Afghanistan — No Paradise
It was and still is the theory: If only the world would have, in a combined effort, acted in military harmony toward Iraq, then Iraq would have become a success. However, this theory is not without flaws. If it were true, then Afghanistan should be a much more successful place, than it is. After all, Europe and the Western world stood side-by-side with the United States in their efforts to free Afghanistan from terrorism and to bring them freedom, prosperity and democracy. Was this effort successful? So far, it has not been. Although the press does not report as much about the prevalent problems in Afghanistan, including terrorist attacks, they nevertheless exist. Recently, the German defense minister, Peter Struck, while touring Afghanistan, barely escaped death, when a bomb exploded close to him. The Taliban and al-Qaeda may not be as prominent anymore in Afghanistan, but they have not been defeated. They are now operating from, and in other countries, including Pakistan, and most notably, Iraq!
On September 21, OneWorld published a shocking article about present conditions in Afghanistan. Most may not even realize that Afghanistan has not yet had a democratic election since the world’s forceful liberation of the country. The first election is scheduled for early October. The prospects look grim. The article pointed out:
“Ahead of its first democratic elections in early October, Afghanistan is facing an acute food and malnutrition crisis and continues to suffer from the highest number of maternal and child deaths in Asia. According to a study by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), some 1.4 million Afghans are affected by continued drought and crop failure, adding that more than US $50 million is needed to tackle the severe situation facing the country.”
The article continued: “Dr Hedayatullah Stanek Zai, the ministry’s director general of policy and planning,… attributes the growing food insecurity to a multiplicity of factors ranging from limitations on population movement due to prevailing insecurity in some parts of the country to poor transportation, seasonal obstacles like harsh winters, a dramatic depletion of productive assets at the community and household level and lack of employment opportunities. Predictably then, according to Afghan health officials, the country suffers from an extremely high 45-59 per cent prevalence of chronic malnutrition, high mortality rates among children under five years (257 per 1000 live births), high maternal mortality rates (1600 per 100,000 live births), and the widespread prevalence of micronutrient deficiency diseases… Around 75 per cent of households in Afghanistan use unsafe water sources for drinking. Analysis of the 2004 National Risk and Vulnerability Assessment reveals that 37 percent of the Afghan population — almost 6.5 million people — are unable to meet their minimum food requirements, so constitute the top priority for assistance.”
Of course, noone is suggesting that the world’s military take-over of Afghanistan caused these present problems. It must be conceded, however, that they did not prevent or solve them, either. And when it comes to appreciation for the world’s efforts, it’s not given to the U.S. The article concluded: “While spotlighting the deficiencies, government officials concede that some development has taken place in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime… Remarks [Dr Roy] Mutahar, [national nutrition officer of the Afghan health ministry]: ‘But the credit for this goes to the United Nations and not the United States of America.'”
Germany Faces Serious Problems
As AFP reported on September 19, 2004, “Far-right fringe parties made huge gains in two former communist eastern states as German voters dealt fresh electoral blows to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats [and the most powerful opposition party, the CDU] amid ire over his economic reforms. The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) roared ahead in Saxony, polling 9.2 percent — a sixfold increase over 1999 and well above the five-percent hurdle necessary for parliamentary representation [This means, it received almost as many votes as the 9.8 percent of Schroeder’s SPD]. And the extreme-right German People’s Party (DVU) improved its score in Brandenburg slightly to 6.1 percent, up from 5.3 percent the last time at the polls… The results come just two weeks after the SPD posted its worst score in four decades in the western state of Saarland, and are the 10th time Schroeder’s party has lost in state elections since the chancellor was narrowly reelected in September 2002.”
In addition, observers have watched, with concern, the resurgence of neo-Communist parties in former East Germany. The frightening prognosis is that the recent elections only scratched the surface, and did not constitute a rare exception, or just a “protest vote.” Experts state, according to Der Spiegel Online, that up to 50 percent of the Germans are dissatisfied with the present situation in Germany. Former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt stated to Bild Online that all German parties are to be blamed for the devastating election results, as they refused to tell the Germans “the truth.”
National and international observers point out that the Germans are not Nazis, but that the present situation does not help. They voice the opinion that Weimar [which led to Hitler’s rise] could not happen again. The Bible shows, however, that a strong leader will emerge in Germany in the future — so influential, powerful and charismatic, that in a crisis situation, ten leading or “core” European nations or groups of nations will give their power and authority to that leader to help them in their time of need.
