Richard Ritenbaugh, examining the impact of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on world events and prophecy, states that this 22-year-old prince continues to make massive reforms in Saudi Arabia. These reforms include crackdowns on the hard-liner Muslim fundamentalists (hoping to end long-held taboos prohibiting women from driving cars, patriarchal guardianship lows and extremist interpretations of the Coran), attempts to move toward a more moderate, secular flavor of Islam and the development of banking and accounting policies favorable to garnering foreign investment. He believes the lure of Jihad can be defused by allowing entertainment, preventing young people from becoming bored. The prince is disenchanted by the loss of the work-ethic caused by the adoption of socialist policies and wants to eliminate the prevailing entitlement mentality currently plaguing the nation. Prince Mohammed has given the fundamentalist, cleric-influenced regime an intense severe punch in the solar plexus, but historically these solidly entrenched curmudgeons have counterpunched with fury when backed into the corner. We most certainly live in exciting times!
John Ritenbaugh, ruminating on George Friedman's speculations on President Erdogan's campaign and Turkey's future role in world affairs, suggests that we may have to make a major change in perception on how we have heretofore sized up prophetic events. The real struggle on the world stage for millennia has been the competition for dominance between the secular and the religious forces, with the secular forces generally winning control, bifurcating private and public sections of society, at least in European and Israelitish cultures. Modern Turkey, committed to secularism since the days of Mustafa Atatürk, has been battling the rabid fundamentalist Islam forces along with Iran and Syria. Erdogan, realizing that Turkey has been moving toward an internal explosion between secularism and religion, has campaigned for increasing powers of the president to put down religious Islamic fundamentalism by military force. Wherever secularism has gained ascendancy in the world, it has not maintained neutrality between the private and the public, but has attempted to bully and harass the religious elements of society by the tyranny of political correctness—something both America and Europe have experienced over the past few decades. Instead of championing tolerance, secularism, with its militant and pathogenic political correctness, has promoted a more dangerous intolerance than the very worst aspects of the Inquisition. The whole world is writhing as the evil thought-police enforce their brutality with political and military might.
Germany is in a bind. It is an industrial powerhouse, the richest economy in Europe, but it must prop up several poor-performing economies throughout the rest of the European Union. Berlin cannot continue this practice lest they drag it down with them. David Grabbe warns that Germany's decisions on these matters could have far-reaching consequences for Europe and the rest of the world.
As reactions to the Brexit vote run the gamut from applause to denunciation, one fact shines through clearly: The vote exposes just how divided this world has become. Joseph Baity describes the fragmentation occurring all over the world—a situation that can lead only to greater problems that this world is not designed to face, must less overcome.
A major news story of the year has been the accord reached between U.S. and Iranian negotiators that allows Tehran to advance its nuclear ambitions and have its sanctions lifted. Richard Ritenbaugh speculates that the agreement follows American President Barack Obama's stated desire to redistribute from those who have to those who do not, and this time he is redistributing international power.
Most people think the Cold War is over—in fact, won by the overwhelming power of the United States' economic and strategic might. But could it be on its way back to life? Richard Ritenbaugh argues that Vladimir Putin's leadership has brought Russia back into play as a world power, and nearby nations are once again bracing against its unwelcome aggression.
It was not all that long ago that news outlets and pundits wrestled with the fact that the United States was the world's superpower and policeman. Today, however, due to the Obama administration's policies, new powers are rising to fill the power vacuum created by America's retreat. Richard Ritenbaugh discusses five emerging empires that threaten world peace.
The history between Japan and China has been punctuated by periods of intense rivalry and hostility, and lately, tensions have ratcheted up once again. Richard Ritenbaugh examines recent events between the two nations, showing that Japanese resistance to changing its self-imposed pacifism is wearing thin.
With one look at American activity on the world scene, an observer is struck by the lack of coherence of this administration's foreign policy. Richard Ritenbaugh offers three examples of major foreign policy blunders over the past five years, asserting that they point to the diminished quality of leadership in high places—and perhaps they are a sign of America's fall from greatness.
Even before the 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Gaza blockade-running Turkish ship, relations between Israel and Turkey were at a low ebb. Recently, positive signs of a reconciliation have appeared, although nothing is certain. Richard Ritenbaugh provides proof that, despite the on-again, off-again nature of their ties, both nations could use a friend in the region.
Over the past year and a half, the "Arab Spring" that swept through the Middle East and North Africa has been an enduring source of worry for the state of Israel. David Grabbe argues that, despite the instability of its neighbors, Egypt and Syria in particular, Israel's greatest threat is an internal problem: its relationship with God.
For the last several generations, many of the most influential politicians in Europe have worked tirelessly toward the emergence of a united Continent. Their plans have been stalled, if not foiled, by the reality of the international economic system. David Grabbe writes that, for now, reality is stacked against full European integration.
A little-known town in Eastern Europe has given its name to a newly formed battle group consisting of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Richard Ritenbaugh wonders if this military alliance signifies increased instability for Europe and possibly the initial stages of the "feet and toes" of the final manifestation of Nebuchadnezzar's image.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Many voices across the political and media spectrums have hailed the recent protests and changes in governments across the Middle East as welcome democratic advances into a largely totalitarian region of the world. ...
An entire region of the world—cutting a swath across North Africa and through the Middle East to the Arabian Sea—is aflame with protest and revolution. David Grabbe analyzes the unrest throughout the Arab world, concluding that, while the geopolitics of the area have not substantially changed, Iran may benefit the most from the ongoing turmoil.
The land of Israel has a unique geography that limits its responses to international events, and the same factors that constrain it today also did so in biblical times. Richard Ritenbaugh describes how its position at the crossroads of three continents makes the Holy Land strategically valuable to the great powers around it.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was a bastion of Western democracy during the Cold War, but since then, it has lacked a clear purpose. David Grabbe argues that, having failed to keep the Russians out and the Germans down, NATO is struggling to remain relevant in a changing world.
