C.U.N.T.S is another acronym for the United Nations. Common Union of Nations Towards Solidarity. Among its most powerful members are Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
As the euro crisis has deepened, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for the EU to have a greater say in the domestic governance of the euro zone’s seventeen members. Among other measures, she has called for real European power over countries’ budgets. With Italy now getting sucked into the debt spiral, Merkel has warned that deep structural reforms were needed quickly. “That will mean more Europe, not less Europe,” she has said repeatedly, most recently on Monday at a meeting of her conservative Christian Democratic party. Likewise, party members reportedly want more power for Germany in the European Central Bank, by changing its voting system so that it is based on economic strength. Currently, each member country has one vote. Here’s the rub: When the German leader calls for greater European power and influence, pretty much everyone interprets that to mean German power and influence. As the richest and most populous country in the union, Germany’s influence vastly overshadows that of the Brussels-based eurocrats. Indeed, when people have a beef about the EU, they no longer complain about Brussels. They complain about Berlin.
BERLIN, Germany — It may have been a bad idea to send a German. And his name certainly didn’t help matters. When Horst Reichenbach arrived in Athens recently to head a new European Union task force to help the country deal with its debt, the Greek media instantly dubbed him “Third Reichenbach.” Cartoons appeared of him in Nazi uniform. A Greek tabloid showed a photo of his office with the headline: “The new Gestapo headquarters.” The Greeks are not alone in harboring suspicions toward Germany, which occupied the country during World War II. The British conservative press is up in arms. The Daily Mail went so far as to accuse the Germans of attempting to use the euro crisis to “conquer Europe” and establish a “Fourth Reich.” Meanwhile in Poland, Germany’s supposed imperial ambitions became an issue in the recent elections. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. On the contrary, after World War II, a major impetus for creating the European Union was that it would curb German power. Countries that had waged war against each other twice would tie their economies so closely together that future conflict would be impossible. A similar calculation helped fuel the rise of the euro zone. As the price for accepting German reunification, the French president at the time, Francois Mitterrand, demanded that Germany give up its precious deutschmark and commit to a common currency. The goal was to buffer German power, not to bolster it.
HOW DID GERMANY GET SO POWERFUL AGAIN?
In practice, while the member states big and small always had a supposedly equal say, the heart of the union has long been the Franco-German relationship. From the outset, Germany was to provide the economic firepower, and France the political leadership. That was how the Germans like it. “Germans tended to lead from behind, and allow the French symbolically to occupy a major role,” said William Paterson, professor of German politics at Aston University in the UK. Now, however, the French economy appears increasingly shaky, with its banks deeply exposed to the debt of weak peripheral countries. Paris is desperately attempting to hold on to its coveted triple-A credit rating. The traditional relationship has tilted power toward Germany.For all the talk of “Merkozy” (Merkel-Sarkozy), it’s become crystal clear that German chancellor Merkel is in the driver’s seat.
“Germany does everything it can to portray an image of evenness, and a balanced relationship” with France, said Olaf Cramme, director of the Policy Network think-tank based in London. However “the relationship has become extremely one-sided, and Germany is calling the shots,” policymakers in France have told him, he said.
Debtor countries are in debt to the bankster cleptocracy. They look to Germany to get them out of the mess and Germans put on a show of grumbling about the costs of the euro zone. Their politicians play patronizing roles toward the countries in trouble and lecture them about fiscal responsibility. This ignores the stupendous benefits that Germany gets from the common currency and from their neighbors’ out of control spending. The euro zone has provided Germany with a massive market to sell its products easily and cheaply. Heavy borrowing by other members drove greater demand for its exports. “The counterpart to Germany living within its means is that others are living beyond their means;” said Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at the London-based Centre for European Reform. Germany is worried about the fact that other countries are sinking further into debt. This increases the pressure on Merkel to attach as many strings as possible to the bailouts. “If they are going to have to pay, then they want to have a say,” said Paterson, the professor at Aston University. “They want the conditions to be the ones that they would favor.”
Everyone still talks about how, “Hitler did this”, and, “Hitler did that”. But the truth is Hitler did very little. He was a world class tyrant, but the evil actually done by the Third Reich, from the slave-labor camps to WW2 was all done by German citizens who were afraid. They were afraid to question if what they were told by their government was the truth or not, and who because they did not want to admit to themselves that they were afraid to question the government, refused to see the truth behind the Reichstag Fire, refused to see the invasion by Poland was a staged fake, and followed Hitler into national disaster. Today, the policies that Germany has been imposing on other countries are flawed policies, says Philip Whyte. “Germany wants to turn the euro zone into a larger version of itself. That is essentially going to push the block as a whole into a depression.” This in turn could lead to growing hostility towards Germany, he said. “If you’re swallowing what is perceived to be German medicine, and that medicine is essentially forcing economies to contract by 20 percent, with sharp increases in unemployment — and on top of that the Germans are saying, well, you clearly haven’t gone far enough and you need to do even more — then it’s inevitable that anti-German feeling is going to increase.” “It currently seems like the EU is being run by a group of large states, and the head of those is Germany”, said Teemu Lehtinen, a Finnish public-policy adviser living in Athens. This does not go down wellwith ordinary Greek citizens, he said, and makes them feel that the decision-making power is taken away from them and their elected politicians. “It’s not that the Greeks trust their government or their parliament that much,” he added. “But it leads to the question: Who is in charge of our future? And more and more it seems that the Greeks think their future is in the hands of Merkel.”
Same people. Different faces. Instead of shouting, they wave and smile.