The flag of the IV Reich?
Flag adaptation by Afonso Duarte
This blog has long considered that Germany has increasingly been
asserting her authority over much of Europe, especially over the countries that
fatefully adopted the euro.
The saga of the Greek crisis has demonstrated that the Pax
Germanica has descended upon the continent and it is firmly established from
Lisbon to Riga and from Brussels to Athens.
Germany has been the greatest
beneficiary of the euro and is determined to defend her interests with an iron
hand if need be. There is nothing inherently wrong with that: every government
is supposed to defend and pursue its country's interests.
What is out of sync is Germany's
imperial posture, in a remarkable contradiction with both the refrained
attitude that is supposed to be that of post-War Germany and the egalitarian
and cooperative characteristics that Brussels' propaganda strives to make us
believe to be the EU's hallmark.
The submissions of Portugal,
Spain and Ireland, followed by the total capitulation of Cyprus and Greece,
show that Berlin is hell-bent on ruling the eurozone, if not the EU altogether,
on its own terms.
Even more depressing than the
renaissance of German imperialism, is the submission and surrender of most of
the other 18 members, not only those who are virtually governed from Berlin,
but also those who sheepishly follow the commands of Mrs. Merkel and Mr.
Schauble, such as Italy and France.
Not wanting to establish a
direct connection, but it may be useful to remember that the German III Reich
scored her first victories and conquests having to wage little or no fight:
Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and even France and
There is yet another similarity:
in the 1930's and 1940's there was no
shortage of "Quislings", traitors who collaborated with the Nazis for
their personal benefit, the misery of their home countries and the death of
many of their countrymen. Likewise, early 21 Century Europe displays its own
army of Quislings, the likes of Monti, Samaras, Coelho, Rajoy, Papademos
and Tsipras, the latest turncoat.
by their stooges, the Germans go around bullying, imposing, threatening,
showing their hubris and the contempt they feel for other countries'
sovereignty and democratic process. I would just recall the declarations of Mr. Martin Schulz, the German
Social-Democrat (???) who is the President of the European Parliament (???) who
urged the Greeks to vote "Yes"
in their referendum and the replacement
of the democratically elected government by a technocratic one with whom they
(the Germans) could do business with, i.e., a subservient and non-accountable
government like Monti's in Italy and Papademos' in Greece.
Not wanting to overuse II World War
analogies, it looks like only in the English Channel and/or in the Russian
Winter, can Germany now be stopped.
For the foreseeable future, we seem to
be condemned to live under a Pax Germanica which, like its Roman predecessor,
is very much German(ic) and not so pacific.
LINEKER, GERMANY AND GREECE
The Winged Victory of Samothrace
is 2200 years old. Today, however, the spoils go for the Gothic Barbarians.
Lineker, one of the most outstanding strikers in English football’s history
once quipped: Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and
at the end, the Germans always win.
One could say almost the same about the
European Union. There are 19 states playing ball in the euro group, for many
hours, and in the end Germany always prevails.
Gary Lineker, scoring on the
pitch for England and the author of the famous maxim off-the pitch.
Just over a week ago I wrote at Tempos
Interessantes (“OXI” at http://tempos-interessantes.blogspot.pt/2015/07/oxi.html)
that there were two courses of action that Germany could take reacting to
Greece’s referendum; predictably, the first one prevailed: A
vengeful stand. Infuriated by the Greek voters’
defiance, Berlin may choose to punish their daring by keeping the Troika’s
Actually, it was even more
vengeful than that, because the terms were changed, becoming even harsher and more
There are two conclusions to be
drawn from this final (for the time being) episode of the Greek drama:
1- Germany is ever more coercive
and violent in asserting her hegemony in Europe.
2- Alexis Tsipras behaved like a
modern-day Greek Quisling. Blatantly betraying the will of the Greek people
a few days after the resounding OXI
in the referendum he himself had called and in which he campaigned for the
rejection of the German Diktat, is one of the most treacherous and
anti-democratic political actions in 21 Century Europe.
In light of these events it seems to
have become clear:
* The reason why Yannis Varoufakis left
* That Tsipras enlarged the cohort of
European politicians beholden to the German agenda.
* That Germany is ever more powerful and
ever more unpopular.
* And that Europe is becoming ever less
Nasty and Interesting Times in Europe
“DEIXAI A ESPERANÇA,
VÓS QUE ENTRAIS” em
As I had expected, the Greeks voted OXI!
NO. However, the massive victory (61%) surpassed my best expectations.
Regardless of personal beliefs, it was a
remarkable exercise in Democracy, up to Greece’s historical credentials on the
First, because the Greeks
asserted their free will in excruciatingly hard circumstances, including strict
Second, because they did so defying
the will of great powers and international financial institutions.
Third, because they resisted the
blatant and unforgivable pressure and blackmail from foreigners such as Schulz,
Juncker, Schauble, Dijsselbloem and Merkel. Besides being undignified and
illegitimate, these bullying tactics are incredibly stupid because they are
most likely to backfire.
Well, it is anybody’s guess.
