Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

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

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

In open worries that the EU disaster may spread to the US 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.

©2012 Victor Davis Hanson

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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