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Roads to war in Europe

by A swedish kind of death Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 04:25:25 AM EST

In many threads here the possibility of war in Europe as a result of the crisis has been discussed. I got to thinking and concluded that it could be good to look a bit at different war-like scenarios.


Safeguarding the reforms
We are already seeing economic and physical violence, in particular in Greece. A coup to enact "necessary reforms" could be hailed as democratic by the major powers. This is violence but not yet war.

Defending democracy against communism
A sizeable and armed part of the population does not recognise the government as legitimate and set up their own. Fighting ensues between the factions and you have a civil war. It is not too hard to see a scenario where this could play out if the economic madness goes on.

For example: Syriza wins the next Greek election and is villified in the press. Golden Dawn and their police allies attempt a coup. Government calls in the military. After the first few days different sides are in control of different parts of the country, with two governments claiming to be the legitimate one.

Humanitarian intervention
By precedence of earlier interventions the major powers in the EU decide to intervene in a civil war by economic and material support, bombings and if needed special operations troops. If a civil war erupts I expect the major powers to get involved. If the last couple of years has taught us anything, it is the duty of major powers to meddle.

Peacemaking intervention
The major powers probably do not want to send in visible ground troops to support one side unless that side has already won. Minor powers is another matter. Today's right-wing authoritarians within the EU after all do not have the freedom enjoyed by the 1930s dictators Kalecki described. Stuck with an economic system that demands recession and risks revolution (from the left) because of the permanent recession or coup (from other right-wingers supported by the major powers) if they attempt to leave the EU-prescribed policies, they are in a bad spot. And what is better to get people to rally around their flag and leader but a successful little war?

So say that Hungary continues the current path under Orbán and one of its neighbours with a Hungarian minority looks sufficiently weak and has a - with the major powers - unpopular austerity-critical government. Then Orbán could combine a humanitarian intervention and freedom for oppressed Hungarians. Not formal annexation or anything like that, just Hungarian troops supporting a coup dictator in exchange for extensive home rule for the minority and down the lane (next time Orbán needs to shore up support at home) a referendum opting to separate the minority regions and attach to Greater Hungary.

A New Order
To really, really, really count as a war in Europe it has to involve France and Germany. Since France has nukes Germany would not attack. But perhaps France would?

In the future humanitarian and peacemaking interventions are established as means of conducting internal EU policy. French troops have been involved in a number of conflicts against the population of various EU states. German troops not so much, because of the inevitable WWII backlash that would produce. Now France is also suffering under austerity, the main parties on the left and right have failed to remain credible in the eyes of the voters (despite - or perhaps because of - all those interventions). LePen is elected, but facing the risks of left-wing revolution because of austerity or elite financed coup if she deviates from austerity she realises that the only way forward is east.

After a short military campaign that takes Germany with surprise, Bundestag passes with a wide majority a law placing the country under Troika management. The ECB meets and appoints LePen ECB boss and the European Parliament in session in Strasbourg appoints her Commission President. Conspiracy theorists thinks the armed, uniformed, French-speaking vote counters at all three locations might have something to do with it. The secret police has their IP numbers.

Anyway, uniting the offices of president of France, ECB and the Commission LePen creates a New Order in Europe with all countries under Troika (thus LePen) management. After some countries leave the EU and quickly place themselves under US or Russian overlordship, the IMF is kicked out of the Troika. Finally a fascist economy can be established with plenty of jobs in armament factories, police and military.

Poll
War in EUrope will be...
. Not be needed to safeguard the reforms. 10%
. Be necessary to safeguard democracy against the voters. 20%
. The only humanitarian choice. 0%
. Necessary to establish peace. 10%
. The glorious ground upon which a New Order can be built. 20%
. Avoided, because the tide turns now. Go Grillo! 20%
. Avoided, because the EU breaks up freeing the states from the shackles of ECB. 20%

Votes: 10
Results | Other Polls
Display:
The titles are of course chosen on the premise that MSM and the victors write the history.

Last scenario is a bit tongue in cheek, because it reaches a complexity where things usually goes into chaotic theory. Different weather one day and it shifts who does what to whom and then you end up with a totally different dictator.

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by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 04:28:17 AM EST
Being in 2013 is too close for comfort to 1933.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 04:42:29 AM EST
If the last couple of years have learnttaught us anything
Too many negatives?
I don't think the major powers wants to send in visible ground troops to support one side unless that side is not already clearly winning
if they attempt to leave the EU proscribedprescribed policies


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 05:02:35 AM EST
Fixed. Thanks.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 02:09:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
War in Europe might not necessary follow national borders. Extremists seem to be well connected internationally. Is there a risk that there will be similar conflicts in other countries if extremist groups attact each other in one country like there was after the First World War.
by Jute on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 06:24:10 AM EST
The only extremists with the wherewithal and interest to start a serious civil war are the fascists. And for all their posturing, they're really just glorified gangbangers with a portfolio of bent riot cops and paramilitaries. What international connection do you see there?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 03:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For example Nordic neo-nazis seem to be connected. They are very small groups now but the rise of Golden Dawn has been amazingly fast. Could inorderly collapse of the EU or Euro followed by distruption of trade and flow of necessities lead to series of ethnical and ideological civil wars like the collapses of Russian and Ottoman empires did?
by Jute on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 07:06:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't worry about Nordic neo-nazis.

First, they are very few in numbers (a few hundred), and they are even more marginalized than fringe left partist.

Second, things are going pretty well in the Nordics. As long as Germany holds up, things will be well in Sweden and Finland, and Sweden has its own currency which gives huge freedom of action. Norway has oil and its own currency and will be well no matter what. In Denmark the established parties can co-opt any increase in right-wing radicalism through triangulation. Denmark can also easily drop its fixed exchange rate with the euro.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 10:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Extremists may be USED for the war but they will not be able to start it...except if they are in real power (dictatorship) and even then they will be just used...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:17:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You neglect the secession option. After all, an economic crisis throwing people into poverty with no hope of a solution is the ideal breeding ground for fomenting hatred against those we know best : our immediate neighbours.

Catalonia has declared sovereignty; the Spanish government finds this sufficiently serious that they will challenge it in court. And now some interesting comments have come to light from a general :
Invasion of Catalonia an option, says general - The Irish Times - Fri, Mar 01, 2013

A Spanish general has suggested that the armed forces should consider invading Catalonia if the region attempts to break away from the rest of the country.

Juan Antonio Chicharro, a general in the marine reserve, warned that patriotic sentiment would take precedence over democratic rules in the face of a "separatist-secessionist offensive" by the northeastern region.

`The fatherland' 

"The fatherland is above and more important than democracy," he said. "Patriotism is a feeling and the constitution is just a law."



It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 07:32:55 AM EST
How will the Catalans in the army behave in such a case?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 07:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru and I have had a running off-ET discussion about this, in which he appears to be trying to make me prematurely gray with the little tidbits, like the article above.

Back in December, something strange happened with the Center-Right Catalan independence party CiU.  They started to target austerity as the creation of Madrid, thereby linking  the idea of Catalan independence with that of opposition to austerity.  This happened at the same time as the CiU discovered it needed the support of the ERC, Left Catalan nationalists, to form a government.  The ERC demanded a firm timeline for an independence referendum as a condition of making a coalition.

In the event of some sort of standoff between Barcelona and Madrid, or pronunciamiento,  I don't think that Catalans in the Army are going to be a major factor.  The Mossos, the Catalan regional police, probably are.  And their director has stated that "in the case of conflict, the Mossos serve the Generalitat," that is the Catalan government.

When you start to gameplay the idea of a pronunciamiento it's not clear that the Spanish military have the manpower to simply lock the country down.  First, since 1981, the civil guards were moved from the department of defense to Interior.  This denies the adventurous general the articulation needed to put feet on the street in many places at once.   Let's talk now about forces on the ground.  

The Spanish military numbers about 127,000. Another 16,000 or so are in the reserves. There are no Spanish military facilities in Catalonia proper, although there is a major military presence (army/air force) in Zaragoza, and to a lesser extent Valencia and the Balearic Islands. In all reality, only the Army would be able to do the kind of work needed to occupy an urban area. In the event of a pronunciamiento you are probably looking at anywhere from 20,000-30,000 soldiers max that could be called up.  Compare this to the roughly 17,000 Mossos de Esquadra, and it's not clear that a head on military action is a winner.  Then again, one thing that is clear is that by the point at which the shooting has started, we aren't talking about a regular conflict.  We are talking about irregular, urban warfare.  In other words, Bosnia......

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 01:01:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Monday's Newsroom:
the Spanish government is challenging the declaration of Catalonian independence in the Constitutional Court; a Spanish general said the army would intervene to keep Spanish unity
from Eurointelligence
The intersection of nationalism and austerity in Spain

We have a number of stories this weekend illustrating the dangerous mix of austerity and nationalism in Spain.

After the Spanish Parliament rejected the Catalan Parliament's sovereignty declaration in a vote, the Spanish government decided on Friday to challenge the Declaration before the Constitutional Court, writes El Pais (English edition). The government's decision is backed by the consultative State Council, as well as the Attorney General's office.  

Last Autumn, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) had agreed to lend outside support to a minority CiU government in exchange for a timetable for independence which included the above sovereignty declaration as a first step, subordinating its opposition to austerity policies to the 'national construction'. However, on Saturday, ERC's leader Oriol Junqueras laid down an additional condition for its party to support CiU's budget: that the budget cut be blamed officially by Artur Mas on Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy, ABC reports. Meanwhile, [according to] Europa Press the leader of CiU in the Spanish Parliament, Cristian Democrat Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, worries that ERC is "capitalizing" on the sovereignty drive, and that the budget cuts make CiU "look right-wing".

