Saturday, May 31, 2014
*Additional note: It should be remembered that, unlike the republican terrorists who later adopted the name of the IRA, these were men who clearly identified themselves, wore uniforms and fought in open battle against armed soldiers and were not cowards who hid their faces and planted bombs to kill helpless civilians. Even in terms of republicans, some are much better than others.
Friday, May 30, 2014
When the Great War broke out in 1914, von Arnauld de la Periere did not see action initially. His duties were confined to staff positions which, while important, were certainly not very thrilling. That all changed in 1915 when he volunteered for a transfer to the submarine force. After training in Pola he was given command of the Type-31 submarine U-35 (the Type-31 was the most successful sub class of the war). In the fourteen cruises Kapitanleutnant Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere undertook at the helm of U-35 he cut a path through Allied shipping lanes the likes of which had never been seen before and would never be seen again. His most successful area of operations was the Mediterranean. Awards and promotions followed; the Iron Cross second class, first class, the Hohenzollern House Order and elevation to Korvettenkapitan. In just one month he sent 54 ships to the bottom of the sea, accounting for 91,000 tons and while expending just four torpedoes. That was one of the unusual things about this submarine ace, he very rarely, in fact almost never, attacked while actually submerged. Some may also have found it odd that the crew enjoyed something of a ‘family’ atmosphere and even had a pet monkey onboard, the official mascot of the U-boat named Fipps.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
In April of 1941 the Axis forces of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy invaded and conquered the Serbian dominated Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Of the many minority nationalities who had been handed over to Serbia after the Allied victory in World War I none were so eager for liberation as the Croatians and they quickly set up the Independent State of Croatia under the leadership of the Ustashe party of Head Man Ante Pavelic. A new government was quickly established under Italian supervision as southern Europe was considered by the Axis to be within the sphere of the Kingdom of Italy and the new Roman Empire Benito Mussolini dreamed of creating around the Mediterranean. The following month Ante Pavelic went to the Quirinal Palace in Rome to meet with His Majesty Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy, Albania and Emperor of Ethiopia, to request that he appoint a member of the House of Savoy to be the king over the new Croatian State recently established. On May 18, 1941 the ceremony was held in which the Italian monarch named his cousin Prince Aimone as the new King over Croatia, which also included what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The enemies of Tomislav II and Croatia also like to point out that the reigning monarch never actually set foot in Croatia, trying to make the case that his reign was never more than a matter of titles which he nor anyone else gave the slightest thought to. This is an argument that is a lot like rat poison; mostly good food but just enough strychnine to kill you. It is true that Tomislav II never resided in Croatia yet it was specifically because he took his job so seriously and was committed to being a truly Croatian monarch for his people and not simply an Axis puppet for Italy. Everything was set up for him to be given a formal Catholic coronation in Duvansko Polje in Bosnia but he refused to do so out of protest to the seizure of certain coastal areas of Dalmatia by Italy. He refused on the grounds of the sovereignty and national integrity of the country over which he was king! Tomislav II stated that this land was never going to be able to be fully integrated into Italy and by the Italian seizure of the territory it only served as an obstacle to better Italian and Croatian friendship. His refusal to enter the country was well thought out and based on a principled stand of putting his new country first, even before Italy.
