US Tensions with Iran… Seeks “Continued” Friendship with Saudi Arabia
AFP wrote on July 20:
“The United States is deploying troops in Saudi Arabia as tensions soar with its arch-rival Iran raising concerns over navigation in the Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz. It will be the first deployment of its kind since 2003, when American forces withdrew from the kingdom after a 12-year presence and two US-led wars with Iraq that culminated with the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein…
“Analysts say the deployment is aimed at bolstering ties between Washington and Riyadh — particularly military relations — strained in the past year…
“Trump’s administration has faced anger from lawmakers at home for not doing more to punish Saudi Arabia over last year’s killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul… There has been growing outrage in the US, and around the world, over American arms sales to Saudi Arabia… Despite the criticism, Trump has repeatedly hailed Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the kingdom’s defence minister.”
The Sun wrote on July 22:
“DONALD TRUMP has slammed claims Iran smashed an American spy ring as ‘just more lies and propaganda’. It comes after an Iranian intelligence ministry official appeared in a state TV documentary which brags about capturing CIA spies and sentencing them to death… The programme describes a CIA spy operation which involved recruiting Iranian civilians to steal secrets on the promise they could emigrate to America… [None of the alleged captured spies are Americans.]
“Iran is second only to China in the number of people it executes every year — officially about 500 people are put to death annually on charges ranging from murder, drug dealing to opposing the regime or being gay. Firing squads or hanging is the preferred method.
“According to Amnesty International confessions are extracted under torture and some trials are held in secret…”
British Tensions with Iran
The Algemeiner and Reuters wrote on July 22:
“Britain was weighing its next moves in the Gulf tanker crisis on Sunday… as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized a ship three days ago… in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier… there are few obvious steps London can take at a time when the United States has already imposed the maximum possible economic sanctions, banning all Iranian oil exports worldwide…
“The Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade’s most important waterway was the latest escalation in three months of spiraling confrontation with the West that began when new, tighter US sanctions took effect at the start of May.”
The Guardian wrote on July 22:
“About a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the busiest shipping lane in the world for crude tankers, and it is less than 25 miles (40km) wide at its narrowest point… Friday’s tanker seizures caused [oil] prices to rise… The UK has already advised all British-flagged ships not to enter the Strait of Hormuz until the crisis is resolved. There are eight British-flagged ships in the region at present…
“There is an urgency about the security of British ships, since one option is for British-flagged ships to be reflagged to avoid them becoming a target of the Iranians, something that would deal a blow to the British shipping industry. There are about 4,500 ships registered with Britain or its overseas territories.”
The Sun wrote on July 25:
“Boris Johnson has ordered the Royal Navy to accompany all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz… Fears have recently been raised that the Royal Navy lacks the strength to conduct missions to protect UK shipping. Since the Falklands War, the navy has dropped from 80 vessels to 50 but with ten of those currently out of action for maintenance.”
European Tensions with Trump over Iran
The Guardian wrote on July 22:
“The UK must be responsible for the safety of its own ships in the Gulf, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said [adding: ‘The US has a responsibility to do its part.’] His remarks reflect unresolved tensions between Britain and the US over Donald Trump’s plans for a US-led military convoy to protect international shipping operating off the Iranian coast… [the United States Central Command said it is working on a ‘multinational maritime effort’ called Operation Sentinel ‘to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation in light of recent events in the Arabian Gulf region.’]
“The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, spoke to his German and French counterparts on Sunday to urge them to recognise the need to internationalise the maritime security operation in the Gulf. A multinational task force already exists, and it is not clear what the US believes its proposed Operation Sentinel will add…
“Britain has concerns that a US-led maritime security operation may have a different emphasis since Trump wants Europeans to join the US in pulling out of the nuclear deal signed in 2015.”
The Associated Press wrote on July 22:
“Britain announced plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led ‘maritime protection mission’ to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz…
“He also sought to put distance between Britain and its closest international ally, the United States. Washington has broken with London on Iran policy… The foreign secretary said the planned European mission was not part of the U.S. policy of exerting ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran.