Expect More Powerful Hurricanes
Jeanne struck a devastating blow to Haiti, leaving more than 2,000 people dead or missing — with the death toll likely to increase. But as the Wisconsin State Journal reported on Friday, September 17, 2004, more devastating hurricanes are to be expected. The article pointed out:
“Ivan, Frances and Charley delivered three staggering blows to the Gulf Coast and Florida, as well as Caribbean island nations, all in just five weeks. Now here comes Jeanne… Scientists say 65 million Americans living on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts should expect weather like this for another 30 years. Maybe more… ‘I don’t remember this happening before in such a short period of time,’ National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield told reporters, ‘and the season is only half-over.’…
“‘The hurricane threat is much greater than it was in the 1970s through early 1990s,’ said federal meteorologist Stan Goldenberg… ‘It could last another 10 to 40 years.’… The period since 1995 is the most active nine consecutive years on record, said pioneering hurricane forecaster William Gray at Colorado State University.Why is the storm cycle intensifying now? Scientists aren’t certain what causes the decades-long shifts in the ocean-atmosphere interplay…. The amount of mechanical energy generated by a hurricane can translate to a power supply of 360 billion kilowatt hours per day — equal, by some estimates, to all of the electricity consumed in [the] United States in six months.”
Whether or not scientists are able to explain the undeniable increase of powerful and deadly hurricanes, the truth of the matter is that these phenomena were prophesied almost two thousand years ago. Jesus Christ minced no words, when describing such events just prior to His return. And He also made clear that they are interconnected with the way we live. He said, in Luke 21:25-26: “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
Britain’s Loss of Memory
It may be shocking and hard to believe, but according to a recent poll, less than half of all Brits remember such basic commandments as the ones against stealing, murder and adultery. Less than five percent (!) are even aware of God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath holy. What a terrible indictment against Britain’s clergy whose job it is to boldly proclaim God’s Ten Commandments!
As WorldNetDaily reported on September 18, 2004, “According to a new British poll, the country is quickly forgetting the Ten Commandments. Only three of the laws – passed to Moses on tablets of stone in Old Testament times – made any showing in the poll… Less than half of the population remembered the admonitions not to steal, murder or commit adultery, but it appears that commandments such as ‘don’t take the Lord’s name in vain’ are fast becoming a distant memory. Only 9 percent of those polled recalled the commandment not to lie. Worst remembered of all the commandments was ‘keep the Sabbath day holy,’ which was correctly identified by only 4 percent of those polled.”
Need for European Military?
The Pakistan Times reported recently that Europe is concerned about strengthening its military powers. In the context of an accord by five EU states to create a European military police force deployable to crises situations worldwide, the article pointed out: “Dutch Defence Minister Henk Kamp called the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF)-initially involving France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, but open to others later-a ‘milestone’ in Europe’s developing military muscle… Paris says Germany, Poland and Belgium are interested in the plans-which will not be a standing force, rather pulling police together when a crisis blows up-although they do not currently have the right kind of forces.
“German Defence Minister Peter Struck confirmed that Berlin will not take part, but called the plans ‘very sensible’ and suggested that they could be useful for potential flare-ups in the Balkans… ‘Today we are going to take a very important step in the anti-terrorist fight within the European Union in signing the first accord for a joint Spanish-French inquiry corps,’ Aguilar announced after conferring with French Justice Minister Dominique Perben.”
These seem to be small and insignificant steps toward the creation of a European army, in comparison with the military of the United States — the most powerful in the world — but they are nevertheless beginning steps for a powerful European army to emerge in the future. That time has not arrived yet. To suggest — as some overly zealous “commentators” do, that Europe’s “army” already equals the power and strength of the U.S. military, is ridiculous — because, at this point, there is no combined and effective European army. But it will happen, in due time, as prophesied in the Bible.
Old Europe Alive and Well
Associated Press reported on September 13, 2004, that “the leaders of Spain, France and Germany – who all opposed the war in Iraq – declared the ‘old Europe’ alive and well Monday and pledged to work toward a unified continent. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hosted French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at a meeting symbolizing Spain’s shift back to a Europe-oriented foreign policy, BREAKING with the former Spanish leader’s emphasis ON TIES with Washington.”
The article continued: “The French leader said the continuing fighting in Iraq was a grave problem. ‘We opened a Pandora’s Box that we’re unable to close,’ he said. Zapatero ordered the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq immediately after taking power in April and made a point of visiting Germany and France – Europe’s main opponents of the Iraq war – in his first series of trips abroad as Spain’s new leader. Zapatero last week called on other countries with troops in Iraq to FOLLOW HIS LEAD and bring them home. The three leaders pledged to work toward common policies in the areas of foreign affairs, defense and borders. They also promised to spur economic development, notably industries like car manufacturing, aerospace and shipbuilding.
“Schroeder said Zapatero has shown he wants SPAIN to play a STRONG ROLE in Europe and praised him for concessions that led to the June approval of the EU constitution. ‘It is … a historic achievement in European history,’ Schroeder said.”
Europe vs. America?