Enemies of the Croatian King also like to say that Tomislav II was simply a powerless figurehead who had nothing to do with Croatian life, cared nothing about it and was only a symbol of the Ustashe regime of Ante Pavelic which held the real power in the country (and which has the worst reputation). An easy response to that allegation is simple: Well So What?! Was King George VI of the UK and the British Empire no less a real monarch because he reigned while a government ruled in his name? What other monarch in any European country at the time actually ruled his country personally in an absolutist manner during World War II? He reigned but did not rule and this was the accepted practice of all monarchs of his time and still is today. He was, like any monarch then or now, a symbol of Croatian unity and tradition and was never meant to be a political administrator. However, that does not mean he did nothing or took no interest in his country. In the areas for which the monarchy was responsible he was quite active. For instance, while King he granted 60 titles of nobility such as duke, marquis, count, viscount and baron for Croatia; something he certainly would not have done if he considered his position purely honorary and nothing more than an additional title. He had enough of those anyway as one year after becoming King his full title was extended to: His Majesty Tomislav II (or Zvonimir II) King of Croatia, Prince of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Voivode of Dalmatia, Tuzla and Temun, Duke of Aosta, Prince of Cisterna and of Belriguardo, Marquess of Voghera and Count of Ponderano.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
The truth is really neither one. The Scandinavian countries are not as wonderful as some people think but nor are they as bad as others seem to think. It is true that they are big believers in wealth redistribution so that there is very little income inequality in the Scandinavian countries. Some think that is good, others think that is bad. Society is not so divided by class in these places but that does go with limits to individual rights because it places limitations on success. It is true that crime is very low in these countries, at least compared to some other parts of the world but it is also true that many crimes go unreported because they are concentrated amongst the immigrant community and the authorities prefer to ignore it for fear of being accused of racism if they arrest someone who is not light complexioned. It is true that the monarchies in these countries are totally or effectively ceremonial, however, it is also true that they are widely popular still and are considered by most to be an integral part of the culture and framework of the country. Their populations are, on the whole, quite conformist in that they do tend to hold the same values and opinions on most things but this is not too different from most of the rest of Europe these days and differing points of view do exist. So, let us take them one at a time:
Now, like the United States, the level of promises made to the people by the government in terms of entitlements is simply not sustainable because these types of socialistic programs depend on an ever increasing number of young workers to pay the tax burden for the sick, the old and the unemployed and the numbers just don’t exist even with Sweden opening its borders to a huge influx of foreigners. These policies cannot carry on indefinitely, the numbers just don’t add up and that will be a big problem in the future. Sweden has never had a huge population, it is simply a country that cannot support one and the native population is practically stagnant while the immigrant population is growing. It’s still not enough to save the future of the welfare state but it does not take a math genius to see that it will ultimately mean that the Swedish population is simply going to be replaced by an ethnically non-Swedish one in the not-too-distant future. It is also true that it is one of the most irreligious countries in the world. However, it is still an officially Christian country, with the Lutheran church as the official state church of Sweden and, of course, it is still a monarchy. The monarch is officially ceremonial with no role in government at all but he does chair the Council of State, opens parliament, appoints the prime minister and all the usual duties so he is at least still able to inform, be informed and give his advice on government matters. He is not totally inconsequential and the majority of the people support the monarchy.
On the social front, Norway has a higher birth rate than many European countries, but it still is not good, it just is not quite as bad as others. Statistically, Norwegians are still going extinct but they will probably be around to see other European peoples go extinct first. Like Sweden, they are a predominately irreligious country but, again, also still an officially Christian one with the King of Norway titled as the “High Protector of the Church of Norway” which is, of course, Lutheran. However, before one thinks of blaming social ills in Norway on the King because of this, remember that it is not dissimilar from the situation with the Church of England. The King is not a cleric and many of the Lutheran bishops, like so many others in so many other churches, have at times seemed more interested in being relevant and popular than being doctrinally traditional. About 20% of the population are immigrants but their natural growth rate is much higher than that of the native population so, again, it is not difficult to see what those numbers mean for the future of Norway, long-term. Conformity is high but not total and what seems like a population united in shared liberal values can be misleading. The refusal to give a legitimate voice to dissenting views leads to frustration and then violence such as was seen in the mass-shooting of 2011. Many other festering problems are simply being ignored because it would be “politically incorrect” to address them. However, in Norway the King does play a part in government, not being purely ceremonial but more like Britain for example, and Norway has a much greater “independent” streak than many realize. Norway, for example, is a member of the European Economic Area but did not and has not become a member of the European Union and is not a part of the Eurozone which is very much to their credit. So, problems exist, but compared to others, Norway is in a better position to reject bad policies and get back on the right track.
Monday, May 26, 2014
In Europe, the Norwegian monarchy is enjoying record-high popularity according to a recent study. The King of Sweden met with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Swedish Prince Carl Philip celebrated his 35th birthday. In Belgium, King Philip participated in a 20km foot race and in Spain the Prince and Princess of the Asturias celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary (congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses). King Hamad of Bahrain paid a visit to Pope Francis at the Vatican just before the Pope left for the Middle East where he is due to meet the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. His first stop has been in Jordan where he was received by the Hashemite Royal Family. The visit will mark the anniversary of the meeting between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI. Britain’s Prince Harry was also in Italy, visiting the battleground of Monte Cassino and paying tribute to the British troops who fought there. HM the Queen visited HMS Lancaster and a British court ruled that the remains of King Richard III, the last Plantaganet monarch of England, will be buried in Leicester rather than York as his descendants wished. The family is vowing to continue the legal battle.
