Current Events

The Budapest Memorandum

Daily Mail wrote on March 1:

“A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if Putin’s troops intervene. Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the… Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.”

This conclusion is not compelling. Note the next article.

What Exactly Is the “Budapest Memorandum”?

Voice of America wrote on March 2:

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances’ is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

“Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises. In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in [the] 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine…

“In the ‘Budapest Memorandum,’ Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest. They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law…

“Is there anything legally binding about the ‘Budapest Memorandum’ regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity? ‘That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,’ says Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law…

“Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity — including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.”

Russia Takes Crimea Without a Shot

The Associated Press reported on March 2:

“Igniting a tense standoff, Russian forces surrounded a Ukrainian army base Sunday just as the country began mobilizing its military in response to the surprise Russian takeover of Crimea. Outrage over Russia’s tactics mounted in world capitals, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calling on President Vladimir Putin to pull back from ‘an incredible act of aggression.’ Fearing that Europe’s borders were being rewritten by force, world leaders rushed to find a diplomatic solution to reverse what had already happened on the ground: Russia captured the Black Sea peninsula on Saturday without firing a shot…

“Putin has defied calls from the West to pull back his troops, insisting that Russia has a right to protect its interests and those of Russian-speakers in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine. His confidence is matched by the knowledge that Ukraine’s 46 million people have divided loyalties between Russia and Europe. While much of western Ukraine wants closer ties with the 28-nation European Union, its eastern and southern regions like Crimea look to Russia for support.

“Russia has long wanted to reclaim the lush Crimean Peninsula, which was part of its territory until 1954. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet pays Ukraine millions every year to be stationed at the Crimean port of Sevastopol and nearly 60 percent of Crimea’s residents identify themselves as Russian…”

Putin seems to think that no earthly power will stop him at this point.

Ukraine Mobilizes Its Troops Against Russia

The Independent wrote on March 2:

“Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister described the country as being on the ‘brink of disaster’ while his government ordered the full mobilisation of its army in response to Russian military movements across the peninsula…

“Kiev had asked its forces in Crimea, numbering around 3,500 and facing up to 30,000 better-armed Russians, not to ‘react to provocation’.”

A war between Russia and Ukraine would result in total subjection of Ukraine towards Russia. Whether anyone would intervene militarily to assist Ukraine in such a war against Russia is highly doubtful.

Putin’s “Defense” and His “Contact Group”

Deutsche Welle wrote on March 3:

“Russian President Putin has agreed to a proposal from the German chancellor to form a ‘fact-finding’ mission to calm tensions with Ukraine. The move follows Western outcry over his deployment of troops to Crimea… Even though Putin defended his decision – directing Merkel’s ‘attention to the unrelenting threat of violence…to Russian citizens and the whole Russian-speaking population [in Ukrainian territory]’ – he also agreed to work with her to curb the diplomatic crisis. ‘President Putin accepted the German chancellor’s proposal to immediately establish a commission of enquiry as well as a contact group, possibly under the direction of the [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] to open a political dialogue,’ a statement from Berlin said… US President Barack Obama reportedly discussed the turmoil in Ukraine with Chancellor Merkel after her call with Putin, according to Reuters news agency…

“While Kerry derided what he called Russia’s ‘brazen act of aggression,’ he stopped short of threatening US military involvement… Ukrainian authorities also launched a treason case against the newly-appointed head of the navy, who announced on Sunday he had switched allegiance to Crimea’s pro-Russian regional leaders. In a televised statement, Denis Berezovsky said he ‘swears allegiance to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea’ and told Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms.”

Putin is good in playing politics, but can he be trusted? Many observers feel that his goal is to bring former Soviet Union satellite states back into “Mother Russia’s” fold, and being aware of the present weakness of the West, he might have concluded that he can’t be stopped at this moment. Europe realizes that they cannot rely on the USA, and this will motivate them to unite militarily. This then will bring about further swift fulfillment of end-time biblical prophecy.

