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After the Bailout
Understanding the New Germany
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  • Andrew Allison

    Exactly! Of course Schäuble is right. The amount of utterly ridiculous commentary on the the Greece situation is mind-boggling. Half the commentators confuse the EU with the EMU and fail to recognize that there’s no ejection mechanism for either; I’ve seen no mention of the fact that the evil private lenders took an average 60% haircut in the second bailout (http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5343&context=faculty_scholarship); and even the President of France is apparently unaware that the eurozone already has a government.

  • Ulysses4033

    It appears that we have entered the era of the Fourth Reich, the latest version of the centuries-old problem of an industrious Germany dominating the continent from Mitteleuropa. If history is any guide, how Great Britain responds will play a major if not decisive role in helping Europe counter Germany’s growing economic and political power. The French are no longer capable of leading the anti-German forces, and everyone else is even weaker. Unfortunately, the America of the Obama era has also chosen to remove itself from a leading role through which to urge Europe into a more balanced system. Although many circumstances have changed since the days of the Second and Third Reichs, the basic geopolitical facts have not. Once again the “problem of Germany” is moving to center stage in world politics.

  • tarentius

    The problem of Germany today can be traced back to the disastrous decision by George Bush, applauded by the liberals in the State Department like Mr. Mead at the time, to support, indeed force, the reunification of Germany, something wisely counseled against by Margaret Thatcher and Francois Mitterrand. They knew European history and Germans a lot better than the naïve Mr Bush, and Mr Mead.

    • Dale Fayda

      There is no “problem of Germany” today. There is a “problem of EU and of EZ”, that’s for sure. As the economically strongest and politically the most stable member of that misbegotten statist idiocy, Germany is forced to put up most of the money to keep the “worthless, feeble-minded cousins” of that arrangement, i.e. Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, et. al. financially afloat in a fundamentally misguided attempt to, as they say in Russian: “crossbreed a bulldog with a fire engine”. In both cases, it can’t be done.

      German re-unification didn’t depend of Bush’s approval or disapproval. His opinion on it wouldn’t have made any difference to the Germans one way or another. In fact, once the main force keeping Germany divided – the Soviet Union – no longer existed, there was no other force capable of keeping the two countries separated. Do you really believe that if Bush had stamped his foot and sternly said: “No”, Germany wouldn’t not have re-united? German re-unification was organic and proper. It’s not their fault that theirs is one of the few relatively healthy economies amid the general collapse of Social Democracy in Europe.

      • Ellen

        Yes, I agree. Angela Merkel is the ONLY decent leader in Europe today, but saddled with unsolvable problems stemming from Germany’s willingness to take on so many burden-sharing arrangements with a lot of ne’er do well countries, which now includes France.

        Merkel is still very conscious of Germany’s historical legacy, both in its relations with Europe and Israel. She may be the last German leader to have such a historical conscience and the ability to talk about it openly. She also has a sense of morals that comes from a religious upbringing which is almost as rare as the dodo bird in contemporary Europe. Unfortunately, she can’t rearrange the furniture there as she would like because Germany is tied down by so many treaties and arrangements that mostly benefit others. One can only wish her well. Generally, I look forward to the collapse of the EU. They are no friend to the US, and of no particular benefit to anyone anymore. They are a hindrance to a reorientation of American foreign policy that needs to be done by a Republican, because Obama is turning the US into another type of appeasing, defeatist European-type country.

      • tarentius

        I suggest you read a history book. German reunification could and would not have occurred without the consent of the United States. And Germany is the problem. If you don’t understand that then you are totally ignorant of European history.
        The German economy is not in that great shape. It is in great shape compared to the rest of Europe -.03% growth in the last quarter is hardly robust.
        Germany is expecting southern Europe to reform in a time of austerity, yet when Germany reformed in the early 2000’s it broke EU budget rules; but it is now moralistically, hypocritically, denying southern Europe the opportunity to do the same thing.
        Germany’s recent “success” is due to the fact that the Euro is cheap and should Germany be forced to use a currency relative to its strength its exports would collapse.
        This is not a case of Germany “good”, everyone else “bad”, even though Germany in its arrogant Prussian way is portraying it as such. Germany very stupidly fails to realize that it itself is most at risk from a failure of EU economic policy. Germany has an incredibly stupid energy policy that forces its households to pay 40% more for energy than the rest of Europe. It has the oldest population in Europe and its workforce will shrink by 6.5 million in the next ten years. It badly needs reforms but no reforms are in sight.
        Instead Germany spends its time berating other Europeans as l’azy” and fails to understand how dire its future is if this EU crisis is not solved to Europe’s satisfaction, not theirs. It’s a failure of statesmanship which, anybody who has ever read European history knows, is not Germany’s strong suit.