The story that got the most attention, however, involved the visit of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Her Majesty’s Dominion of Canada where Prince Charles, while speaking to a Polish refugee of World War II, in a “private” conversation that did not stay that way, compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. The diplomatic uproar was almost immediate and Russian diplomats, politicians and the obedient Russian media immediately went on the attack against Prince Charles as well as the British Royal Family as a whole, in one instance highlighting family connections to members of the Nazi Party in Germany and even digging up that old photo of Prince Harry in a Nazi costume at a fancy dress party years ago. All of this is certainly doing Russia no good as it seems an overreaction to one, supposedly private, remark and gives the impression that the Prince must have hit pretty close to the mark to get them so flustered about it. Speaking of Germans, it most reminded me of the comments and marginal notes of Kaiser Wilhelm II who was quite adept at speaking his mind and causing headaches for the Foreign Office in doing so. Was it wrong? No, but it was not very diplomatic and yet, it was a “private conversation” and should not have needed to be. That is partly why the Russian reaction seems so needlessly hysterical. It was not an official speech or something of that sort.
It also seems somewhat hypocritical for the Russians to be so touchy about comparisons to Hitler and the Nazis when that has been their favorite tactic against the new government of Ukraine from day one; calling them fascists and neo-Nazis. I said even back then (and before) that I really, really wish people would just lay off Hitler and the Nazis. Perhaps it is different in other countries but I am *so* sick of these ridiculous comparisons. Clinton compared Slobodan Milosevic to Hitler, Bush compared Saddam Hussein to Hitler, Democrats compared Bush to Hitler, Republicans compare Obama to Hitler, Obama compared Assad to Hitler, China compares Japan to the Nazis, Russia compares Ukraine to the Nazis and now Putin is like Hitler. One would think there have never been any other “bad guys” in the whole of human history! And, just for the record, Putin is nowhere close to being “like Hitler”. So far, he has not started a world war and has not tried to commit genocide against anyone. What he has done is certainly similar to what Hitler did in Austria and Czechoslovakia but those usually do not make the “Top Ten” list of Nazi infamy. It is hard to get too upset about a country absorbing a part of another country that enthusiastically wishes to be absorbed (like the Sudetenland). However, just as it would be unfair to compare Putin to Hitler, it would also be unfair to compare Hitler to Putin. After all, warmongering, genocidal nut he might have been but Hitler never sold out his country to the Chinese Communist Party either.
I have no problem with the Prince of Wales calling a spade a spade in regards to Putin, however I do think the Nazi analogy has been done to death and I really wish everyone would just drop it. Was it diplomatic? No, but it should not have had to have been because it was a private conversation. It only becomes one because of the strange world we live in where we have eschewed the open antagonism of the past for a false façade of friendship with the world. Countries all over the world hate each other but still go out and pretend to be best buddies, usually for economic reasons. That is what brings up what I think is the real problem with what was said about Putin. It makes no sense to say bad things about him while not being prepared to do anything about it. Obama has had the same problem. I hate whiner-countries ever so much. Put up or shut up is what I say. And that’s the problem, Prince Charles can compare Putin to Hitler but, if that were true, shouldn’t someone do something about Putin? No one has any desire to, not in Britain or America or the rest of Western Europe for that matter. It also brings up some issues that would be rather embarrassing for both sides (which is probably why no one will be honest enough to do it). Think about this:
Where the comparison between Putin and Hitler is valid is that both have broken agreements and used military forces to annex what was part of another country. Another good comparison is both were able to get away with it. Where was this righteous defense of the letter of the law and national sovereignty in the past? Britain and France guaranteed to go to war with any country that violated Polish sovereignty. Hitler did so and both declared war on Germany. Two weeks later the Soviet dictator Stalin also violated Polish sovereignty but no one declared war on him. He took over Mongolia and no one seemed to notice (save China and Japan), annexed the Baltic states and no one in the west seemed to care and at the end of World War II the US & UK handed Eastern Europe over to Soviet Russia, totally disregarding the wishes and sovereignty of all those countries. Britain and the Soviets both occupied neutral Iran during the war, to protect their own interests and the Soviet Union was urged (not that they needed any urging) to break their word of honor in the non-aggression treaty to go to war with Japan, with the US & UK even promising territory that was neither British nor American to give away. It was great for the Soviet Union as they were effectively being bribed to do something they wanted to do anyway.
