Germany’s cynical fix for Europe
The Germans denounce other countries’ profligacy even as they cover up “their own grievous and expensive misjudgments,” said Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest.
Walter Russell MeadThe American Interest
Don’t fall for Germany’s pious talk about saving the euro, said Walter Russell Mead. Its leaders are just out to save their own skins. They “dress in robes of righteousness and beat the Greeks,” but the ugly truth is that “fatheaded German banking regulators” are as much a cause of Europe’s woes as spendthrift Mediterraneans.
For years German authorities encouraged German banks to load up on sovereign debt from countries like Greece, yet now they’re unwilling to acknowledge that it “takes two to make a bad loan.” The Germans denounce other countries’ profligacy even as they cover up “their own grievous and expensive misjudgments.” Berlin politicians are calling for painful Greek austerity measures just to preserve German banking interests and whip up German public opinion against others rather than themselves.
It’s true that the Greeks need to adopt deep reforms. But Europe’s mess won’t be cleared up until Germany’s “cowardly and irresponsible” leaders accept their fair share of responsibility—and sacrifice—for the current crisis. If they can’t manage that, they’ll be exposed as “spineless opportunists,” just as ready to wreck Europe as Kaiser Wilhelm II was a century ago.