We recall that the Catalan socialists PSC broke ranks with the national PSOE in the parliamentary vote on the Catalan sovereignty resolution (with the PSOE voting against, the PSC for, and some PSC deputies abstaining), and the resulting controversy included internal calls for the PSOE to sever ties with the PSC. ABC writes that [p]rominent PP member Esteban Gonzalez Pons attempted to drive a further wedge between the PSOE and PSC, by declaring that "for the good of Spain, the PSOE in Catalonia should be different from the PSC". So far, the PSC has been affiliated with the PSOE at the national level, while the PSOE does not contest Catalan elections.

In this context, in the middle of last week a Spanish reserve General made public statements at a forum on "Armed forces and constitutional arrangement" which were widely interpreted as suggesting the armed forces should intervene in Catalonia. Among other things, the General said "the fatherland is more important than democracy". Catalan political parties as well as the PSOE demanded that the government discipline the General, and La Vanguardia reported on Thursday that the Ministtry of Defence has started the procedures to determine whether the General's remarks broke the law.

And on Tuesday:
Spain's chief prosecutor is seeking to remove the chief prosecutor of Catalonia
Again Eurointelligence:
After the military, now it's prosecutors called out of order on Catalan independence

The chief prosecutor of Catalonia is facing disciplinary action over statements he made to the press over the weekend regarding the legality of an independence referendum, reports El Mundo. The Catalan prosecutor, in an interview with Europa Press, had said that a referendum was illegal, but that it was possible that "other forms of consultation with different questions" could be found, as well as referring to  a draft law on consultations currently being considered by the Catalan regional parliament. Finally, while "rejecting secessionist projects" he wondered whether the Constitution of 1978 could be reformed. All of these remarks are considered inappropriate by Spain's Chief Prosecutor, who has initiated the procedure to remove the Catalan Prosecutor.

The Catalan Prosecutor resigned yesterday.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 03:44:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the context rather than the catalyst that worries me.  Asinine statements from the Spanish military establishment as regards independence projects are nothing new.  After all it was that long ago that we had a socialist defense minister making veiled threats about the Ibarretxe Plan in the Basque Country, which was basically a milder version of what the Generalitat is promoting today.

Without the context of austerity and the social backlash it causes, this is basically just machismo. But when we being to talk about mass movements instead of inter-elite fights, that's when things get worrisome.  

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Go visit wars in ex YU on the internet and you will find out about this...and more...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Defending democracy against communism secessionists.

Yes, both for secessionists and for unionists conflict can be beneficial as long as they are not the ones ending up shot.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 02:13:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 "Patriotism is a feeling and the constitution is just a law."

Unfortunately and for purposes of popular mobilization, feeling is far more important than rational consideration, or at lest that is what Chicharro thinks, hopes or believes - likely believes. He probably considers the current Spanish constitution to be illegitimate and that Franco lives on in spirit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 11:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The end result of this action would depend on who is backing Catalonia...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:23:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see the following plausible warlike scenarios, say in the next 5 years:

  • Spanish breakup: think Yugoslavia 1990s, but without the religions.
  • Great Hungary: a fascist successor of the Fidesz-Jobbik regime invades Romania, Slovakia and/or Serbia.
  • Greek civil war: Golden Dawn vs. Syriza.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 08:54:12 AM EST
Yes, those are the big ones. But another five years of austerity and we might get new candidates to that list. If Bersani+Monti gets majority after a new electio, will Lega Nord pick up their old ambitions of secessionism? Are there fascist movements that might take over the relatively weak democracies of eastern Europe?

When thinking about the dynamics of EU and the crisis, I think that if there are wars the major powers will be tempted to get involved. Which means they (and thus the EU) are supporting one side against the other and then allowing the supported side to remain in the EU/represent the state in the EU. Which also means that EU continues, but not necessarily as a club of democracies.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 02:28:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm thinking Italy might become a sort of failed state without falling into an outright civil war. Also Portugal.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 04:13:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is no one going to tell me I am totally wrong and that there are no serious risks for war?

There are some factors that makes wars less likely in Europe. Demography is one, we don't have the massive surplus of young people that Europe had a century ago. Though we are of course working hard to make the youngsters we have desperate and disposable.

Then we have cross-border connections. People don't want war, but then again what people want is far down on the list. Wars are also bad for a lot of businesses, but so is austerity.

I am failing at easing my worries.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 4th, 2013 at 02:41:11 PM EST
so I'll gladly accept the role of Dr Pangloss.

I think the burning memory of Yugoslavia is sufficiently potent that the EU (or a coalition of the military powers therein) would intervene militarily in anything which started degenerating into serious armed conflict.

If it isn't, then I'm afraid it will be up to us (EU civil society) to bring it back into the collective memory. Yes, us : antimilitarists, bordering on pacifism, we will campaign for war if necessary. I think, in the absence of any European body competent in military matters, that one or more EU nations would formulate a proposition of intervention, and others would be shamed into joining it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 04:34:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the burning memory of Yugoslavia is sufficiently potent that the EU (or a coalition of the military powers therein) would intervene militarily in anything which started degenerating into serious armed conflict.
You say that like it's a good thing

The point is not to push policies that lead to countries degenerating into armed conflict, and then claim that the pushers can fix the mess by occupying the country.

This sounds too close to a Neocon regime change strategy - economic strangulation, followed by humanitarian intervention. Is that the way the EU will carry out its internal politics in the first third of the 21st century?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 04:49:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I'm suggesting is what would be my own reaction if war broke out within the borders of the EU. There is a clear moral choice to be made at that point, independently of the fundamental causes of the war.

Undoubtedly, western Europe could, and should, have used political and economic influence to lessen the risks of war in Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, when war broke out, it was morally wrong to fail to intervene.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 04:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the event, rather than see a Yugoslav style war develop in Spain, would you not prefer to see a multinational European force separate the belligerents?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 04:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If it gets to the point the Spain falls into another civil war, it's too fucking late for the EU.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But stopping a war is far more important than saving the EU.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:06:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And when you can find me a great power that will do that - rather than just prop up its Quisling government of choice - I'll be all for the whole "humanitarian intervention" shtick.

But I have yet to see a historical example of such a great power.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:16:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In addition, how is Eurogreen's humanitarian intervention going to overcome the objection of why should a single German soldier risk their lives to prevent feckless southern sinnersdebtors who cannot rule themselves from killing each other?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:55:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More important to whom?

As Junker said, the Euro will bury us all (well, not exactly).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:52:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
True enough, but........

How would the EU react at the moment of decision?

In the event of another 23-F event how would Brussels respond?

Particularly in light of the common commitment to the Petersburg tasks of the Western European Union which were subsumed into the EU's CSDP via the Lisbon Treaty. It is entirely unclear what constitutes humanitarian intervention, nonetheless the framework for common action exists. But will Brussels act when, or if, the time comes?

Or will the stand down, staring on from the sidelines?

And if instead of the sledgehammer approach of Tejero, a more astute class of military man proposes something on the lines of the 1982 coup attempt?  Predicate the crackdown on a false flag operation to implicate the "enemy." If an Atocha scale event happens in Madrid and the blame is placed on the ERC (Left Wing Catalan nationalists, remember that elements of Terra Lliure integrated into the party in the 1990s) will Brussels act if the military impose martial law in Catalonia, or throughout the country?  

Moreover, if they were smart they would eliminate the PP leadership in an operation of this sort to make independent military action more plausible.  And would the Generalitat stand aside, the Mossos do nothing as the national army moves into the region to occupy?

As much as this is, now, a dark, if distant, possibility, it seems that the sheer possibility that this might come to pass in Spain, or elsewhere, should be grounds for the EU to specify what happens if a member state government falls to military action, or otherwise ceases to be a democracy.  You would think this to be a no brainer, but all you have to do is look to the silence on Hungary with Fidesz to be worried that no action is an acceptable action for Brussels.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:11:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My own opinion based on both the Yugoslav and the Libyan experiences is that either you intervene in full force to stop the conflict, or you don't intervene at all. Either way a lot of people are going to get killed. But coming in and slowing down the killing without resolving it just condemns people to a war of attrition (and the same number of deaths).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:04:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
was that France and Germany should have sent in a joint force of a few armoured divisions, to separate the belligerents along the Serb-Croat front line, and start a process of forcibly annexing the Yugoslav republics to the EU.

Not politically realistic at the time, of course. But fewer deaths, and an obligation to find a political solution.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:16:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the post-Yugo republics who have been dragging their feet on Yugo EU accession...

Not that it was really feasible to just put down a couple of armored divisions between the belligerents, unless you wanted to wait until after they were done with the first round of ethnic cleansing.

The American and Israeli experience in Lebanon is that if you intervene in that sort of messy civil war, you end up with no perceptible strategic gain, no perceptible humanitarian improvement, and all the locals hating your guts.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:21:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But neither Israel nor the USA were disinterested parties with respect to the conflicts in Lebanon. They were more interested in strategic gains than saving lives.

The point of a joint French-German intervention, to spell it out, would have been that jointly they would neutralise any accusation of bias in favour of one side or the other, insofar as they were seen, in the fevered imaginations of the belligerents, as natural allies of one or the other.

No guarantee of success, obviously. But a moral obligation to try.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, yeah, and France and Germany would be disinterested parties with respect to a conflict in Spain. They would have no strategic interests other than saving lives.

I submit Germany and France give a flying fuck about saving lives in the "problem countries".

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:48:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No conceivable European country would be a disinterested party in case of a European civil war. They will have supported the elites that caused the problem. Do you really imagine the EU would send a task force to protect a Sryzia government from a military putsch? An invasion of Greece to stop fascists hunting down immigrants and leftists? Really?