This matters to us today, make no mistake about it, and for proof look at the recent agreement between Russia and Communist China. As they have said many times before, they repeated their desire to stand together to maintain “the post-World War II world order” -keeping in mind that neither of these regimes actually participated in World War II. However, that tells you something about what mistakes were made and who came out ahead in that conflict. Russia and China want to hold on to that world order and their status as “good guys” in comparison to the World War II Axis Powers while the UK is looking for Germany to stand up to Russia and the US is encouraging Japan to strengthen its military and take a more active role in their defense. How things have changed. Does Prince Charles want Britain to do more to oppose Putin? If so, he is probably in the minority. I might also add that Western Europe would not be quite so beholden to Russia and timid in standing up to Putin if they had not embraced global warming alarmism and squelched things like nuclear power and domestic energy production -which is also something the Prince of Wales has been outspoken about.
I don’t have a problem with what the Prince said, I just would have preferred a comparison to Stalin or really anyone besides Hitler (quite the dead horse by now). I always got a chuckle out of the marginal notes of the Kaiser too. Honesty in public life is refreshing. However, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do since the UK does still have to deal with Russia and as President Obama can attest, you really just end up looking worse when you let your mouth write checks your gluteus maximus can’t cash. As for Putin, he can stop pretending to be offended by this and Russia should knock off the whining. After calling the Ukrainians Nazis and Fascists so many times, they really should not cry so much about getting a dose of their own medicine. And can we try to just stop comparing everyone to Hitler? It really is old hat by now.
Friday, May 23, 2014
|League of the Three Emperors|
Now, one thing that has always irritated me, just slightly, is how easily and zealously some monarchists take to anti-Americanism. In some cases it irritates me just as someone who spent years and a great deal of money learning history from some of the finest professorial minds of the east and the west. All too often they grossly exaggerate the influence and/or culpability of the United States in world affairs, especially prior to World War II as well as ignoring the responsibility of those other countries which urged, in some cases all but dragged, America out of her original policy of, more-or-less, isolationism to take a more active part in world affairs. However, the most aggravating part for me is those who take to anti-Americanism because of the record of the United States regarding monarchy around the world. My simple statement, time and again has been: the United States is a republic, in fact the oldest and most successful significant republic in the world -of course they are going to promote republicanism. The United States has to take at least a nominally negative view of monarchy, otherwise the whole justification for the creation of the country in the first place would evaporate and that is asking too much of a people. My question is this: why don’t monarchies show the same pride and zeal in promoting monarchy as America does in promoting republicanism? Instead of bashing America, why not beat them at their own game?
After all, “why not?”
Thursday, May 22, 2014
This was his first chance to rule and Viceroy Charles Felix proved to be tough but fair. Much of Sardinia had fallen prey to banditry and lawlessness and, of course, the revolutionary poison was present as well. Charles Felix eradicated it with ruthless determination and was not afraid to make extensive use of the death penalty in restoring law and order to the island. He famously wrote to his brother the King, “Kill, kill for the good of mankind”. Of course, some complained that his regime seemed more like a police state and executions were plentiful, however, he got the job done and improved conditions dramatically on the island. His reputation improved when people learned that their Viceroy was not arbitrary but ruled fairly and would show no favoritism to the Piedmontese. He was just as strict toward the feudal lords who failed in their responsibility to their people as he was toward the people who embraced rebellion simply for the sake of rebellion. He also worked to improve agriculture, mining, trade and promoted the cultivation of olive trees in an effort to invigorate the Sardinian economy.
