Why is the EU, particularly Germany so subservient to American edicts?
"Sweden announced this week that it's canceling its 10-year-old military cooperation agreement with the Gulf monarchy, which brought Swedish companies more than half a billion dollars from 2011 to 2014. Germany, too, cut off arms exports to the Saudis this year, passing up hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenues for its defense industry.
Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest arms importer.
This year, research company IHS predicts, it will account for every seventh dollar spent globally on defense imports, increasing its purchases by 52 percent to $9.8 billion.Quoting from the IHS report
Highlights from the IHS Global Defence Trade Report:
- Saudi Arabia topped India to become the largest defence market for US;
- The US supplied one-third of all exports and was the main beneficiary of growth;
- Saudi Arabia and UAE imported more than all of Western Europe;
If European firms give up their slice of this huge and growing market, it may be impossible to ever get it back, because the U.S. is hungry for more Saudi orders. In 2014, according to IHS, the U.S. filled $8.4 billion worth of orders from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, compared with $6 billion in 2013.
No wonder the lobbying in Europe in favor of the arms deals is fierce -- but the German and Swedish governments have proved resistant to it so far.
The reason for Germany & Sweden decision? Human rights? Come on!
The recent case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam," has made waves in Germany: According to a January poll for the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, 60 percent of Germans are against any further business relations with Saudi Arabia because of such abuses, and 78 percent oppose arms sales.
The last straw apparently came on Monday, when Saudi Arabia blocked Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom from speaking to the Arab League in Cairo. Wallstrom had been invited because Sweden was the first EU country to recognize the Palestinian state, but, because she had previously called Saudi Arabia a dictatorship, the kingdom's representatives apparently feared she might further embarrass their county before other Arab leaders.That's all it took for Germany and Sweden to cancel these contracts? Not credible.
Business leaders wring hands
In Sweden, 31 business leaders, including the heads of Volvo, Electrolux, H&M, Ericsson and other top companies, argued in an open letter published by the daily Dagens Nyheter last week that canceling the Saudi deal would undermine Sweden's reputation as a reliable trading partner and damage the country's ability to use trade as a foreign policy tool. "The basic Swedish position has been and should remain that trade is an important tool for promoting human rights and democracy," they wrote, pointing out that the kingdom was Sweden's biggest trading partner in the Middle East. "Careless handling of contractual agreements may risk jeopardizing this tradition."The politicians are obeying their populace?
Politicians have to take the popular mood into account, so the tide began to turn against arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
While I am no supporter of the arms trade- nothing to do with hunters and self defence- but the global war machine- I wouldn't miss it. What isn't clear in this instance is why Germany and Sweden are willing to go along with this to the benefit of the US- The very clear beneficiary from this move.
Without a doubt.