“It was unclear which countries will join the protection force or how quickly it can be put in place. Hunt said he had consulted with foreign ministers of Oman, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain and Denmark…”
The Guardian added on July 22:
“The proposal has parallels with existing international maritime forces operating in the Gulf as well as EU anti-piracy force operating off the east coast of Africa. However, these missions are protecting shipping largely from non-state actors…
“Hunt admitted the US had first requested the UK to contribute to a US-led maritime protection force… He said the US plan was helpful and it was important to coordinate, but said he wanted the contribution to the proposed naval protection force to be as broad as possible, implying a number of European countries would not be willing to contribute assets if the force was US-led.”
Boris Johnson new UK Prime Minister
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:
“Boris Johnson was elected leader of the British Conservative Party on Tuesday… [He] will take over the reins from outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, having repeatedly pledged during the campaign to leave the European Union at the end of October ‘come what may.’ …
“His ascent to power was marked with regular controversies and gaffes, starting with his job as a trainee reporter at The Times newspaper, where he was dismissed for concocting a quote from his own godfather. In 2004, by then an MP, the Oxford graduate was sacked from his roles as shadow arts minister and Conservative Party vice-chairman for lying about an extramarital affair. His London mayorship was epitomized by a 53.5 million pounds (€59.5 million, $66.5 million) waste of taxpayer money on a failed vanity project, meant to be a garden-covered pedestrian bridge over the River Thames…”
“Boris Johnson Is How Britain Ends”
The New York Times wrote on July 22:
“Boris Johnson… faces the most complex and intractable political crisis to affect Britain since 1945… Mr. Johnson, whose laziness is proverbial and opportunism legendary, is a man well practiced in deceit, a pander willing to tickle the prejudices of his audience for easy gain… his premiership could bring about the end of Britain itself…
“He seems not to have principles… Tackling Britain’s deep divisions requires depth of character, conviction and principle, none of which its incoming prime minister has ever hinted at possessing…”
EU Congratulates Johnson, but…
The Guardian wrote on July 23:
“Boris Johnson’s election as Conservative leader has been greeted in Brussels with a rejection of the incoming British prime minister’s Brexit demands and an ominous warning by the newly appointed European commission president [Ursula von der Leyen] about the ‘challenging times ahead’… The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted that he wanted to work ‘constructively’ with Johnson on the basis that both sides were committed to facilitating ‘the ratification of the withdrawal agreement’, the deal struck by Theresa May that the new Conservative leader has repeatedly described as dead…
“He has promised to rapidly renegotiate almost all of May’s departure deal, ditching the Irish backstop border guarantee policy, something that would seem a huge task over any timescale, let alone little more than 12 weeks, a fair proportion of which is taken up by a summer break. If this fails, he will be set on a no-deal departure for 31 October, and a likely huge clash with MPs.” BBC News wrote on July 23:
“…EU leaders’ welcoming tone does not signal a willingness to accept whatever Prime Minister Johnson might demand in terms of changes to the Brexit deal. He’s right when he says a no-deal Brexit is bad for Brussels but he overestimates EU wiggle room. Amendments will only be forthcoming if EU leaders deem them workable, if Dublin is on board and if Brussels is convinced the new prime minister commands a majority in parliament to get the Brexit deal through once and for all. Big ifs…”
Newsmax and The Associated Press wrote on July 23:
“The EU is adamant that the deal with May will stand, saying Britain has to take it or leave it… Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession . Fears that Britain is inching closer to crashing out of the bloc weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 percent at $1.2450, nearly a two-year low…”
How Boris Johnson will proceed and whether he will stick to his promises is anybody’s guess. In the past, he strongly advocated that Britain should not leave Europe, stating that Europe was the best thing which could have happened to Britain. He also attacked Donald Trump, saying that Trump was unfit to be President. Even though he is considered to be Trump’s ally, he does not shy away from publically criticizing him when it is politically advantageous for him; for instance, when calling his remarks about four Congresswomen “racist.” This is a rather odd statement, coming from Johnson, given his ”offensive and racist comments, such as calling Papua New Guineans cannibals” (The Associated Press, dated July 23. It also said in a related article: “Boris Johnson aspires to be a modern-day Winston Churchill. Critics fear he’s a British Donald Trump.”)
