Germany’s quest, fed by the crisis, to push for a German-dominated Europe, a dangerous throwback to eras when hegemony by force was Berlin’s central aim, creates deep fissures across Europe and gives rise to virulent anti-German popular feelings.
Democracy is not a game for vote-hungry politicians. It is a permanent process of adapting polities to the requirements of tolerance and sharing, and respect for the opinion of those who happen to disagree with the government of the day. Democracy’s strongest weapon though, compromise, has been abandoned since the first days of the current crisis.
The effects of this derailment of the “European model” are not hard to perceive. The crisis has brought to the surface the inherent weakness of a “union” that is hardly one, a union that the North demands to dominate and the South rejects with increasing vocal opposition. Under such circumstances, democracy is set aside because, simply, it does not serve the interests of the stronger members of the “union.”
As Professor Jurgen Habermas, one of the most influential political thinkers of our time suggested recently, Germany’s quest to dominate Europe by using the crisis as the vehicle of hegemonic aims can lead to disaster.
Professor Habermas warned that in the absence of a true political union, Europe is falling victim to the “technocratic” actions of both Berlin and Brussels that do not cure the crisis and, instead, lead to its intensification.
Habermas’s warning comes at the same time of authoritative analyses that bluntly underline that German taxpayers, along with those of the Northern European states, have not lost a red cent because of the bailouts – and fail to realize that their governments profit plenty from the suffering of those “profligate” Southerners, who see their countries devastated by German-induced horrendous austerity.
It is high time for the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and the chanceries of Northern Europe, to digest the plain fact that forcing others into poverty, ruin, and despair will indeed work like it has always worked throughout history: those deprived of the essentials for a decent living will eventually rise against their oppressors in the kind of conflict that never fails to have cataclysmic consequences.
Germany, under a delusional leadership in the 1930s and 40s, thought that dominating Europe first and then the world was indeed a “doable” project entirely based on Blitzkrieg and the barbaric and homicidal domination of others. The “One Thousand-Year Reich” ended up surviving for a mere dozen years and destroying Europe in the process.
German leaders, and particularly the didactic Frau Merkel, should return to the brilliant scholarship of the post-World War Two German historians and take a crash course on how power, pursued for its own sake only, can and will overthrow democracies, both weak and strong.
The first phase of the German EU plan is concluding: countries like Greece and Cyprus have been destroyed and those like Ireland and Portugal won’t see a sunny day for decades to come. Power, the Germans think, does the trick and makes loafers, like the olive-grove Greeks, to kowtow.
The next step though will be critical. We are on the threshold of a process very similar to the 1940s. And that should be a reason for the German hegemons to pause, primarily for their own good but, also, for the sake of a continent that cannot afford to push the clock back in a manner the Germans think it will serve their own long-term hunger for dominating others.