Beyond Brexit

In June 2016, we all witnessed another miracle of prophecy fulfilled in our day: Britain voted for “Brexit”and made a national choice to leave the European Union. With the two-year Brexit clock ticking, Britain has much to work on to complete its departure. There are immigration decisions to make that will affect an estimated 3 million EU citizens living in the UK and about 1.2 million British living in Europe. New deals for British agriculture are required, particularly in view of the fact that 60-65% of Britain’s total agricultural exports are sent to Europe. Seven hundred and fifty-nine treaties that were negotiated between the EU and other countries will need to be re-brokered and these include agreements relating to nuclear matters, trade, military treaties and so on.

Some estimate the administration cost of making Brexit work at 100 billion Euros. The EU doesn’t appear to be about to let Britain off lightly, as they want to discourage other nations from exiting. If Britain fails to complete these tasks they will be doing the economic equivalent of driving off ‘the cliff edge’, as some have described it.

All these negotiations have only highlighted the fact that Britain and the EU are nothing alike.

With Britain departing, the brakes are now off, and the EU can accelerate its reforms without having to argue with its off-shore neighbour about the virtues of federalism.

Winds of Change for the EU?

Many Europeans held grave fears as the French election approached in May 2017. Exiting President Hollande had a popularity rating of just 4% before being voted out, and unemployment hovered around 10%. EU members feared that if a Frexit (French exit from the EU) occurred, the European Union would disintegrate into a disgruntled group of disparate countries.

Emmanuel Macron was the new face, and this was the breath of fresh air the French wanted. To the strains of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, the anthem of the European Union, Macron strode manfully across the courtyard of the Louvre to deliver his victory speech. He vowed to defend the EU: “the common destiny the peoples of our continent have given ourselves”. He called for a plan for a five-year “transformation” of the EU between 2019 and 2024. He proposed a single Finance Minister and, on the defense front, called on Europe to form a united defense strategy with a combined European army. They are developing that “one mind” to give their power and strength to the beast-system (Rev 17:13).

When Mrs Merkel (Germany’s Chancellor) went to the polls in September, she gained only a miserable 33% in what The Guardian called, “the worst election result since 1949… Mrs Merkel’s (CDU) won 33%, the Social Democratic Party (SPD)…20.5%. The right-wing AFD…12.6%”. This has left Germany with a weak government and Mrs Merkel trying desperately to form German political alliances that will allow her to continue ruling.

It’s clear that the two players that matter in the EU are France (Gomer) and Germany (Magog), and they must do something to improve Europe’s plight. After meeting Macron, Merkel commented: “As far as the proposals were concerned, there was a high level of agreement between Germany and France… I am of the firm conviction that Europe can’t just stay still but must continue to develop”.

The Russian Bear at the Gates

From the end of WWII until the Iron Curtain came down in 1989-91, Russia appeared to be a major threat to Europe and the Western World. But then, in the late 1980s, she experienced a huge economic crisis as the oil price collapsed to $12 a barrel. With oil and natural gas as Russia’s main export, she found she was bankrupt and unable to afford to maintain her soldiers in the Warsaw Pact countries. Many of these countries, which she had occupied since WWII, regained their independence, and the Cold War appeared to be over with the world breathing a collective sigh of relief.

How much has changed since Putin came to power! Suddenly Russia has emerged once again as a significant world power and a threat to Europe. In 2008, she attacked Georgia and occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In 2014, she annexed Crimea and attacked parts of Ukraine. She has continued to threaten Ukraine, bringing a further 55,000 troops against that country in late 2016. Europe was afraid but still felt that with the USA as part of NATO they had nothing to fear in the long term. Always, the USA would come to their aid. But that safety net is now in danger of disappearing.

Could Russia Conquer Europe?

The next Russian threat to Europe could come in the area of the Baltic states, where Russia retains control of a small area on shores of the Baltic Sea called Kaliningrad. After the collapse of the USSR, the region was one of the most militarised areas of the Russian Federation, and had the highest density of military installations in Europe. Much Soviet equipment was transferred there during the dissolution from Eastern Europe. Kaliningrad – the once proud Teutonic Knights’ city of Konigsberg – sits on the eastern shore of the Baltic between Poland to the south, and Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to the north. It is Putin’s military foothold in Europe.

The Daily Mail reports:

“Then there is the stark top secret concrete tower behind barbed wire some nine miles from the drab coastal resort of Pionersky.

“This is a Voronezh-DM radar and snooping station, officially known anonymously as object 2461, and surrounded by army unit 42988, a location now under heavy security which is also the site of prodigious new construction work by military builders.

“From here – on the site of an old Nazi air field – Putin’s military ‘controls the air space above the whole of Europe including Great Britain’, in the words of TV Zvezda – or Red Star, a television channel run by the Defence Ministry.

“With a range of 3,725 miles, this early warning station covers virtually all of Europe and much of the Atlantic Ocean, and can simultaneously lock onto and track some 500 Western targets.