Johnson’s Night of the Blond Knives
The Sun wrote on July 24:
“Just hours after he became Britain’s 55th Prime Minister this afternoon with a promise to deliver Brexit in 99 days, more than a dozen were booted in a shock reshuffle… His rival Jeremy Hunt was the most high profile to get the sack – after he was offered a job as Defence Secretary but turned it down. Almost all of those who were axed were backers of Hr Hunt, showing the new PM is keen to ditch those who gunned for his opponent or were part of May’s team who failed to deliver Brexit.
“… a Boris supporter told the BBC this afternoon: ‘This is a bloodbath. I hope he knows what he’s doing.’ Furious allies of Jeremy Hunt turned on Boris over the purge and warned it would backfire by creating powerful enemies who will move against the new PM at the first hint after Mrs. May formally stepped down. Chancellor Philip Hammond, David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, David Lidington, the PM’s deputy and Rory Stewart all quit earlier – before Boris even had the chance to sack them…”
Johnson’s actions could very well backfire.
UK to Become the Greatest Place on Earth?
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 25:
“The British prime minister has vowed to push through Brexit — even without a deal. Johnson has backed an October 31 deadline to leave the EU, describing it as the beginning of a ‘new golden age for the United Kingdom.’ [He] told Parliament that he was committed to the October 31 deadline to leave the EU ‘for the purpose of uniting and re-energizing our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth.’…”
The Daily Mail wrote on July 25:
“Defiant Boris Johnson chanelled Donald Trump today as he promised to make Britain the ‘greatest country on Earth’ on his debut in the House of Commons… telling MPs he was determined to honour his ‘do or die’ promise to secure Brexit by the end of October.
“Going on the attack after his unprecedented bloodbath of 17 Cabinet ministersovernight, Mr Johnson warned that the Irish border backstop must be scrapped altogether, saying ‘a time limit is not enough’. He urged the EU to ‘rethink’ its refusal to make more concessions in the negotiations – threatening to withhold the £39billion divorce bill unless the UK gets a better deal. He said the UK was ‘better prepared’ than many thought for No Deal…
“In a limited olive branch to Brussels, Mr Johnson did say he would unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens already in the UK to stay after the country leaves the bloc…”
Tensions with Turkey
On July 19, Newsmax published the following article by Patrick Buchanan:
“In 1951, Turkey ended a neutrality dating to the end of World War I and joined NATO. In the seven decades since, there has been no graver crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations than the one that erupted this week.
“Turkey has just received the first components of a Russian S-400 air and missile defense system, despite U.S. warnings this would require the cancellation of Turkey’s purchase of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters… The sale has been canceled. The Turkish pilots and instructors training in the U.S. are being sent home. Contracts with Turkish companies producing parts for the F-35 are being terminated.
“Under U.S. law, the administration is also required to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying Russian weaponry. Wednesday, the Pentagon warned Turkey against military action in an area of Syria where U.S. troops are deployed. The Turks appear to be massing for an incursion against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces Ankara regards as terrorist allies of the Kurdish PKK inside Turkey.
“How America and Turkey avoid a collision that could wreck NATO, where the Turks field the second-largest army in the alliance, is not easy to see. U.S. hawks are already calling for the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. And expulsion of U.S. forces and nuclear weapons from the Incirlik air base in Turkey in retaliation is not out of the question…
“In this new century, leaders of both parties have plunged our country into at least five wars in the Middle and Near East… None of these wars has produced a victory or success for us. But taken together, they did produce a multitrillion-dollar strategic and human rights disaster… ‘Great nations do no fight endless wars,’ said Trump. Yes, they do. As the British, French, Germans, Japanese and Russians showed in the last century, that is how they cease to be great nations.”
“Russians and Ukrainians Are ‘One People'”
Newsmax wrote on July 20:
“…the Kremlin released comments by President Vladimir Putin, saying that the two countries will mend ties despite their five-year conflict. Putin went as far as to say that Russians and Ukrainians are one people…
“Ties between the former allies deteriorated after protesters in Kiev unseated the country’s Kremlin-backed leader in 2014 and Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea before fomenting a war in which he still denies involvement.”
