This week Germany’s feathers were ruffled when President Donald Trump confirmed he was pulling American troops from Germany. In an impromptu press conference, with a helicopter running in the background, Trump was asked this question:
Mr. President, on NATO, you just gave the order to remove U.S. troops from Germany. How does that keep Russia in check?
This was his response:
Well, Germany is delinquent. They haven’t paid their fees. They haven’t paid their NATO fees. And they’re way off, and they’ve been off for years, and they have no intention of paying it. And the United States has been taken advantage of on trade and on military and on everything else for many years, and I’m here and I’ve been straightening it out.
But Germany owes billions and billions of dollars to NATO. And why would we keep all of those troops there? And now Germany is saying it’s bad for their economy. Well, it’s good for our economy. Germany is delinquent. They’re at 1 percent. They should be at 2 percent. And actually, everybody should be at 4 percent, not 2 percent, because 2 percent is too low. But they’re at 1 percent, and they’ve take advantage of us for many years.
And you think that’s bad? They take worse advantage on trade. And I was all set to fix that, and then we got hit with the China plague. But we’ll be fixing it.
The interviewer went back to the Issue of Germany later in the interview:
Q Back to Germany: Are those troops — what signal does it send to Russia? Those troops were always there to defend Europe against Russia.
This was Trump's response.
They’re there to protect Europe; they’re there to protect Germany. Right? And Germany is supposed to pay for it. Germany is not paying for it. So why should we leave them if they were not — we don’t want to be the suckers anymore.
The United States has been taken advantage of for 25 years, both on trade and on the military. We are protecting Germany. So we’re reducing the force because they’re not paying their bill. It’s very simple: They’re delinquent. Very simple. And there are other NATO countries also.
The World’s Response
The response from Germany has been quick. The Business Insider Reported,
A key ally of Angela Merkel has attacked Donald Trump's decision to remove nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, saying that it will reduce the US' "military clout" and "weaken" NATO in its efforts to contain Russia.
Senior German politician Norbert Roettgen, who is standing to succeed his ally Angela Merkel as Chancellor, who now chairs the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, tweeted:
"In withdrawing 12.000 soldiers from #Germany, the #USA achieve the exact opposite from what #Esper outlined. Instead of strengthening #NATO it is going to weaken the alliance. The US' military clout will not increase, but decrease in relation to #Russia and the Near & Middle East."
Dov Zakheim, former US under secretary of Defence from 2001 to 2004 had the following to say:
…The redeployment is likely to be only the first step in a multistage effort to pull all troops out of Europe. That would clear the way for Putin’s next aggressive adventure — a nightmarish prospect that should terrify not only Europeans, but all Americans who care about the nation’s security, both in the immediate future and for the longer term.
Rick Stempel, Time Magazine Editor. stated the following about troop removal:
This is Vladimir Putin’s Dream. This is his dream since he was a KGB officer in Dresden, and watched the Berlin Wall fall. To the Russians, a special relationship in diplomacy is not between the US and the UK, it is between America and Germany. Russians for 75 years have been trying to place as much distance between America and Germany as possible. The only President that has listened to Vladimir Putin about this is Donald Trump. This is not just a symbol to Russia, it is a symbol to everybody in the whole world, that our alliances, our most sacred alliances are now not even worth the paper they are written on. This is a tremendous victory for Vladimir Putin.
Media around the world are discussing this move as signalling the collapse of NATO. This gives credence to what French President Marcon had to say about NATO in November of last year, when he described it as being “Brain Dead”.
According to THISWEEK,
“NATO is the world's most powerful defence alliance, with member states like France, US, Britain, Germany and Turkey, set up in 1949, to counter communist expansion under Soviet Union. It originally had 12 members, now it has 30. Article 5 of NATO says that an attack against one of the member states will be deemed an attack against all of the others, and the alliance works on the principle of complete consensus between its members.
This decline of NATO, and America’s withdrawal of troops from Germany is giving life to the prospect of a European Army. The Defense News carried this headline:
Germany sets up European defense agenda with a waning US footprint in mind.
The ensuing article stated,
The European Union should prepare for the possibility of a gradual disengagement by the United States from the continent.
Germany took over the EU presidency on July 1s. The publication ModernDiplomacy ran an article with the headline:
Germany wants Europe strong again
The article stated:
Germany’s presidency in the European Union, which began on July 1st, may stimulate the EU into re-evaluating its role in world affairs and could encourage it to streamline relations with Russia. The key factor contributing to this is the traditionally productive trade, economic and energy cooperation between Moscow and Berlin, and the recent move towards a deterioration of Germany-US relations, a trend which is set to intensify as the November presidential elections in the US draw nearer.
The article continued:
In the near future the EU can be expected to recreate the French-German alliance, which acquires ever more importance in wake of financial and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and global upheavals on world markets.
The world sees a dissolution of NATO, the withdrawal of US troops from Germany, the need for a European Army, and France and Germany becoming strong together again. These are some of the treads that have woven through the news in the past few weeks.
What interests us most as Bible students is not what politicians and the media say, but rather what the Bible has to say.
The picture is clearly laid out in Ezekiel 38 of a division between the Western nations who make up “Sheba, Dedan and the Merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions” of Ezekiel 38:13, and the block of nations who come against it, led by Russia.
The Post World War II alliances have to be broken up and re-distributed to fit this picture. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to the reunification of Germany and the establishment of the European Union.
BREXIT has seen Britain leave Europe after wandering for 40 years in the Catholic wilderness.
Now the collapse of NATO and the withdrawal of US forces from Europe will see the reshaping of the geopolitical landscape to further align with that described in the Bible.
There has to be a coming together of Russia and Europe to see Ezekiel 38, Joel, Zechariah and Daniel 11 come to pass. Ezekiel mentions Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh etc. The land of Magog covers the area from the River Don to the River Danube and contains what was formerly known as the communist block, or the Warsaw Pact. Gomer and all his bands refer to the tribes who migrated into the area we know as modern-day France. German and France are both included in the picture of Ezekiel 38.
The withdrawal of American troops from Europe will have the effect of France and Germany banding closer together in an alliance that will include their militaries. While politicians today try to work how they will pull this off, the Bible gives insight into the fact that somehow they will. The preparations for war we read of in Ezekiel 38:7 require the associated nations to form military alliances with each other, and eventually, with Russia itself.
The geopolitical shift in Europe is playing into Russia’s hands and forcing Germany and France to band together.
Bible students have watched expectantly for this alliance to form for years. It is currently taking place before our eyes. America is pulling out. Europe is pulling together. Russia is waiting in the sidelines to make its grand move.
These confirm the validity of the Bible and our trust that the Most High does in fact rule in the kingdoms of men, and that the stealthy advent of the Lord will occur at any moment.
For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.