Monday, May 28, 2012

Merkel's Stubborn March of Folly

by John Vinocur

New York Times

May 28, 2012

How do you know at once when history, even in small doses, changes speed and reaches an inflection point? Is there a whoosh or the clank of a great door being shut and locked?

Short of a head guillotined into a basket, change puts no letter of official confirmation in the mail. All the same, this assertion:

Last week, when Angela Merkel’s government was preparing position papers on how to insert prospects of growth into Germany’s bleak covenant for resolving the European Union’s debt crisis via massive economic and financial constraints, it signaled the dilution of Europe’s strongest swig of unchallenged German leadership since World War II.

A single, inflexible and fairly unpalatable German idea that the European Union’s salvation lay alone in making Lisbon function like Ludwigshafen has had its day. In February, Merkel rejected joining 12 of Germany’s E.U. partners — among them, the Netherlands and Finland, two of Berlin’s most ascetic allies — in calling for immediate steps to bring growth and hope into to Europe’s plan for the future.


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