Putin Detached From Reality?

The New York Times wrote on March 2:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. ‘In another world,’ she said.”

Putin’s Twists and Turns—While Putting the World on Notice

BBC News reported on March 4:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there is no need yet to send troops into Ukraine, but that Moscow is ready to protect its citizens. His comments come as armed men, who Mr Putin says are not Russian troops but pro-Russian self-defence groups, surround army bases in Crimea…

“Meanwhile, two Ukrainian warships are reported to be blocked by a Russian ship in the port of Sevastopol… Ukraine says some 16,000 Russian troops have arrived in Crimea in recent days… Mr Putin said the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovych last month following mass protests was an ‘anti-constitutional coup and armed seizure of power’. He also insisted that Mr Yanukovych – whom Ukraine’s parliament voted to impeach on 22 February – was still the legitimate president…

“Ukraine was in ‘chaos’, he said, with ‘nationalists’ and ‘anti-Semites’ roaming the streets of Kiev and other cities. If Russian-speaking people in eastern Ukraine asked for Russia’s help, or if there were signs of anarchy, ‘we reserve the right to use all means,’ he said. He accused the West of encouraging the street protests.”

On March 4, 2014, the German mass tabloid, Bild, published an article about Putin’s “seven lies,” accusing him of blatantly and intentionally misrepresenting the truth. Along the same lines, CNN reported on March 4 that “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia of making up reasons for intervention in Ukraine, saying Tuesday ‘not a single piece of credible evidence supports any one of these claims.’”

Russian Retaliation and Pretext?

Reuters reported on March 4:

“Russia said on Tuesday that it would retaliate if the United States imposed sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine… In Kiev on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday condemned Russia’s ‘act of aggression’ in Ukraine and said Moscow, which has taken control of the Crimea region, was looking for a pretext to invade more of the country.”

Crimea Ready To Join Russia?

BBC News reported on March 6:

“MPs in Crimea have asked Moscow to allow the southern Ukrainian region to become part of the Russian Federation. The parliament said if its request was granted, Crimean citizens could give their view in a referendum on 16 March… The Crimean parliament resolved ‘to enter into the Russian Federation with the rights of a subject of the Russian Federation’. It said it had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘to start the procedure’.”

“Russia China Unite”

With this headline, the Drudge Report linked to the following article by Sky News, dated March 5:

“Russia has said China is largely ‘in agreement’ over Ukraine, after other world powers condemned Moscow for sending troops into the country… Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov discussed Ukraine by telephone with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday, and claimed they had ‘broadly coinciding points of view’ on the situation there, according to a ministry statement…

“As the tense stand-off continues, the other seven nations of the G8 urged Moscow to hold talks with Kiev. ‘We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,’ they said in a statement. ‘We have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 Summit in Sochi in June.’

“British Foreign Secretary William Hague… said Russia has taken operational control of Crimea. He described Russia’s intervention in Ukraine as the biggest crisis in Europe in the 21st century.”

“Worst Crisis Since Berlin Wall”

The Local wrote on March 3:

“Russia’s intervention means ‘the threat of a division of Europe is real again,’ Steinmeier said… ‘But now is time for diplomacy. Diplomacy does not mean weakness but is more needed than ever to prevent us from being drawn into the abyss of military escalation,’ he said… The German minister said ‘the situation in Ukraine worsens every day and so far, an end to the escalation is not seen’…

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert…  said he saw ‘no military option’ and that the German government ‘is not thinking in military terms’ about the crisis… ‘I don’t want to rule anything in or rule anything out,’ said British Minister for Europe David Lidington… Late on Sunday Germany said Putin had accepted an offer from Merkel to set up a ‘contact group’ with Ukraine over the crisis, but Moscow did not confirm the German reports…