This was the result of the secret society known as the Carbonari (charcoal-burners), some of whom were revolutionary republicans, others of whom were constitutional monarchists but all of whom opposed absolutism and wanted a united, liberal Italy. When four students were arrested on their way to the theatre on suspicion of belonging to the Carbonari there was an uproar, mostly by university professors and students. They protested, soldiers were sent in, they clashed, people were killed and events escalated to a disastrous level. Prince Charles Albert knew some of these people and they intended to use him as their go-between. They had shrewdly waited until Prince Charles Felix was away in Modena and planned to swarm the royal castle and force King Victor Emmanuel I to grant a constitution and declare war on Austria to liberate northern Italy. To his credit, Prince Charles Albert backed out of the scheme and warned his cousin the King what was up. While he tried to decide what to do the situation deteriorated further with rebel forces seizing control of the citadel in Turin. He tried to deal with the rebels, but they had turned their back on Charles Albert and no communication was possible. Not wishing to start shooting down people in the streets, King Victor Emmanuel I abdicated in favor of his brother but, as he was in Modena, named Prince Charles Albert regent in the interim.
As monarch, King Charles Felix was fairly “hands-off”. His ideas about the sacred nature of the monarchy and his insistence that royal power was absolute did not translate to the idea that the King had to do everything himself. He was happy to delegate power and did not spend much time in Turin, which he felt to be somewhat tainted by revolutionary sentiment. He could always be expected to show up in ‘theatre season’ as he loved the theatre, music and was a patron of the arts. Ordinarily though, he preferred to reside in Savoy, Nice or Genoa and many complained that the country, under Charles Felix, was dominated by a few stuffy chamberlains, old ladies and a cohort of priests and religious. They were not entirely wrong in that but it should not be stated as though it were a bad thing. King Charles Felix, despite his reputation as a reactionary, did preside over some needed legal reforms. He did away with special courts, enacted regulations that the punishment must fit the crime and, to the surprise of some, resisted papal encroachment on royal authority in his country as well as that from the political class. He also abolished the slave trade and ordered that anyone born on Piedmontese soil or on a ship flying their flag would be free. He improved the infrastructure of the country (yes, roads and bridges), restored the port at Nice and gave a boost to the steel industry and encouraged agriculture as well as manufacturing and trade.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Queen Isabella the Catholic) dispatched ambassadors to the court of the central Asian conqueror Tamerlane in an effort to arrange a military alliance against the Ottoman Empire. However, though he had clashed with them earlier, nothing was to come of it as Tamerlane was busy attempting to conquer China but would never see the plans carried out as he died only a couple of years later. King Enrique III would last only one year longer, passing away in 1406.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
I would recommend any to read this encyclical, not excluding Pope Francis himself, as it may prove enlightening. It is known as the encyclical against socialism and rightly points out that these advocates of egalitarianism (which Pope Leo at least did not consider a beneficial thing) cloak their maliciousness behind the guise of a charitable impulse to help the poor and he could also see, even in 1878, that these were the enemies of the traditional family unit as well as the obvious truth, then as now, that they were also the enemy of the legitimate monarchs of the world. Pope Leo XIII also listed the past Roman Pontiffs who had condemned these same miscreants, or their ideological forefathers, and their reprehensible ideology which is so ruinous to mankind. Nor would he be the last. Faced with appalling examples of socialism in action in places from Mexico to Spain to Russia, Pope Pius XI similarly condemned it on numerous occasions such as in his 1937 encyclical “Divini Redemptoris” “On Atheistic Communism” in which he denounced the entire collectivist mentality that would make of the individual no more than a cog in the wheel of the great, collectivist machine devoted solely to materialism. He also stated famously in “Quadragesimo Anno” that, “No one can be at the same time a sincere Catholic and a true socialist”.
Part of the trouble with the enforced redistribution of wealth to help the poor, is that it destroys positive feelings on the part of both parties involved. This is totally different from charity which gives the party making the donation a sense of happiness for being benevolent and makes the receiver grateful that someone would freely choose to help them. It is a gift and is appreciated as such. Wealth redistribution by the state, on the other hand, generates no feeling of happiness because it is done by force. Being forced to do something, even to do good, is not charitable and one can take no satisfaction in it. In fact, it builds resentment among the providers that what they earned was forced from them to be given to someone who did not earn it. Likewise, the one receiving is also poisoned by it. Rather than feeling gratitude at receiving a gift, they expect it as something they are entitled to and when it is ever lessened or stopped altogether they feel themselves “robbed” of something which they never earned in the first place because they were taught to feel themselves entitled to the fruits of another’s labor. The only ones who benefit are the state bureaucrats who handle the transaction, always keeping a tidy sum for themselves in the process, a sort of ‘handling fee’ for the government.