“Russian reports suggest this bleak compound is also a location of Iskander missile complexes recently deployed by Putin and with a strike range over both the Baltic and central Europe.”

At the same time, Russia began putting troops on the borders of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the north of Kaliningrad. This is designed to destabilise the Baltic States because many of their people are ex-Russians who came into that area when Russia was in control. Where would their allegiance be now? Over 50% speak Russian and about 25% are ethnic Russians. Little wonder Russia called on the “Russian” youth of the Baltic States to consider themselves “in the Russian army” and promised to later pay them. This created a community of potential insurrectionists.

Lithuania is so worried that it issued “a manual on what to do if Russia invades”. Newsweek printed an article in October 2016 headed, “COUNTING DOWN TO A RUSSIAN INVASION OF THE BALTICS”. General Ben Hodges, Commander of the US troops, stated that “NATO couldn’t repel a Russian Baltic invasion” and that the Baltic States could fall in as little as “36-60 hours”.

Not surprisingly, Estonia has asked for military help from NATO. Estonia warned that her capital city could be occupied in four hours by the Russian troops stationed on her border. The result was that the UK sent 120 troops to Estonia and the USA sent 1,100 troops to Poland! At the time Russia was believed to have over 10,000 troops facing the Baltic States.

Things didn’t stop there. Only recently Russia executed a huge manoeuvre on the border of the Baltic States and Poland. On 14-20 September 2017, they executed a military exercise, the “Zapad” (Russian for “Western” manoeuvre) and brought what they said would be only 12,000 troops through Belarus. They requisitioned 4,000 transporters to bring these troops into play, but the Economist stated that Russia’s claims were not true and there were about 100,000 troops deployed instead. Russia backed this up by sending 70 naval ships into the Baltic Sea. Ukraine has since claimed that most of the troops are still there and have been not withdrawn.

To cap this off, Russia has an army of active personnel of 1,013,000 and reserve personnel of 2,500,000 to 20,000,000 (Wikipedia citing Stratfor). Russia is further claiming she has nuclear missiles like the Satan 2, which she claims contains 12 independent H-bomb nuclear warheads capable of destroying an area the size of France.

So will Russia invade Europe? Putin’s current tactics include intimidation and threatening posturing. This may be sufficient to have Europe kowtow into a form of submissive alliance without actually invading. Time will tell.

Europe Stands Largely Defenceless

Just over a year ago Europe had the restraining presence of Britain as a part of the EU, as well as the USA as a military bastion they could rely on. Now all that has changed. Britain is now formally leaving and at the same time the USA’s support of Europe is weakening.

President Trump called on the European nations to spend at least 2% of their individual GDP on defence. Unless this was done, Trump said, the USA wouldn’t carry the burden of NATO in defending Europe against Russia! But now things have worsened even for the USA. The USA is feeling threatened itself, this time by North Korea, a seeming ally of Russia. North Korea has increasingly threatened South Korea, Japan and now the USA by detonating nuclear warheads.

When President Trump called on the UN to boycott North Korea, most nations agreed except Russia and China. They refused. Russia went even further and offered to buy much of what North Korea couldn’t then export. Indirectly Russia was threatening the USA.

North Korea then detonated an A-bomb, following it with an H-bomb, and then by a long-range missile launched into the upper atmosphere across Japan. This they claimed could travel as far as the USA and even northern Australia. The USA thus felt genuinely threatened by North Korea and is now preparing to defend South Korea and maybe even to attack North Korea if necessary. While she is preparing to do this, she is certainly less able and prepared to defend Europe.

France was once said to have the largest standing army in Europe. Now, much of that is now being employed as police on the streets of their cities and villages to protect citizens from the danger of terrorists. This has become necessary as the number of Arab migrants entering Europe has been increasing and many of them are thought to be carrying weapons.

They are a threat to France and much of Europe. And now, after Russian troops have entered Libya, African migrants also have been crossing the Mediterranean in increasing numbers. Article headlines warn: “Putin to turn on ‘refugee tap’ to send migrants to EU and destroy bloc” and “Putin is trying to control the migrant crisis to create instability within the EU” (Express, Feb 3, 2017). Now, from Libya, “140,000 refugees expected to reach Italy this year” (Guardian, 11 August 2017). Europe is now occupied looking after her own defences without the assistance of the USA.

What Do We Expect?

We can speculate that the EU may see an economic recovery or collapse. Either way, in the build-up to Armageddon, Europe and particularly Gomer and Magog must be allies with Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. In the end they must join the Russian side. Considering the different weapons employed by the groups in Ezekiel 38, we conclude that Russia is the main aggressor in the Gogian invasion, and the EU nations take on a more supporting role.

Whatever the outcome of Macron and Merkel’s efforts to hold together a faltering EU, we can see that a great wedge has been driven between Tarshish and her allies on one side, and the EU with Russia on the other. This divide is only widening. The players are being set upon the stage that will eventually lead to the conflict described in scripture. Though EU leaders struggle and see their future as uncertain, as watchmen we see events being poured into the mould established by the One who rules in the kingdom of men. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”