Russia and Ukraine will unite and fight together in a prophesied nuclear war with continental Europe.
Trump for Another Four Years
Piers Morgan wrote on July 22 in the Daily Mail:
“[Trump] knows most Americans would never vote for a diehard socialist to run the country. In fact, there’s never been a genuine socialist U.S. president in the country’s 243-year history… The Squad proudly bleed pure unadulterated socialism from every pore… Their policy proposals include free healthcare and tuition for all and a massive environmental ‘Green New Deal’ program. All of which sounds great until you try to calculate a budget for it all, and realize it would cost $43 trillion which would instantly bankrupt America…
“They also persistently scream that Trump must be impeached… Yet any attempt at impeachment, which would certainly fail due to the Republicans’ control of the Senate, would be a gift to the incumbent President. It’s little wonder then that Trump wants the Squad to dominate Democrat discourse, since everything they do or say further enrages and mobilizes his base…
“The Squad is deeply unpopular even within their own party… And there lies the big problem for the Democrats: how do they shut up the Squad?… Trump knows the Squad is a very potent vote-winner for him. The more everyone’s talking about them, the less they’re talking about Biden, Harris, Warren, Buttigieg or any of the other Democrat presidential candidates.
“And that means the whole image of the Democratic Party is now being moulded into far-left socialism, to potentially disastrous electoral consequences… If Trump can… keep the Squad center-stage then the 2020 election could come down to a straight fight between capitalism and socialism, at a time when the U.S. economy is surging and job numbers are roaring, and with the specter of socialist-run Venezuela lying in ruins… So long as they remain the face of the Party, the Democrats are doomed.”
Mueller Hearings – No Favors for Democrats
Fox News wrote on July 24:
“Democrats hoping that hours of testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller might fuel their case for President Trump’s impeachment were left with little new material at the conclusion of Wednesday’s back-to-back hearings, as Republicans gloated that the spectacle failed to make the case to oust the president…
“Mueller stood by his team’s findings at Wednesday’s hearings—reiterating that the special counsel’s office found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and Russia, while also stating that the president was not exonerated on allegations of obstruction of justice despite his assertions to the contrary.
“But in doing so, he also repeatedly refused to drift beyond the bounds of his report… Mueller declined to go down the road of the impeachment topic, under questioning from both Republicans and Democrats…
“Even fierce Trump critics voiced concern that the hearings were doing Democrats no favors. Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe called the hearing a ‘disaster’ that ‘sucked the life’ out of the Mueller report…
“Perhaps one of the most seemingly revealing moments in the hearings occurred when Mueller testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee that if it were not for the Office of Legal Counsel rule that says a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mueller would have criminally charged the president based on the findings of his investigation. ‘The reason that you did not indict the president is because of the OLC opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?’ Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. asked Mueller. ‘Correct,’ Mueller replied.
“Mueller backpedaled on these remarks at the top of the second hearing of the day, saying ‘I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said and I quote, “You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion.” That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.’”
Mueller also said that a president could be charged with a crime after the expiration of his term in office, but he declined to address the problematic topic of the statute of limitations, which is apparently not tolled. If the Democrats thought they could use Mueller’s testimony to beef up their case for impeachment against Trump, they were disappointed. Trump is not going to be impeached.
Bi-Partisan Deal on Increasing Federal Spending
The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 22:
“Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate past the 2020 election. The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels…
“For President Trump, the deal pushes the debt-limit question out beyond the 2020 election and provides a boost to military spending that he can tout on the campaign trail. For congressional leaders, it ensures an initial measure of stability and marks a win for the kind of pragmatic deal making that has been in short order in Washington in recent years. The accord also marked another example of Washington’s rising tolerance for deficits, among both Democrats, who prize domestic spending, and Republicans, who consistently seek more money for the military.”
The Telegraph added on July 22:
“Nobody can claim a big win — though they did — but both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this fall that probably wouldn’t end up much differently.
