The French and German governments have been hard at work over the last few weeks berating the Greeks for being unable to organise their finances. Now, according to reports in today's press, it turns out that these self same governments have been pushing hard to get the Greek government to spend like mad - on arms.
So, according to these governments, spending on pensions and schools is "wastefull' but spending on guns and tanks is "necessary." So necessary in fact that Greece has become one of the top five arms importers in the world! Guns not butter is the call. Who have they been buying from? Germany, France and - of course - The US. Greece bought several hundred Leopard Battle Tanks from the Germans even though they have no money for ammunition. As recently as 2010, the Germans also pushed the Greeks - with a help of some bribes to defence officials - into buying 223 Howitzers and a submarine for just €403 million - a bargain - about what these same governments are now saying should be cut from Greece's defence budget before they get their latest bailout. France has been pushing Greece to fork out on frigates too so that they don't lose out on the arms gravy train. Those facing pay cuts and job losses can comfort themselves that at least there are plenty of tanks and submarines sitting around waiting to be used.