Lord Ismay, the first Secretary-General of NATO, stated, in 1957, that the organization’s goal was “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.”
This is now forgotten.
Last week, the British withdrew almost all of their troops from Germany. A token force of 185 is remaining, with an additional 60 Ministry of Defense civilians. There were 19,100 troops until recently.
At the weekend, President Trump threatened to withdraw Americans troops from the country.
“The US has threatened to withdraw thousands of troops stationed in Germany amid a dispute with Angela Merkel’s government over defence spending.
“Richard Grenell, the US ambassador in Berlin, warned that his country could pull out some of its forces if Germany continues to fall short of the alliance’s spending target of 2 per cent of GDP.
“It is actually offensive to assume that the US taxpayer must continue to pay to have 50,000-plus Americans in Germany, but the Germans get to spend their surplus on domestic programs,” Mr. Grenell told Germany’s DPA news agency.
“The remarks will add to concerns that the NATO alliance is becoming strained by President Trump’s impatience with German military spending.” (Justin Huggler, Daily Telegraph, 8/9)
The British withdrawal from the EU leaves Germany without any challenger in the EU. The withdrawal of troops makes it more likely that Europe will pursue an independent military policy.
The Bible prophesies the rise of a European military, political and economic power at the end time (Revelation 17:12-14).
GERMANY TO LEAD EU IN PERSIAN GULF NAVAL OPERATION
(Own report) – German military experts have presented their first concrete plans for an EU naval operation in the Persian Gulf. According to the draft of two well-connected government advisors and a Bundeswehr professor, warships should be cruising at the two entrances to the Strait of Hormuz. Supplementary warships should escort oil tankers through the strait with armed troops on board to ward off possible attacks – depending on the disposition to escalate. This would necessitate “between 10 and 30 percent of the EU’s naval capacities,” and Berlin should be in command of the deployment to demonstrate its aspiration to shape global policy. Whereas sectors of the SPD and the opposition reject the operation, the chancellor and foreign ministry are promoting the plan also within the EU. Previously, Foreign Minster Heiko Maas had rejected the US demand for Germany to deploy warships in a US-led naval mission in the Middle East. Berlin is positioning itself to be an independent power in global politics. (German Foreign Policy, 8/15)
PELOSI THREATENS BREXIT
If there is no deal with the EU on Brexit, Nancy Pelosi threatens the proposed trade deal between Britain and the US.
The reason is simple. Leo Varadkar is against it. He’s the Irish PM and does not want the British to leave the EU, thereby bringing back the border between Britain and Ireland.
Ms. Pelosi, a Catholic (except on abortion), sympathizes with Ireland on this issue.
WASHINGTON TO FOLLOW DETROIT
“Washington is headed where Detroit once was” was the headline in the “Think” section of the Detroit News August 1st. In an article by Alison Acosta Winters and Russell Latino, the authors wrote: “The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a two-year budget deal that will bust the spending cap by $320 billion and put our country on a fiscal trajectory that the Congressional Budget Office called its “worst case scenario.”
“Worst case,” indeed.
“At a time when the federal debt has surpassed $22 trillion, lawmakers have voted not to address the explosion of debt, but to add to it. Over the next decade, the latest bipartisan budget deal will increase federal debt by $1.7 trillion beyond the already-baked-in debt of $12.4 trillion.
“Fiscal watchdog groups from across the political spectrum slammed the deal as reckless and irresponsible. The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the deal “may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history.”
“This week the 2020 presidential campaign came to Detroit, a city that knows first-hand what a debt crisis looks like.
“In 2013, the Motor City, more than $18 billion in debt, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, the culmination of decades of poor policy choices and economic decline . . .
“Unlike Detroit, the US government can’t declare bankruptcy to get out from under its mountain of debt growing at more than $1 trillion a year. But even without bankruptcy, that’s a recipe for an economic catastrophe that would make the 2008 financial collapse pale in comparison. And when it comes, it will be programs like defence, Medicare and Social Security that take the biggest hits.
“To avoid that outcome, we are going to have to get serious about reining in out-of-control spending.”
The chief executives of America’s 350 leading companies took home an average $17.2m last year, 278 times the salary of their average worker. A new survey by the Economics Policy Institute found the average pay of a top US CEO has grown by 1,007.5% in the past four decades, while a typical worker’s grew by just 11.9%. The trend is so dramatic even CEOs are sounding the alarm. Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund, warned this year that the US wealth gap was becoming a “national emergency.”
Byron Auguste says the US labour market is broken, and to fix it we need an “Opportunity Marketplace:” new rules and tools “to empower Americans without college degrees to earn more, in better jobs, and to gain new skills at much lower financial risk.” (Guardian briefing, 8/14)
Collateral damage: Germany’s economy
As the trade war rages between America and China, export-orientated economies are caught in the crossfire. Figures out today showed that Germany’s economy contracted by 0.1% in the second quarter compared to the first. Exports appear to have taken some flak. So has industrial production – particularly car making, which suffered a blow from last year’s changes to emissions-testing rules. German industrial weakness tends to spread eastwards, thanks to tightly-knit manufacturing supply chains: growth in Slovakia, also out today, was modest (0.4% on the previous quarter), though Hungary’s (1.1%) was stronger. Despite Germany’s limping manufacturing, household spending has soldiered on. But how long can consumers hold out? In the face of slowing demand, BASF, a chemicals maker, is cutting 6,000 jobs. Some firms are scaling back working hours. Economists hope that fiscal policy might come to the rescue. But so far German politicians show little inclination to change their tight-fisted ways to defend growth. (The Economist Briefing, 8/14)
LETTER FROM GHANA
“Tolerance now means, if you don’t agree with me you are my enemy.
The NPP Government is ruling like a dictatorship with reckless abandon. They have mortgaged the Nation to China, borrow more money than all other Governments put together in just three years with absolutely nothing to show for it.
“Those of Us who can feel the rumblings are praying for it to pass us by. Unfortunately the Nation is been driven into survival mode and behaves abnormally. Reactionary rather than reasonable response.
“Like all wars in Africa, it will start as NPP against NDC but quickly degenerate in ethnic wars with some tribes splitting on the Akans and Ewes. Ghanaians have nowhere to go but pray.” (8/13)
The movie “Mission of Honor” tells the story of the R.A.F.’s 303 Squadron during World War II’s Battle of Britain. This was a squadron made up of Polish volunteers. Poles accounted for 20% of pilots at this critical time for Great Britain. After the war, most were sent back to Poland and died at the hands of Stalin.
I doubt there will ever be a movie about the Rhodesians who fought in the Battle of Britain, including the “rebel” leader, Ian Smith. Rhodesia was also a training ground for British RAF pilots, thousands of miles away in the safety of the African bush.
Without the Rhodesians and the Poles, it’s doubtful Britain would have won the battle in the skies. That would have meant a German victory, altering the outcome of the Second World War. After the war, Britain betrayed both.