by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
"Europe is an appalling mess," says European editor Scott Sullivan in the November 30, 1992, issue of Newsweek. From economic woes to resurgent anti-Semitism, the continent reels from one crisis to another without relief. Sullivan later writes, referring to Europe's high hopes for the decade, "Nothing has turned out quite as planned."
Europeans are worried about the imminent Clinton administration, an unknown quantity after twelve years of Republican policy. Leaders fear Clinton will spend most of his time absorbed by mounting domestic problems, and too little time on urgent international issues. Political heads in Germany, France and Britain need his support to prop up their own unpopular governments, which have given weighty support to the Maastricht Treaty. Although the continent's richest nation, Germany especially needs help coping with the strain on its resources caused by the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Economists have predicted no growth for Germany through 1993.
On other fronts, the instability of Europe is also conspicuous. French farmers are protesting the recent trade agreement with the U.S. that narrowly averted a trade war. The former Yugoslavia needs a realistic solution to its civil war. Lithuania voted the Communists back into power last week, while Boris Yeltsin rallies Russians to fend off the same fate in his country. Ireland, radically divided by the issues of beef trade and abortion, is expected to call a snap general election soon. Germans face the specter of a resurrected sinister right-wing movement, also surfacing in Poland, Hungary and Russia as anti-Semitic outbursts.
It is a region ripe for revolution. In 1917 Communists took power in Czarist Russia under similar circumstances. Out of such foment rose Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1930s. Without doubt, the national governments, both Cold War and post-Cold War, have proven that they do not have the solutions to any of these potentially explosive situations. Observers like Sullivan believe the EC has the answers. "It is the 12 member states of the European Community that must rewrite the Maastricht Treaty on political and economic union and rebuild its imploded monetary system." But will they?
The EC itself may be in danger of destruction. The blows the Treaty has taken during the ratification process may spell its doom or indefinitely prolong the present state of affairs. Either option could cause a general cry for a leader with vision and energy to take up the challenge that is Europe.
Daniel 11 draws a picture of the King of the North, a man of great ambition, who does his own will (verse 36). A man of action, he is not afraid to use military force for his own ends (verses 39, 44). He has a firm hand on the economies of nations (verse 43). This man, elsewhere identified as the Beast, unites ten countries under himself, allying his empire with the False Church to accomplish his plans (Revelation 17:11-18). Ironically, he is unaware that he is fulfilling God's own purpose to bring about His Kingdom (verse 17).
It may be that this is the type of man Europeans yearn for as a leader of their toddling superpower. It will need to get even worse before such a man will come forward. If we are indeed close to the events described in these chapters, we can expect the Clinton administration to ignore the growing "mess" in Europe.