The 100-year period from 1815 until World War I began in 1914 was one of Europe’s greatest periods of peace ever. But consider what happened during those years: France invaded Spain; Russia fought Turkey; various German states fought with Denmark, Austria and France; Britain and Turkey fought Russia; and Greece fought Turkey. Those are just the “highlights”—and they don’t include the numerous internal conflicts, uprisings, declarations of independence and other political unrest that occurred. Even Switzerland had a civil war.
That is what “peace” in Europe looked like before the latter half of the 20th century.
Europe’s history since World War II has been unprecedented. The continent that had held the world’s most advanced and deadly armies for hundreds of years was suddenly playing third fiddle to two superpowers: America and the Soviet Union. In that environment, the United States made a simple bargain with Western Europe: You no longer need to maintain a world-class army; instead, we will protect you. This deal helped bring an extraordinary level of stability and tranquility to a part of the world that has repeatedly convulsed with astonishing violence and destruction throughout its history.
Now, however, this unusual era is coming to an end. As we head into the post-American era, it is Europe that is picking up the mantle of “leader of the free world.” Even now, Europe is stepping out of America’s shadow and responding to threats in North Africa. And it is the only possible candidate to succeed America as the financial leader of the world.
Others, however, take a different view: that Europe is a spent force, a continent of wimps, afraid of real action and doomed to demographic decline—incapable of effectively carrying on where America has left off.
Could Europe Really Succeed America?
The fact is, Europe is already preparing for the post-American world. In recent months it has finally begun to get serious about sorting out its own military.
In May, an official EU agency that analyzes defense and security issues published a landmark report. The basic premise was: America is not going to protect us any more; how do we now defend ourselves?
In October, the EU’s foreign minister, Catherine Ashton, said America’s retreat from the continent “means that Europe must assume greater responsibility for its own security and that of its neighborhood.”
As it watches America withdraw, Berlin is now beginning to take the lead in reforming Europe’s military. It has called for restructuring NATO around clusters of European militaries that work together. Although summits focusing on common security and defense tend to flop, Germany appears increasingly determined to weld Europe’s militaries together, with or without the EU. It is already integrating parts of its neighbors’ militaries into its own (article, page 26).
A New Economic System
Europe is getting ready to take over the political and military reins that Washington is dropping. But the Continent is perhaps even better positioned to take over economic leadership.
Which currency could replace the failing dollar as the new global reserve currency? The only answer: whichever currency is being used by Germany.
Europe invented its single currency with exactly that goal in mind. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing deplored the “exorbitant privilege” that currency-reserve status gave America. The euro was Europe’s plan to grab that privilege for itself.
At present, the euro is in disarray mainly because it gets one thing fundamentally—and deliberately—wrong: A common currency cannot work without a robust political union. Once the Europeans overcome that hurdle, the reserve currency privilege is theirs for the taking.
The economies of northern Europe, especially Germany, are fundamentally strong. The Bundesbank has a long-standing reputation as a trustworthy and responsible central bank. It would be the last central bank anyone would expect to print money and devalue a currency. In banking, reliability is everything. Either by itself or through the European Central Bank (ECB), the Bundesbank could easily take the Federal Reserve’s spot as the world’s central bank.
Who’s Afraid of the EU?
That very question is actually another reason why Europe will rise to preeminence as America declines. The world trusts Europe. The Europeans are reputed to be the great consensus builders. Government by committee goes nowhere fast and threatens no one. As a continent full of democracies that have not had to use major military power for 70 years, Europe is home to the world’s good guys—or at least the world’s non-threatening guys. This perception works to the Europeans’ advantage.
But this charitable view ignores two supremely important points that do give rise to legitimate concern about what a world dominated by Europe will look like.
The first of these is history. True, Europe has been peaceful in the American-dominated world of the second half of the 20th century, but going back to World War II and before, its past loudly trumpets that this is an extreme exception. With America out of the way, all the factors that have kept Europe at peace will be gone. And for the first time in 70 years, Europe will have unmitigated authorization to conduct itself as a major military power.