        • Dale Fayda

          Please spare me your condescension about my “ignorance” of European history. I will venture a guess that I have forgotten more about European history than you’ll ever know in your life. As a first generation American of European descent, speaking (4) European languages, doing business with Europe for decades and having been a student of European history since childhood, my opinion on this topic is no less valid than yours.

          German re-unification would have occurred with or without US approval. What would have stopped it and how? Military force? A sternly worded letter? A UN resolution?

          The Soviet Union collapsed without US “approval”, as did the entire Eastern Block. Parts of it fell to fighting within itself (Yugoslavia, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, etc.) without US “approval”. Countries in Europe disappeared (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia) and new ones appeared (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.) – all without US “approval”. As I stated before, German re-unification was proper and organic. No outside force, including the US, could nor indeed wanted to “stop” it.

          Germany’s internal problems are no different than the rest of Western Europe’s – it is a victim of its post-war infatuation with Social Democracy, and that includes an enthusiastic embrace of what turned out to be the largest and longest lasting financial debacle of modern times – the Euro. That, however, is a different conversation altogether.

          There is no painless, elegant way of resolving the Euro Zone financial mess. There is no painless way of unwinding a bloated, failing welfare state, there is no painless way of reforming a sclerotic, craven government and there is no painless way of changing a county’s culture. This is what ALL of Europe is facing at this time – some more (Greece, Italy, Spain), some less (Germany, Great Britain). The piper will be paid by ALL of them in due time and in due fashion.

          Lastly, what we are seeing now is that there never was nor could there ever be a “united Europe”. It’s a construct that only exists in the minds of the post-modern, secularist, progressive, gutless, “post-everything” European ruling class. When “push comes to shove” in human history and it ALWAYS eventually does, relations revert back to their basic, natural state – “us” agains the “other”. As a political/economic experiment the EU is over. DONE. Any credibility it may have had is gone. Europe is now LESS united than at any time since the the fall of Communism. Therefore, Germany will now push for what it thinks is in its interest and Greece, etc. will push for theirs, while paying lip service to the completely discredited concept of a “united Europe”. Pointless to blame Germany for doing so – it now has to do what it needs to do to survive. The rest of the EU would be well served to do the same.

  • Kevin

    This is an eminently sensible article. This trend of empathizing with our enemies and criticizing get our friends needs to be reversed.

    The Obama administration seems to have been singularly unhelpful during the Greek crisis – I can’t remember when the U.S. was so detached from a major European financial crisis. Sure it’s their problem but we could have actually been there helping out with our good offices and offering quiet counsel rather than just periodically making unhelpful comments – mostly from the NYT Oped pages.

  • FriendlyGoat

    It is “financially challenging and psychologically demanding” for America to hold California and New York together with Mississippi and Arkansas, too. But we do it, and we have no intention of throwing out the states with the weakest GDP, or the most poverty, or the worst ratio of taxes paid into Washington vs. federal spending paid out, or the most debt, or even the stupidest voters.

    Europe needs to actually be the United States of Europe and stop with the regional carping. There is nothing particularly “good” about the competitive history of the European countries. Given the events of last century, who on earth wants a strong Germany looking down its nose at everyone else there?

    • Dale Fayda

      The state with the most poverty, as I have pointed out numerous times on this site, is now California. It also has by far the largest percentage of residents on welfare and over 1/3 of its population is now on MediCal (CA version of Medicaid).

      Just today, TAI published an article on the catastrophic financial state of Chicago. Vast majority of the job growth over the last (7) years has been in the Red states, with TX absolutely blowing away the rest of the competition, more than doubling the job growth of CA.

      The population shift to the Red and Purple states in the South, the Southwest and the Mountain West continues unabated.

      Personally, I look forward to the fracture of this country along idealogical/ethnic lines – the sooner, the better. It’s inevitable, like the dawn – just a matter of time.

      So, in response to your snarky opening sentence – oh, please, please, please CA, IL and NY – cut the Red states loose, so you may create a progressive utopia beckoning from just over the horizon.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Sorry. The Civil War was already fought once and most people do not want to split the country on geographical, economic, or ideological/ethnic lines.
        That’s why it isn’t going to happen. (Just wondering here. Why is it snarky for me to advocate for a united country and not snarky for you to hope for a fracture?)

        • Dale Fayda

          Of course they do, enough of them anyway. It doesn’t even have to be a majority, just a determined minority, just like during the American Revolution. If a state or a group of states breaks away to form a Conservative nation, I will crawl there on my hands and knees, if I have to. And I hope it happens.

          After Obama’s re-election, there were secession petitions from all (50) states. If the iron hand of the Federal government loosens its grip on the country just a little, it will come apart faster than your Grandmother’s old bloomers.