“However, it also comes as budget deficits are rising… requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy… It ignores warnings from deficit and debt scolds who say the nation’s fiscal future is unsustainable and will eventually drag down the economy.”
Such insanity cannot go on forever.
Americans Mistrust their Government and News Media
AFP wrote on July 22:
“Americans distrust the news media, but see government and political leaders as even more untrustworthy… 69 percent of Americans say the federal government intentionally withholds important information from the public, while 61 percent say the news media intentionally ignores important stories. Nearly two-thirds say it is hard to tell the difference between what is true and false when they hear elected officials, and almost half said the same about information they encounter on social media.
“The survey highlighting growing mistrust among Americans in institutions and in each other… 64 percent of US adults believe trust in each other has declined… and that it keeps neighbors apart… at least part of [the] reason for the lack of trust in government lies with President Donald Trump, who has repeated at least 10,000 falsehoods since taking office… and who has repeatedly attacked mainstream media reports about him as ‘fake news.’’
It will even get much worse. The Bible has prophesied this to happen. We read in Micah 7:2, 5: “The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion…”
Proposed US Refugee Plan Echoes Dark Time in American History
JTA wrote on July 24:
“In July 1939, eight months after Kristallnacht and seven weeks before Hitler would invade Poland, Congress killed a bill that would have allowed 20,000 Jewish refugee children into the United States. Opponents of the bill… said America should help its own poor people before foreigners, and worried that letting in children could later lead to admitting their parents…
“After the war, and the Holocaust, Congress passed two bills that let 80,000 Holocaust survivors move to the U.S. Since then, the United States has continued accepting tens of thousands of refugees per year. But next year, that number may again shrink — this time to zero… Stephen Miller, the architect of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, may try to eliminate refugee admissions next year — no refugees would be allowed beyond the borders…
“Jewish historians and refugee advocates, however, say that if implemented, the eradication of the refugee program would echo a dark time in American history… Daniel Okrent, author of ‘The Guarded Gate,’ a new book about anti-immigrant sentiment targeting Jews, Italians and other immigrants in the early 20th century, [said:]
“‘Despite what Americans learned about the Nazi depredations, about the Nuremberg Laws, Kristallnacht and so on, the American public was not interested in setting aside the quotas to allow more Jews into this country.’… Americans as a whole have never been particularly pro-refugee… In 2016, under President Barack Obama, the cap on refugee admissions was 110,000. Trump cut that to 45,000 and then to 30,000. But the United States has not even met those numbers…”
Trouble in Puerto Rico
Axios wrote on July 22:
“Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans filled the streets of San Juan Monday demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló…
“Leaked text messages revealed Rosselló and members of his inner circles making sexist and homophobic comments and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria, a disaster that killed thousands and caused the longest electrical blackout in U.S. history. The leak came just days after a separate incident, in which the FBI arrested two officials from Rosselló’s administration for mishandling government contracts worth millions of dollars.
“On Sunday, Rosselló announced that he would resign as leader of his party and would not run for re-election next year, but refused to step down as governor before the end of his term. His concessions have not been enough for the thousands who have taken to the streets over the past two weeks. A number of U.S. officials have joined calls for Rosselló to resign, both over the profane text messages and his administration’s handling of Hurricane Maria.
“President Trump tweeted on Monday: ‘A lot of bad things are happening in Puerto Rico. The Governor is under siege, the Mayor of San Juan is a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn’t trust under any circumstance, and the United States Congress foolishly gave 92 Billion Dollars for hurricane relief [actually, Congress has allocated $42.5 billion in disaster relief to Puerto Rico, according to Axios], much of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again. This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!’”
NBC News wrote on July 24:
“Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday [effective August 2] days after demonstrators at the island’s largest protest in recent history called for his ouster over a scandal involving leaked private chats, as well as corruption investigations and arrests.”
