The Corner

‘Germany May Destroy Europe for the Third Time’ — Really?

In open worries that the EU disaster may spread to the U.S. and thereby endanger the reelection of Barack Obama, campaign consultant Bob Shrum recently wrote:

If Chancellor Angela Merkel remains unyieldingly wedded to austerity or finally reacts too slowly and too late to the euro-zone crisis, Germany may destroy Europe for the third time in a century — this time, without firing a shot. The contagion could poison our economy too.

That seems unhinged.

You could legitimately argue that Germany won European supremacy without firing a shot; and you could even argue that Germany did well by spreading the risk of recklessly loaning to non-credit worthy Mediterranean economies so that they could buy lots of German goods. But “destroy Europe?”

What is destroying Europe is not Germany, but two clearly identifiable causes: (1) a fatally flawed euro, which ignored radically disparate culture, history, and common sense; and (2) fraud and corruption on the part of European countries with weak economies whose leaders never were candid with their own people or foreign lenders about their Ponzi schemes of getting easy northern European money at cheap subsidized interest rates for massive social entitlements.

Should Germany choose not to sacrifice a sizable percentage of its GDP for years to come to bail out those who work less, produce fewer goods and services, and retire earlier with better benefits — while institutionalizing tax avoidance and endemic corruption — this would not be to “destroy Europe.” Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and utopian technocrats in Brussels and Strasbourg did that well enough on their own long ago.

Shrum misses entirely the irony of a Greek-like Obama administration railing at Germany to help its own reelection chances — a position Germany finds itself in because it wised up and rejected almost all of the policies and ideology that Obama is doing his best to implement in America.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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