Europe in the Rearview Mirror

We are forgetting the uniqueness of what Europe was and in large part remains.

excerpt below: read full article online HERE

The Dream and the Nightmare

The European Union was always a paradox. Its existence was predicated entirely on the notion of German guilt, translating into massive cash transfers east and south. Just as Versailles was supposed to have restrained Germany, then a divided, postwar Germany, then NATO integration and the common Soviet enemy, and then the EU — and now what next?

There was quite a EU veneer placed over the politically incorrect “German Problem.” Most of us listened in disbelief as we were lectured that veritable disarmament, subsidized windmills, reach outs to a Syria or Libya, easy anti-Americanism, and sermons about cradle-to-grave socialism were the way of the new Europe. And always came the grating condescension, that a self-appointed bureaucratic class in Brussels might lecture Neanderthals what was good for them, without worry over democratic checks and balances.

In understandable fear of cannibalizing Europe yet a third time within a century’s span, European academics and elite functionaries had taken a perfectly understandable notion of a European common market and transmogrified it into an anti-democratic, utopian, and utterly unworkable European Union. Was the euro supposed to trump the laws of Economics 1A, simply because it was constructed as something moral?

Was it not ridiculous that Germans would sell their wares to poorer southern Mediterraneans, who would then borrow the money for payment from EU banks, which then in turn would supposedly guarantee the debts by appeals to a transcontinental collective to share risks? (Where did the blown $400 billion plus to Greece actually go? The answer is not hard to find: just look at the new bridges, freeways, subway, airport, vacation homes, hotels, cars, buses, etc., and then look at the manner in which a Greek bank is staffed, cars are driven in Omonia Square, or how construction workers erect apartment buildings — and then again sigh that the latter elsewhere in the world do not lead to the former.)

Gauleiters and Greeks

Who was more culpable, the efficient German companies and banks who tried to draw on the guarantees of an entire continent to legitimize loans that empowered a German mercantilism, or duplicitous Mediterraneans who wished to live like Germans but not to produce like them? After all, two daily commutes, siestas, tax cheating as a national religion, and 9 PM dinners do not otherwise add up to a life of sophisticated brain surgery, Mercedes buses, and Bosch dishwashers. Did the CEOs of Audi and Siemens think that they did? Read the Greek newspapers and Merkel appears as a cartoonish Hitler; read the German and Greeks seem beach-going untermenschen.
Print this post

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in THE WORLD 2012-03-12 13:13:46 -0400