On the other hand an escalating intervention in support of an unpopular right wing government doesn't look unlikely.

by generic on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:09:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How long before the Troika starts sending police cooperation missions to Greece?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:36:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We could also just lend them money so they can hire Blackwater. Wait
by generic on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And Blackwater had the PR sense to 'discover' a right wing plot as their first move. How can lefties criticize them now?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:15:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think there was no right-wing plot to discover? That would be actually quite surprising.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:22:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh no. But at least they had the sense to go after it first, rather than concentrating on the feared leftist plotters. That will allow them to claim even handed behavior when they do go after leftist, which I am sure are the main concern of their employers.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 02:37:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My suspicions will be dis-confirmed were they to do a thorough job or rooting out right wing violent fascists.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 02:38:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead what they did was send blue helmets with a mandate to not fire a shot, resulting in Srebrenica and so on.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 05:50:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a hard time seeing any coordinated intervention or intervention by a major power that explicitly  supported those opposed to continued austerity unless some other factor could be claimed. Other factors could include ethnic or religious affiliations but not 'left wing' ideological affiliations, which, as is well known, are not Serious.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem here is that we seem to be ascribing explicit motives to hypothetical future wars in function of the current politico-economic clusterfuck. But it's unlikely that any wars will be fought by "pro-austerity" vs "anti-austerity" forces. Broken nations may splinter, but I can't see it being on class lines.

It seems obvious to me (perhaps because I live in fantasyland?) that European governments would not deny military assistance to a democratically-elected European government that was under attack. It also seems obvious to me that any military coup against a democratically-elected European government would result in blocade and heavy economic and diplomatic pressure etc.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:21:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imagine yourself saying this kind of stuff in 1931.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:32:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, though, democracy in Europe was a bad joke in 1931.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:51:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't say 1933 because by then Hitler was in power. But in 1931 people laughed at the idea that Hitler would attain power, even those that ended up giving him the Chancellorship.

Also, if someone had asked you what the reaction of European democracies would be to a fascist coup in Spain, maybe you would have given the Eurogreen reply that it wouldn't have been allowed to stand. Instead, even in France,

When Stalin told French Communists to collaborate with others on the Left in 1934, the Popular Front was possible with an emphasis on unity against fascism. In 1936, the Socialists and the Radicals formed a coalition, with Communist support, called the Popular Front. Its victory in the elections of the spring of 1936 brought to power a left-wing government headed by Blum.

...

Politically the Popular Front fell apart over Blum's refusal to intervene vigorously in the Spanish Civil War as demanded by the Communists.

Because you can't count on a Popular Front government to come to the aid of another Popular Front government next door.

Can one expect better from Hollande than from Blum? I don't think so.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 02:44:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Hollande already has one discretionary war against fascism to his credit. But anyway, in the event of a right-wing coup against the Spanish government and a request for military help from the elected autorities, I don't think there is the slightest chance of France not intervening, whether the president should be Hollande or Sarkozy.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I sincerely hope you are correct. I have no doubt that there would be a vigorous campaign by the right and who knows how much of the center to paralyze any such attempt to counter a right wing coup in Spain. At least we wouldn't have the German military helping the fascists, just the German bankers frantic to prevent losses that could not but be recognized on their books.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:24:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be more complex than a right-wing coup againts a legitimate government. It will be a complex interplay of the separatist process in Catalonia, the Spanish nationalist government in Spain, and the "crazies" on the ground on both sides.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 03:31:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is a doctrine about war within the EU.

My starting point is that war must be forbidden within the EU : both war between nation states within the EU, and civil war within an EU country. There is a question of threshold, but we know war when we see it.

My hypothesis is that the operational aim is to separate the belligerents and/or put an end to atrocities against civilians, by the rapid application of overwhelming force.

Because it can present itself in all sorts of ambiguous ways, and because the question of sovereignty and legitimacy may be open to interpretation, the application of any such doctrine must be done in an ultimately arbitrary but rapid and decisive manner, leaving legal technicalities and political considerations for later.

This means that it can only be done by an existing nation state, not by any EU mechanism.

As far as I can see, only two nation states have the military capacity to intervene anywhere in Europe with overwhelming force. If it were a matter of two EU states fighting each other, I can imagine that the two would intervene in  a concerted manner. If it were a civil war, I can't imagine the UK putting boots on the ground.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 04:42:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is doctrine about the unthinkable. Which cannot exist.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:00:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I imagine that various armed forces have operational contingency plans for various types of armed conflict within Europe. If they don't, they are not doing their job.

Whether their political authorities have any clues about what they might do in such contingencies is debatable. In my view, they have a moral responsibility to formulate doctrine ahead of time, so they don't get overtaken by events. Because inaction is always tempting.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:09:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you asking about "operational contingency plans", or "doctrine"? I understand "doctrine" to mean political, legal or ideological. Outside of the realm of wargames, war un Europe is unspeakable. And the limits of my language are the limits of my world.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:13:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an analogy : the UK and France each have secret nuclear doctrine : rules of engagement etc.

Insofar as these two nations are, de facto, the arbiters of last resort within Europe, they have a responsibility to have (secret or not) rules of engagement which will govern any military intervention in Europe.

This is no more unthinkable, in itself, than contemplating the use of nuclear weapons.

If the politicians have never thought about this, then it's time they did.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:21:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and France have secret military doctrine for war on each other?

Anyway, are you searching for secret EU military doctrine about military intervention within the EU? Where, in the public domain?

Or by searching do you mean speculating?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am speculating that such military doctrine exists (Colman thinks this unlikely).

I am postulating that political doctrine should exist. I am not confident

I am searching metaphysically. I want to clarify my own ideas about what is required.

My mental framework on these matters is largely determined by the Yugoslav wars. At the time, I considered myself European, a citizen of Europe (I did not yet consider myself French). The existence of war on the European continent was unconscionable for me, and a source of lasting shame as a European. My starting point is "never again"; the point of this conversation from my point of view is to examine how to achieve that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 06:06:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My mental framework on these matters is largely determined by the Yugoslav wars.

Well...

In 1992, the Western European Union adopted the Petersberg tasks, designed to cope with the possible destabilising of Eastern Europe.
Politically, that's all there is, and it is designed to deal with crises in the immediate outside periphery of the EU. The EU likely cannot conceive, politically, of armed conflict within its borders.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 06:39:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The existence of war on the European continent was unconscionable for me, and a source of lasting shame as a European. My starting point is "never again"; the point of this conversation from my point of view is to examine how to achieve that.
The moment France has to deploy overwhelming force in a different member state, the EU has failed in its never again goal.

So what you're searching for is self-contradictory. You don't achieve never again by contingency military planning, but by conducting sane policies at the EU and member state levels. Which is rather the problem right now: the EU economic policy establishment has gone insane.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 06:41:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you're telling me that I'm not allowed to examine the subject? That it's intellectually impossible? I'm sorry, but I'll have to contradict you.

In the event that a war should happen, it will undoubtedly be the fault of all those people and entities who should have acted to prevent it.  That does not entitle us to just throw up our hands in horror and declare "game over". The idea that we should refuse to even contemplate the possibility is reminiscent of the attitude of much of the European left in the 1930s (all those who applauded the Munich agreements).

If there is an outbreak of war, that's a clear sign of failure. But things can always get worse. The aim is to smother armed conflict before the deaths number in the thousands.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 07:07:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The deaths from the current depression already number in the thousands.

You will need at least one more digit to count the fatalities of even an unsuccessful attempt to start a civil war.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 07:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you are going to argue that war is no worse than peace, I'll leave the discussion to others. Ciao.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 07:54:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks to me like he just said that war will be at least an order of magnitude worse than peace, he's just pointing out the death-toll of war-by-other-means.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:12:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suggest you keep an open mind. In my country there were, in the 20th century 4 regime changes (monarchy -> republic -> fascism -> democracy). At least 4 coup attempts (surely more). A king shot (counts only as 1).

And I am quite sure that much more people died because of austerity in the 2007-2013 cycle, then in the cases above.

In the coups/revolutions there were barely no direct deaths, probably little indirect deaths. The indirect death tool of austerity is surely greater already.

Sure, not civil war above. But serious events.

The name "war" might be ugly, but at the end of day what should count is human suffering. This "peace" has had many casualties already.

by cagatacos on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...I suggest when ever you think "intervention" (some kind of occupation, even if it's not boots on the ground but just bombardment of some targets, or support of one group against another in weapon and logistics) try to imagine YOUR country, your people, in this situation. If it's for example France in civil war , try to imagine German's and Brit's "intervention" in France. Or if it's UK then imagine Germans and French intervening in your country's affairs...and all this after so much of the history that Europe has had...
Try to imagine the end of that intervention/peace with who ever "wins" this war and how your country is going to look like when winner takes power...Try to be honest to your self...Then decide if you are pro or anti intervention...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:02:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think anyone will disagree if I say that France should have intervened in Spain in 1936. Note he date: 1936, to help the Spanish government put down a military mutiny. Couple of hundred thousand lives saved.

What about Yugoslavia, 1991? Note, 1991. i.e. when militias are terrorizing villages, the Yugoslav army is coming apart/turning into a Serbian army, and the Croatian army hardly even exists. As I have suggested, a joint Franco-German intervention would not have been easy, and there probably would have been months of mayhem before they got things locked down, but... tens of thousands of lives saved. It doesn't solve the problems that precipitated the war, but those problems were never serious enough to justify war. Instead of a decade of wars, a decade of establishing a political process for partition of territory.

Perhaps my scenarios are not realistic, but they are a lot more objective than conjectures about future civil wars.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:10:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the event that a war should happen, it will undoubtedly be the fault of all those people and entities who should have acted to prevent it.  That does not entitle us to just throw up our hands in horror and declare "game over".
Oh, yes, it entitles me to declare "game over" and hopefully make preparations for emigration in time.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:16:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Individually, sure. Collectively?

The idea that we should refuse to even contemplate the possibility is reminiscent of the attitude of much of the European left in the 1930s (all those who applauded the Munich agreements).

They had the excuse of the Great War. What's ours?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:35:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This thread is evident that I'm not refusing to contemplate the possibility. I'm just saying "fuck this for a lark".

What was the better survival strategy in 1934? To emigrate to South America or to stay in Europe?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:50:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am speculating that such military doctrine exists (Colman thinks this unlikely).
I fear it's unlikely. I'd be happier that it exist, because then at least the political machinery would have the thought in its head, which moderate some of its other excesses.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:14:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UK and France have secret military doctrine for war on each other?