There are many for whom the idea of Europe reverting to militaristic type is unthinkable. They believe the world today, particularly Europe, has become far too civilized—perhaps even complacent and lethargic—for such a thing to occur.
This is a common delusion. Throughout history mankind has believed that we have solved war forever. Before Napoleon, professional armies were said to have made war so destructive that it had become obsolete. Before World War I, global commerce, international agreements and an increase in culture and sophistication supposedly meant war was history. Afterward, World War I was said to have been “the war to end all wars.”
In his book on the First World War titled The World Crisis, Winston Churchill warned about those who proclaimed that “[c]ivilization has climbed above such perils.” They argued that “[t]he interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, Liberal principles, the Labour Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible.
“Are you quite sure?” asked Churchill. “It would be a pity to be wrong. Such a mistake could only be made once—once for all” (emphasis added). Today, statesmen give almost an identical list of reasons why war between major powers is antiquated: globalization, nuclear weapons, etc. But after America is gone, Europe will be a military power in an altogether new world.
The Picture in Prophecy
The second major reason we should be concerned about the rise of Europe comes from Bible prophecy. It clearly warns about Europe’s military and economic power—exactly the two areas where we see Europe preparing to succeed the U.S.
One of the most chilling warnings in Scripture, repeated in several passages, concerns the end-time nations descended from the ancient tribes of Israel. These prophecies depict not just the fall of these nations, but the captivity of a great number of their citizens following a military defeat. Hosea 8:9; 9:3; 10:6; 11:11; Micah 5:6; 7:12; Zechariah 10:11, and other passages all show Israel taken captive by Assyria. This is not speaking of what happened historically, when the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by Assyria in 721 B.C. All these books were written long after that captivity had occurred. They refer to a captivity to take place yet in the future.
Which modern nation is descended from ancient Assyria? Germany. (To prove this, request our free reprint article “The Remarkable Identity of the German People.”)
Another proof is in Daniel 11. Here is a prophecy of Middle Eastern history so accurate that skeptics insist it must have been written after the events it describes. It prophesied that Alexander the Great’s empire would split into four parts (verse 4). The chapter describes world events before the return of Christ in terms of this split. One of these powers is called the king of the north, the other the king of the south.
Who is the modern king of the north? Anciently it was Syria, which was swallowed up by Rome, the ancient counterpart to modern Europe.
With that background in place, this, then, is the real reason for concern over the rise of Europe after America: The Bible foretells that it is about to go on a rampage.
Look at this extraordinary sequence of events prophesied in Daniel 11: It all starts with a Middle Eastern power “pushing” at Europe (verse 40). Without America’s protection, by this time Europe has been forced to build its own military and responds quickly. In a broad sense, this power is already pushing at Europe through the spread of radical Islam, and Europe is already responding. But Daniel is describing the violent culmination of that offensive.
But Europe doesn’t stop there. Now a military power with a major presence in the Middle East, it keeps going. Verse 41 states that it enters “the glorious land”—the same Promised Land that the Israelites inhabited anciently, currently inhabited by the Jews. This is a shocking, nation-destroying double cross of the modern Jewish state, which had naively trusted Europe to broker peace in America’s absence.
Hosea 5:5-7 prophesy that Britain, America and Israel will all fall within a month—meaning that when Israel falls, Britain and America must fall at about the same time.
Before these bold, blitzkrieg military conquests, Europe, as the new leader of the world’s financial system, enforces a blockade of America. What’s left of the broken American economy is completely destroyed. Deuteronomy 28:52 prophesies of this economic siege. Isaiah 23 implies that China cooperates in it. (For more information on this particular prophecy, request our free book Isaiah’s End-Time Prophecy.)
Full article: The World’s Next Superpower (The Trumpet)