“Merkel told Putin the intervention was a violation of a 1994 Budapest memorandum on security assurances in which Russia committed itself to respecting the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine in its existing borders, as well as the 1997 treaty on the Russian Black Sea fleet, based in Crimea…”

No German Trust in Russia

The Local reported on March 6:

“A third of Germans expect there to be an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea, according to a poll on Thursday. It comes on a day of frenzied diplomacy by Germany to defuse the crisis. The poll from public broadcaster ARD also showed that trust in Russia among Germans had sunk to its lowest ever recorded level… Meanwhile, Germany’s vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel was in Moscow on Thursday for talks with Putin to discuss the Crimea crisis…

“The EU is discussing possible sanctions against Russia… The US announced the first sanctions against Russia on Thursday lunchtime with visa restrictions against Russian officials.”

America Without Any Real Options

The Washington Times wrote on March 2:

“… the U.S. appears to have few effective options to punish Russia for its actions, which Ukrainian officials consider to be ‘a declaration of war.’ Mr. Kerry who appeared on four Sunday political talk shows, stressed that all options are on the table, but it’s clear military force is unlikely. Instead, the U.S. and its allies are considering economic sanctions and a suspension of the nearly $40 billion-per-year U.S.-Russia  trade relationship. In another move of condemnation, the U.S. and its key allies… have halted planning efforts for the June meeting of the Group of Eight, set for Sochi…

“But those moves, if they come to fruition, may not sway Russia, some analysts say. For Mr. Putin… punishment from the international community may pale in comparison with the benefits of annexing key parts of Ukraine and expanding his influence across the old Soviet bloc. ‘Russia believes there is nothing going to stop them, which is why they’ve become so aggressive in Crimea. There is not a lot of options on the table and, candidly, and I’m a fairly hawkish guy, sending more naval forces to operate in the Black Sea is not really a very good idea,’ said Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, speaking during an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘Unless you’re intending to use them, I wouldn’t send them…’”

USA, UK and France May Boycott G8 Meetings in Russia

Reuters reported on March 2:

“Britain will suspend its participation in preparations for a G8 meeting in Sochi after Russia violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, British Foreign Minister William Hague said on Sunday. The United States has already said it will not take part in the meetings, and a source in President Francois Hollande’s office said France has also pulled out.

“Western countries are scrambling to respond to developments in Ukraine’s Crimea… ‘The United Kingdom will join other G8 countries this week in suspending our co-operation under the G8, which Russia chairs this year, including … meetings this week for the preparation of the G8 summit,’ Hague told media…”

The G8 countries include the US, Russia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Whether or not the G8 countries will meet; whether the other countries will speak to Russia or not—Vladimir Putin will do what HE wants to do.

“Why Is Britain Running Away from Europe?”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 28:

“Great Britain used to play a key role in leading Europe, and the benefits have been substantial. But now, the UK is turning its back on the EU and has chosen to focus on peripheral issues…

“In the aftermath of the Second World War, Winston Churchill called for the creation of a ‘United States of Europe’ to bind France and Germany together. In doing so, he made clear that Britain would be a supportive but independent partner of any such entity. He famously said: ‘We are with Europe but not of it.’ In the end, Britain did join the European Economic Community but only in 1973, 15 years after the Treaty of Rome was signed…

“In other words: Britain was always a bit late to the party. But once it found its way to Belgium, Britain had an uncanny knack of winning the big strategic battles. It is therefore a puzzle that the current British government has diverted its attention from winning the next round of key policy debates in Brussels and, instead, focused on a pointless exercise of seeking treaty change to repatriate powers.

“… the UK has seen its leadership role in Brussels diminish…  Britain is losing more votes in the European Council than at any point in recent history…”

Whether Britain is running away from continental Europe or being pushed out, it will not be part of the prophesied member states of core Europe.

