated against due to racism. That’s an admirable sentiment. But lending support to this particular cause goes far beyond the three-word slogan. Let’s consider some of the serious problems.

First, the slogan is deceptive and promotes a falsehood. What’s wrong with saying that black lives matter? Don’t they matter? Of course they do—because all human lives matter, as all people of every ethnic background are made in the image of God. But declaring this biblical truth now can get a person fired from his or her job, “canceled” or severely ostracized.

The truth is that factual statistical evidence disproves this narrative, as black conservative talk host Larry Elder and others have repeatedly pointed out (see creators.com/read/larry-elder/06/20/the-george-floyd-riots-wheres-black-lives-matter-when-you-need-them). While there has been rampant anti-black racism (and racism directed at other minorities) in the history of the United States and other countries, conditions have vastly changed over many decades.

No doubt racism still lingers among a few, which is abhorrent, yet actual instances are nearly universally condemned. As Shelby Steele, a veteran of the civil rights movement and best-selling author, stated in a June 7 interview, “The truth of the matter is blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today.” 

The fact is, while there are no doubt some problem people among thousands of law enforcement officers, the police are not out targeting black people for mistreatment. Many police officers are black. A far greater danger is black-on-black crime in urban neighborhoods and abortion of unborn black lives.

Second, the popular phrase honors and helps fund a pro-LGBTQ, Marxist organization with ties to terrorism bent on destroying the family and Western civilization. We traced some of the founding of this movement in a past issue of Beyond Today (see “The disturbing roots of the Black Lives Matter movement”). 

BLM was started by far-left activists. The group’s own website declares its commitment to being “queer-affirming” and promoting transgenderism while working to disrupt the Western nuclear family structure (see blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/). The organization glorifies cop killers. And it is anti-capitalist, promoting communism as part of a larger coalition of BLM groups known as the Movement for Black Lives (see its policy platforms at m4bl.org). This year BLM signed on with others in this coalition in a call to “Defund the police.”

This is all bad enough. But as it turns out, Black Lives Matter is actually the project of another non-profit called Thousand Currents, the recipient and administrator of BLM fundraising. The vice-chair of Thousand Currents is Susan Rosenberg, a convicted terrorist who spent 16 years in federal prison before being pardoned by President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. Former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was involved with the case, cites this as yet further evidence that BLM is a revolutionary Marxist group that wants to overthrow our government (“Exposing Black Lives Matter’s Ties to Convicted Domestic Terrorist,” FoxNews.com, July 9, 2020).

The movement has been instrumental in rioting and destruction over the past few months. Of course many supporters will say that they are not for all this and aren’t advocating for this particular group named Black Lives Matter, but are just joining in using the phrase to stand against anti-black racism. Yet, whatever the intention, widespread support for the stated cause has helped undermine law enforcement and promote widespread rioting and destruction.

It’s also encouraged many in government at all levels to align with policies BLM advocates and stoked massive corporate monetary support. Millions of dollars are being funneled into what BLM is promoting along with other far-left causes supported by Thousand Currents. Black Lives Matter is not merely a heartfelt slogan. It’s a major fundraising tool for the radical progressive agenda—an agenda that’s supported through the promulgation of the phrase and the false narrative it sustains.

Third, taking up the slogan and associated implications ends up hurting people, including those it claims to help. It does great damage to society, leading to unrest and fragmentation. Moreover, promoting the defunding of police will lead to far worsening crime and deaths in urban communities desperately in need of policing. Supporting BLM actually ends up harming people in these communities. That is not genuine love, for “love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10).

Concerning the real danger of crime in urban neighborhoods, the major culprit here is the dissolution of black families with an absence of fathers in the home. Black civil rights activist leader Bob Woodson and others have traced this terrible dilemma back to liberal social policies.

Yet in the current movement that claims to care about black lives we see a call to further erode the family and remove law enforcement. Achievement of these aims would lead to more suffering and death. Again, do black lives matter? Of course, but the real path to help is not to support this catchphrase that amounts to propaganda for far-left causes based on lies and that will lead to hurting many people. The real answer lies where it always does—in all people learning to live by the laws of Almighty God.

Perhaps it should not have come as a surprise when video coverage of Portland riots “showed protestors with ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs tossing Bibles into a raging bonfire” (Isabel Vincent, “Protestors Burn Bible, American Flag as Tensions Rise in Portland,” New York Post, Aug. 1, 2020).

In all this a terrible spirit of lawlessness is at work. For more on this, read “The War on Law and Order”.

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