          Ethnic integration ALWAYS eventually blows up in your face – it’s one of the laws of human existence. It’s as immutable as gravity. Open your eyes and look at what has happened all over the world just in the last 20 – 25 years. The monolithic Soviet Union fell apart in months into its composite ethnic regions. Ukraine, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Sudan, Czechoslovakia – all have recently come apart or have had a portion of the country break away along ethnic lines. There isn’t enough time in my day to even list all the secession movements in Europe alone, much less all over the world. The less ethnically homogeneous this country becomes, the weaker the societal solidarity, the faster the coming break up. Just a matter of time, FG.

          Oh, and you weren’t “advocating for a united country” – you were high-handedly and contemptuously putting down your idea of “Red America”, a very common liberal trait.

          • FriendlyGoat

            No state has actually seceded in the modern era. I’m not expecting any of them to do so, even if we elect Hillary, followed by Michelle, followed by Chelsea, followed by Malia or Sasha. But if any of the states do secede, I hope you will go live there and be happy. Seriously. I would like for you to be happy, wherever that might be, so long as the rest of us do not have to smash the entirety of the America we appreciate.

          • Boritz

            Texas will need a generous guest worker program for U.S. Citizens or it won’t work.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Texas will be lobbying for a Mexican guest worker program. They have been talking about it since George W. Bush first got elected.
            The idea is to have as many immigrants in the country as now, all working at lower wages than Americans expect to earn, and call them all “legal” for benefit of the business community. If this were not so, the business community would not allow Republicans to rail against immigrants as they do. Corporations have no intention of doing without their foreign workers or supporting anyone who demands that they do so

          • Dale Fayda

            Bosh. Texas will have a flood of conservatives from other parts of the country moving in (see my comments above). And after a few years of unconstrained “progressive” governance, so will a lot of today’s liberals. Confiscatory tax rates and open borders will see to that.

            And as a separate nation, Texas won’t have to “lobby” anyone else for anything – why would they?

            The “business” community, i.e. multinational corporations is now largely run by progressives. Wall Street, Silicon Valley, the entertainment industry, the communication industry, large retailers, the news media – liberals all. In the age of Obama, the mask is off America’s ruling class. Big business LOVES big government, because they think they can make it steer things their way. Republicans don’t rail against “immigrants” – their conservative faction rails against “illegal aliens”, AS THEY SHOULD!

            Maybe you haven’t noticed, but Republicans have (3) first generation Americans running for President. Their field also includes a black man and a female. GOP has (2) Indian governors, (2) Hispanic senators, (2) Hispanic governors, the 1st. black senator from the Deep South since the Reconstruction, the youngest ever congresswoman, the 1st. black congresswoman from the state of UT and the 1st. black man ever to represent West Texas in the House.

            Pretty damn “diverse”, wouldn’t you say?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, Republicans have some racial and gender diversity in their office-holders and candidates these days, but all of them are running against the interests of women and minorities. Clarence Thomas is the current black on the Supreme Court, for instance, and his votes are almost always for the interests of corporations and already-wealthy white people. Diversity is as diversity does. If it doesn’t act like diversity, it really isn’t, no matter the gender or skin tone.

            You have this idea that conservatives are going to move to Texas to take back the jobs now being done by illegal immigrants. Most conservatives I’ve ever met are not too interested in dishwashing, sheet rock, stucco, roofing and landscaping at wages that cannot support families to American standards. Neither are employers too interested in substantially raising those wages just so you can have the fantasy of a separate Nation of Texas. Ain’t happening.

          • Dale Fayda

            It never ceases to amaze me how “progressives” can’t imagine a society NOT choosing to burden itself with a gigantic, oppressive welfare state and or NOT allow itself to be swamped by criminal swarms of Third World illiterates. As I pointed out recently on this site, Social Democracy is collapsing before our very own lying eyes – locally (Detroit, Chicago), regionally (Puerto Rico) and nationally (Venezuela, Greece). Yet none of this appears to faze liberals in the slightest. They cling to their cherished delusion with the obstinacy of the insane.

            People ARE moving to business-friendly Red and Purple states right now! People ARE fleeing deep Blue Illinois, New York and Puerto Rico right now! Manufacturing (foreign and domestic) is moving into Red and Purple right-to-work states right now! How many foreign car manufacturers have chosen to build their plants in Blue states in the last (30) years, FG? And how many have built in Red states? Care to take a guess?

            Oh, and this conservative washed dishes, was a line cook, a construction laborer, an electrician, a home remodeler and a landscaper. No lie. So know you know one.

          • FriendlyGoat

            So, you really do know the reality of who is working in the kitchens now and who is actually working on the job sites now where homes are built, right?

          • Dale Fayda

            I sure do. In southern Utah, where I’m moving in a few weeks, almost everyone doing those jobs is white. The restaurant cooks, the busboys, the landscapers, most construction workers that I’ve seen, the hotel maids – all white.

