Thursday, June 21, 2012

Frau Merkel's German Europe Projekt

They say she's looking tired lately. I wouldn't be surprised, what with all these EuroFinance Disasters to wrangle year in and year out. But for the life of me, it seems the whole roller coaster ride over there is just careening from one crisis to another -- actually always the same crisis, the banks are running dry of capital again -- and Merkel is riding in the lead car screaming. In other words, apart from the thrill of the ride itself, does she have any idea what she's doing? Or trying to do?

According to Anatole Kaletsky who writes for Reuters, Merkel is embarked on the "German Europe" Projekt, the same project that engaged Germany in some unpleasantness during the 20th Century, as some still alive may recall.

If that's the right analysis, then Germany and Europe and the rest of us have a Problem of which the extractions demanded from Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland (so far) are only the beginning.

The German Europe Projekt as been a fundamental problem of Europe for some 1,800 years as the Alemanni tribes and their precursors and successors spread over the European heartland and beyond, replacing -- in a manner of speaking -- the (Celto-Roman) social and political structures they found in place with their own. 

The Project has been going on ever since generally accompanied by a good deal of unpleasantness indeed.

So here we go again. At least to all appearances.

The question Kaletsky raises -- which has been raised over and over again in these seemingly endless struggles -- is whether the rest of Europe will be able to resist the March From Berlin. Kaletsky suggests the following course:

...At next week’s summit, France, Italy and Spain can turn the tables on Merkel by presenting her with an ultimatum: Led by President Hollande, who has abandoned President Sarkozy’s Gaullist pretensions of parity with Germany, the big three Mediterranean countries could agree on a program that really might save the euro: a banking union, followed by jointly issued eurobonds and backed by ECB quantitative easing. If Merkel tried to block these policies, the others could politely invite her to leave the euro, since Germany’s political pressures evidently made membership impossible on terms its partners could accept – essentially the proposition Merkel put last month to Greece. Without Germany, the euro zone would have much smaller internal imbalances and much more political coherence, with a much weaker currency and higher inflation, both of which would make debts easier to resolve.

In other words, Germany is the problem, Germany is the roadblock, and Germany under Merkel is thwarting any effort to resolve the economic and financial problems of the Eurozone, blocking every move toward a solution, and demanding ever greater levels of sacrifice on the Periphery in order to maintain German "integrity."

It's wrong and unfair to blame it all on Frau Merkel; after all, she has her constituents to consider, and though her party is losing seats in the state parliaments and the Reichstag... er  Bundestag... heh heh... she is still Reich Chancellor... er... and must represent the interests of the German Volk, ja? So a struggle between the interests of Germany on the one hand and everyone else in Europe on the other is simply a matter of each asserting their own rights and privileges, right? A family squabble, eh?

Well maybe not. 

If as it seems Merkel is pushing the German Europe Projekt once again, trampling on the rights and privileges of the rest of the family as it were, then there's something else going on. 

This looks to be an effort by Germany to dominate Europe, this time without troops perhaps, but with nearly as much deliberate and imposed suffering on the subject peoples as ever there was.

Ultimately, there will or there won't be a German Europe. Frau Merkel is intent on pushing her advantage to the limit of the rest of Europe's endurance and beyond, and in this, she is backed to the hilt by the global banksters; the German Europe Projekt is as much their creation as it is that of Germany itself. Americans may feel that they are on the sidelines, but I wouldn't be so sanguine about it. What happens in Europe, just as what happens in Latin America, in the Middle East, in Asia and in Africa, affects what happens here in ways we can't always anticipate or prepare for. 

And don't forget, the ice is melting...


  1. This is less like Hitler and more like the Schlieffen plan. Hitler was undone by ideology in the end, but starting out he was pretty brilliant. His problem was one of satiety, he kept going until Germany was destroyed. (Remember, Nevile Chamberlain is much reviled for "peace in our time," but he probably just underestimated Hitler's ambition. What if his conquests to that point had been enough for Hitler? He'd have been a large powerful state in Europe, and likely seen as a useful counterweight to Stalin by Britain and the United States. Neither country being too concerned at the disposition of Jews or Gypsies at the time.)

    The Schlieffen plan, on the other hand, was a really brilliant war plan which failed to even ask the question "And then what?" because that would have been seen as the equivalent of questioning the plan.

