"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."
Whoa! Take it easy, Robert. First let me say how inappropriate your analogy is, with your apparent need to see the President re-elected, notwithstanding. Your attempt to cloth your assertion with "without firing a shot" is a weak attempt at marrying Germany's tarnished past with its current standing-even in the context of Germany's current role in Europe. My angst at Shrum's carefully chosen smear of a current economic world leader doesn't arise from the phrase's ignorance or its cheap-shot nature, but rather it arises from the ignorance of facts, and the context in which he uses the phrase.
No Bob, Angela Merkel isn't thinking about austerity in terms of what it does to Barack Obama's electoral selling points. In fact, it'd be safer (i.e. likely much more accurate) to argue that European finance leaders are keen to the fact that any tough decisions that are made in regards to the Eurozone see tangential States (like the U.S.) receive soft landings.
To say that Germany is once again "destroying" Europe is so departed from the facts and context of the current climate in Europe that such a suggestion is devoid of thought. No, Bob. Germany is not going to destroy Europe for the third time if Chancellor Merkel continues to tie EU bailouts to the receiving country's ability to implement austerity measures.
What is actually destroying Europe should be easy for a study's eye to see. The biggest culprit of the current financial disaster that is Europe is the Euro itself. Let me expand on that point a little further...
The fiscal crisis in Europe can in large part be attributed to the Euro currency itself, which most prudently ignored the vast cultural and historical differences among Eurozone countries. In addition the Euro project itself ignored common sense-marrying disparate countries into a single unit of currency without requiring each individual companies to follow strict financing and budgetary guidelines is quite simply asinine.
What is the underlying problem of the Euro currency? It allowed countries with incredibly weak economies to (easily) convince their people to ignore their own culture in an attempt to join the Eurozone where they had simultaneously duped creditors into the ease of which they would be able to acquire Eurozone cash (from Northwest Europe)at dirt-cheap interest rates to finance their humongous welfare states.
I'll ask Bob Shrum a question since he seemingly knows Angela Merkel's penchants better than I do. Bob, why should Germany, a country that's been through everything, that has established itself as a global economic power also, "without firing a shot," write checks that will hurt its own GDP for the foreseeable future, to bail out countries that produce fewer goods and services for the rest of Europe and the world, work less hours while retiring earlier with better benefits in the name of "saving" Europe?
It's countries like Spain (and Greece, and Portugal, and Italy) with its state-approved, Kindergarten-like work days, ridiculous paid vacation leave, and massive pensions that are "destroying" Europe. What Shrum is essentially arguing is that the parent of a teenage shopaholic should not only allow the teenager to keep the credit card, but suffer no monthly shopping budgetary punishment, either.
Indeed in Shrum's world, there is no such thing as too much government spending on the general public. So he decides to rant against the voice of reason and responsibility while backing a candidate who as recently as Friday talked about the United States' need to increase its deficit spending to better the lives of its citizens.
Liberal critics of austerity in the United States would do well to halt die Klappe, because they are the same types of people who think it would be a good idea if the United States wrote a huge check to forgive all outstanding student loan debt.
Mr. Shrum and his like-minded cohorts should leave Germany alone. They became Germany's rich foster parent without a choice or say in the matter. It's not time to start telling them how to parent, and it's certainly not time to scold them for how their parenting might affect a Presidential candidates re-election chances.
Verantwortung über allen...
(Responsibility, over all)