            Since we’re discussing a hypothetical situation, no one can say for sure how things would shake out, but I think it’s more than plausible to suggest that in the event a of a formation of a Conservative nation in North America, there would be a very substantial (several million) migration of like-minded people into it and of hostile-minded people out of it.

            In any event, why do you care who cuts their lawns? You won’t be going there, right?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Utah is not Texas, sure enough. The reason I “care about this” is that there are a lot of immigrants working in difficult jobs for wages less than would be the case if the immigrants were not here. I believe the business community is planning to keep them, if possible, by converting them from illegal immigrants to legal guest workers. I do not believe the Republicans of the business community are actually thinking about sending them out of the country. This is why no one should be voting for Republicans on the immigration issue.

        • Josephbleau

          I am scoth Irish and born in Appalachia the constitution was an agreement that bound people’s into an agreement The senate to represent the states ant the house to represent the people If the executive lafs at the congress we are back to 1776.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I think we should be more worried about the present Congress laughing at the present Executive. You have a large number of state representatives and senators, sent up to Washington by GOP voters, who spend most of their time having a har-de-har-har hoot at that Obama they consider a bumbler. Not a one of those guys is doing anything whatsoever to advance the country. It’s laugh and obstruct, and laugh and obstruct, and laugh and obstruct. And nothing like 1776 is happening.

          • Boritz

            Not a one of those guys is doing anything whatsoever to “advance” the country.

            You forgot the quotes.

          • Ulysses4033

            I am no Republican but it is an interesting perspective that asserts that the GOP Congress “is doing [no]thing whatsoever to advance the country.” Is it Congress’ job to “advance the country”? What the heck does that even mean? More “Great Society,” “war on poverty,” “Obamacare,” endless meddling in people’s lives? If that’s the case, then “laugh and obstruct” is a better policy–and supported by the millions who voted these folks into office. Still, I would be more impressed by the GOP Congress if they were debating bills to start dismantling the regulatory state so the people of this country could “advance” it more quickly and creatively.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, of course it is Congress’s job to advance the country. This is almost always done via bi-partisanship. That means liberals must be realistic and conservatives must be willing to throw their so-called “principles” into the wastebasket and also be realistic. There is no “small government” (for instance)—-ever—-going forward from 2015. The day they stop lying to themselves and the rest of us on that one point alone—–since it’s so all-encompassing of the nutty stuff—-will be a great day.

          • Ulysses4033

            I’m happy to disagree, since this disagreement has been at the heart of the “progressive”/conservative split ever since Woodrow Wilson and his “progressive” allies declared the US Constitution and the notion of individual sovereignty outmoded and inimical to “communitarian” and nationalist aims. The country “advances” because of activity in civil society; the government’s job should be to provide the appropriate legal framework to ratify these advances. The “progressives” turn this formula inside out by arrogating to themselves and their chosen “experts” in the political realm the duty to determine where and how the country should “advance.” Oftentimes they cloak this with rhetoric like “everyone should be realistic,” without reflecting on the fact that what’s realistic is in the eye and heart of the beholder. There may indeed never–ever!–be small government again, but I for one will never–ever!–acquiesce in the project to continue to increase the size and scope of the federal government and to reduce citizens to wards of the State. Call me unrealistic if you will, but at least we’re at the core issue dividing the nation.

  • Herzog

    The negative Germanocentric reading of Greek crisis is not grounded in fact and an understanding, and often even a will to understand, of what has been going on among in the Eurozone (which, as Andrew Allison thankfully reminds us, is not by any means co-extensive with the EU).

    It should be remembered that all Eurozone decisions re: Greece ultimately were taken unanimously by all 18 (!) member states, and that in the course of the negotiations virtually all smaller Eurozone states either took as “hard” a stance as Germany or favored an even “harder” line, notably Finland, Austria, Slovakia, and the Baltic states. These countries also essentially saw Germany as the champion for their stance in the negotiations, the weighty player being able to protect them from the financial recklessness being advocated by France and Italy. To an extent this also goes beyond mere finances and touches European politics generally. For many East Europeans, Germany now is what stands between them and the French hegemonic political instincts inside the EU. Quite a turnaround from the anomaly of the Nazi years, and sort of a reversion to what used to be the German role vis-a-vis Eastern Europe during many older centuries.

    The fact that the negative Germanocentric reading of the Greek crisis gained any traction at all primarily attests to the power of the international Left to shape the narrative. Their cause has been assisted in some traditional European competitor countries, most notably France, by reactivated nationalist resentment attempting, often successfully, to exploit old stereotypes.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    The EU and the Euro countries should throw out the whole mess and start over. This entire mess was created by the power hungry Political Elites, and imposed on the dirty unwashed masses by them and for their personal interest.

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