Current Events

“A Problem Like Korea”

As the following articles show, the USA is manifesting itself more and more as a completely helpless giant, unable to solve any problems in national and international matters. The pride of US power is surely gone.

Deutsche Welle reported on November 24:

“The divided Korean Peninsula has provided every sitting US president with a dilemma ever since Dwight Eisenhower brokered an armistice in the Korean War, an act that paused but did not officially end a conflict which had raged for almost three years and which cost some 36,000 American lives. Due to the fact that no official peace deal was agreed 58 years ago, the two Koreas have been living under the shadow of a potential return to war ever since Eisenhower’s intervention.

“America’s involvement in the war that divided Korea along the 38th parallel also continues to this day due to the commitment of the US to protect South Korea from any aggression by its communist neighbors in the North. Around 29,000 US troops remain deployed in South Korea.

“Presidents Johnson, Ford and Carter all had run-ins with North Korea during their times in office while more contemporary administrations of Bill Clinton, and both Bush presidencies have had to deal with the North’s growing nuclear ambitions.

“While skirmishes in the seas around the Korean Peninsula and small scale attacks on land gave the immediate post-war presidents a real headache, the last three US leaders have found that the increasingly unpredictable North, with its now indisputable yet crude nuclear weapons, has become a completely different problem. But while the nature of its threat has changed, the question as to how best to deal with North Korea endures…

“While the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island by the North and the responding fire from the South on Tuesday was the most serious exchange between the two Koreas in over a year – the disputed sinking of the South’s corvette ‘Cheonan’ in March aside – this incident is just the latest in a long line of skirmishes. However, the bombing of Yeonpyeong comes just a week after the North revealed a nuclear enrichment facility to a group of American scientists so advanced that it shocked the US…

“President Obama is honour-bound to protect South Korea, as his predecessors have been, and as such has strongly affirmed his commitment to defend it as part of the alliance which stretches back to the Korean War. The nuclear-powered USS Washington aircraft carrier was deployed to the Yellow Sea off the coast of South Korea on Wednesday. But with North Korea’s nuclear capability more advanced than first thought, the US president is unwilling to provoke any escalation and has chosen not to reposition any of the 29,000 US troops in the South closer to the de-militarized zone…

“Experts believe that Obama’s options are limited. Many consider it highly unlikely that the US will engage in any military action against the North, partly because of its nuclear capability and partly because it has a huge army of 9.45 million troops. If the US commitment to South Korea’s defense is to be invoked, it will most likely come in the form of support, not direct intervention…

“The US is also unlikely to want to anger China, North Korea’s only international and economic supporter. While China has called for restraint on the Korean Peninsula, Beijing has refused to issue an outright condemnation of the bombing of Yeonpyeong, even as veiled calls to do so from the United States and Japan began to circulate…

“But with the US unlikely to take military action against North Korea, some experts believe that its commitment toward its allies in Asia may be seen by some countries as wavering. The knock-on effect on regional stability could be just as damaging in the long term as an air strike.”

Obama Disappoints Israelis and Palestinians

Newsmax reported on November 22:

“It’s not just people in the U.S. who are upset with President Barack Obama. Israelis and Palestinians, who agree on very little, are in accord that the president is to blame for their political stalemate, Politico reports. To be sure, both sides in the Middle East dispute have never been willing to acknowledge that their own hard-line stances don’t exactly create an environment for peace to suddenly flourish. Nonetheless, they expected much from the new American leader and feel they have received little.”

America’s role as the world’s leader is clearly no longer reality. The Bible prophesied that this would happen.

China and Russia Renounce US Dollar

China News reported on November 24:

“China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies.”

The Bible predicts the downfall of the U.S. dollar, as well as a close alliance between Russia, China and other countries in the Far East.

Irish Democracy Under EU “Protectorship”

The EUObserver reported on November 22:

“The Irish government has applied for an EU-IMF bail-out of up to €90 billion to save its banking sector from collapse and reduce its borrowing costs, a move that in effect places Irish democracy, like that of Greece, under the protectorship of experts from Brussels and Washington…

“EU economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn conceded that the emergency action was taken essentially to protect the eurozone from further contagion: ‘Providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard the financial stability in Europe’…”

That Ireland would ask for European bailouts was predictable. The EU will not allow the euro to die, as also one of the following articles points out. But we also see how certain individual member states will become more and more dependent on European “protectorship,” and, as the next article shows, the possibility of a two-speed Europe, with one core Europe dominating the rest, is becoming more and more a distinct possibility.

