BY JOHN WARD
As European citizens head for the August Beach fest, very few of them will be aware that the World may be on the brink of the biggest shift in global power scales since 1938. The reasons for this are various…but they are all, allegedly, giving Mutti Merkel pause for thought.
Last January I posted at some length about how Greece would default on May 21st this year without further help. Unusually for this site, quite a few MSM bods picked up on the analysis and the piece wound up getting the best hits here at The Slog for over two years.
As things turned out, through a combination of obfuscation and misrepresentation, Samaras and his cronies got their backdoor bailout just in time: ‘Greece needs another infusion of money to avoid default in May, when it has to repay 12.5 billion euros ($17.2 billion) of government debt’ confirmed Keep Talking Greece in late March. The big brown envelope duly arrived (despite doubts in both Brussels and Frankfurt) and not a single western mainstream medium so much as raised a peep about it.
But tempers fugit and all that, and now here we are at Stage Two (how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself) with just weeks to go before the next hurdle….a $3.8bn shortfall on this little baby:
20th August 2014 is just 22 days away. I’ve been Googling every which way for the last four days, but I can’t find a single EU document, MSM article, ECB release or even heavily-laden carrier pigeon bearing any enlightenment as to what happens next. The entire European mainland population will be on holiday anyway, but I think somebody should be asking the question about who finds/prints/donates/steals the money that Antonikis and Benny now need.
One clue might lie in a piece from April this year, which – spookily – noted how Eurostat calculated Greece’s primary surplus in 2013 to have been…..$3.8bn. I would lay good money that this bit of corporate accountancy becomes the EC explanation of choice….if indeed anyone even bothers to ask.
What even Eurostat cannot avoid, however, is the reality that the total Greek debt mountain is 318.7 billion euro, Greece has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the 18- nation single-currency bloc, and Greece has received 240 billion euro in bailout since 2010.
Think on that: one quarter of a trillion euro. And there is, mathematically – under the Troika deal struck in 2012 – no way on Earth that Greece can pay it back…short of discovering an 18-mile deep seam of top-carat diamonds up Venizelos’s capacious back passage.
How does Mutti Merkel feel about all this, some of us ask ourselves. Wheelchair Wolfie Schäuble declared himself ‘relaxed’ about the May deal, but I understand that East German Fridge Woman holds a different view. And since the Ukraine nonsense (plus rumours of dirty tricks in Hungary as well) it is alleged that the Führerin is becoming disillusioned with American diplomacy. So I was intrigued to be sent this piece from a Slogger last Sunday, reviving my long-held theory that Geli may yet side with Russia, China and the Brics in order to lead a balancing bloc against EU/US hegemony. In this context, we mustn’t forget that Jens Weidmann at the Bundesbank remains a eurosceptic on the subject of manageable eurozone debt – and a chap of increasing influence at the Court of Queen Geli.
The last-linked article above is far from madcap. If nothing else, it deserves the attention of those who cannot see beyond the end of their geopolitical noses. It makes this very important Realpolitik point:
‘Germany has a vital interest in ensuring their relations with Russia and China are not hindered in any way, especially since they rely upon these BRICS member nations for 30% of their oil imports, and 40% of their natural gas needs. Additionally, over 3000 German companies do a great deal of business with the BRICS coalition, and their economy is now more reliant upon the East than it is on the U.S. and Western countries. Thus Germany has already seen the writing on the wall for a sea-change in global economic and financial authority, and it is very likely that as the U.S. resorts to armed conflicts and espionage to protect their control over dollar hegemony, the linchpin to Europe and the entire European Union will assuredly look out for themselves, and move forward in a partnership with the next power structure that will rule the global financial system.’
It’s certainly something to focus the mind of a Tuesday morning in Summer. But there is a lot more to this than the euro crisis. Merkel has had her doubts about US motives ever since Geithner and others pushed hard two years ago for Athens to be amputated from the eurozone. A Slogpost of the time shows clearly how and why the US tried to kill any chance of contagion, and used Wall Street to wind up Bankfurt. In fact, American strategy here was to get Obama re-elected without pain, and also increase its influence over Greece once it had been cut free from the eurozone….with (as usual) the main motive being access to Greek Aegean seabed energy resources.
Another bone of contention causing choking sounds in Berlin and Frankfurt is the issue of Germany’s gold being returned from ‘safe keeping’ in the States. Tyler Durden’s assertion at Zero Hedge last month that ‘Several months after it was revealed that Germany was able to only recover a miserable 5 tons of its gold in all of 2013 (under 10% of the 84 tons it was scheduled to repatriate), Germany appears to have given up entirely in its attempt to recover gold which simply is not there’ was picked up and preceded by other sources suggesting the same thing. He may be right of course, but American black arts are also in play here: the general feeling among those Germans who care about the issue is, quite simply, that Washington is trying to pull the ripoff of all time. For the Bankfurters, this is another nail they’re determined to hammer into the Americo-German alliance.
The idea that Berlin would simply ‘give up’ on 79 tons of gold is ridiculous. Indeed, some suggest that Merkel’s widely leaked interest in turning East and dumping NATO is in and of itself a frightener to unblock the gold shipment blockage. We don’t really know: doubters (of whom I have been one since 2006) suggest the gold has simply gone to save America’s neck/the Dollar/shut the Chinese up by secret sales…take your pick of allegations about it. But the German Chancellor has many muscles she can flex re this one.
Angela Merkel was also not best pleased to discover that Barack Obama had been tapping her phone for the last three years. Yesterday, a Berlin government spokesman told Deutsche Welle 3,000 mobile phones with newly encoded barrier technology have been distributed to the federal administration. The government plans to purchase additional phones equally optimised for security. Geli has also briefed her security services to spy on the UK and US “as if they might be our enemies”. She’s also fitted a new lock on her fridge. I made that last bit up.
But it is in the last ten days that sources have been popping up all over the MSM and the Web suggesting that Merkel is rapidly distancing herself from the Brussels/Washington fictions being advanced in relation to Russian separatists in Ukraine. Whatever she’s being told about who did or didn’t shoot down MH17, her innate sense of geopolitical necessity absolutely dictates that she will not allow Vladimir Putin to be isolated and/or made an enemy.
The big question, however, remains: would she really make that giant a leap? There’s no doubting that Angela Merkel is a ruthless megalomaniac, and would thus love to be the leader of Tomorrow rather than Yesterday. But perhaps it’s more likely that, at present, she too is leaking methodically with a view to increasing the pressure on Washington to cooperate.
You always know where you are with Mutti: she will always jump onto the best horse. But she is unlikely to jump onto a dark horse. As with everything today, on verra.