My New York Post column today takes a look at the economic and social train wreck that is the euro:
The long-running farce known as Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian government came to an end over the weekend. But the fall of the prime minister better known for his “bunga-bunga” parties than for his statesmanship wasn’t just the latest act in the long series of revolving-door Italian governments. For what brought him down wasn’t his conduct in office but the economic and financial disaster known as the euro — a disaster that now threatens the entire Brussels-based European Union.
The euro fantasy is colliding with the cold reality of the sovereign-debt crisis. Insolvent banks are collapsing, national indebtedness is soaring and the piper has just appeared at the door.
It’s hard to find anything good to say about either the euro (currency) or the EU (the top-down “unification” project being imposed on nation-states by the socialist Eurocrats of Brussels). In countries where I’ve had a lot of experience, principally Germany and Ireland, it’s been everything from a mixed blessing to an outright calamity. The Germans at first accepted the common currency in part on the theory that it would be a weaker version of the mark, which would make German goods more competitive in the international marketplace. But now they’re finding that the source of that weakness — the irresponsible economies of the south (Greece, Italy, et al.) — are a millstone that’s dragging the whole Franco-German plan for Euro-hegemony under.
As for Ireland, the lure of euro-money has just about killed the Republic for which so many brave men and women fought and died a century ago. When the eurobucks arrived, and suddenly new highways were getting built, country dirt roads were being paved and, in the parched Burren, “water schemes” were introduced, a lot of people acted like they’d done something to deserve this windfall. “The Irish have withstood a thousand years of misery,” I remember saying to some Dubliner swanning around County Clare in a new Mercedes, “but we won’t be able to survive ten years of prosperity.” With the Irish banks in a state of near-collapse and the country dead broke, it looks as if I was right.
Meanwhile, the Paris-Berlin axis presses on:
Even as the Eurozone cracks, however, such leaders as Germany’s Angela Merkel are calling for greater political integration.
“It is time for a breakthrough to a new Europe,” she said. “That will mean more Europe, not less Europe.”
She’s dead wrong, and the failure of the euro proves it. What Europe needs is less faux unity and more honest division — free nation-states united by a common Western culture, not a centrally planned, bureaucrat-run pipe dream.
The sooner the Euro-project fails the better, or else you can forget about “more Europe” or “less Europe.” There won’t be any “Europe” at all.