Europe and the German Problem

For over 140 years, a single issue has been in the forefront of European politics:  Germany’s rise to dominance.  This long period of time has included a wide range of great social, economic and political crises and wrenching changes, not the least of which have been the great depression, Germany’s defeat in two world wars, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union,  as well as the rising and now waning influence of the United States   However, each time the dust settled, the countries of continental Europe returned to same issue:  Germany’s rise to dominance.

The question was not whether Germany would grow to dominate Europe.  In fact, all the European governments appear to have agreed that in the long run Germany would dominate continental Europe and that this situation is irreversible.  The only remaining question has always been whether Germany’s domination could be achieved and accepted within a framework of cooperation with the other European governments or would Germany force others to accept German domination.

In this light, the current EURO crisis is but the most recent act in Europe’s longest running drama — Europe and the German Question.

We are told that this current crisis is different; that Germany is being dragged unwillingly into problems caused by Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, and that the only solution to the EURO crisis is for Europe to move towards greater unification under Germany’s guidance.

Yet this is no different than events 190 years ago, when Prussia first became a state.  The current move from customs union (Zollverein) to Political integration (Anschluss) is but a repeat performance  of events first acted out in the 1820s.

As far as the we-are-being-dragged motif, this is just a new variation on the same old theme

In the 18th and 19th century German’s  were taught by their greatest thinkers that they were born to dominate Europe.

In the 20th century German’s were told by their leaders that they would achieve European domination through their own strength and courage.

Now, in the 21st century German’s are being the sold the same stale bill of good albeit wrapped in a new package.  European domination is being thrust upon Germany.  In this new variation on a theme, German’s have been transmogrified into the victims of the dishonest Greeks, the lazy Spaniard and Portuguese, and the dishonest, feckless Irish  and the crazy Italians who are collectively forcing the unwilling German’s to take over continental Europe.

After 140 years, the new German script reads,  “We have  had enough.  This time, no more Mr. Nice-guy. If you want our assistance, you must not only recognize we are superior, you must allow us to teach you to become more German!”

EU Governments might cave-in.  However, perhaps their citizens, some of whom having past memories of Germany’s assistance and instruction, may hold other views.   Perhaps, events may take their own course.

Should the unthinkable  occur, what will happen?

Greece facing total collapse will be forced out the EURO and will face serious problems

The dominoes will begin to fall.

Spain, Portugal and Ireland will be forced out of the EURO, and will  also face serious problems.

Italy will follow as it too will be forced out of the EURO

Should the unthinkable occur, What will happen in Germany when the fit hits the shan?

Germany is the world’s second largest exporting county.  Their economy is, as it always has been, dependent on exports.

Overnight the price of German export products rise by 30%:  Without their weak EU sisters the EURO will jump from $1.25 to $1.65.

Overnight Germany’s largest import customer, stops buying German goods:  The EU states account for 60% of all Germany’s exports.   With their economies in crisis, and their new currencies devalued those dishonest, lazy, feckless  and crazy Greeks, Spaniard, Portuguese, Irish and Italians may have neither the EURO nor the interest to buy German products.

The reality is that Germany is and always has been the EU’s big winner.  The EU free-trade-zone has provided Germany with its biggest market.  The poorer  EU countries have kept the value of the EURO down, acting a subsidy making the price of German exports to the rest of the world artificially low.

At the end of the day, if Greece and its weak sisters are forced out of the EURO they will recover.  However, the big loser will once again be Germany

For over 140 years, a single issue has been in the forefront of European politics:  Germany’s rise to dominance.  And every time, they reach out for dominance they meet the same results — humiliating defeat.

I had thought that Germany was about Martin Luther and Max Weber.

It is good behavior to help your closest neighbor when he is in trouble

It is good business to help your  best customer when he falls on hard times.

Clearly I was wrong.

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