Friday, May 25, 2012

Stalingrad 2.0

By the time you read this Greece will likely be out of the Eurozone and Germany will have caused the greatest devestation to the continent since that whacky Austrian corporal was in charge.

Last time around it was a pretty obvious devastation, what with the bombs and all. And it came crashing down for Berlin due to very similar reasons - foreigners putting up a fight and arrogant idiots running the Reichstag. I'm near the end of that great work of contemporary history, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (review to come), and that really is one of the clearly stated reasons behind the fall part. The Nazi leadership were a bunch of morons.

Racist and romantic morons to be exact. And that's "romantic" in classical glory and honor sense. It's not unique to the German consciousness either, being half the reason the Confederacy doesn't exist anymore. In a surprisingly similar way, the Merkel government is populated by supply-side morons.

Like their forefathers of less than a century ago, the modern German leaders are set to wreck the Eurozone, their own baby, for the stupidest of reasons - belief. Merkel et al wholeheartedly believe austerity - slashing state spending and raising taxes in the middle of a recession - will solve everyone's problems. They're even now claiming Germany pulled it off, in that passive-aggressive "Why can't you be cool like us?" way. Which isn't just poor rhetoric, it's bullshit. The German economy boomed in the early 2000s thanks entirely to being a net exporter to the rest of the Eurozone, the very market Merkel is spending her political career to choke off.

And more importantly, they ain't austere. Germans themselves have even pointed to their robust welfare state as the reason they weathered the initial crash of 2008 so well. Which makes Berlin's claims of fiscal discipline just another iteration in the long hypocrisy of the financial sector. "Expecting a handout is just plain wrong unless you're already a billionaire!" And, as to be expected in this depressing world, it looked like they were going to get away with this con...

Ni shagu nazad!
Then Greece happened. Much like Stalingrad happened. If you actually read the history, you know everyone declared the Wermacht invincible until it hit Russia and got bogged down not just by the heavy winter but the tenaciousness of the Russians.

I can say from experience Greeks are equally tenacious, if not more so. And by calling shenanigans on Berlin, they've managed to rupture the once accepted "truth" of fiscal austerity, exposing it as just another dumb faith unconcerned with reality. And just like the Russians of the 1940s, they're going to do all the suffering to bring down this monster. It ain't the happiest of endings but it's at least a step in the right direction.

There's a lesson here, for once. The modern austerity queens are the real ideological descendants of the fanatics of the 1930s. They'd rather burn a whole continent than take the moment to consider that maybe their deeply cherished beliefs might be wrong.

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