The budget shows a deficit for all those countries listed below. With the exception of Germany, which had a healthy surplus.
Germany also has an extensive public healthcare system and a generous social safety net system. In addition, Germany has tuition-free education at universities and colleges. It does not saddle its younger generation with heavy education loans for the benefit of predatory banking corporations. Many other countries, including Saudi Arabia, also provide free university education. Germany also, unlike the USA and Saudi Arabia, is not engaged in major expensive stupid unwinnable foreign wars.
Govt budget balance as share of GDP, 2017.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
European elections coming up. France this month will choose between Marine Le Pen, considered an anti-EU rebel, and Emmanuel Macron, the candidate of the elites and the French establishment. Britain will vote in snap parliamentary elections the Conservative Tories hope to win. German elections coming up as well, with Angela Merkel (Mother of All Germans) facing snapping opponents.
I am not sure who will win, but I have my own odds (all odds are risky given the American elections last November). But I know one thing: British, French, or German winners will all pack a suitcase at some point and head to the Middle East region. No, not to perform the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimage. Each will be eager to sell more weapons and other goodies than the other Europeans. Even the Marxist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, had he won, would also fly to Riyadh or Abu Dhabi peddling weapons and other goods. An intense rivalry among the three big European powers over Arab markets. Forget about human rights. Most European leaders are traveling salesman, although Merkel may be less of one.
Which reminds me: Iran is having its own elections for president. It looks like it could go either way. The U.S. Congress (both parties) and the Democrat bureaucrats in the Obama Administration have made sure that the economic benefits of the Nuclear Deal are minimal to the Iranian people. President Hassan Rouhani could lose the election to hardliner Mohammad Ghalibaf (his name in Persian means ‘carpet weaver‘). Either way it will be close. But don’t expect either one of these Iranians, or whoever else wins, to fly around the region selling weapons to the potentates.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“The UN’s special rapporteur on torture has accused Britain of playing Bahrain’s “game” by funding its human rights institutions while allowing it to act with “impunity” by not pressuring the kingdom to let him visit. Juan Méndez, whose 2013 visit was postponed by Bahrain, told BuzzFeed News the kingdom had “played the UK’s support to maximum effect”. While Méndez does not have legally binding, enforceable powers, the public nature of his reporting could potentially damage the kingdom’s standing on the world stage……..”
Historical reports of World War II tell us that whenever the invading German forces conquered a town in the Soviet Union (Russia), they started by killing off leaders of the Jewish community. They would call for all Rabbis and business and academic leaders to attend a meeting, where they would be either deported to camps or summarily shot over mass graves. The idea was to decapitate a community and render its members leaderless and lost.
Now I don’t want to exaggerate (although I will): there are no mass graves on the Gulf. The local culture does not allow for such historically-European practices. But in the British colony of Bahrain there is a milder gentler imitation of what the Nazi SS did during the war. The rulers and their imported mercenaries are slowly decapitating the troublesome Shi’as. They have been gradually persecuting and prosecuting the leaders of the majority Shi’a community (and some decent outspoken Sunnis like Ibrahim Al Sharif and others).
Clerics are being thrown in prison for speaking their minds, many mosques have been razed, and they are handing out long prison sentences for human rights activists. Many are having their citizenship, a birthright in all civilized countries, canceled arbitrarily by the ruling family and its tribal allies. New foreign people, mercenaries, are brought in who are deemed “loyal’ to the rulers. They tried that “loyalty” approach that in another Gulf GCC country decades ago, but it has backfired.
Remember, this is an exaggeration by me, a gross exaggeration on my part. Consider it like an artistic exaggeration or artistic license that is used to to make a point. But the idea is the same, even if the method is not nearly as gruesome.
M Haider Ghuloum
“You know, greed is good………” Ivan Boesky, Gordon Gecko, Rick Santelli, et al
“American students that want to attend college, but are unable to find the finances to do so, may want to look at schools in Germany as tuition fees have been eliminated country-wide after Lower Saxony became the last state to get on board. Germany universities were free in the past, but a 2006 ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that limited fees did not conflict with the Germany’s commitment to universal eduction. It didn’t take long for various states in Germany to see how unpopular the new fees were, and slowly each state dropped them, leaving Lower Saxony as the final holdout. Gabrielle Heinen-Kjajic, the minister for science and culture in Lower Saxony, said in a statement that the decision was made “because we do not want higher education which depends on the wealth of the parents.”………..”
Germany is becoming more and more like America was in the period from the 1950s through the 1970s, before the American counter-revolution that started in the 1980s against open higher education. Germany now seems to be leading the way in higher education. The target in Germany is equality and building up a well-educated society, true social mobility through an educated labor force. Educated voters are not seen as a potential enemy by any major party, not openly anyway.