Although Varoufakis’ resignation is not a good omen*, Alexis Tsipras has a stronger hand to
play. He has got renewed legitimacy – on top of the electoral legitimacy, he
has a specific mandate to make a strong stand in Brussels. Concurrently, the
Troika’s hopes of an imminent collapse of the Syriza government have vanished
for the foreseeable future.
So, much will depend on the Germany’s-Troika’s
stance. Tonight, the leaders of Germany and France are meeting in Paris to
decide what the Eurozone will do going forward. There are two fundamental
vengeful stand. Infuriated by the Greek voters’ defiance, Berlin may choose
to punish their daring by keeping the Troika’s terms unchanged. This would
probably force Athens to default and resuscitate the Drachma, but it would hurt
Germany’s image even further. It would also lead to a period of uncertainty and
instability in the Eurozone.
the referendum’s cold shower, a more constructive attitude. This would
entail addressing some of Athens’ main aspirations in a way that would give the
Greek economy a decent chance to recover and the Greek government the
possibility of fulfilling the gist of its democratic commitments to the Greek
The first reactions are mixed
but are not promising. France and Italy signalled some flexibility but they do
not count so much nowadays as they are seemingly incapable of standing up to
Germany from whom one has heard no positive messages.
I am mildly pessimistic, because
the Germany/Troika approach to this kind of negotiations has consistently been
to press and bully their targets into submission (check “Erros da Grécia” at http://tempos-interessantes.blogspot.pt/2015/05/erros-da-grecia.html).
Enabling Greece to get away with a fair and reasonable deal, could open a
breach in the wall to be explored by others.
Then, we still have to factor in the zealot followers of Germany in Portugal
and Spain, whose ruling parties are clearly more interested in their electoral
prospects than in the well-being of the Portuguese and the Spanish people.
It will still take the Greeks a
lot of courage and resilience to resist and overcome the approaching onslaught.
Never showing signs of relenting may be the key to success.
* Shedding Yanis Varoufakis because he is
not well liked by his counterparts is a gross mistake. The other countries have
to deal with whoever represents Greece. The Greeks certainly do not like the
despicable Wolfgang Schauble and that certainly will not lead Mrs. Merkel to dismiss
him. Lack of resolve is the last thing Mr. Tsipras can afford to show to his
P.S. When this post had already been written,
I learned that the ECB kept the freeze on the emergency liquidity assistance to
the Greek banks. This means that the Greek banks will run out of cash sometime
in the next few days, unless the Bank of Greece overrules the ECB’s decision.
So, the strategy seems to be to keep on
squeezing the Greeks.
“DEIXAI A ESPERANÇA,
VÓS QUE ENTRAIS” em
Plato, Socrates, Greece’s flag and a bleak future.
Let’s do some fact checking on
Greece on top of her crucial referendum.
Q1: Does Greece have a mismanaged,
inefficient economy plagued by corruption?
Q2: Have the Greeks borrowed beyond their
means, thus paving the way to get into serious trouble?
Q3: Have they found in international
finance willing lenders, namely German and French banks?
Q4: Were these loans largely used to purchase
foreign goods, mostly German, thus serving as a way to support German exports?
Q5: Were the two Troika bailouts mostly
used to rescue Greece and prop up her economy.
Q6: What was the main purpose then?
A6: It was to repay the debts to the
(mostly) German and French banks.
Q7: So, was it first and foremost, a bank
Q8: Did the bailouts also rescue the Greek
A8: No, they did not. Actually, Greece’s
GDP has shrunk a staggering 25% since 2010.
Q9: Did the bailouts contain and reduce
Greece’s sovereign debt rate?
A9: No, they did not. Actually, Greece’s
debt climbed from 120% of GDP to 180%, and counting.
Q10: Did the bailouts improve the prospects
of the ordinary Greek?
A10: No, they did not. Actually, the Greeks
suffered salary and pension cuts of up to 25%.
Q11: Did the Troika intervention do
something to contain the social crisis in Greece?
A11: No, it did not. Actually, it has
significantly worsened it, with unemployment at 26%, youth unemployment at
over 50% and widespread poverty, destitution and even hunger.
Q12: Have the Troika and Germany changed
their approach given the state Greece has fallen into?
A12: No, they did not. Five years after of
hardship and a bleak future, the recipe is pretty much the same: austerity,
more loans, more debt, more taxes, more cuts in salaries and pensions and
sparing the large companies from the national pain.
Q13: Is there any hope it might work?
A13: No, there is not. Greece will get
nowhere without a functioning economy. The prescription emanating from
Frankfurt, Brussels, Berlin and Washington will continue to decimate the
Q14: Why do they insist on it?
A14: Hubris and dogma. Germany has imposed
her economic dogmas on the continent and she is not about to back down. The way
the Eurozone has been conceived guarantees a large market for the German export
machine; if Berlin relinquishes control over it, the Germans will have a lot to
Q15: Should the Greeks vote “No” in the
A15: Yes, I think they should. However,
there is a lot at stake and I am in no position to say what people should do.
What I know is that there will be even more hardship for the Greeks either way.
Given a choice between poverty with oppression and poverty with dignity, I
would go for the latter.
“DEIXAI A ESPERANÇA,
VÓS QUE ENTRAIS” em