A Two-Speed Europe?

On November 22, 2010, Der Siegel Online reported:

“Yesterday it was Greece, and now it’s the sorry state of Irish banks that poses a threat to the common currency. Each new report fuels the suspicion that the problems may be so pervasive that they can no longer be solved with CONVENTIONAL methods and by taking on more and more debt…

“A deep divide between two almost irreconcilable camps runs through Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel heads one camp, consisting of the northern European countries. Merkel sees herself as the defender of a culture of stability of the sort that Germany has maintained since the days of the deutschmark. Her goal is to prevent the monetary union from becoming a kind of transfer union, with Germany as paymaster.

“The second camp consists of the so-called PIIGS states, which have accumulated too much debt in the past and are now hoping for help: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. They want the thing that Merkel wants to prevent: a union in which the strong pay for the weak. Europe’s institutions are now maneuvering between these two camps…

“Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker supports the idea of issuing euro bonds. These are government bonds whose repayment is not guaranteed by the issuing country but by the entire monetary union. The southern euro-zone countries think this is an excellent idea. The Germans and the Austrians are against it. This sort of project would penalize those ‘who are dutifully sorting out their national finances’ and benefits those ‘who haven’t done their homework,’ says Austrian Finance Minister Josef Pröll.”

The existence of two camps in Europe may signal the beginning of a development, which has long ago been prophesied in Scripture; that is, that a core Europe of ten nations or groups of nations will arise, which will then give all their power and authority to a charismatic, but ruthless political and military European leader.

Merkel’s Strong Stance on Europe In Spite of Opposition

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 23:

“For the second time in just a few months, Angela Merkel will have to explain to voters why Germany must bail out a fellow euro-zone member state. Skepticism is growing — amongst voters, in the media and within her party…

“Now that Ireland has become the second country in the euro zone to ask for a bailout from the European Union, and given that Portugal may not be far behind, politicians in Germany have a problem… As the strongest economy in Europe, Germany will once again be called upon to step up to the plate…

“The German chancellor recently issued a sober warning about the need to support the common currency. ‘The way we address the issue of a stable euro will determine the health of the economic and monetary union, the future of the European Union as a whole and therefore also our future here in Germany,’ she said.

“… Merkel and her strategists have been concerned about the possibility that a euroskeptic party in Germany could at some point profit from the general mood of discontent regarding the EU… The mood in the German media landscape is not exactly sympathetic to Merkel’s position. ‘Euro Alarm — What the Bankrupt Irish Will Cost Us,’ read a recent headline in the influential tabloid Bild. During the Greek crisis, the newspaper caused an international furor with its provocative headlines. Now the Irish are worried they will be next in the German media’s pillory…

“But Merkel is determined to stand firm on the issue… In order to secure popular acceptance for a bailout, Merkel and her colleagues want to put pressure on Dublin to implement a tough reform program…

“Merkel also needs to keep an eye on the opposition. Sigmar Gabriel, the leader of the center-left Social Democrats, is looking to make political capital out of the euro’s latest woes, just as he did during Greece’s debt crisis. He accuses Merkel of concealing the truth from voters and damaging Europe. ‘Those countries that have benefited most from the common currency — such as Germany, the world’s second largest exporter — must ensure that the poorer countries in the euro zone are helped,’ Gabriel recently said.

“The emergency funds for Ireland do not need to be approved by the German parliament, the Bundestag. The parliament already passed the euro rescue fund at the height of the Greek debt crisis, effectively clearing the way for help for Ireland too. This time around, the German government only needs to inform the parliament’s budget committee of its plans.”

A German Eurozone?

Deutsche Welle reported on November 23:

“This Irish rescue package agreed this week – along with the Greek bailout earlier in the year – has found the eurozone countries hopelessly divided over the question of how to save the common currency in the long term. They have good reason to be concerned: The bond markets aren’t showing a healthy interest in Portugal, another likely bailout candidate. Nor are they particularly impressed with Spain, an even bigger economy with a similarly troubling debt load, a high unemployment rate and a stagnating economy. Should these countries also seek relief, the future of the euro could be on the line.

“The alarm bells are ringing in Berlin. The German government could end up paying 17 billion euros or more of the expected 90-billion-euro Irish rescue package… In addition to being promised that the euro would be as stable as the deutschmark, Germans were told prior to the deutschmark-euro conversion that there would be a ‘no bailout clause’ that would prevent Europe’s richer countries from having to rescue the indigent.

