The Political Page
- March 2003 -
The internal political situation
Germany is entering its third year of economical stagnation. Unemployment has risen to 4,6 million which means higher social costs and lower revenues; on the other hand, the holes can only be patched by decreasing subsidies (hot lobby issue); by higher taxation ( which lowers people’s buying power, finishing off the economy ) or by making higher new debts (which would go over the 3% EU-norm, leading to fines in the millions).
For humane and economical reasons, something must be done about the mass unemployment. The world of work is bound, however, by many contracts that were made in the past through the unions to protect employees. Minister Clement is willing to review all these agreements (“flexibility”) to see if they are applicable in the present situation or is the German economy choking on them in the long run. It goes from the costs added onto salaries (“work must cost less”) to tariff agreements aimed at a whole branch that do not consider the financial situation of individual companies. That includes “protection against unlawful dismissal” for firms with 6 or more employees, which especially effects the middle-size companies.
These changes lead naturally to discussion with the unions. They represent only 17% of the workforce but they greatly influence the entire economy as partners in tariff policies. The initial blockade attitude of IG and DGB to break the new “workers’ alliance” gave in - thank God! (An answer to prayer from February!). Chancellor Schröder sent out an invitation for “a talk without any taboos about ways to fight unemployment” and unions and employers have agreed to come.
The chancellor needs a lot of wisdom for clarity and authority to mediate between the two sides’ interests. Based on the zigzag course he has taken since his election in September 2002 from “the bosses’ comrade” to “the comrades’ boss”, neither side trusts him completely at the moment. In the meantime, his competence is also being questioned by many ( latest poll: ratio 71:29). There is muttering against him even in his own ranks. The chancellor is going through a hard time. The ship, “Germany” is sailing under a very shaken captain.
The greatest blow to his career was certainly the “election disaster” on 2. February in which in Niedersachsen, the SPD hat to bow to the CDU and in Hessen, the CDU gained the absolute majority of seats in the state parliament. After these election results, the Chancellor grabbed at what Wolfgang Clement had been preparing for months (“ the people expect cooperation instead of party fights, in the interest of everyone” ). He publicly offered the opposition close cooperation on all the current issues concerning social reform. It is all about the “substance of the social state”.
This election practically annulled the election results of a renewed of the red-green coalition from the Fall. The loss of Niedersachsen created within the mediation committee of the government a total deadlock, which makes a pre-agreement and clarification with the Union necessary for all law-planning. This is practically a Great Coalition with participation of the Greens. Even the Union must get used to this new position of power and its accompanying co-responsibility.
In order to discover spiritual lines in world events, it is sometimes necessary to look back. What did we pray for and what happened? Is God’s intervention (already) recognizable?
1. Concern ( in February): “ for a further rapprochement to a “Great-Solution-Coalition”. This was said before the election on 2. February in Niedersachsen and Hessen.
Answer: Through the election, a Great Coalition will be legally established and not just be a “good-will coalition”.
2. Concern: “ for a good new beginning and successful continuation of the “Work Alliance”.
Answer: At the beginning of February, the Chancellor’s attempt to revive the “Alliance” failed due to the demands from the employers’ side and the union’s refusal to discuss certain issues. But people continued to pray! Then the blockade standpoint from the union’s ranks softened and the Chancellor dropped the name, “Work Alliance” and made an invitation to a simple “talk without taboos”, which avoided his losing face. And everyone is coming on 3. March. A new beginning has been made.
3. Concern: “especially for a change in the “Atmosphere” in our country - beginning with the Christians! - from negative to positive.”
Answer: - since the last letter, many have truly repented that they were complaining instead of praying, and God sees this!
- the election allowed a protest build-up to discharge
- due to real participation of the Union in government responsibility, the often exaggeratedly sharp protest potential hushed. Instead of criticism, it is now about how to do it better and opening ways.
- the fruitless animosity between union and employer seems to have turned into a solution-seeking dialogue.
