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...