“With every new day of uncertainty, fears are mounting that the ongoing crisis in Europe could lead to the default of individual countries and ultimately the collapse of the eurozone…

“Some experts question, though, how big a role Germany, Europe’s largest economy, should play in stabilizing the eurozone. Turning the eurozone into a larger Germany, says Philip Whyte with the Centre for European Reform in London, could have adverse consequences – not only for the country itself but also for Europe and even the rest of the world… Expert Heinemann is confident the common currency will survive. ‘I don’t see the euro breaking apart,’ he said…”

The Euro Will Survive

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 24:

“Europe is gripped by a sense of alarm, now that Ireland has become the second euro-zone country to ask for a bailout. Pessimists claim that the crisis means the euro is finished. But that scenario is unrealistic — in reality, there is little to suggest that the common currency is about to disintegrate…

“A serious threat to the euro would only emerge if the financial markets lost faith in major debtor countries like Spain and Italy. But there is little evidence of that happening right now. Firstly, that is because these countries have all passed austerity measures, and secondly because there is enough money available on the market.

“European governments are serious about austerity, while in the US there is no sign of how President Barack Obama plans to get his country’s trillion-dollar deficit under control. Close to 9 percent of all US public spending this year was financed on credit, a considerably greater amount than in the euro zone. And whereas the European Central Bank has at least kept the inflation rate in mind with its currency policies, the US Federal Reserve keeps pumping billions of new dollars into the economy. It is unclear what the outcome of this gigantic wager will be.

“The situation doesn’t look much better in Japan. For a long time, the country was the world’s second-largest economy after the United States. But the Japanese economy has experienced a lasting recession over the past 20 years, and this year it is likely to be overtaken by China. By comparison, Europe looks as dynamic as an emerging economy. The public debt in Japan is at about 200 percent of GDP, around 2.5 times as high as the euro-zone average.

“And the much-celebrated emerging economies themselves are still packed with risks when it comes to investment possibilities. No one knows exactly how long the growth of the Chinese economy will continue. It will take a recession to truly determine the true condition of the country’s economy.

“Nor is it foreseeable at the moment that the yuan will become a serious global alternative to the euro and the dollar in the near future. The currency isn’t even freely tradable in international markets. So far, that situation has suited the Chinese government just fine…

“Europe’s debt problems are without a doubt considerable. But compared to the United States and Japan, the euro-zone states can already point to initial successes in sorting out their finances. In addition, their economies are in better shape. That will help to ensure that the euro remains one of the world’s most important, and thus attractive, currencies.”

Germany’s Astounding Growth

Site Selection’s monthly edition for November reported the following:

“While much of the world slowly emerges from the crisis, Germany is setting records for economic growth and new corporate facility projects… Rob Denman, CEO of London-based Pathfinder Business, believes Germany set itself up for success a decade ago… Denman says the Germans have developed and used core FDI strategies around incentives and clusters and developed world-renowned centers of excellence. ‘They have also developed a globally recognized position as leaders in growth sectors…’

“‘Germany has also developed well-recognized excellence in innovation, and has created the best environment for R&D,’ he says. ‘For example, German brands such as Siemens have been taking the lead and innovating certain aspects of the cleantech sector… It is this innovation that will keep attracting other companies to want to come and be close to the best organizations and, importantly, to give them access to the best talent that will keep Germany at the center of Europe.’

“Not even the biggest global economic slowdown since World War II could tame Germany’s astounding growth…”

Germany’s growth is not astonishing, but it was and is inevitable, based on biblical prophecies.

Terror Attacks in Germany?

Israel National News reported on November 20:

“A terror alert has been issued in Germany. According to Der Spiegel, terrorist groups are planning an attack on the nation’s parliament building, the Reichstag. Al-Qaeda and similar groups planned to take hostages in the building, the paper said. The attack is to take place early next year…

“German officials raised security at airports and train stations last week. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that there was ‘concrete’ evidence that terrorists were plotting attacks to take place in November…”

The Daily Mail added on November 22:

“The world famous glass dome atop the Berlin Reichstag has been closed to all visitors as fears mount of an impending terrorist attack in the capital… Numerous holy warriors raised in Germany have been filtering back into the country in recent months following spells in training camps in Pakistan.”

