"Today America and Europe face a moment of consequence and opportunity," said President Bush in his recent 40-minute Brussels address before high-ranking European leaders. It is hard to imagine that the president's conciliatory tones would not ease frictions in the transatlantic relationship, at least temporarily. In fact, not a few European leaders have said that Mr. Bush's recent trip has reconnected him with Europe.
However, we must also take a wide-ranging look at the long-term consequences. Unknowingly, is the die already cast? Will current trends and future events propel America and Europe into a very serious adversarial relationship that cannot be easily mended? Is the worst yet to come?
Further, does a body of knowledge exist, totally outside the awareness of these two world powers, that will have a decisive impact on their relationship? Does a Higher Power have a plan and purpose that involves the direction of European events?
Before we address these questions, let's look briefly at the contemporary history of Europe.
Europe in the 20th century
During World War I, communism reared its ugly head in the territory that became the Soviet Union. The revolution of 1917 paralyzed the creativity and initiative of the Russian and other Slavic peoples.
Before its eventual fall, another satanic ideology called fascism gripped much of Europe. The Third Reich only lasted 12 years (1933-1945), but many millions perished in World War II because of it.
Finally the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) effectively ended communism in Europe. One of the most astute American strategists in the U.S. policy establishment said he "never thought it would happen." Nonetheless, the Cold War ceased as an important consequence.
As a result, Financial Times writer Philip Stephens summed up the situation we now face. "For most of the past half-century we were able to assume that the western democracies by and large shared the same set of ambitions and played by the same set of rules. The context was provided by the cold war. No longer. The political earthquake that began more than a decade ago with the collapse of communism and gathered force with the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001 has yet to subside" (Jan. 7, 2005).
Right now both America and Europe are faced with an economically emergent China, but with a backward political system and a poor human rights record to boot. And the two differ on at least one major policy toward China.
How to deal with China
The European Union is on the brink of taking steps to end the arms embargo imposed after the tragic events occurring at Tiananmen Square. America strongly disagrees with this proposed move, given continual Chinese threats to invade Taiwan and the additional arms muscle and new military technology that China would have should Europe sell her its most advanced weapons.
A senior Pentagon official plainly stated: "They're talking about helping the Chinese kill Americans more effectively. This is not what Europe should be doing" (Financial Times, Dec. 24, 2004).
But these concerns are not confined to the president and the Pentagon. The U.S. Congress is watching this situation very closely. The House of Representatives has already passed a statement representing their feelings against Europe lifting the Chinese arms embargo. The margin of passage was 411 votes to 3.
Clearly America does not want Europe to facilitate the desires of China's military establishment. (Incidentally, as recently reported on BBC radio, an item surfaced that indicates China's aging generals are lobbying in terms of actually attacking and conquering Taiwan, the island to which many Chinese fled when communists took over mainland China in 1949.)
A proverb says that money answers all things, and it certainly rings true in these international matters. The Economist reported: "This week it emerges that the EU is now China's biggest trading partner: in 2004, trade between the two amounted to almost 160 billion [euros—$210 billion], an increase of 35% over 2003" (Jan. 15, 2005).
Japan is also deeply concerned about Chinese intentions. Sino-Japanese political relations are frosty and the Japanese prime minister is increasingly standing up to China. The Financial Times stated that "Japan and the U.S. will today sign a new joint security agreement that puts Tokyo on a more assertive footing in East Asia at the time of rising Chinese power."
According to Kurt Campbell, former assistant secretary of defense for Asia and now a security analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, "This statement clearly suggests that Japan and the U.S. share a strategic, parallel interest in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" (Feb. 20, 2005).
American endorsement of a United Europe: a wise move?
Ironically, perhaps the most worrying thing long term is not the policy disagreements, but the president's promise of support for a strong and united Europe in his recent Brussels speech.
Some European voices are openly advocating an adversarial relationship. Consider the new book Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe by Daniel Levy, Max Pensky and John Torpey. Anatole Lieven, senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington D.C., is instructive in his book review for the FT Magazine.
"An effective foreign policy can only be devised by a 'core' Europe—in other words, France, Germany and those Western [or perhaps a few Eastern?] European countries that choose to follow their lead. This is necessary, they say, because it is in the interest of the world that Europe 'throw its weight on the scales to counterbalance the hegemonic unilateralism of the United States'" (Feb. 19, 2005, emphasis added throughout).
Other European voices are calling for even more aggressive policies toward America. Consider the views of German philosopher Jürgen Habermas and French philosopher Jacques Derrida. They advocated a common foreign policy for core Europe in the Frankfurter Allgemeine. Anatole Lieven's startling assessment: Derrida and Habermas argued that European identity can and must be built on the basis of overt opposition to the United States.
The biblical perspective
The mention of a core Europe or a core group of European nations resonates with Bible prophecy in the books of Daniel and Revelation. It concerns a latter-day revival of the Roman Empire.
Daniel prophesied of four kingdoms, which history shows to have been the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires (Daniel 2:28-39). This Hebrew prophet speaks of the overwhelming strength of the last of these empires (verse 40). After the original Roman Empire finally passed into history, the Bible speaks of several resurrections, the last of which is yet to occur.
God's Word predicts that a group of 10 "kings" (national leaders) will give rise to a frightening union that will fulfill many end-time prophecies. The book of Revelation tells us: "The ten horns...are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour [a short time] as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13).
Put these particular prophecies together with the true understanding of the origins of the Anglo-American peoples. Our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy shows that the American and certain English-speaking British Commonwealth nations are the descendants of ancient Israel. As this booklet reveals, after a period of relative Anglo-American dominance, the Bible predicts national downfall and eventual captivity of these nations.
Indications are that the 10 kings will constitute a core group of nations from within the territory of the old Roman Empire. Their actions will be the catalyst to bring this coming calamity to complete fulfillment. The fundamental cause, however, will be a widespread failure to live up to national duties and responsibilities along with widespread immorality of every kind.
Where are America and Europe really headed? To a place they would not go if they truly understood the long-term consequences. WNP