How Corporate America Defeated Arizona Bill Regarding Homosexuals

The Associated Press wrote on February 27:

“Voicing concern for their employees, customers and bottom lines, prominent companies from American Airlines to Verizon used threats of reduced business to help convince Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto legislation that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gays based on the owner’s religious beliefs…

“The measure Brewer vetoed Wednesday night would have allowed people to cite their religious beliefs as a defense against claims of discrimination. She faced intense pressure from gay rights supporters, prominent politicians and local businesses. But ultimately, it might have been the national business community that tipped the scales…

“American Airlines CEO Doug Parker suggested his airline would cut flights… Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam also flexed some muscle… Other companies, such as Intel, PetSmart, American Express, eBay and GoDaddy joined with local and state chambers of commerce and other business collations, signing letters in opposition to the bill, known as SB 1062.”

Other companies mentioned in the article which opposed the bill were Yelp, Marriott, Southwest Airlines and Starwood Hotels.

Obama Warns Israel

The Times of Israel wrote on March 2:

“Israel can expect to face international isolation and possible sanctions from countries and companies across the world if Benjamin Netanyahu fails to endorse a framework agreement with the Palestinians, US President Barack Obama cautioned on Sunday… Obama stressed that time was running out for Israel to achieve a peace deal, and added that he believed Netanyahu had the capacity to rally Israel’s citizens behind an agreement…

“The president went on to condemn in no uncertain terms Israel’s settlement activities in the West Bank, and said that though his allegiance to the Jewish state was permanent, building settlements across the Green Line was counterproductive and would make it extremely difficult for the US to defend Israel from painful repercussions in the international community…”

Ultimately, the USA will withdraw all support from Israel.

President Obama’s Scary Interview

The Weekly Standard wrote on March 3:

“President Obama gave a lengthy interview to Jeffrey Goldberg that shows a chief executive who has learned next to nothing about the world in his five years in office… what emerged is an awful portrait of the president and his conception of the world.

“Take Syria. Here’s what Obama said: ‘I think those who believe that two years ago, or three years ago, there was some swift resolution to this thing had we acted more forcefully, fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the conflict in Syria and the conditions on the ground there. … nobody has been able to persuade me that us taking large-scale military action even absent boots on the ground, would actually solve the problem. And those who make that claim do so without a lot of very specific information.’

“Who are these people who have inadequate information, misunderstand the conflict in Syria, and think there is much more the United States could have done? They include both of Obama’s secretaries of state, Clinton and Kerry, his former defense secretary Leon Panetta, and his former CIA director David Petraeus—all of whom wanted much more U.S. support for the Syrian rebels…

“On Israel, Obama was harsh and unfriendly to Netanyahu… Mr. Obama says this: ‘Palestinians would still prefer peace. They would still prefer a country of their own that allows them to find a job, send their kids to school, travel overseas, go back and forth to work without feeling as if they are restricted or constrained as a people.’ If they would also prefer freedom of the press and of speech, and free elections, and an independent court system, and a government that does not steal their money, well, that isn’t of much interest to Mr. Obama. It isn’t even worth mentioning. So he would give the Palestinians the ‘dignity’ that led to oppression and uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, and seems to have no interest in the actual conditions of political life in the state he would create…

“As to that ‘aggressive settlement construction,’ it is worth noting that at Obama’s request Netanyahu suspended construction in settlements for ten months in 2009. Apparently that gesture, its political cost for Netanyahu, and the fact that it gained Netanyahu and Israeli absolutely nothing from the Palestinians or the Europeans, is now forgotten…

“When it comes to Iran, Obama shows an attitude that can only be described as solipsistic: what’s in his mind is reality. And any other reality is just plain silly… It’s pretty obvious to all analysts that Iran does not fear an American military strike much these days, especially after Mr. Obama’s failure to act in Syria last summer. But Obama denies it, referring to himself in the third person as someone ‘who has shown himself willing to take military action.’ Drones, sure; a quick raid as well. But in Libya and Syria, he showed himself extremely reluctant to take military action…

“Goldberg pushes him, asking why (as is obvious) no one in the Gulf believes Obama. ‘I don’t think it is personal,’ says the president; the problem is them, not him, and his analysis is therapeutic: change is always scary, and they are having trouble catching up with it.  But talk with Gulf Arabs and one finds quickly that it is in fact quite personal: they don’t trust Mr. Obama. They believe his handling of Iran and Syria and for that matter of Russia have made the world a more dangerous place.