It is really exciting, though, when we realize that a prophetic word from the past is being filled, when we feel that we are living God’s history. On 3. October, 2002 during a Day of Prayer in Weinstadt, a long prophecy with concrete points was spoken over Germany.
A steam engine is put in front of a row of old train cars. The cars are rather dilapidated. In spite of this, the train slowly takes off, stopping now and then. The passengers are not idle either. They are busy and renovate the cars, one for each state. The numbers 50, 60, 70 appear, the centuries of rebuilding. Later come the 80’s and 90’s, which are lived and celebrated. From the front comes a message: “We’re doing well.” Everyone celebrates. In the 90’s, the train stops and more wagons are taken from the sidetracks and added, so now there are 16. The passengers in the other cars do nothing, they depend on the train’s crew to repair the wagons. After all, they have paid their fare. The speed is clearly slowing down. Good and calming words come from the front. The train conductors have a red and a green sheet of paper that they are trying to use as cover. It seems possible but they are not looking at the paper and what is written on it, but rather they look worriedly ahead. They are very insecure and inner tension about what lies ahead. The reason is that the headlights of the locomotive are defect. The headlight fixture is bent, so the light does not shine ahead but down. In the twilight and dark there is no light to show the way. That is not so bad as long as the tracks go straight ahead, but now one can see there are barriers on the tracks that must be removed.. There are bridges that are so fragile that they have to be crossed very slowly: and switches that have to be set at important junctions. We need light here!
Three things are necessary. 1. The message on the loudspeakers must be: the party is over, people, we need you. 2. There is a leader in every wagon. The train conductor (federal government) must call the wagon-leaders (state governments) together to work on concepts for the future. This will take humility on both sides. 3. God’s Word must be respected again to give values and direction.
The call is: Pray! Pray!
It is those who pray that lay the tracks, which are the promises for our land, which have been prayed down. These tracks have helped Germany. Pray, that the train stays on track and the track continues. There are promises that Germany will receive mercy and other nations will be served.
These words were printed on “The Political Page” in December 02, because at that time, level 1, “The party is over; people we need you” was fulfilled in Chancellor Schröder’s speech to the nation (Oct. 02).
Level 2, the rapprochement of the Federal government and the Union parties was already visible through the contact between W. Clement (Minister of Economy) and F. Merz (deputy CDU Chair)
The election results on 2. February show that this prediction came about completely and even more sweepingly than we imagines on 3. October. The leader train personnel has come closer together.
“This will take humility on both sides.” So it will !
Those who pray are repairing the headlight. They are laying the tracks of good promises over our land from Heaven down to Earth. They see to it that the train does not jump the track and stays on track. Pray, pray !
· Gratitude for God’s good plans for our country.
· Gratitude for the way the Lord has already answered our prayers from December and February.
· Thanks that He gives us prophetic directives that comfort us when we recognize signs along the way.
· Repair the headlights by proclamation of God’s Word, also there where it is not heeded; as well as the wisdom and love from God which is expressed in His commandments.
Repentance for not doing God’s Will, often knowingly. - New dedication from the heart.
Repentance also whenever we recognize that in Germany, God’s ordinances are being trampled and ignored (cheating, materialism, sex, occultism, anger, etc).
Bowing to God’s righteous judgement.
Revolution for the Word of God
There are surely many possibilities during the “Year of the Bible”.
Testify to the meaning of the Bible in my life to all around me ( and if it is only reading the Bible in the bus/train on the way to work).
Protest verbally and in writing whenever God’s good rules are made fun of publicly.
· Ask for humility on both sides: from the government and the opposition; also from the unions and employers.
· Plead for new trust in our country ( general atmosphere in Germany)
The foreign political situation
Information (status 21.2.03)
The Iraqi war has already begun. A huge, world-wide battle of opinions has started that is being carried out at the highest diplomatic level as well as by multitudes on the street. Each side fights for its position - war with Iraq or extending the inspections and disarming by peaceful means - and almost every day changes the chances of winning.