No. I can't see how you can parse that out of what I have written, but no.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 07:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
these two nations ... have a responsibility to have ... rules of engagement which will govern any military intervention in Europe
fits the bill...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:33:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I was not saying that they should have specific plans for each of the possible combinations of 27 European nations going to war on each other. The idea I was fumbling for is that they should have generic plans for the different types of combat situations in Europe, and more specific plans for likely flashpoints.

A military conflict between France and the UK being certainly among the least plausible cases; notably because of the relative symmetry of their forces (not to mention their nuclear arms [because I forbid you to mention them]).

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:43:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to beat dead lasagna ingredients, but I think the point is that war within the European Union is a blind spot of the EU elites.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:12:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for acknowledging that clearly. I had become convinced that you were reacting vigorously against any attempt to explore such a blind spot.

Now, I'm still puzzled because you seem to think that this blind spot is a good thing; i.e. that you don't seem willing to envisage any circumstances in which it would be better for an EU nation to intervene militarily rather than see a war worsen. Perhaps the subtlety of your irony escapes me.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:21:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Look, I have this great plan. Instead of imprisoning rapists we have them move in with their victims to make sure nothing bad happens to them ever again.

Tell me why that is a bad plan while intervention by the central EU powers in a civil war they mostly caused is a good plan.

by generic on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So when you see someone being raped, don't call the police. Because police intervention is worse than being raped.

Well, that depends on who the police are, obviously. The majority opinion here appears to be convinced that, if there is war within the EU, it will be because the elite in the central EU powers want it, and could gain some sort of advantage from provoking, then intervening in it. That proposition merits a bit of explaining, to put it mildly. Who's up for it?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
if there is war within the EU, it will be because the elite in the central EU powers want it
No, it will be because the elite in the central EU powers are clueless fucks.

Which they are, so there will be.

when you see someone being raped, don't call the police

If you see the government starving people to death, do you call the cops?

When the starving people start raping each other, it's scant consolation that the right hand of the government will mete out punishment in the communities destroyed by the left hand.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:00:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So when you see someone being raped, don't call the police. Because police intervention is worse than being raped.

Well, that depends on who the police are, obviously.

The right analogy is if you see someone being raped, call in drone strikes. Which seems to be sbout the direction that law enforcement is going, with rumours that US police departments are looking into using drones.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:02:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The majority opinion here appears to be convinced that, if there is war within the EU, it will be because the elite in the central EU powers want it, and could gain some sort of advantage from provoking, then intervening in it.

No. What I see is the European welfare states being burned down in a conflagration of misanthropy and stupidity. That leads me to the assumption that any war run by them will be equally stupid and misanthropic if not more so.
In fact stopping them from destroying Europe's economy seems the easier task compared to keeping an humanitarian intervention humanitarian. And up till now we are failing quite hard at it.

by generic on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it'll be because the place is being run by short-sighted, arrogant fools who can't even contemplate that what they're doing could take us down that path. The EU has fixed war, so war and civil strife is no longer possible, therefore you don't need to think about it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:39:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're assuming an outside military intervention doesn't count as "worsening the war".

As a recovering liberal interventionist (and there are a number of us on the blog), I simply don't see the obvious benefits of intervention. My point is, by the time intervention becomes your best policy option, the European project is a failure. So you're no longer debating from the point of view of the European interest.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:53:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I'm not assuming anything. I'm not presuming that an interventionist doctrine would be a magic wand, and that every intervention would be quick and easy. But I am not prepared to concede that every intervention would be foredoomed to make things worse. And I think the question, distressing and painful as it is, to be an interesting one.

If we have war, then the European project is a failure. But the continent and its people continue to exist, regardless of institutional structure, so the question of the European interest is still pertinent. The EU, or its constituents, had no institutional obligation to intervene in Yugoslavia in 1991. Is that a valid excuse for not doing so? Do you think any such intervention would have made things worse?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:13:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Destroying the village in order to save it appears to be a basic tenet of European Union economic intervention.

There's one thing worse that either military intervention or no intervention: incompetent military intervention. I am confident the EU won't disappoint.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we have war, then the European project is a failure. But the continent and its people continue to exist, regardless of institutional structure, so the question of the European interest is still pertinent.

No, it's not.

In the event of a war in Europe, the entities which are able to put boots on the ground will be, at best, acting in their own national interest (and more probably in the narrow special interests of a certain slice of their oligarchy). In terms of pertinence, the European interest is located somewhere slightly below the interests of the people being intervened in. The latter can, at least, shoot back.

The EU, or its constituents, had no institutional obligation to intervene in Yugoslavia in 1991. Is that a valid excuse for not doing so? Do you think any such intervention would have made things worse?

In principle, no.

In practice, given that the same countries who were going to be intervening had been the loudest cheerleaders for starting the civil war they were intervening into in the first place, yes.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:49:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps the subtlety of your irony escapes me
If you're going to adopt that tone, then I guess what I'm trying to say is that your approach to this problem is a liberal interventionist macho fantasy and that yes, maybe trying to be roundabout rather than blunt about it is a rhetorical mistake.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:13:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:35:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I imagine that the various armed forces would given a severe dressing down for having those plans - don't forget that senior staff are generally (hah) political players. The existence of the plans would be an embarrassment, so they probably don't exist. Some of the military academic types might have game plans but I bet there isn't anything that would get them far if it actually happened.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:17:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am reminded of the Canadian Defence Scheme No. 1:
Defence Scheme No. 1 was created on April 12, 1921 and details a surprise invasion of the northern United States as soon as possible after evidence was received of an American invasion of Canada

And of course its US equivalent War Plan Red:

The war plan outlined those actions that would be necessary to initiate war between Great Britain and the United States. The plan suggested that the British would initially have the upper hand by virtue of the strength of its navy. The plan further assumed that Britain would probably use its dominion in Canada as a springboard from which to initiate a retaliatory invasion of the United States. The assumption was taken that at first Britain would fight a defensive battle against invading American forces, but that the US would eventually defeat the British by blockading the United Kingdom and economically isolating it.[3]


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:50:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's well known that military types create these plans against unlikely enemies because it's

  1. Part of the job description
  2. Potentially useful for war gaming in other contexts

So I wouldn't be remotely surprised to find that the UK's MOD has a plan to deal with a militarily hostile Europe. I'd be more surprised if it's a very detailed plan. But I don't think it's unlikely the possibility has been discussed and gamed out, if only to a basic extent.

That's completely different to the political doctrine which currently has the largely fictional Al Qaeda as Enemy of Democracy Number 1, with a present and active threat in Afghanistan.

Political doctrine is never debated. It's stated and propagandised, and it's purely for internal consumption. The real ends - which remain mysterious in Afghanistan, although personally I suspect opium and other drugs - are never stated publicly.

Which means that civil war won't happen in Europe unless it's useful and profitable to someone.

Just as the Nazis happened in Germany precisely because they appeared useful and profitable.

I'm finding it hard to imagine Catalonian independence - or its absence - being useful or profitable to anyone.

Likewise in Greece, which is an economic sideshow.

I can imagine the current crop of mad rulers breaking Greece just to prove they can, and for fun, with the possibility of useful profit, somewhat tangentially.

But actual civil war would surely spook the markets almost as much as a default would.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:23:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That it would spook "the markets" almost as much as a default is only an argument against war if the current crop of nutters are able to keep a lid on the situation.

Since I would not trust the current crop of rulers to run a piss-up in a brewery, I would not make any expensive bets on that proposition.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 05:48:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm finding it hard to imagine Catalonian independence - or its absence - being useful or profitable to anyone.

Except maybe Catalonians.

by IdiotSavant on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 06:56:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can see, only two nation states have the military capacity to intervene anywhere in Europe with overwhelming force.
We're talking about France and Britain, right?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:01:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:08:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia: Military of the European Union

Who knew?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 05:16:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In an ideal world, Eurocorps would be responsible for policing an explicit "no war in Europe" doctrine. But of course, in an ideal world no such doctrine is required. So in the fantasy world we live in, this doctrine does not exist; thus we can count on Eurocorps being completely useless in case of need.

The best case is after an urgent "coalition of the willing" intervention (yes, I have deliberately chosen a stinky term), Eurocorps is used to validate it retrospectively, replacing the combat troops when the shooting has stopped.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 07:18:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
democracy in Europe was a bad joke in 1931.

That much more of a joke than democracy in the USA today?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think a coup today would look like a 1930ies coup. Everybody by now knows the script of a color-revolution. Have an election, claim the other side cheated, post videos on youtube supporting your cause, go on to take control over central parts of the capital. Government is run off, other side takes control, restores order and publishes documents to show that they were right all along.

So I think both sides in a conflict will claim to be the democratically-elected European government under attack. Which means that the major powers can choose which one to support. And if that support follows the same politics as todays support, it will be pro-austerity governments that will be supported.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 01:59:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but yellow and red in Thailand has shown us that two can play at that game and there can be an endless see-saw.
See also the ultimate result in Ukraine.
by IM on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would propose that Ukraine is a special case, due to the inability of any of the great powers to intervene directly in favor of their favored color revolution.

Georgia might be a more apropos example.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So wearing my macho-liberal-interventionist hat, I assert the EU's right to pick the winner when it happens on our patch.

If only because if we make it clear we won't, some other power will be delighted to do it for us.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU does not get to pick the winner, because the EU cannot place boots on the ground.

France gets to pick the winner. Germany and the UK get veto rights over who France picks.

"France, subject to German and British veto" is not the same as "EU."

Given how obviously dysfunctional the German-led EU has become, France acting unilaterally or with tacit support from Britain and Germany may well make better decisions than the EU. But don't kid yourself that unilateral French decisions will be made to cater to the European interest.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:52:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't really understand this discussion. Why is everybody assuming a civil war (semi civil war etc.) on ideological lines?