Hong Kong Crisis Escalates
ABS News reported on July 22:
“China harshly criticized the weekend demonstration, saying ‘central authority cannot be challenged.’ The Chinese rebuke came after its Hong Kong office was targeted Sunday night by protesters who pelted it with eggs and spray-painted its walls. It made no mention of the violent attack hours later at a subway station by men wielding iron pipes and wooden poles as they beat up people clad in the pro-democracy movement’s black shirts…
“The attack on China’s Liaison Office was an escalation of the weekslong protests, during which demonstrators besieged Hong Kong’s legislature and police headquarters but did not direct their ire at China itself. It came after more than 100,000 people marched through the city to demand democracy and an investigation into the use of force by police to disperse crowds at protests…
“The ‘one country, two systems’ framework, under which the former British colony was returned to China in 1997, allows Hong Kong to maintain a fair degree of autonomy in local affairs… The growing crisis in Hong Kong has fueled fears that China’s People’s Liberation Army may intervene.”
Returning Hong Kong to China was prophesied to happen, as Britain was and is to lose its power and influence.
Hardship in Zimbabwe
The Guardian wrote on July 21:
“Millions of people in Zimbabwe face hardship, hunger and chaos as the economy comes close to ‘meltdown’… More than 18 months after the military coup that removed Robert Mugabe from power, the new government is struggling to overcome the legacy of the dictator’s 30 years of repressive rule and the consequences of its own failure to undertake meaningful political reform.
“Official figures published on Monday showed annual inflation had almost doubled to 175% in June, adding to the pressure on a population already struggling with shortages of basic foodstuffs, fuel and medicine. The rising prices reminded many of the economic collapse caused by Mugabe’s policies a decade ago, when hyperinflation emptied shelves of basic foodstuffs and led the southern African country to abandon its currency…
“A severe drought has caused further hardship and rolling power cuts as water levels in dams have dropped… About 7 million people are threatened with hunger… Some have resorted to selling livestock and land, spending savings, withdrawing children from school and begging…”
Merkel on Collision Course with Trump
The Local wrote on July 19:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday condemned President Donald Trump’s xenophobic tweets against four minority Democratic congresswomen, saying the US leader’s attacks ‘go against what makes America great’… International condemnation has rained down over the comments. British Prime Minister Theresa May called them ‘completely unacceptable’. New Zealand’s leader Jacinda Ardern said she ‘completely and utterly’ disagreed with Trump.
“While usually refraining from commenting on other countries’ domestic politics, Merkel on Friday had markedly sharp words about Trump’s latest attacks. Questions over racism are particularly sensitive in Germany given its Nazi past, and the government routinely speaks out forcefully in favour of tolerance and diversity.
“Trump and Merkel’s relationship had been strained from the start, with the US leader haranguing the German chancellor even before he took office. During his election campaign, the US property mogul called Merkel’s decision to take in a million asylum seekers a ‘catastrophic mistake’ and suggested that she was ‘ruining Germany’.
“Merkel [has drawn] the startling conclusion that the US may no longer be a reliable partner for Germany and the European Union. Europe must step up as a player in world affairs, Merkel said in 2017, signalling that the EU needs to take control of its destiny in the Trump era…
“Earlier this year during a commencement speech at Harvard University, dubbed by German media such as Spiegel Online as her first ‘Anti-Trump speech’, [the] German leader deplored attacks on free trade, ‘walls’ of any kind and ‘lies (described) as truth.’… Merkel also indirectly took a stab at Trump’s penchant for hiding the truth. ‘We shouldn’t call lies truths, and call truths lies,’ she added, receiving the largest round of applause…”
The relationship between the USA and Germany will continue to deteriorate, even after Merkel steps down. It is not to be expected that anyone in Germany will become the new German Chancellor who would be sympathetic towards Trump.
Ursula von der Leyen vs. Donald Trump
Politico wrote on July 17:
“Ursula von der Leyen has called Donald Trump’s discussions of NATO ‘immature,’ questioned why he wants to be a ‘best buddy’ with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and even suggested the president is uncomfortable with strong female leaders. Now she’ll be his main counterpart in the European Union… The new role for von der Leyen… will put her at the forefront of negotiations with the U.S. over trade, technology and other major issues… even some of her fans worry that her ascent to the Commission presidency will further fray the tenuous U.S.-EU relationship under Trump…
“Von der Leyen, often referred to as VDL, is close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has long had a tense relationship with Trump… Von der Leyen is a strong believer in multilateralism and the European project. That alone could turn off Trump, who is skeptical of international alliances and often stresses the overriding importance of national sovereignty…”
EU-US Trade War Coming?
