The two global banks with the largest derivatives exposures are J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank. The derivatives exposure of J.P. Morgan is around $70,000 billion and of Deutsche Bank €55,000 billion. These figures are, respectively, about one-and-a-half times the total value of all the assets in the USA, and twenty times German national income. But the numbers in the balance sheets of these banks are much lower. Deutsche Bank declares its investment in derivatives at €768 billion: not a small amount, but only a modest fraction of the bank’s exposure. Deutsche Bank’s financial position is set out in Fig. 9.
An extraordinary demarche came at the weekend from the German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper, he accused Nato – an alliance, lest we forget, of which Germany is a member – of “sabre-rattling and war-mongering” by staging military manoeuvres close to Russia’s borders. This, he said, was not the way to treat Russia; it was time to restart dialogue.
85% of German citizens want US nuclear weapons currently deployed at the Büchel nuclear base in Germany to be withdrawn. According to the latest opinion poll taken by the market research institute Forsa, 93% of the German population think that nuclear weapons should be banned under international law, in the same way that chemical and biological weapons are banned. 88% said they are against the US deploying new, “modernised” nuclear weapons, planned to take place from 2020 in Europe.
German gun maker Heckler & Koch will try to sell more guns to civilians in the United States, forced by Germany’s restrictions on arms exports to the Middle East to look for revenue growth elsewhere, its majority owner told a newspaper. …
“If politics force us to generate practically no sales in the Middle East, we have to look for alternatives,” daily Die Welt quoted Andreas Heeschen, who owns 51 percent of Heckler & Koch, as saying.
The first development which has to be pointed out is the fact that the total sales of the world’s top 100 arms producing companies are quite stable. They have gone down a bit over the past two years, but not that much. We are also seeing a more regional, or more national development – and one of them is very clear: Russian companies have seen a very steep increase in their total sales. So, the companies in the top 100 based in Russia have increased their revenues from 2013 to 2014 by almost 50 percent. That is a very significant change. By contrast, there was a fall in revenues of companies in the US and western Europe.
Appeal to Members of the German Bundestag:
Stop the new arms race – disarmament for a sustainable future!
Already in 2010 Ban Ki-Moon warned us: “the world is over-armed and peace is under-funded”. For 2013 the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) calculated global military expenditures of over $1.7 trillion. Hundreds of billions will be spent for the modernization of nuclear arsenals and the NATO summit in Wales decided to raise the level of its demand on member states’ military spending to 2% of their GDP. For Germany that would amount to €53 billion per year – nearly two thirds more than today. China, Russia, Brazil, India and many other states are upgrading their defence capacity as well. The global arms race enters a new round.
In Seumas Milnes’s piece ‘The demonisation of Russia risks paving the way for war‘, he argues that “Ukraine – along with Isis – is being used to revive the doctrines of liberal interventionism and even neoconservatism, discredited on the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Hundreds of US troops are arriving in Ukraine and Britain is sending 75 military advisers of its own. This is a direct violation of last month’s Minsk agreement, negotiated with France and Germany – Article 10 requires the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Ukraine.
But when the latest Minsk ceasefire breaks down, as it surely will, there is a real risk that Ukraine’s proxy conflict could turn into full-scale international war.
After the Cold War, the Pentagon needs to find a new way to justify its wasteful spending and the defense and security contractors need to find a new cause to make profits. Bob Hennelly tells the story:
In 1998, President Bill Clinton tasked former Senators Gary Hart, a Colorado Democrat, and the late Warren Rudman, a New Hampshire Republican, to chair the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century. The Commission panel was a cross-section of the military-industrial-media complex. Its members included Leslie Gelb, longtime New York Times correspondent and editor; Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed-Martin; and Army General John Galvin.
The panel gave its report and recommendations in January 2001. Both Senators Rudman and Hart concluded that it was not a matter of “if” the U.S. would suffer a mass-casualty terrorist strike but “when.” Among the panel’s recommendations was the massive integration of all of the nation’s domestic security, disaster planning and recovery functions into one behemoth called the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Eduardo Porter, “A Relentless Widening of Disparity in Wealth,” 11 March 2014,
Source: “Capital in the 21st Century,” by Thomas Piketty.