German arms Singasong of rather more than sixpence
Most of the traditional media seem fixated by Geli’s pelvis at the moment. As the above shot shows, she broke it langlaufing, not Schüss: the skis she was using are thinner and lighter than the ones required for downhill. So it fell to the generally intelligent Der Spiegel yesterday to reveal the infinitely more important news that the German defence industry is increasingly looking to Asia as a growing market for its submarines. It would be great if they starved the already unstable East of weaponry; but if we can’t have that, then it would be nice if this time they delivered all the goods paid for by the client.
ThyssenKrupp’s new Type 218SG submarine is built to glide through the sea almost noiselessly: the sub is quieter and more durable than any other conventional model. Such a vessel can stay deployed at sea for more than 80 days – and spend four weeks at a time under the surface. Very handy if you wanted to sail from Shanghai to Tokyo (or vice versa) without being noticed.
China has already sent its first aircraft carrier cruising over the South China Sea, and shown the world its new stealth jet. Japan and the United States are strengthening their engagement in the West Pacific. Vietnam is arming itself with submarines, frigates and fighter jets. And last summer the Russians engaged in joint naval exercises with China — in the Sea of Japan. The last thing this region needs is more weapons. Just like the last thing Greece needed in 2006 was £150bn worth of subs, tanks, guns, and rockets to drive it into debt…and the arms (sorry) of the Troika.
Some years back, in fact, German shipyards sold two (count them) submarines to Athens. Just the one (1) arrived, but strangely enough, the Greeks paid for two. This is, as The Slog has posted many times before, par for the course in the mutually corrupt deals between Germany and Greece….but especially in the arms business.
However, this time German munitions suppliers have a different customer in mind: Singapore. Last November, the low-tax authoritarian city-state ordered the first two Type 218SG submarines to be released by German firm ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, in a deal worth €1.6 billion.
Call me picky, but WTF does a tiny, independent island need two cutting-edge subs for? Seems to me they need the things even less than Greece needed hers….which, of course, sent the country spiralling into debt in the first place.
But unlike Greece, Singapore is unfeasibly wealthy. And as such, the island represents a juicy target in the ever-more dangerous Asian continent and seas. China has already sent its first aircraft carrier cruising across the South China Sea. Japan and the United States are strengthening their engagement in the West Pacific. Vietnam is arming itself with submarines, frigates and fighter jets. Even Russia is involved: Last summer they engaged in joint naval exercises with China — in the Sea of Japan.
The German government supports the arms business with sociopathic benevolence. Each contract is given its own federal export guarantee. In the case of Singapore, the German state guaranteed the value of the submarines. It’s a risk that pays off: in the end, the state also profits from global exports through tax revenue, while long-running jobs for the North German HDW shipyard, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp, mean secure jobs for the otherwise structurally weak region at the Kiel Fjord. Perhaps one could say that Asia is being Kiel-hauled hahahaha ba-boom. Or should that be oompah-pah-boom?
As Spiegel comments, “Thus far, when it comes to arms export policy, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has been as business-friendly as possible. German security interests have tended to trump the human rights situation in recipient countries”. Which is sad really, as this is the one commodity in woefully short supply on the island of Singapore.
For there, worker shanty towns house slave labour…..while the rich part of this Mammon-obsessed country goes about its important business of shopping, eating top cuisine, and banking.
It all sounds rather like London, really. For it is (I’m told) the end goal of our fine capital’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, to operate after the style of Singapore. Expect to hear about BoJo ordering a Thyssen-Krupp minisub before too long: the ability to creep silently beneath the surface of the Thames and nuke the swine in Westminster must be high on his list. Especially after having his swamp-estuary concept thrown out two weeks ago.
Curio note: the lady within the SPD in charge of getting the Singapore deal approved by the Bundesrepublik’s Budget Committee was….Petra Merkel. (No relation)