*Additional note: Some authors, devout Catholics among them, have warned that this new attitude by Pope Francis could open the Catholic Church up to accusations of hypocrisy since they do not pay taxes, at least in the United States where there is probably the most to be gained if the Church did start having to pay taxes. I would have to say, asking the Pope to practice what he preaches would not be an unreasonable position and would add, just for some context, that when Pope Leo XIII made his remarks, he was the first Pontiff in a very long time who did not have subjects to tax in order to sustain himself. He was living entirely off of charity and still never found the need to give up any of the pomp and ceremony of the papal office (of course, he wasn’t constantly traveling all over the world either, somehow the Church survived quite a few decades without the Pope ever leaving Vatican City). I would not be surprised to hear someone suggest that, because of his support for wealth redistribution by the state, Pope Francis might want to stop accepting the subsidy he receives from Italian taxpayers (which is rather ridiculous considering that the Church in Italy is now taxed, ever since the financial crisis) and let that portion designated for the Church to go to the Italian Republic instead to redistribute to the poor. Of course, I would try to be more helpful and suggest that the Church go back to the much smaller bureaucracy it had before the massive expansion of Vatican II or perhaps stop using the ridiculously named “Pope-mobile” and return to the sedan chair that used no fossil fuels and produced no harmful emissions (since we’re all so environmentally conscience these days). That should help save some money for the poor.
Monday, May 19, 2014
On the continent, King Harald V of Norway served up some herbs grown on his own farm, Princess Martha Louise said she will miss be able to live life anonymously after moving back home from London and Princess Ingrid Alexandra (age 10) made her debut at parliament as part of the constitutional celebrations on Thursday. The Swedish Royal Family had a busy week of presenting awards, making visits and so on. Crown Princess Victoria spoke at the 7th Global Forum on Migration and Development. As for the Danes, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary had a busy week, visiting Poland, celebrating their wedding anniversary (congratulations there) and posing for a new portrait as well as taking in the Eurovision awards (but the less I say about that the better). In the Low Countries, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended the opening of a national campaign to collect instruments for music classes and dazzled onlookers in a ruby-tiara at the Annual Diplomatic Corps Gala Dinner on Wednesday. The Belgian Royal Family attended a 20 kilometer race and in Luxembourg news Prince Guillaume landed in America, visiting California and Utah. However, it was not all good news as Prince Jean (brother of Grand Duke Henri) felt obliged to hold a press conference to refute rumors that he was involved in a string of bombings in Luxembourg in the 1980’s, describing such rumors as absurd and hurtful. Also this week the new film about Princess Grace of Monaco was first seen and the Princely Family is now not alone in denouncing it as the film critics have panned it as an atrocious movie, aside from the inaccuracy of it.
In non-Euro royal news, King Abdullah II of Jordan was in London for the 90th annual Combined Cavalry Old Comrades Association Parade in London on Sunday, in his role as Colonel-in-Chief of the Light Dragoons. He was not the only Middle East monarch in town last week. The King of Bahrain also came to the UK for a visit, sparking some controversy over relations between the two countries, not because of anything the King did but because the chattering classes have taken issue with his rule of his country and accusations of suppressing democracy. This mostly involves the activities of the so-called “Arab Spring” which King Hamad of Bahrain took zealous action to oppose, supported by Saudi Arabia and to a lesser extent the US and UK. One wonders if these people would consider the case of Egypt something better? Charges have also been brought against the King and his son Prince Nasser in the UK by a Bahraini citizen based on allegations of torture. The legal immunity of Prince Nasser is currently under judicial review in the UK. Also, the Emir of Qatar is in preparations to transform the uninhabited Greek island of Oxia in the Ionian Sea into a massive luxury resort. Under current circumstances, it is hard to imagine any Greeks being able to afford to go there. However, they may perhaps have an African visitor as the controversial King Mswati III of Swaziland recently had his annual household budget increased by 10% to $61 million which is itself being criticized due to the poverty of most people in Swaziland and because such increases are not debated in parliament, Swaziland being an absolute monarchy where such debates would be seen as a challenge to the King.
In East Asia this week, Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his wife on Tuesday. The PM also met with the Foreign and Defense Ministers and made remarks highlighting the similar difficulties faced by Israel and Japan because of ‘rogue’ regimes, comparing the threat Japan faces from North Korea to the Iranian threat to Israel.