“Change is apparently not scary to Mr. Obama, who is confident all his policies are right. Those who disagree are uninformed, or itching for conflict, or ignorant about the risks they will soon face, or sadly unable to adapt to world events. This is the Obama who said of his own nomination that ‘this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.’ If he believes it, it must be so. The Goldberg interview reveals that five years in, nothing has changed.”

To be clear, we most certainly do not support any military action or violence on either side. But we are quoting the article to show how the world perceives America and its “leadership.” From that standpoint, as Mr. Putin is apparently not in touch with reality, maybe Mr. Obama isn’t either…

Persecution of German Homeschoolers

The Associated Press reported on March 3:

“The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from a German family seeking asylum in the United States because their home country does not allow home-schooling. The justices rejected an appeal from Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, who claim the German government is persecuting them because they want to raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs.

“The family moved to Morristown, Tenn., in 2008 after facing fines and threats for refusing to send their children to a state-approved school, as required by Germany’s compulsory attendance law. They say German laws violate international human rights standards. Last year, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that claim…”

WorldNetDaily added on March 4:

“The penalties [in Germany] are based on a Hitler-era law [enacted in 1938] that the German government still enforces against homeschooling. The Romeikes said they chose homeschooling because of anti-Christian and cult beliefs being taught in the public schools.

“The Obama administration successfully fought to overturn the federal judge’s decision that would have given the family permission to remain in the U.S. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Romeike family was granted asylum in 2010 by a federal immigration judge who found that ‘Germany’s treatment of the family amounted to persecution.’… But on the request of the Obama administration, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided against the family, saying Germany was just enforcing its law… Justice Department officials… contended that Germany wasn’t persecuting homeschoolers, just applying the Hitler-era laws to everyone…

“Thomas Schirrmacher, executive chair of the Theological Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, who is based in Germany, recently touched on the homeschooling law in a lecture on religious freedom. Germans, of all people, should know better, he said. ‘The fact that the laws of a nation make something lawful doesn’t make it right,’ he told the organization… He noted that the law against homeschooling was never changed after the war…

“In Germany, children having been seized from their parents in several cases, most recently last September when armed police officers equipped with a battering ram forcibly took four children from German parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich because they were being homeschooled. WND reported later the children were return[ed] to the parents after they were given no choice but to agree to have the children begin attending public school classes…”

Breitbart wrote on March 4:

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has verbally informed the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that the Romeike family, German homeschoolers who sought legal asylum in the United States, has been granted indefinite deferred action status, which means that the order for their removal from the United States will not be acted upon… the U.S. Supreme Court had denied the Romeike family’s petition for certiorari, or review. According to a press release Tuesday by HSLDA, however, news of the Supreme Court’s denial sparked ‘an immediate and unprecedented reaction.’

“Fox News informed HSLDA that it recorded one million page views of the story about the Romeike family within 24 hours – an all-time high. ‘We are happy to have indefinite status even though we won’t be able to get American citizenship any time soon,’ said Uwe Romeike. ‘As long as we can live at peace here, we are happy. We have always been ready to go wherever the Lord would lead us – and I know my citizenship isn’t really on earth. This has always been about our children…’ Before fleeing to the U.S. in 2008, the Romeike parents had been threatened with thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time in Germany because they chose to homeschool their children…”

But what would have happened if the American public would not have overwhelmingly shown their support for the Romeike family? And what about the many other German families who are being forced to have their children “educated” in a public school system which seems to become more and more hostile towards minority religions?

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