Politico wrote on July 21:
“EU trade chief Cecilia Malmström has warned that the U.S. is likely [to] soon impose retaliatory tariffs on up to $25 billion of European products, as part of a dispute over airline subsidies… It could get even worse. Seven Commission officials and EU diplomats said they fear Trump will carry out a long-standing threat to impose painful auto tariffs as early as November. The EU has said it is ready to retaliate with its own tariffs targeting €20 billion of U.S. exports.
“‘Compared to one year ago, the number of trade irritants has increased, not decreased,’ said Luisa Santos, director for international relations at BusinessEurope… The outlook is grim, according to Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics: ‘Trump firmly believes — and has convinced many Americans — that the U.S. has been taken advantage of all these years, and that Europe should make unilateral concessions,’ he said. Trump has repeatedly said he wants to slash the U.S.’s $169 billion trade-in-goods deficit with the EU. His 2020 reelection campaign risks escalating the conflict, Hufbauer said: ‘Trump really believes that confrontation with foreign countries gets him votes.’…
“There is no indication that trade talks will move forward… Jürgen Matthes from the German Economy Institute said… that Trump’s trade war with China demonstrated that ‘when in doubt, Trump goes the way of confrontation.’… BusinessEurope’s Santos said that Europe’s fate would partially hinge on the U.S.-China trade talks, as Trump’s advisers would seek to avoid a two-front trade war, particularly if tensions with Beijing escalated further…”
Merkel Remembers Operation Valkyre and Attacks Right-Wing Extremism
The Huffington Post wrote on July 20:
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel used the [75th] anniversary of a celebrated assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler to lash right-wing extremism on Saturday… The 1944 plot to kill Hitler… called Operation Valkyrie… was the most famous of the attempts on Hitler’s life. It was led by German Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who plotted with several co-conspirators to assassinate the Nazi leader with a briefcase bomb.
“Stauffenberg, just 36 years old at the time, placed the briefcase next to Hitler before a meeting at Hitler’s secret Wolf’s Lair headquarters in an East Prussia forest. But Hitler survived the assassination attempt with minor injuries after someone moved the briefcase next to a heavy table leg, which deflected much of the explosion. Four people were killed when the briefcase detonated. Stauffenberg and some 200 co-conspirators were caught and executed within hours…
“Germany is battling a new eruption of right-wing extremism. There are an estimated 24,000 right-wing extremists in Germany, and close to 13,000 are believed to have a tendency to violence… In May the nation’s right-wing party Alternative for Germany, which has a nationalist and anti-immigrant agenda, became the nation’s largest opposition party in German Parliament.”
Germany to Increase Military Spending?
The EUObserver wrote on July 22:
“Germany’s new defence minister and CDU leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), plans to increase military spending to the Nato target of two-percent of GDP by 2024, which is also a frequent demand of US president Donald Trump.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, the SPD said they would not allow Trump to dictate military spending.”
To be clear, AKK’s proposal to increase Germany’s military spending is not based on any desire to please Trump.
Austria to Become an Authoritarian State under Kurz?
vaaju wrote on July 21, 2019:
“‘Courier’ editor Helmut Brandstätter warns in his new book about an ‘authoritarian state’ – driven by… ÖVP chief and former chancellor Sebastian Kurz… ‘Sebastian Kurz wanted the power at all costs.’ … ‘With brutal pressure and penetrating intervention, the ÖVP chief and his spokesmen try to bring the media in line.’..
“Brandstätter sees the road to an authoritarian state interrupted, but not necessarily ended, by the coalition’s temporary end. He warns specifically against leaving again the Ministry of the Interior to the FPÖ [and by extension, the governmental reigns to the ÖVP under Kurz] this fall… ”
Courier or ‘Kurier’ is a liberal Austrian newspaper, which was at one time the most successful paper in Austria. Its editor, Helmut Brandstätter, also wrote that Kurz’s search for power was “never limited by content-related substantial convictions,” and that it was therefore “absolute.”
