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Europe ... to Hell in a Handbasket

I previously mentioned the woeful plight of Greece's economy, which will require a European bail-out if Greece isn't to default into utter bankruptcy. I suggested that, despite aggravation and reticence, Europe (read: Germany) would furnish the loan in order to avoid a collapsed economy in the Euro-zone.

Of course, that was before Greece reacted to Europe's hesitation by spurning the Germans as NAZI thieves, condemning Italians as mutually corrupt and rolling up the entirety of Europe's "very poor quality" leadership as having botched the economic crisis and being "not up to the task" of "managing the fortunes of Europe." Greece...lecturing Germany...on fiscal management. In response, the NYT this morning writes that banks have begun to "bet" in favor of Greece's default (severely harming the chance of a recovery). Greek unionists are, of course, still rioting in the streets in opposition to any budget reform.

And now it seems that Socialist Spain is likewise circling the drain. Spain has posted 7 consecutive quarters of negative growth as Spanish GDP fell 3.6% in 2009, has the highest unemployment in the EU at 20% and an exploding deficit causing credit raters to degrade its standing. But as children will do, the socialists are blaming everyone but themselves. Particularly (you can't make this stuff up) they're blaming an "international conspiracy" by George W. Bush, Western newspapers and those pesky free-markets.

I wonder if this means Spain will soon be asking the U.S. for a bail-out? And I wonder if they would find a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration?

Categories > Foreign Affairs

Discussions - 4 Comments

I dunno what it is with the Greeks. One recalls that during the Bush years, the virulent anti-Americanism of the place (exceeding even Russia's or Germany's) was often on unseemly display. Some serious mass brainwashing has occurred over there.

But what matters more here is the EU. Back in 1996, political philosopher Pierre Manent worried about the sleep-walk construction of an economized and depoliticized Europe, one that might "succumb to the first storm over monetary or foreign policy."

The first real monetary storm has now arrived.

The EMU's written documents seem to simply suggest that Greece must be ejected from the EMU, since it has repeatedly violated said standards for membership. But nothing is simple with the EU, and so the usual EU modus operandi of deciding everything not by binding "parchment barriers" but by means of "governance" bargains made behind closed doors is what everyone has their eyes upon.

And that shows you the basic problem--no-one really knows what it is they are being governed by, let alone how their voice gives consent to that evolving governance.

For a long time now, it has looked as if this radical ambiguity about political Europe could chug along just fine, since what really mattered was the undeniably defined economic Europe, with its market-valued Euros in hand. Maybe political Europe would remain essentially a weak confederation, maybe it would push forward toward the "ever-closer union" one of its key treaties heralded, or maybe it really wouldn't be resolved one way or the other, but hey, a Euro was a Euro, and there was no going back on that. Economic integration had happened.

But now, we shall see of what stuff "Europe," and even the Euro, are made of.

(The Manent essay is called "Democracy without Nations?" and is in a recent book of that title, or in an older book called Modern Liberty and Its Discontents)

Europe - what can you expect from a coalition of countries that gave the world socialism, communism, facism, and Darwinism. Along with that they (England, France, the Dutch mainly) screwed up China, Vietnam, most of the nations of Africa, and South America along with Haiti, The Middle East, stop - the list is way too long. And look at them now - being invaded by immigrants who they will not help assimilate into their culture and will take over most of Europe just by out numbering them in about a decade or so. Who cares about Europe - it is a mess.

Up until a couple of years ago, Spain's public sector deficits were comparatively modest and the ratio of public debt to domestic product remains below that of the United States. Exceptionally high unemployment has not been unusual in Spain, either. The country has had dysfunctional labor markets for at least a generation and unemployment rates have at times been nearly triple those of its neighbor Portugal. The country suffered a property bubble, but the common standards and practices of Spanish banks protected them from much of the mess of the last two years. Much of their trouble has to do with the property bubble (difficult for governments of any stripe to contain) and the contraction in international trade (again, out of their control).

Its happening again 80 yrs later. Europe will have to choose either Stalin or Hitler...An We the USA have no way to step in because our government supports Progressive communism which is the worst of the 2. Im affraid if someone steps in it will be China and God help us all if China controls Europe. Because it will only be a matter of time before there landing on our shores. An how will we stop 1 billion Chinamen??? Theres only 300 mil. US citizens LEGAL at that and only so many are men of fighting age. Im glad I dont have children because I think there generation will be forced to fight a terrible war worse them WWII more like the Civil war. If the USA doesnt vote or kick Obama and his communist henchmen out in the next few yrs. the US as I and YOU know it will be a thing of the past. So find your Flux compasitors and '86 Delorions and hope to hell Dr. Brown is around because if he's not in a few decades there will be no Land of the Free.......

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