    Well, "And then what?" proved to be long years of trench warfare finally ending in German defeat. However, it's not Germany's defeat that makes me compare their present course to the Schlieffen plan. No, it's that this hasn't really be thought through beyond the economic domination of Europe.

    For example, if this were the first step of a plan for political domination of Europe, and single European state with a capitol in Berlin, I have to believe that utterly destroying all the other economies in Europe wouldn't be the plan. I think most of Europe, at this point, given the option of integrating into a European state that provided some prosperity to the future would at least consider it, even with Germany firmly in charge. After which, keeping the rest of economy whole would be important to compete with other superstates like China and the United States. (Right now the United States is beset with internal problems and incompetently managed, but I'm talking about preparing for the future.)

    But this is just madness. Unlike Germany under Hitler, I don't think Merkel wants to exterminate other European populations to make room for German settlers but her policies will have the effect of depopulating much of Europe none-the-less.

  2. Though there is much cruelty in Merkel's position vis a vis the Periphery -- and she isn't shy about declaring it, either -- her Plan, if there is one, doesn't follow previous models of extermination and lebensraum. But nobody thought Hitler was really pushing for that, either.

    She does seem to be pushing European unification under German terms if not under the German flag, and that's where I see Kaletsky's advice hitting the mark. German terms mean economic disaster for everyone else; the correct response at this point is to give an ultimatum to Germany, and force Germany out of the Eurozone if Merkel refuses.

    Of course doing that can have unintended consequences as well.

    And that's where no one seems to be thinking anything through at all. If there really is a 25 year or long term outlook, I don't see it. But then, Europeans themselves seem to be both cowed and cautious. They keep voting in rightist governments when facing existential peril. And if I'm reading the information I get correctly, they know what's really going on, and they're terrified.

    Which of course is to Merkel's advantage.

    Just prior to the Nazi attack on Poland, almost all the governments of Europe were outright fascist or rightist. The conflict in Europe was between varieties of fascists/rightists, not between Socialists or Communists and the Nazi/Fascists. Which is one reason why Europe surrendered so quickly to the German advance. The Germans were not seen as an existential peril by most of the other governments of Europe.

    I suspect something along those lines is taking place again as one after another European parliament shifts to the right, including Greece -- which is under the greatest threat and peril.

    France is the apparent anomaly, but in so much of Europe, the Socialists have been discredited as sell outs. For some reason, that hasn't happened in France -- yet. Or maybe it has!

  3. Right, I understand that Merkel's idea is German domination of Europe. However, the form of the domination is the issue. We aren't talking cultural domination, military domination, settler extermination/domination or things like that. No, more like Germany will have the only functioning economy in the New Europe, and how can that work? Selling to China? Eventually China will be buying from China. Selling to our United States basket case economy? I just don't think it's good for Germany in the (relatively short) long run. If the United States were in better shape, we'd be ready to reap a windfall of talented Europeans about now. Unfortunately I'm not sure we'd know what to do with them if they came right now. (They'll be heading here either way, I think, unless Australia or someplace is a more attractive option.)

    Oh, and I hate Germany (my family got forced out by that damned Bismark) so I'd love to see them pushed out of the EU and isolated.

    Michael Hudson calls the Socialist parties in most of Europe "Social Fascists" because they abandoned socialism a long time ago for some variant of Blairism. Of course, I'm hardly an expert on modern European socialism, but I am kind of disgusted by "Socialists for Austerity." Seems like TINA was a political pronouncement by Thatcher referring to the other side.

    Oh, have you seen Ames article today:

    The Quiet Extermination Of Labor Rights From Human Rights

    It's US-centic but it seems to be on the nose as far as this kind of thing is concerned. It reminds me of Microsoft's old mantra, "embrace, extend, extinguish" applied to rival political organizations as opposed to rival software companies.

  4. I read Ames's article, and I thought his skewering of the ACLU was priceless. I've had to deal with them on occasion, and it's been quite striking how... narrow their charge has become. Labor rights? Huh. What's that? It's as if they never heard of it.

    Thanks to Ames, it's now clear why.

    Sad that so many self-proclaimed progressives still hold them up as paragons of progressive virtue.

    Well, I guess it all depends on the definition of terms, doesn't it?