An exhibit in Brussels, Belgium, “sees Europe as ‘[the] new Roman Empire’,” claiming that “the European Union is poised to overtake America to become the premier superpower, according to an EU exhibition launched yesterday in the heart of Brussels,” as reported by telegraph.co.uk on September 14, 2004. The article continued: “Segments sketched across 80 yards of canvas predict that the 21st century will be the ‘European Century’ as the EU pushes its borders deep into Eurasia, North Africa, and the Middle East and comes to dominate world affairs through its vast ‘legal and moral reach.’… Entitled ‘The Image of Europe,’ the display is not a formal expression of EU policy but it captures views that can be heard every day in the corridors and canteens of the Union’s institutions. The exhibit was co-ordinated by the European Commission and sponsored by the European Council.”
According to the exhibit, as stated in the article, “The euro will break the ‘overbearing monopoly of the dollar’ by 2010 as China and India switch their reserves to punish America for its ‘stratospheric deficit.’ Casting the United States as the villain of modern times, it says: ‘The lonely superpower can bribe, bully or impose its will almost anywhere in the world, but when its back is turned, its policy is weakened.'”
The Euobserver added the following in its article, dated September 14, 2004:
“The tent opened to the public and revealed an impressive array of multimedia images charting the history – and future – of Europe and the EU in an exhibition entitled ‘the images of Europe’, jointly sponsored by the European Commission and the Dutch Presidency. In 2010, according to the exhibition, the EU will expand to include Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine. Following this, in 2015, the EU will take in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and change its name from the European Union to simply ‘The Union’. … Possibly the most unlikely event in this fantasy is that the EU will overtake the US in competitiveness by 2010, as projected in the exhibition and [enshrined] in the EU’s ‘Lisbon agenda.'”
Europe will indeed become most powerful, in the not-too-distant future, while the United States of America will decrease in power and influence. For a startling look at the future of these two power blocs, as prophesied in the Bible, please read our free publications, “Europe in Prophecy” and “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.”
Who is Right?
The campaign for the election of the next U.S. President on November 2, 2004, is entering its final stages. And so, accusations and counteraccusations are increasing on both sides with dynamic strength and furor. Associated Press ran the following article on September 20, 2004, reporting on the shifting positions of both candidates regarding the Iraq war. The article pointed out:
“Staking out new ground on Iraq, Sen. John Kerry said Monday he would not have overthrown Saddam Hussein had he been in the White House, and he accused President Bush of ‘stubborn incompetence,’ dishonesty and colossal failures of judgment. Bush said Kerry was flip-flopping. Less than two years after voting to give Bush authority to invade Iraq, the Democratic candidate said the president had misused that power by rushing to war without the backing of allies, a post-war plan or proper equipment for U.S. troops. ‘None of which I would have done,’ Kerry said. ‘Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who deserves his own special place in hell,’ he added. ‘But that was not, in itself, a reason to go to war. The satisfaction we take in his downfall does not hide this fact: We have traded a dictator for a chaos that has left America less secure.’ Bush hit back from a campaign rally in New Hampshire, interpreting Kerry’s comment to mean the Democrat believes U.S. security would be better with Saddam still in power. ‘He’s saying he prefers the stability of a dictatorship to the hope and security of democracy,’ the Republican incumbent said. ‘Today, my opponent continued his pattern of twisting in the wind,’ Bush said. ‘He apparently woke up this morning and has now decided, No, we should not have invaded Iraq, after just last month saying he would have voted for force even knowing everything we know today.'”
Apart from all of this rhetoric, the actual facts are quite disturbing. As the article continued to point out:
“With more than 1,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq, including nearly 900 since Bush declared an end to major combat, with free elections in doubt, reconstruction efforts stalled and violence and kidnappings on the rise, Iraq could be Bush’s biggest political liability. Even some Republican senators have begun to publicly second-guess the president’s policies. But Kerry has failed to capitalize thus far, struggling for months to find a clear, consistent way to differentiate his views from those of his Democratic rivals during the primary season and, since the spring, his general election foe in the White House.”
Russia’s Power Grab
Associated Press reported on September 14 that “The State Department expressed concern Tuesday that efforts by President Vladimir Putin of Russia to concentrate more power in the Kremlin may set back the country’s democratic development. Putin announced Monday an overhaul of the electoral system as part of a plan to deal more effectively with terrorism. … The Bush administration has long been concerned about what it perceives to be a concentration of power in the Kremlin… Last January, the newspaper Izvestia published an opinion piece by Secretary of State Colin Powell as he was making an official visit to Moscow. The article said that ‘essential balance’ is lacking among the various branches of the Russian government. ‘Political power is not fully tethered to law,’ Powell wrote. He added that key aspects of civil society — ‘free media and political party development — for example, have not yet sustained an independent presence.'”