NGO Migrant Ships Continue Despite Strong Opposition
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 21:
“Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee says it has relaunched migrant rescues off Libya, seven months after it was forced to abandon its activities [following hostility from several European governments].
“The operation comes amid growing concerns for people attempting the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from the conflict-hit North African country. The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking… is expected to arrive in the central Mediterranean at the end of the month… [which] can hold up to 200 migrants.
“The charities reported there were almost no rescue vessels patrolling the Mediterranean, where at least 426 people have died so far this year… SOS Mediterranee said these migrants were attempting ‘to escape the escalating conflict in Libya and the deplorable conditions of Libyan detention centers.’…
“In recent weeks there have been repeated confrontations between Italy’s populist government and other charities seeking to bring rescued migrants ashore. Last month, the captain of German charity ship Sea-Watch 3, Carola Rackete, was arrested after she docked with 40 migrants at the port of Lampedusa without permission. ‘Our presence at sea is to save lives. We hope that the countries will understand and join with us as there is no other solution in the central Mediterranean,’ head of operations at SOS Mediterranee, Frederic Penard, told the Agence France-Presse news agency…”
Deutsche Welle added on July 21:
“The Marella Discovery picked up 111 migrants, including 33 children, near Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula… The migrants’ boat was found in distress on Saturday evening, some 74 kilometers (40 nautical miles) off Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula… The passengers were taken to the Greek port of Kalamata…
“Several times a week, boatloads of people — many of them from Africa — attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea for a better life in Europe. Greece, Italy and Spain have borne the brunt of the influx of newcomers over the past decade, many of whom are picked up by migrant rescue ships operated by European charities. A failure by European Union states to agree an effective disembarkation procedure has prompted Italy’s populist [far-right] government to ban several migrant ships from docking at the country’s ports.
“Although the number of migrants attempting the perilous journey has fallen from 362,000 in 2016 to 116,000 in 2018, an average of six migrants die every day in the Mediterranean…”
The EUObserver added on July 19:
“Countries who rejected non-European migrants or raised concern on rule of law, such as Poland, could expect more sympathy from the European Commission, its new president, Ursula von der Leyen, has indicated.”
This would indicate that Europe’s horrible immigration policy will not change under von der Leyen, but it might even become more devastating for the survival of migrants.
Europe Needs to Rediscover Christian Heritage
Breitbart wrote on July 24:
“Europe must rediscover its Christian heritage and not be afraid of promoting openly Christian values, said Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako in an interview this week… ‘I understand that there are no longer Christian religious classes in Belgian schools, only classes about Islam.’… ‘Europe should not be ashamed of Christian values that we in Iraq defended for centuries… Christians are afraid of Muslims in Europe but they are not helping Christians in Iraq…
“‘Throughout the Middle East Christians are ready to die rather than deny their faith, while many Muslims in Europe are ready to die rather than continue living in a continent where “infidels” make the law.’… While the European Union (EU) could be a big help…, they have done virtually nothing, he said. Individual European nations, such as Hungary, have provided assistance, but the EU itself ‘is not helping Christians,’ he declared…”
Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Condemns Homosexuality
JTA wrote on July 23:
“The Sephardi chief rabbi of Jerusalem said gay people cannot be religious Jews and called homosexuality ‘a wild lust that needs to be overcome.’ Rabbi Shlomo Amar made the remarks last week during a sermon… [He said:] ‘It would be better if they cast off their kippah and Shabbat [observance] and show their true faces.’
“… Three groups representing religious LGBTQ Jews… slammed his remarks in a joint statement Tuesday… ‘Rabbi Amar, with your harsh comments you called on our families to vomit us out of our homes and from our communities,’ the organizations said.
“Last week, Israel’s new education minister, Rafi Peretz, came under fire for saying he supports gay conversion therapy and that he has used the practice to help homosexual youth. He later walked back his remarks, condemning the practice.”
Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.