Chief-inspector Hans Blix has spoken twice and US Foreign Minister Colin Powell once before the UN Security Council. Blix could only report that no weapons of mass destruction had been found whereas Powell tried to prove the opposite.
Unique in history since the war, however, is the fact that the opinion front cuts through the middle of the established decades of alliances of NATO and the European Union (EU) so deeply that there was (is?) real danger that this union could fall apart. It was especially the UN, however, that gave Europe an unheard of span of peace for 58 years. Should it fall apart, Europe would regress to national states with their constantly changing “axis” in competition for power in Europe (17th-20th century).
When Europeans do not cooperate, the old axis forms again immediately; and that is exactly what happened: first, Tony Blair charged ahead with unconditional support for the USA - without talking with the others. Then, Gerhard Schröder - also without any consultation - committed to the complete opposite position: no war, not even with a UN mandate. Thus, each was forced to solicit comrades for his side, that is to form an “axis”. So, the question of opinion, which could have been calmly discussed in the EU Council, became a question of power. Old fears surfaced and that is the danger in this issue. Iraq became a trigger for supposedly long-forgotten politics of power.
At first, Germany was isolated with its opinion. During the 50-year jubilee of the German-French Friendship Treaty, however, Chirac joined with Schröder in opposition against the British/American war plans. On his visit to Berlin and Paris, Putin also joined the two. However, since France and Russia have a veto right in the Security Council, they did not yet want to commit. Germany - to keep the axis- gave in and agreed to: “War only as a last resort.” The axis Germany-France-Russia seem to rule Europe.
Far from it! Just shortly afterwards- without any conferring - an “open letter” of loyalty addressed to the Americans appeared in the newspapers, signed by 8 European countries led by England, Spain and Italy, followed by 5 east European candidate countries. A new axis had been formed as a balance. Europe was on the verge of breaking apart. The same happened a bit later in NATO. Belgium, France and Germany withheld their yes to the preparations for military protection of Turkey in the event of an Iraqi attack because it could be construed as support for war on Iraq by supporters of the war. Following that, Turkey asked, according to § 4 of the NATO Regulations - which has never happened before!- for help, but which was blocked by the other three. The NATO is facing the hardest crisis in its history and threatens to break up. The Americans, who protected Germany from the East for many decades within the framework of the NATO Alliance, are shocked and threaten to leave the Alliance.
On 15. February, millions of people all over the globe demonstrated against the war - against an Iraqi war and against war on principle as a political means; millions in London and Rome, that is, in most of the countries, whose governments had sided with the Americans in the “open letter”. This people’s outcry did not fail to have an effect. Blair is more cautious in his war statements and the USA keeps pushing the start of the war further ahead. They are not sure; although the build-up on the Golf continues.
Nato and the EU hold a special crisis summit meeting. In the NATO, it is agreed to resort to emergency measures for Turkey, while adding expressly that this is no vote for an attack on Iraq. In this way, everyone could save face. The EU tries to combine yes and no by phrasing that war would only be accepted as “a last resort”, when all other peaceful means are exhausted. The inspectors should be given more time. The significance of the UN is emphasized. It is a verbal compromise that requires concessions from England, that is, Germany. “The Chancellor has fallen, but in the right direction.” (Wolfgang Schäuble, CDU).
Already, the next day, however, the unity among the Europeans breaks down again. Jacques Chirac gives a dressing down to the 8 signers of the “open letter”, especially to the hopefuls from the eastern European countries, as if they were schoolboys, threatening them with no support. It is a singularly offensively rude act - Diplomacy is shocked (the French too!)
The next day, however, Tony Blair drops the second bomb by openly praising in a letter, the east European countries for their courage and assuring them his support. (Based on their post-war history, for the east Europeans, American withdrawal from Europe is a horror vision.)
It is clear: There is a form of comprise in the EU but not unity. Europe is far from speaking
with one voice.