That free universal education used to be the target in America as well, before the banking industry took over higher education over the past three decades. But first, in order to do that, the banking industry had to take over the U.S. Congress, both houses and both parties, which they have done admirably. And they had to get university administrators to cooperate, which they have done. Now the tuition goal is ‘whatever the market bears’, unless one is an athlete.
Change you can believe in? Yes sir, that is the small change you get after paying the tuition and the student loan payments.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“German Development Minister Gerd Mueller accused Qatar on Wednesday of financing Islamic State militants who have seized wide areas of northern Iraq and have posted a video of a captive American journalist being beheaded. “This kind of conflict, this kind of a crisis always has a history … The ISIS troops, the weapons – these are lost sons, with some of them from Iraq,” Mueller told German public broadcaster ZDF. “You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar – and how do we deal with these people and states politically?” said Mueller, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the center-right Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats. Mueller did not elaborate and presented no evidence of a Qatari link to Islamic State………….”
ISIS or ISIL or IS are Wahhabi terrorists who got their start with help from many sources, especially in the Persian Gulf states. Not sure why the Germans singled out Qatar for criticism and ignored the others. Could be that Qatar is still funding and arming them while the others claim they are trying to crack down. Could be that the Turks are still allowing all comers access through their neighborly borders with Syria.
Could it be that the prospects of lucrative weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are too tempting for the Germans to openly criticize them? They are for most other European countries: Francois Hollande would easily convert to Wahhabism, if he could still have his wine. The Al Saud princes and others have mastered the art of economic blackmail against greedy European powers. To the extent that British prime minister David Cameron has authorized an absurd investigation to decide whether the Muslim Brotherhood can be listed as a “terrorist” organization. The same Brotherhood whose government in Egypt he recognized before the military coup of July 2013. That is obviously groveling to the financial power of tribal potentates and their petro-money.
The culprits who helped ISIS rise in Iraq, grow in Syria, and then expand into Iraq are hiding in plain sight, and they are not only in Qatar.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung published a caricature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he poisons the dove of Middle East peace. According to the drawing, the prime minister is spilling poison from a bottle marked “settlement construction” onto a peace of bread, as the dove stands next to him, holding an olive branch in its mouth. In early July, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung, a daily newspaper, published a caricature criticizing Germany’s military aid to Israel. “Germany presents” the drawing’s subheading read, elaborating: “For decades Israel receives arms, sometimes for free. Israel’s detractors believe Israel to be a voracious Moloch. Peter Beinart condemns this situation.” Beinart is a liberal Jewish professor and journalist known for his critical stance on Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. …………….”
“Qatar aims to buy 118 more Leopard tanks from Germany before the football World Cup championships in 2022 for several billion euros, a German newspaper reported on Sunday. It also plans to buy 16 tank howitzers, Bild am Sonntag reported citing government sources in Qatar. The equipment is made by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Spokesmen were not immediately available for comment in Qatar or at Krauss-Maffei or Rheinmetall. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved the purchase of 62 Leopard tanks and 24 howitzers in the spring..……….”
I can’t believe the Qataris need the 118 tanks and howitzers for the FIFA World Cup of 2022. Some football (soccer) fans can be rowdy, but not that rowdy. Even the worst of them, the English fans, are not rowdy enough for tanks and howitzers. North Korea is unlikely to invade Qatar if they get to the World Cup and get knocked out.
Qatar is a small peninsula that is surrounded by Gulf waters on all sides except for one unfortunate side. That one side is the border with Saudi Arabia. The Qataris can’t be afraid of little Bahrain with whom they have had offshore territorial disputes (which they won). The Bahrain regime can’t even put down its own people’s uprising without foreign mercenaries and Saudi troops. The other Gulf GCC states are too far for any border disputes with Qatar. The Qataris share a huge offshore natural gas field with Iran, but they seem to get along with that. The Iranian mullahs, contrary to Saudi and some Western propaganda are not likely to storm across the Gulf and attack Qatar. Besides, they would have to deal with the huge American armada in the Persian Gulf before crossing the water. Not easy, going through the U.S. Navy.
Which brings me back to the Qatari border with Saudi Arabia.
Of course Gulf GCC countries often purchase expensive weapons that they could never use. They do that partly for the fat commissions (kickbacks) some of their influential potentates get. Or maybe they like having the most advanced weapons sit in their warehouses.
Or maybe in case they need their Panzers to liberate Syria from the Al Assad regime, single handed and without any help from NATO.