The Republic of Turkey finds itself in the midst of an identity crisis. Its citizens are overwhelmingly of the Islamic faith, but its government since the mid-1920s has been secular. David Grabbe exposes the Gulen Movement, a shadowy Islamic sect and political organization whose aim is to return Turkey to its Islamic roots.
December 1, 2009, saw the European Union become an official federal state, created by the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by the EU's 27 member states. David Grabbe analyzes the ramifications of an EU with the power and authority to act as a cohesive whole—if it indeed acts in a united fashion.
The last few decades have seen the rise of globalism as a prime factor in international relations. The present economic crisis, along with the changing political scene, is making some nations rethink their globalist tendencies. Richard Ritenbaugh argues that the pendulum may be swinging back toward nationalism.
The world of politics and international relations is convoluted enough to make the mind swim. Geopolitics is perhaps the most conservative method of making some sense of the interaction of nations. Richard Ritenbaugh provides examples of applied geopolitics, as well as a warning of its shortcomings.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: The world scene can change in an instant. ...
Modern Turkey sits in the geographic center of three major political forces: Europe, the Middle East, and Russia. David Grabbe uncovers evidence of Turkey's rising importance and activity in world affairs.
Recently, a highly placed Chinese official made a point of telling the U.S. Treasury Secretary that China is no threat to the United States. Richard Ritenbaugh shows why this may be true—for now.
For several decades, Russia has been in decline, plagued by internal problems and frustrated by the breakaway nations of its "near-abroad." David Grabbe points out, however, that Russian President Vladimir Putin is turning his nation's interests outward—and that does not bode well for international relations.
The European Union (EU), now expanded to include 27 nations, has its genesis in French ambitions to dominate Europe. Yet now, as David Grabbe points out, the EU has reached a tipping point, where a Franco-German veto could be overridden by the other nations. Will this turn of events sour France on the EU?
"Axis of Evil" has become a byword since President George W. Bush used it in a State of the Union address a few years ago. He proposed countering it with his "Coalition of the Willing." David Grabbe ponders the West's predilection toward alliances, questioning just how effective they are.
... The record of biblical history underscores the fact that, where God's people are concerned, military might is far less of a factor in the outcome of a war than morality. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: While in college, I took a yearlong course in International Relations under Gene Hogberg, news editor of The Plain Truth magazine. ...
Predicting economic activity is about as tricky as forecasting the weather. Nevertheless, David Grabbe, citing recent financial news items, posits that the stage is set for economic instability around the world in the short term.
Richard Ritenbaugh suggests that religious and cultural differences, especially the raging Western-Islamic conflict, will become the fault lines of dangerous conflicts and clashes of civilizations. The King of the South (Daniel 11:40) might be a confederation of Arab nations continually at war with the people of Israel. Psalm 83 identifies such a confederation that continually harasses Israel'events that appear in today‚s headlines. The Bible's characterization of Ishmael, Esau, Amalek, Moab, and Ammon fit the national traits of present-day, anti-Western Arab peoples. Numerous prophecies (including Nahum, Zephaniah, and Amos) predict the eventual demise of their evil efforts. Throughout history, the Kings of the North and the South, always reckoned from the viewpoint of Jerusalem, have changed identities, but the principal players of the conflict exist today in the bitter conflict between militant Islam fundamentalism and the West.
A major news item over the past month has been the riots over the publishing of cartoons depicting Islam's prophet, Mohammad. David Grabbe ponders the rather belated reaction of the Muslim street, asking, "Why all the sound and fury?"
Great Britain has a history of playing the balance-of-power game to keep any Continental state or empire from becoming strong enough to threaten Britain. Richard Ritenbaugh argues that Britain is the victor once again—this time, in determining the direction of the European Union.
World news, events, and trends highlighting biblical prophecy for March-April 2005: "Franco-German Divergence"
Currently, some of the more important prophetic events we have been trained to watch for are just not happening. John Ritenbaugh explains, for instance, that Europe is not uniting as we once thought it would. How does this affect our interpretation of the prophecies?
Why has anti-Semitism remained a part of this world's way of thinking? Charles Whitaker shows from recent history that anti-Semitism has merely morphed into new expressions of the old evil.
Though secularists tried to use immigration policy to force Christianity out of the American mainstream, it backfired. Charles Whitaker explains how God has used their scheme to accomplish His own end-time purposes.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: The news has been rather slow this past week or so, and here in Charlotte, the weather has grabbed the headlines for the last few days. ...
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, most thought the world would come together, but that has not been the case. In fact, America and Europe have been steadily moving away from each other politically, economically, and culturally. What impact will this have on our understanding of biblical prophecy?
Though the nations of this world are pushing for global economics and government, God's Word shows that mankind will not succeed. Charles Whitaker makes the case that only Jesus Christ will be able to make world government work.
Globalism is not just an economic phenomenon, but it is also a strong political and military movement—and America's military gives it its teeth! Charles Whitaker provides historical background the America's warrior culture and how it is used today.
Japan, among the top three economies of the world, has been in deep recession for nearly a decade. Can she recover? What is in store for her in the end time?
Many who believe Germany to be modern Assyria have waited a long time for Germany to rise again. Signs in Europe and on the world scene point in that direction.
The State of Israel has come to a point in its history when it must take a hard look at where it wants to go in the next few years. Whatever it decides, it will likely lead to the events of the end of the age!
God prophesies that Israel will be conquered in the end time. Could anti-American sentiment, especially in Europe, be the beginning of the end for modern Israel?
What will the first decade of the new millennium bring? The outlook for 2000 and beyond hinges on how America handles its role as sole superpower.