Isn't a armed conflict about separatism much more probable?

Even the conflict in Ukraine has a considerable regional slant.

by IM on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:09:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on which country you're looking at.

In Spain, probably. But there is likely to be an ideological difference between the separatists and the central government as well, which is what will likely decide which side the great powers support.

In Greece, I don't see the separatist fault line. But I very much do see the Pro-Nazi/Austerity vs. Anti-Nazi/Austerity fault line.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nationalism is ideological lines.

Other than that, I at least am not assuming a conflict "along ideological lines" (except possibly in Greece with Golden Dawn vs. Syriza).

Though if Spain gets violent over nationalism, it will quickly devolve into an "ideological" war too, what with all those Franco fans and anarchists.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:25:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Nationalism is ideological lines."

Ok, other ideological lines not related with competing nationalisms.

by IM on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think one of the ideological lines will be a continuation of pro/anti-austerity even in other conflicts, perhaps in the shape of paying or not the foreign debt. I have two reasons for this, the first is that governments in the case of a conflict that could end with shot cabinet members has an increased need of shoring up support at home. Rejecting austerity seems like the easiest way. So declearing independence, rejecting any part of the foreign debt and start an expansive program for lifting the general standard of living could easily be parts of the same program.

Absent great power interest, both sides could reject austerity, but with present great power line-up embracing austerity could grant foreign support. So defeating the secessionists, paying our debts and getting help from our friends could also be part of the same program.

In general I think smaller conflicts adopt to what greater powers will support. Absent the cold war a lot of conflicts would have been fought between similar groups but with different flags. Some time ago I read an article by a pakistani communist that travelled to North Korea during the heydays of international communism and left with the question of why the North Korean government was considered communist in the first place. My answer would be because they had been accepted in the communist group and therefore were communist by definition.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 02:28:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[eurogreen's Macho Moment of the Day™ Technology]

Do we need a separate macro for liberal interventionist?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has the idea for this macro been my main contribution to ET? Could be. Certainly the longest-lasting.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 04:45:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But even there is now a somewhat pro russian billionaire in power.
by IM on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:05:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's sort of my point: Russia took the opportunity Georgia gave them (or, depending on how you view the Russian peacekeeping troops in Ossetia, Russia generated) to toss out the Americans' gangster and install their own. Not to further the interests of the Georgian people.

The pro-Russian gangster happened to probably be better for Georgia than the pro-US gangster. But what's good for Georgia was likely to have been some way down the list of criteria for picking him.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 12:10:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's unlikely that any wars will be fought by "pro-austerity" vs "anti-austerity" forces.

Those would certainly not be the terms used by the 'pro-austerity' folks, who would be claiming that their domestic taxpayers should not be forced to pick up the bill - as if there was any serious reason that they should.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 06:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

The subthread initiated by the parent comment to this is too deep and is eating into the right margin of the page.

A new diary is strongly recommended.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 09:13:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See your point. However, I think I've said most of what I had to say.

Maybe eurogreen could sum up some conclusions on proposed EU policy in case of war in Europe and we can continue from there? Or if someone else wants to sum another proposal for the EU? Or perhaps for the individual, beginners course in spanish for emigrants?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 02:30:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is this? Going from shock doctrine to humanitarian military intervention?

Worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, surely.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 04:50:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a perfectly plausible progression to me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 12:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Stephen Kinsella: Stephen Kinsella: Is the troika more damaging than 800 years of English rule? Discuss (Irish Independent, 05 MARCH 2013)
THE troika aren't our friends. They are not here to help Ireland. They are here to protect the interests of the creditor countries to whom Ireland is in debt. Ireland's banks must be saved to prevent any contagion to other core countries' banking systems.

...

Sometimes, caricatures of this austerity-at-all-costs argument come to the fore. David Begg, General Secretary of the Irish Confederation of Trade Unions, recently said that "the troika has done more damage to Ireland than England ever did in 800 years".

...

But it's not at all credible to say that Ireland's experience from 2010 to today is comparable to 800 years of British rule. You just can't compare the two.

...

But without the troika, Ireland would have had to drop its government spending by more than 20pc in one year, not over five years. That's the big difference. The correction would still have had to be made, but much, much more quickly, and without giving people time to adjust. I'm no fan of the austerity approach, but the troika aren't the ones imposing it on us. Simple accounting has dictated it. We'd have had to do it ourselves, in some shape or form.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 03:26:13 PM EST
Ireland would have had to deal with the aftermath the collapse of a giant real estate bubble. It did not and should not have bailed out the private speculators who had been the agents of that collapse and, had it not, it would have been in much better shape to deal with the subsequent downturn. Furthermore, finance would have been given a sharp lesson in the consequences of financial sector fecklessness. Instead that lesson was gratuitously inflicted on the Irish people.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 07:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but the troika aren't the ones imposing it on us. Simple accounting has dictated it.
-------------
Creditors...who exactly they are? And how is it possible that they " accidentally" borrowed money to those who never had a chance to repay it? Are they incompetent?
I wouldn't think so.
The bubble was CREATED and what bothers me is that no one is in jail for bankrupting entire countries...intentionally...just because of lack of regulation...or corrupted politicians being oh so willing to deregulate financial sector. Same politicians are not only in power but are now imposing austerity left and right to "save" our countries...while banksters have never better time to do their dirty business. It is hopeless because the whole situation is schizophrenic...  

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:20:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but the troika aren't the ones imposing it on us. Simple accounting has dictated it.
Stephen Kinsella, common sense conservative.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:21:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And propagandist.

There is no alternative (to propaganda), of course.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my opinion war in Europe will only happen when too many people of one of the most populated country in EU go hungry...It will not happen because they are hungry and may start revolution ( hungry people are hardly organized enough to make revolution ...or have any money to buy weapon...do not let anyone trick you to this thinking, and revolution as well as war needs weapon too...to start with). The war will start then because it is very easy to trick people in to the war for " national interests" WHEN THEY ARE HUNGRY.The war will only start because of the interest of 1% of those bloody rich...always did...no matter what ideology, religion and people they may use for their task.
War, same as revolution would not change anything for the benefit of those poor even if it may look so in a short run. I hate to even think about Europe at war all over again...I had a chance to experience one little war in my country( tho from close proximity , not directly and personally)and I wouldn't wish it to anyone...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:09:51 AM EST
QUESTION : Do you see secessions in Eu countries as a bad thing and why?
Your governments (practically all of them , at least western governments for sure) supported secession in ex YU and later in Serbia "in the name of peace"... and I suppose they saw that it will be easier to integrate those small republics in to the EU gradually (?).And satisfy those small elites (puppet governments) in the process...
So how would secessions elsewhere in EU be so bad thing? You may argue that those governments supported secessions in ex YU only after the war started but it wouldn't be serious argument.
Processes of secessions in EU countries started to take place in a more serious manner some time ago (Spain, UK, Belgium) ...When it starts and if it shows successful  it will spread like epidemic (especially having in mind Europe's very questionable ethnic borders ).
Nationalism as a pretext to these secessions are used and will going to be used because it's easier to mobiles people but we all know that it is about economics , about money. Everyone wants to be a boss of his own wallet ( especially in crises).During good times of progress everyone wanted to take benefit of free market but it all turned bad when our own 1% of the greedy left us without jobs and are now cutting us of all the benefits and rights we managed to achieve in last 100 years...
What puzzles me is the question: if for example Catalonia succeed to get independence declaring that it is not going to pay debts and will not go austerity way, where and how for the sake of me are they going to borrow money again ( and a lot of money will be needed). They are going to need to have some very powerful "friends" and with a lot of money...who the heck they can be?
So many questions in my mind...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 08:53:41 PM EST
I don't see Catalan secession form Spain as a bad thing, but I see a war being fought over it. And I see an opportunistic Catalan party which has never been explicitly for independence until their own regional government became bankrupt due to the crisis, and which attempts to shift the blame to Spanish government austerity when they were in power a year earlier in the region and introduced the same austerity by themselves.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 02:00:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This means that, as vbo points out, any serious push for Catalonian independence will be based on a false premise : the idea that they would be able to repudiate their debts (or their share of Spanish debts). That is clearly impossible within the Euro with the current rules; so that means exiting the euro, and good luck with the economy.

So economically, independence could only lead to things getting much worse, no?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:54:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Scotland is being told that they will have to reapply for admission to the EU. Won't that apply to Catalonia as well? Can you remain in the Euro while not being in the EU?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:04:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
About a year ago, the European Commission appeared ready to accommodate Scottish independence within the EU. However, mostly they were ambiguous about this. Then Catalan independence came up and, after a month or so of contradictory statements, the official line became that secession implies EU exit. I suspect Spain pressured to harden the official line.

Then again, if the UK breaks up, couldn't Scotland be the successor state to EU membership and the rest of the UK exit? After all, on paper the Act of Union between Scotland and England was between equals...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:15:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
England has the City, and some very useful off-shore tax havens.

If the Scots suddenly started running the tax haven scam for themselves, they could make London very nervous.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:28:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exiting the Euro would be a good thing... if the debt were under local law. But Catalan debt to Spain is in large part under Spanish law, so it would remain denominated in Euros if Spain remained in the Euro. Similarly, all the EU bailouts and ECB liquidity are under EU law, not Spanish law, so Spanish Euro exit might help devalue the debt, but ever less with each passing month.

The Catalan government would probably argue that it has been a net fiscal contributor to Spain and so is owed. However, the Catalan government borrowed €10bn from the Spanish government last year to avoid insolvency, and it will borrow as much this year. In addition, Catalunya Caixa has received €10bn of Spanish government aid (some of it from the EU bailout last year) and now cannot be auctioned because nobody wants to buy it. I joke that the Spanish government should sell Catalunya Caixa to the Catalan government for €1.