2.1 It is about the status of war. Is it allowed as “a last resort for politics” or not? Schröder, with his absolute no in spite of a UN mandate, would have maneuvered Germany in international isolation, since no country in the whole world is of this opinion except the radical pacifists. But they have no government responsibility to carry. In the end, the Europeans’ no/yes helped him out of isolation since he could not ignore it. How Germany will vote in the event of another UN resolution in the Security Council depends on how it is worded. But for sure, it will contain the phrase “last resort”; what then?
Both sides base their views in the meantime, on religion, that is, God wills it so. Bush sees himself sent by God to lead this war. Most churches see it from the basic command to peace in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Who is right? Could it be that both sides are right and are being used by God to protect His people, Israel, and the world from the worst? One thing is certain, dictators only react to military pressure. Saddam Hussein only let the inspectors back into the country as the military build-up began and was only open to further cooperation because the pressure was turned up. This was/is necessary to disarm Iraq of mass destruction potential.
On one hand, if the Americans assume their existence, they must know that in the event of war, Hussein will certainly use those weapons, that is, through US bombardment, these war materials would be uncontrollably set free. That is why the background of threats is good, but the danger of setting off a war is high. On the other hand, threats are useless if not backed by a clear willingness to do battle.
What is the solution? The two standpoints diverge from one another at a 90° angle like scissors; still, they belong tightly together and can only together cut the deadly fuse that is presently threatening the world. The scissor’s hub, though, are the people who pray! They do not go in any direction; rather they hold everything together and lay the whole thing as a useful tool in the hands of Him who can use them correctly. The things of this world are decided beforehand in the invisible world. Pray!
2.2 Yes, millions of people are praying!
§ For the fall of Saddam Hussein and his following. This can only happen supernaturally;
§ For discovery of the weapons depot. God spoke prophetically of 5 geographic points, a message that Hans Blix would pass on. The confirmed Word speaks of large, well- camouflaged underground depots. It is only possible for the inspectors to find these through God´s intervention, because they are so well-hidden.
2.3 If these two points were fulfilled, there would be no grounds for a war. Then it would
show if the USA wants war to protect the world or to control the oil in Iraq.
On the other hand, a USA withdrawal without meeting at least one of the reasons for a war is not possible for the super power if they do not want to suffer forever a total loss of face and authority.
2.4 No matter what one thinks of the UN, it can serve as an instrument to keep peace in
the world. It has its own troops (Blue Helmets) which, however, can only be used to maintain peace. They cannot threaten a dictator by military means. Only the super power USA or a military alliance such as NATO, for example, in the case of Kosovo, can do that.
If these military powers recognize the UNO as the decisive body, then a basic order for mankind is possible. If, however, the military powers act without a UNO mandat and just do as they please, then the rule of the strongest is the measuring stick. Confusion and chaos are the results. But, whoever is on top today can be on the bottom tomorrow and need the help of others. September 11th o1 demonstrated that.
May the USA hold cooperation with other people/ the UNO high and not, for example, keep information on depots a secret in order to have a reason to make war, but rather really try to the last minute to cooperate with the inspectors, to keep the peace and safeguard the people.
§ For restoration of trust in the European alliances of the EU and NATO
Refusal of loyalty has always been a heavy offence and also often opens the door to trouble and confusion - as we are experiencing now.
§ For loyalty of the USA to the world community; that if the CIA knows the site of secret weapon depots, it will tell the inspectors.
§ Prayer that Hans Blix will examine the prophetic message about the location of arsenals, and find them. That is important.
§ For Iraq´s cooperation with the inspectors in destroying the ABC weapons.
§ That Saddam Hussein´s time has run out. God removes the violent from the throne (Lk.1:52f). Hold onto this. He and his followers will be held responsible to God and man.
§ Pray that President Bush will be able to pull back his troops without losing face and authority - and without war.
§ Further concerns on The Political Page - February 2003.
(translator - Evelyn Souan)