After the 13 colonies got together for a little less than 100 years….
The place got into a fight….
While some might say it was over human rights….
Some might say it was over economics and a way of life….
Could be the same problem is brewing in the European Union….
German Chancellor Merkel talking to the guys….Photo…Washington Post
The arc of Europe’s postwar history is turning toward tragedy. It isn’t just that much of the Continent has fallen into a new Great Depression, or that in some countries things will get worse before they get better. It isn’t even that the whole mess was avoidable in the first place. It’s that the crisis is dividing Europe along the very lines the European project was intended to erase.
Decades of clichés about European “solidarity” and “the European idea” are being held up to ridicule. The notion that Greeks, Spaniards, Britons, Germans, and Italians are instinctive partners whose commonalities transcend their cultural differences and historical enmities—that “Europe” is a real community, not just a heavily worked-over blueprint in Brussels—turns out to be, let’s say, disputable. Ancient stereotypes are as livid as ever, framing conversations about the crisis right across the European Union. Germans are bossy and severe. Italians are idle. Greeks are corrupt. Brits are arrogant. The French are vain. So much for 60 years of European unification.
Until recently, Germany could claim to be expressing the consensus of rich northern Europe, but no longer. France has chosen the socialist Francois Hollande as president, ditching German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s erstwhile ally, Nicolas Sarkozy. The resolve of other northern governments to stand with Merkel in her demands for fiscal austerity in the south is weakening.
Meanwhile, resentments thought to be dead and gone have revived. Three generations after the end of World War II, newspapers in Greece publish caricatures of Merkel as a swastika-sporting Nazi. In Spain, Italy, and other countries suffering the stress of a German-directed drive to restore Europe’s public finances, anti-German sentiment is better disguised but no less widely held. Germany stands increasingly isolated in a union that was intended, not least by Germany’s own leaders, to bind and subdue the country within a larger whole.
Why did it all go wrong? Three main reasons: French grandiosity, German shame, and a universal law of bureaucratic self-aggrandizement. Together these formed a European Union that was poorly adapted to the stresses the project was sure to encounter. The EU was perhaps unlucky that the crisis came when it did—before national loyalties had diminished and an emerging European identity had begun to take their place.
Yet the EU’s designers had some sense of the risk they were running.
They gambled and lost…..Share on Facebook