So Catalan independence looks to me to set up something not unlike the Ljubljanska Banka controversy: when Yugoslavia fell apart many banks failed, including Ljubljanska Banka. The newly independent slovenia argued that onle Slevenes were eligible for protection from the Slovenian state, and that others had recourse to the Yugoslav deposit guarantee. 20 years later, Slovenia is delaying retification of Croatia's EU accession because there are still lawsuits by private Croatian citizens on their lost savings in Ljubljanska Banka, and Slovenia and Croatia are negotiating some sort of settlement. 20 years later.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:13:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Exiting the Euro would be a good thing... if the debt were under local law.

The debt is under whatever law the debtor is under. What it says on the lien doesn't really matter to that.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Assuming the debtor doesn't need to travel or trade internationally.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:25:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, that just means he's under a wider set of laws than if he doesn't.

Some of which may be incompatible.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:35:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand catalan separatism very much like northern italian separatism: We are rich, we are competent we are different and only incompetent Rome/Madrid and all these moochers in the rest of Spain/Italy are holding us back.

I wouldn't that rich region separatism as some sort of rebellion against austerity or whatever.

by IM on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:47:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If so it looks like Slovenia at the time , to me. They were rich ( and few) and they always complained that they have to contribute that much to Kosovo for example or to YU Army etc. They said they want to be in charge of their money...now they got it...sort of ;)
Similar now with Vojvodina ( in Serbia). They are arguing for ages how their money goes to Belgrade and they do not like it...but honestly if it goes this path we'll see Europe going back in time when every village was a state...it's not serious...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 05:03:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't that rich region separatism as some sort of rebellion against austerity or whatever.
It's worse than that. The right-wing Catalan nationalists won the regional elections at the end of 2010 and they embarked on austerity with gusto, with parliamentary support from the Catalan PP. When the indignados movement started in May 2011, the strongest police brutality took place in Barcelona. Already in June 2011 Catalan anti-austerity protesters were picketing the regional parliament. That's 15 months before the Spanish surround the Congress protest in Madrid. At the end of 2011, the Spanish nationalists of the PP win the national elections.

Then in 2012 the Catalan government finds itself bankrupt and impopular due to austerity, and what do they do? Blame the bankruptcy on Rajoy's austerity, call early elections, lose a bunch of seats in the regional parliament to the Republican Left of Catalonia.

And then what does the Republican Left do? They agree to support the reappointment of the incumbent government on condition that they lay down a calendar for independence. And they are willing to support an austerity budget, on condition that the austerity budget is publicly, officially blamed on Rajoy.

Meanwhile, the Spanish nationalist crazies are making noises about military intervention in Catalonia.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 05:23:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You guys are so engaged in fighting WW2 again that you can't see the current European war that is staring you in the face!

After 121 comments, there's still no mention of Syria or Turkey anywhere in this diary. Turkey is part of Europe, right? And Syria's longest border is with Turkey. And they are not quite at war yet. But if you want to start calculating probabilities, I will put my bets on this as the starting point...

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=148325

by asdf on Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 10:26:52 PM EST
Syria is not in Europe. And Turkey, who is perhaps in Europe or not, is not a EU member.

And even our most outspoken won't blame the syrian civil war on the ECB.*

* I hope so.

by IM on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:46:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we already know from 1974 what happens when Turkey goes to war with an EU state.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:49:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Neither cyprus nor greece were EC members back then.
by IM on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:57:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. But Greece and Turkey were in NATO, which didn't stop them.

Syria is a member of Sarkozy's Union for the Mediterranean. Does that count? Or did that come to an end with Sarkozy himself?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but so is Norway, if I remember correctly.

i.e. it was an interesting idea, but was nobbled by northern european hegemony.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:12:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that I've been meaning to write for a while: How Merkozy Killed EuroMed

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you had. I'm pretty sure it was both incisive and scathing.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 06:35:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either I have Alzheimer's, or you do, or it was a rant over chat.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 06:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In a comment thread.

Several comment threads, actually.

Don't recall where and when, though.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 02:55:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, yeah, I was screaming bloody murder as it happened, too.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, it isn't. It's the EU plus Mediterranean states. The later include Palestine, represented by the Palestinian Authority (which does not border on the Mediterranean) rather than Hamas (which does).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 04:25:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And syria is even in your imagination not a EU member state, right?
by IM on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 03:58:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Russia isn't part of Europe either (at least if the rule is based on EU membership), and WW2 happened. You can't just ignore serious battles that are on your borders and that are already leaking over into your own territory.
by asdf on Thu Mar 7th, 2013 at 12:33:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course you can. According to you, a civil war in Yemen would be a matter of the EU, because Yemen borders on Saudi-Arabia and Saudi-Arabia borders on Jordan and Jordan is bordering on Syria and Syria is bordering on Turkey and that is already europe.  
by IM on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 05:57:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To me, the most likely scenario is as follows:
  1. Popular revolt against austerity and reform measures topple a number of governments.
  2. Demands for public spending programs and debt cancellation result in a collapse of the EZone.
  3. World economy plunges into deep recession.
  4. Each of the former EZone countries tries to offload debts and losses resulting from the EZone collapse onto other countries.
  5. The resulting quarreling leads to a breakup of the EU.
  6. Without the regulatory framework of the EU, we'll enter a trade-war within months.
  7. Tensions about trade issues and border issues that have been muted since the war due to European integration degrade bilateral relations.
  8. There will be a period of hectic alliances building.
  9. Italy and France will split; one part joining a North European alliance, the other part joining a Southern alliance.
  10. Military is deployed to safeguard national unity.
  11. Joint US/Chinese forces intervene to stop an all-out war ;-)
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 03:05:50 PM EST
3 does not follow from 2. Indeed failure to break the €Z is much more likely to cause step 3.

4 has been going on since 2009, and has so far failed to break the EU.

There's no realistic economic or ethnic fault line along which France can split. Certainly not while Spain maintains territorial integrity.

The China does not have, and cannot in the time frame available for resolution of the present depression develop, the requisite capabilities for pt. 11.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 03:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
3 does not follow from 2. Indeed failure to break the €Z is much more likely to cause step 3.

But you can put a deeper recession as a result of EU break-up and trade-war. So add the er and move it down.

JakeS:

4 has been going on since 2009, and has so far failed to break the EU.

But so far it has been one-sided. If you include step 2 you could get a two-sided conflict. Say that Italy and Greece gets governments that fire CB bosses and investigates them and by extension ECB for subverting treaties and conspiring to cause economic harm to the nation (which is high treason in Sweden at least). They also default on debt and blame Germany. Pressure mounts on all countries except Germany to leave the euro and they promptly do.

On the other side you have a German government trying to bloc the effect of the investigations by having the original sinners thrown out of the EU for breaking the EMU treaties. Plus a number of anti-austerity governments that support Italy and Greece while at least Netherlands and Finland backs Germany. The Council grinds to a halt and with it the EU. Member states start withholding their fees and eventually the cities reposses the EU buildings for not paying the water bill.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 04:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you include step 2 you could get a two-sided conflict.

It's a bit like a staring match: the one to blink first looses.
In this case, the party perceived to have caused EZone collapse will get the blame and will be shouldered with the lion share of the damages.
That is the motive behind the blaming game we have witnessed for the last couple of years.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the Eurozone comes undone, it won't matter who the talking heads blame.

Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:04:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
3 does not follow from 2. Indeed failure to break the €Z is much more likely to cause step 3.

The direct losses of 4 countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) leaving the EZone are estimated at 17 trillion. This would be the worst economic crisis in modern times and take more than a decade to overcome.
4 has been going on since 2009, and has so far failed to break the EU.

So far the losses haven't been materialized, they are potential. The bill will be presented at EZone collapse.
There's no realistic economic or ethnic fault line along which France can split.

That is true. However, France is a split country in the sense that socialist supporters including intellectuals, civil servants and the like see themselves as the leader of the South, whereas the business and industry community is much closer to Germany and the North. That is why a split of the EU is going to very much polarize opinion in France.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:19:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The direct losses of 4 countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) leaving the EZone are estimated at 17 trillion.

Money you can print.

This would be the worst economic crisis in modern times and take more than a decade to overcome.

This is already the worst economic crisis in modern times, it will already take decades (plural) to reverse the damage, and rebuilding cannot even begin until present policy is scuttled wholesale and replaced with one that is not starkly insane.

So far the losses haven't been materialized, they are potential.

Going by the Russian experience, somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand people are likely to have died of austerity-related excess mortality in Greece alone since the beginning of the present depression. And that number increases by a handful every day.

That is true. However, France is a split country in the sense that socialist supporters including intellectuals, civil servants and the like see themselves as the leader of the South, whereas the business and industry community is much closer to Germany and the North. That is why a split of the EU is going to very much polarize opinion in France.

That doesn't mean that France will split north/south. It is much more probable, particularly given the French tradition for strong centralism, that France will commit fully to one side or the other, with the defeated fraction dragged along kicking and screaming, and, if the bad guys win that internal confrontation, occasionally rioting.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:03:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The direct losses of 4 countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal) leaving the EZone are estimated at 17 trillion. This would be the worst economic crisis in modern times and take more than a decade to overcome.

It is not the 'losses of 4 countries' that matters so much as the 'losses occasioned by the default and debt repudiation of 4 countries' and what really matters is who would suffer those losses. The answer is that the losses would be suffered by the wealthiest elements of Germany and France, along with pension funds that have been suckered into sharing that risk. The losses have already occurred, but TPTB have agreed that they do not have to be recognized as it cannot be said with total certainty that these losses cannot be recovered. Rebellion against the Troika by, say Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal could break the denial that has kept the financial system semi-functioning.

The problem with such an event is that those owning the debt that is being defaulted won't just accept that their claims have to be written down and they have to lose money. OH NO! They will be demanding to be made whole until every poor person in the EZ has been thrown into a meat grinder and sold as hamburger, regardless of whether that will or will not make them whole.