Germany in Fear

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 22:

“German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière put the entire country in a state of fright on Wednesday…  Wherever they have cause for doing so, the authorities are secretly monitoring communications, conducting surveillance operations and launching undercover investigations… Berlin Senator for the Interior Ehrhart Körting… has already even gone so far as to call on the inhabitants of the German capital city to report suspicious-looking individuals of Arab origin to the police…

“This November will drastically alter de Maizière’s understanding of his role in office. If he tries to return things to their previous state of calm, he’s going to have a very tough time. In fact, it’s much more likely that he will be a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT interior minister…

“Germany is in a state of emergency. Other countries, such as the United States, employ a system of official warning levels based on color codes that change — from yellow to orange, for example — when the danger level is thought to increase. But, in Germany, the interior minister is the barometer: He consults with experts — and then it is he who must call the shots…”

Germany’s state of fear is not a good sign for democracy and freedom. Considering the country’s history, such a situation has always led to regrettable developments with undesirable consequences. And if terrorists are really foolish enough to launch attacks inside Germany, the German reaction against Islamists and Muslims in general will be swift and strong. But perhaps this is the kind of external and internal threat which will force Europe to unite and to create a powerful European army.

Pope Approves of Condoms–in Rare Exceptions

The Associated Press wrote on November 20:

“Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that the use of condoms can be justified in some cases, such as for male prostitutes seeking to prevent the spread of HIV. The pontiff made the comments in a book-length interview with a German journalist, ‘Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.'”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on November 21:

“The Vatican on Sunday rushed to clarify a recent interview by Pope Benedict XVI, in which the pontiff states for the first time that there may be some cases in which the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on condoms isn’t absolute… The Vatican, however, played down the potential impact the remarks might have on church teaching. ‘The pope’s thinking certainly can’t be defined as a revolutionary shift,’ said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi…”

On November 22, The Telegraph added the following regarding the “confusion” created by the pope’s statements:

” The Pope faced calls to clarify his stance on condoms as confusion reigned over exactly what he meant… The Vatican insisted yesterday that the use of condoms was only permissible in ‘exceptional’ cases but did little to clarify the apparent volte-face. ‘The pope considered an exceptional situation in which the exercise of sexuality is a real danger to the life of another,’ said Father Federico Lombardi, his official spokesman.”

The Roman Catholic church’s position on the use or, more correctly, non-use of condoms and contraceptives to prevent pregnancies is simply irresponsible and totally unbiblical. The legitimate prevention of conceptions and pregnancies is absolutely justified. What is not justified and unbiblical are abortions–that is, the killing of an unborn child, having been conceived in the mother’s womb.

Jewish Leaders Upset With Pope

Reuters wrote on November 21:

“Jewish leaders reacted with dismay Sunday to comments in Pope Benedict’s new book that his wartime predecessor Pius was a ‘great, righteous’ man who ‘saved more Jews than anyone else.’

“Many Jews accuse Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of having turned a blind eye to the Holocaust. The Vatican says he worked quietly behind the scenes because speaking out would have prompted Nazi reprisals against Catholics and Jews in Europe…

“‘Pope Benedict’s comments fill us with pain and sadness and cast a menacing shadow on Vatican-Jewish relations,’ said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.

“‘The assertion that Pius saved more Jews than anyone else during the Holocaust is categorically contradicted by the known historical record. As survivors of the Holocaust we have a solemn obligation to the memory of those murdered to defend the truth of the tragedy till our last breath,’ he said… Pius, including the possibility that the Vatican may one day make him a saint, is one of the main points of contention in relations between Jews and the Vatican. The pope’s latest comments raised new tensions.”

The Pope Contacts Iran

Newsmax reported on November 12:

“Pope Benedict XVI has shared his thoughts with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on how to achieve world peace, and at the same time appealed for greater religious freedom in the Middle East… The Pope’s letter… is both courteous and positive without being overtly critical…

“In the pontiff’s letter, Benedict XVI took the opportunity to defend Iran’s 10,000 or so Catholics. Although they are allowed to worship in Iran, Iranian Muslims cannot freely convert to the Catholic faith and the country’s bishops conference does not have official status… He also stressed the positive contribution Catholics play in Iranian society as peace builders… And he argued for a bilateral commission that would be especially helpful in addressing questions of common concern, including that of the juridical status of the Catholic Church in the country. The Pope closed by expressing his hope that the cordial relations between Iran and the Holy See continue.

“The Islamic Republic and the Holy See–both theocratic states–have long had friendly diplomatic ties: Since it established formal relations with the Holy See in 1953, Iran has supported the church on some life issues. However, the Holy See hasn’t held back from criticizing Iran when necessary, especially over Holocaust denial and the country’s nuclear ambitions. Neither of these was explicitly mentioned in the letter…”

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