After a three-month hiatus from writing, award-winning journalist and INET Governing Board Chairman Anatole Kaletsky is back at his computer and offering his searing and insightful take on global economics.
Back in March, Kaletsky left his familiar perch at the Times of London and joined Reuters. The debut of his weekly column for the news service and for theInternational Herald Tribune was published on June 20. In the piece, Kaletsky posits that there is a single country that poses the deepest economic threat to the future of Europe. It isn’t Greece. It isn’t Spain. And it isn’t Italy.
Give up? You’ll have to read the story to find out which country Kaletsky has in his sights. And be sure to check back here for his future columns. INET provides a review of the column below
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“One country poses an existential threat to Europe – and it is not Greece, Italy or Spain.”
So says Anatole Kaletsky in his thought-provoking debut column for Reuters and the International Herald Tribune. Germany has been the one vetoing every potential solution, Kaletsky says, so anyone looking for the real threat to Europe should go right to the source.
Kaletsky suggests that Germany isn’t really looking out for Europe’s best interests – its looking out for Germany’s. “Merkel plays lip service to political union” he writes, “even claiming that democratic accountability is her main condition for financial rescues; but what she means is accountability to German voters, German newspapers and German constitutional judges.”
Kaletsky’s point is that Germany’s goal – once again – is to try to make a “German Europe” rather than a “European Germany.” The problem with this approach, he suggests, is that while Germany is in a more powerful geopolitical position vis-à-vis its European neighbors, “it isn’t big and powerful enough to dominate its neighbors decisively, as the U.S. dominates North America or China will dominate the Far East.”
Merkel appears to have forgotten this lesson, Kaletsky says, and is instead “instructing the Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards to ‘do their homework’” – an injunction she undoubtedly believes is in these countries’ best interests.
Yet, Germany is overplaying its hand.
“This question is not whether Europe will agree to live under German leadership, but whether Germany will agree to live under EU leadership – or whether the other nations must form a united front against Germany to prevent the destruction of Europe, as they have repeatedly in the past, ” Kaletsky says.
So what should Europe do? “Europe must now call this bluff,” he says.
Europe must turn the tables, Kaletsky says, and insist that Germany join a united Europe or leave the union. Germany would find itself “ironically echoing the Greek position” of insisting on its legal right to remain in the euro. But the likely result of any vote for the measures most of Europe support mean that “Germany would then face the very same existential choice about its relations with Europe that Merkel has inflicted on Greece and other debtor nations.”
What would Germany decide? German voters, Kaletsky suggests, “may need to be reminded that trying to create a German Europe always leads to disaster.”