The situation in the Euro-zone is similar to the real estate melt down in the USA. Much of the debt has been created by fraud, but it has all been mixed together or comingled, so now all is tainted. But the most powerful people, many of whom were responsible for the fraud, are demanding to be made whole and those they are blaming are not capable of making them whole. So what we have is an ugly drama of vindictive spite inflicted mostly on those who had nothing to do with the origin of the problem other than, perhaps, having voted for politicians who colluded with fraud. I guess the assumption is that the citizens are not like investors in a corporation who are only liable to the extent of the value of their stock.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 11:01:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not the 'losses of 4 countries' that matters so much as the 'losses occasioned by the default and debt repudiation of 4 countries' and what really matters is who would suffer those losses.

The parenthesis (Greece ...) got in the way of comprehension. It should be "losses of 4 countries leaving", i.e., the direct financial losses including default and everything you mentioned.
The total economic damage is likely to be much bigger. Just imagine 2 to 3 trillion Euros leaving the Italian economy in a very short period of time because Italian savers aren't likely to cherish the idea of loosing 30 to 50% of their savings due to the devaluation that will invariably follow a EZone breakup. Such a vast drain of money will result in total economic collapse.
The fallout from a EZone collapse is likely to be worse, in economic terms, than the aftermath of WWII.
by The European on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:47:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just imagine 2 to 3 trillion Euros leaving the Italian economy in a very short period of time

And the Italian central bank should permit this for what reason?

because Italian savers aren't likely to cherish the idea of loosing 30 to 50% of their savings due to the devaluation

Sucks to be an Italian saver, then. Why is this a problem for the Italian economy? Savers have no macroeconomic function.

Such a vast drain of money will result in total economic collapse.

Money can be printed. Please provide a plausible cause and effect story wherein "lack of money" is anything other than a purely political problem.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 06:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Italian central bank should permit this for what reason?

The alternative is to stop all cross-border transactions which would also result in a total collapse of the economy. But the savvy investors will park their ill gotten gains in safe havens long before that will happen. As always, it is the average Joe that's going to foot the bill.
Savers have no macroeconomic function.

Savings are necessary to fund industrial production.
Money can be printed.

Wealth cannot be printed. Printing money destroys wealth.
But if you just want cheap paper money to paper your walls, I dare say, the money printers have a point.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:08:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Savings aren't wealth either. They are claims on wealth. Not exercising them now just leads to reduced demand in the present.
by generic on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thus we are so sensible, have schooled ourselves to so close a semblance of prudent financiers, taking careful thought before we add to the "financial" burdens of posterity by building them houses to live in, that we have no such easy escape from the sufferings of unemployment. We have to accept them as an inevitable result of applying to the conduct of the State the maxims which are best calculated to "enrich" an individual by enabling him to pile up claims to enjoyment which he does not intend to exercise at any definite time.
(Keynes)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:27:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Savings are necessary to fund industrial production.

Savings = Investment, eh?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:28:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh boy, here we go again.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 11:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The alternative is to stop all cross-border transactions which would also result in a total collapse of the economy.

This is not the Argentine nor the Icelandic experience.

But the savvy investors will park their ill gotten gains in safe havens long before that will happen.

Some of them undoubtedly will, but invasive and heavy-handed money laundering laws and selective default on central bank balances against known pirate banking states can go quite a long way toward retroactively enforcing a corralito.

As always, it is the average Joe that's going to foot the bill.

If the average Joe's losses from the present depression can be stopped at merely wiping out his savings (what savings? The average Joe barely has any), then he should count his blessings. Under current policy, about 1 % of the average Joes are going to be dead within ten years, and even the ones who survive are going to get a one-way ticket to negative equity.

Savings are necessary to fund industrial production.

Loanable funds fallacy.

Wealth cannot be printed. Printing money destroys wealth.

[Citation needed]

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 03:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'two to three trillion Euros' is highly unlikely to be even mostly cash. Most will be real estate, the price of which can decline but which still retains its use value non-the-less. Most adult Italians have a good idea of how to survive with a currency that is fairly rapidly depreciating. That was their reality for most of the second half of the 20th Century.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 12:13:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most adult Italians have a good idea of how to survive with a currency that is fairly rapidly depreciating.

Yes, and that is why they are going to hold on to the Euro teeth and claws. Latest polls suggest that 67% of Italians want to stay in the Euro and only the lunatic fringe of 10% wants the Lira back.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:58:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you remember to look beyond the headline to see what the response was when retaining the Euro was made explicitly contingent on continued austerity economic suicide?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 03:39:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The 'two to three trillion Euros' is highly unlikely to be even mostly cash.

That is true, but even a fraction of that would be enough to completely floor the economy. Remember the bank run on Greek and Spanish banks last summer. Different from Greece and Spain, the ECB isn't going to put a single cent into Italy if the problem is perceived to be due to political instability in Italy.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:16:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the ECB isn't going to put a single cent into Italy if the problem is perceived to be due to political instability in Italy
The ECB is going to do whatever it needs to ensure its own continued existence as an institution.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately, if the ECB refuses to do its job as lender of first and last resort to the Italian government, the Italian central bank can recover a large fraction of the exiting money simply by defaulting on its outstanding Target balances.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 03:40:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Welcome to ET! If you are wondering about anything realted to the site the open thread (middle column on the first page, under the headline "a place to talk") is the place to ask.

Now on to substance. You are a bit more optimistic then I am, essentialy following the break-up of the Eastern bloc (at least until 8). My mental model is more of 1848 mixed with 1930ies.

If we see alliances, I don't think they will be north-south as then you largely ally with your neighbours, and it is with the neighbours the old border issues exist. Sweden could (extremely unlikely though) conjure up border issues with Finland (Åland islands) but not with Greece. A rise of Greater Hungary could quickly trigger a search for anti-Hungary alliances around Hungary, but Portugal would be uninterested. So if there is alliance building I rather think it will be a complex weave of enemy-of-my-enemy alliances.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 04:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the welcome. I hope I didn't put my foot in with my first post. There is too much information on each page to take in fully at a glance.
I think, on purely economic grounds, a Northern alliance will most likely follow an EU breakup. Most countries bordering Germany depend on the German market. This will create a bloc other countries will join by and by. Any Southern alliance is likely to be dysfunctional.
The big question is France, the French economy is very closely connected to the German economy. Yet, joining the German bloc as a junior partner is going to be very unpalatable to the French.
Border issues will arise in a later step if conflicts over economic issues escalate. There is after all a chance that any new alliance will incorporate many of the achievements of the EU and that thus the worst can be avoided.
Anyways, it seems that the South will probably be the big looser in any new arrangement. And France will face some very difficult decisions.
Incidentally, my mental model is more 1914, which is suiting since we are soon to celebrate its 100th anniversary. There is a new game of alliances, unthinkable a few years ago. The Berlin/Paris axis appears to be somewhat shaky and there seem to be a number of think tanks which try to put a positive spin on a new London/Berlin axis.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 04:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main problem with a northern trade bloc, nevermind a northern alliance, is that Germany has amply demonstrated that it is totally untrustworthy as a trade partner.

German policy has been driving basically all of the Eurozone's dysfunctions, which means that the successor bloc containing Germany is virtually guaranteed to be just as dysfunctional.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:06:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The main problem with a northern trade bloc, nevermind a northern alliance, is that Germany has amply demonstrated that it is totally untrustworthy as a trade partner.

Please explain.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German economic strategy of the last several decades has been to gain export market share through wage dumping. The (economic) problem with a wage dumping led export growth strategy is that it creates a shortfall of demand within your currency area (countries outside your currency area can defend themselves trivially by discounting their currencies). And since capitalists will not build factories that they expect to stand idle, a shortfall of aggregate demand harms your medium- and long-term industrial development.

The countries most likely to maintain a fixed exchange rate regime against you, and tolerate that you abuse it in this manner, are the ones most likely to be your closest economic or geopolitical allies or clients. In other words, Germany has been pursuing - consistently - a strategy designed to retard the industrial development and stunt the economic strength of the trade bloc in which they are the hegemon.

Think of it as a version of mercantilism. But dumber.

If an NEU bloc does not maintain a common currency or fixed exchange rate regime, then Germany's economic strategy will implode, and the raison d'etre for an NEU bloc will be gone. If an NEU bloc attempts to maintain a common currency or fixed FX regime, then that bloc will inherit all the dysfunctions of the €, and fall apart in turn in short order.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:51:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The German economic strategy of the last several decades has been to gain export market share through wage dumping.

How can that be? Prior to the Euro, the value of the DM has increased about fourfold in relation to the Pound. In other words, British labor has become cheaper and German labor has become more expensive. Even with the Euro, the Pound has lost more than 20% in the last couple of years, yet the UK has a record trade deficit.
If you devalue it means that you are not competitive. To compete on price these days (wage dumping) you would have to lower wages to Third World levels. The only way to maintain a high standard of living is by innovation.
With or without the EZone, the issue for Germany is not competition with Greece, the issue is competition with Japan, Korea and China.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:08:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can that be? Prior to the Euro, the value of the DM has increased about fourfold in relation to the Pound. In other words, British labor has become cheaper and German labor has become more expensive.

Only if the hourly wage in £ has not grown faster relative to the hourly wage in DM.

The European Exchange Rate Mechanism, the precursor to the Euro, would periodically experience crises in which appreciation pressure on the DM featured prominently. The German response was always to absolutely refuse to defend the DM exchange rate, insisting that it was a problem with the other currency of the day. When the DM is almost always involved on the same side of a currency crisis between pegged European currencies, you should start wondering whether perhaps this is because Germany is deliberately running a harmful, disinflationary policy.1

Which is evidence of the mercantilist strategy, not evidence against it. The depreciation of the £ is the British defense against German wage dumping. (Well, that and the fact that the UK has been systematically dismantling its industrial plant for thirty years solid, which must eventually show up in your ability to afford imported goods, which in turn shows up in your exchange rate.)

If you devalue it means that you are not competitive.

