Beautiful German weapon sale of the week.


Because somebody has to admire them.

With the export (of a frigate) to Egypt, the Federal government maintains its controversial practice of supplying weapons to authoritarian regimes if these are considered to be regional partners of the Federal government. In addition, they will again break the promise not to deliver any more weapons to countries that are directly involved in the Yemen war (Saudi Arabia supports Egypt financially and makes this purchase possible and Egypt has participated in the Yemen conflict as a coalition partner with fighter jets).

Ägypten gehört ganz offiziell zu dieser von Saudi-Arabien geführten Koalition und hat auch mit Kampfjets an Missionen über dem Jemen teilgenommen. Indirekt dürften die Millionen für die deutschen Fregatten ohnehin aus Riad kommen. Seit Jahren hängt Ägypten finanziell am Tropf des Königsreichs. Ohne die massiven Zahlungen wären die ägyptischen Institutionen längst zusammengebrochen.

Speaking Of Construction Projects…

So just let me get this straight. After one year Egypt has opened a major expansion of the freakin’ Suez Canal, deepening the waterway and providing ships with a 22 mile channel parallel to it.


Meanwhile, in Berlin…

The non-working airport, Berlin Brandenburg International (some prefer to call it Klaus Wowereit International), should have started working three years ago. It may start working in two years’ time. No one knows.

The most important thing to remember is German efficiency – both the term and concept – exists in our English-speaking world but not in theirs. You never hear Germans talking about German efficiency. Anyone who lives in Berlin knows why… While Germany may have a system for everything, Berlin proves every day there’s no system for when the system fails.

The New Narrative

Ever read The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb?

It covers a whole lot of stuff but what really interested me was his handling of history. It really struck a chord with me. History is basically a series of improbable and completely unpredictable events. There is no “flow” to it, at least not that we can recognize, we only see these periodic erruptions (kind of like earthquakes or sudden volcanic erruptions) that come out of nowhere and are therefore unforseeable.

What we then do, however (we are human and simply demand an explanation), is quickly assign them meaning, a new narrative in the broader narrative we had made up before. We don’t have an explanation but we pretend that we do. And THEN, strangest of all, we quickly delude ourselves into thinking that the given event was actually predictable, that the people who lived through it somehow knew it was going to happen, or should have.

Think 9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Hitler, World War I, etc. Get the “flow” now?

Anyway, when it comes to Egypt, we’ve already passed the narrative stage and Egypt isn’t finished being Egypt yet.

Suddenly it seems everyone knew all along that President Mubarak was a villain and the US, who supported him until recently, was even worse.

It’s official now

When it gets to the point where even 24 German beauty queen types notice that there’s something going on in Egypt and flee the country in haste, some even without make-up (they had been preparing for the “Miss Germany 2011” pageant down there), then there’s definitely something going on in Egypt.

The German Foreign Office wasn’t much quicker in noticing either, by the way. They didn’t start issuing real travel warnings until yesterday.

„Nachdem aber alle wesentlichen Fotoshootings und Aktionen im Kasten sind, haben wir uns vorsorglich zur frühen Rückreise entschieden.“

Too fragile

And besides, possession is nine-tenths of the law. Or of the lack of law, as the case may be.

Berlin’s own 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti – a tourist attraction some claim to have been whisked away from Egypt with fraudulent documents way back when – won’t be “loaned” to Egypt anytime soon. At least not if Germany has anything to say about it.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle – a famed Egyptologist too, I think – says that Egyptian requests for the bust are unrealistic because, well, it’s simply too fragile to move. At least in the direction of Egypt it is.

Egypt is campaigning to retrieve thousands of antiquities spirited out during Egypt’s colonial period and afterward.