No, it means that you were not competitive before you devalued.

"Uncompetitive," in this context, is simply another word for "overvalued currency." Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing inherently wrong with fixing that through devaluation. Nor is there anything inherently wrong with running a higher rate of inflation than your trading partners and compensating with regular depreciation or periodic devaluations of the currency.

That policy regime sucks for rentier interests. But that's a feature, not a bug.

To compete on price these days (wage dumping) you would have to lower wages to Third World levels. The only way to maintain a high standard of living is by innovation.

I know that and you know that, but when you look at the numbers (rather than the hagiography), that is simply not the strategy Germany has been following for at least the last twenty years.

With or without the EZone, the issue for Germany is not competition with Greece, the issue is competition with Japan, Korea and China.

No. With the Eurozone, China and the US have been playing middle-man for what was effectively Germany competing with Greece and Spain. Rather than with China and Japan. Which, of course, is a lot more fun for Germany (not so much for Spain and Greece, though).

Without a fixed exchange rate regime to prop up German exports, Germany's problem will be that German economic strategy requires that Germany is a net exporter. In the absence of a fixed FX regime it is only possibly to be a net exporter by discounting your currency. And Germany lacks the political will to get into a balls-to-the-wall competitive devaluation with countries who discount their currency to protect themselves from importing the unemployment caused by Germany's irresponsible policy mix.

- Jake

1The relationships between exchange rates and other macroeconomic variables are... non-trivial, and most contemporary attempts to model them quantitatively are, quite frankly, embarrassingly bad. So normally inferences of policy implications from exchange rate behavior should be treated with extreme caution. But in this case the effect is sufficiently large and persistent that a compelling case can be made.

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:37:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if the hourly wage in £ has not grown faster relative to the hourly wage in DM.

Big wage increases are no use if most of it is eaten up by inflation. Germany has pursued a policy of a hard currency with low inflation and low currency fluctuation in order to increase predictability necessary for industrial investment. In that context, even low wage increases will improve living standards more than high wage increase in soft currency high inflation economies.
"Uncompetitive," in this context, is simply another word for "overvalued currency."

  1. With soft currencies, devaluation is an ongoing process. I.e., one devaluation hides the next devaluation. Domestic industry can sell by price and does not have to increase productivity and innovation. Therefore, industry loses competitiveness.
  2. German industry has had to face regular increases in the value  its currency. It has become competitive by a) shifting from low-cost to high added value industries b) increasing productivity c) improving technological innovation. Therefore it has become competitive.
With the Eurozone, China and the US have been playing middle-man for what was effectively Germany competing with Greece and Spain.

As a percentage of total German exports, exports to the EZone have fallen from 47 to 37% in the last decade. That trend is likely to continue in the future. European markets will continue to loose importance.
But I agree that the Euro is too cheap for German industry. This will compromise German competitiveness in the future due to the mechanism I have explained under 1) and 2) above. Anyways, the Germans don't need the exorbitant trade surplus they have now. It's a disadvantage more than an advantage because it puts political pressure on them and they risk loosing much of their foreign held assets when the debt bubble bursts.
But there is no way of decreasing your competitiveness in relation to Spain while at the same time increasing your competitiveness to compete against China or Japan.
by The European on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:29:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Big wage increases are no use if most of it is eaten up by inflation.

On the contrary, big wage increases matching and matched by inflation serves to erode the debt burden on society.

Germany has pursued a policy of a hard currency with low inflation and low currency fluctuation in order to increase predictability necessary for industrial investment.

Inflation, so long as it is below roughly 10 per cent per year, does not materially impair investment decisions. Lack of aggregate demand, on the other hand, does.

In that context, even low wage increases will improve living standards more than high wage increase in soft currency high inflation economies.

That quite simply is not true of the German experience over the past forty years.

With soft currencies, devaluation is an ongoing process. I.e., one devaluation hides the next devaluation.

And the problem with that is?

There is nothing inherently wrong with running 5-8 % annual inflation and 3-6 % annual depreciation of the currency w.r.t. the D-Mark. It has a different distributional impact between rentiers, entrepreneurs, labor and mature industrial firms than rigidly running 2 % inflation and no depreciation versus the D-Mark. But it is not inherently worse. Just different.

Domestic industry can sell by price and does not have to increase productivity and innovation. Therefore, industry loses competitiveness.

Untrue. Domestic industry under a full employment and balanced foreign trade policy faces two pressures to improve:

First, wages, being kept high relative to the cost of capital by full employment, will push firms to substitute capital for labor. This will not cause unemployment, since the saved labor is kept employed via demand-side intervention. But it will increase the sophistication and extent of the capital plant.

Second, domestic industry is not homogeneous: Firms and sectors can gain at the expense of other firms and sectors in the domestic economy. If you do not innovate and improve, and your neighbor does, then your firm will lose market share. A balanced trade currency policy only ensures that the domestic sector will not lose market share in the aggregate, it does not protect any individual firm from competitive pressure.

German industry has had to face regular increases in the value  its currency. It has become competitive by a) shifting from low-cost to high added value industries b) increasing productivity c) improving technological innovation. Therefore it has become competitive.

b) and c) are simply flat-out false: German productivity per man-hour has grown slower than the rest of Europe.

With the Eurozone, China and the US have been playing middle-man for what was effectively Germany competing with Greece and Spain.

As a percentage of total German exports, exports to the EZone have fallen from 47 to 37% in the last decade. That trend is likely to continue in the future. European markets will continue to loose importance.

Irrelevant. The Euro floats against RoW, meaning that German firms do not compete against Chinese firms - any gain in "competitiveness" vs. China will be (and historically has been) immediately offset by an appreciation of the currency (and vice versa for losses of competitiveness). At the macro level, Germany competes only with those European countries who have pegged their currencies to the D-Mark.

(The argument is identical to the one about firms in an open, floating-rate healthy-inflation economy.)

But I agree that the Euro is too cheap for German industry. This will compromise German competitiveness in the future

That effect has never been observed in the real world.

Anyways, the Germans don't need the exorbitant trade surplus they have now.

They do if they wish to keep being able to pursue hard money quackery with a minimum of social unrest.

But there is no way of decreasing your competitiveness in relation to Spain while at the same time increasing your competitiveness to compete against China or Japan.

Permit the Euro to depreciate. Or depart the Euro, and permit the D-Mark to appreciate gainst the rump Euro, but not against the Yen.

There is nothing wrong with activist currency policy, and there is nothing wrong with a healthy 5-8 % annual inflation rate. Foreclosing on activist currency policy and attempting to push the rate of inflation substantially below where it should be to ensure financial stability in an economy facing 0-1 % annual real growth serves no purpose except to enrich rentiers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 06:52:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, I think we basically disagree on the virtues of inflation and devaluation. After a one-off event like war and the like, there is a case for erasing debt by inflation or whatever means you want because it is non-recurrent (unless you keep on going to war of course). But structural debt, which is recurrent as is the case in the EZone periphery, cannot be dealt with in that way. Investors (savers or whoever) will invariably factor in a country's propensity to erase debts by inflation/devaluation and make you pay through the nose. That's the beauty of credit rating. Different from politicians, the markets don't lie.
High inflation invariably has a negative impact on society. And to think that you can control inflation at 8 to 10% is absurd. High inflation invariably tends to spiral out of control and it can only be brought down again by very painful measures. High inflation also encourages high-risk investments, i.e. speculation, and discourages stable long term low interest investments need by the manufacturing industries.
Anyways, leaving aside the thin air of economic theory, the reality of the economic situation is that pumping more money into the periphery would reproduce the causes that led to the crisis in the first place and produce another consumer bubble without building domestic manufacturing industry. There would be no sustainable growth. The money would produce another even bigger bubble which would definitely put an end to the EZone. But if I understand you correctly that is exactly what you want. I'm sorry, but I cannot follow you in any such cynical enterprise as it would cause infinite suffering even in your country.
Also you are wrong on most other accounts. If I get some time in the next few days I will try to reply in greater detail. Just to resume: Germany has proven to be a very "trustworthy trading partner" for more than halve a century. That is why Germany is successful. In business, trust is everything, in politics it is optional. German labor cost is very high. Not just wages but also charges including insurance, solidarity costs, income taxes, corporate taxes, etc. And different from the UK, Germany does not practice "tax dumping" by offering the lowest corporate tax in any of the major industrial countries. Nor does Germany practice "currency dumping" as the UK has always done. If I have the choice of working for a manufacturer in Germany or in the UK, I will choose Germany any time. I spent 4 years working in the UK and I don't regret it as an experience, but I wouldn't want it for the rest of my working life. Productivity and innovation is also high. Germany files about 3 times more patents than the UK. If you include utility models, it is probably more like 4 times. And the depressing thing, new patent applications in the UK have been in decline for almost a decade. The reason is of course the loss of manufacturing.
by The European on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 05:03:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake, I think we basically disagree on the virtues of inflation and devaluation.

Yes, I gathered as much.

What I'm trying to figure out is why.

But structural debt, which is recurrent as is the case in the EZone periphery, cannot be dealt with in that way.

Why not?

Investors (savers or whoever) will invariably factor in a country's propensity to erase debts by inflation/devaluation and make you pay through the nose.

The central bank sets the interest rate of government securities. "Investors" have nothing to do with it, except when the central bank has grievously abdicated its responsibilities for macroeconomic planning.

High inflation invariably has a negative impact on society.

Can you cite a historical example.

And to think that you can control inflation at 8 to 10% is absurd. High inflation invariably tends to spiral out of control

Historical examples, please.

High inflation also encourages high-risk investments, i.e. speculation,

You have speculation when interest rates are high and inflation low. You have speculation when interest rates are low and inflation high. You have speculation when interest rates are low and inflation low. And you have speculation when inflation is high and interest rates high.

Preventing unwanted speculation requires heavy-handed and intrusive regulation of the financial sector. Attempting to prevent it by manipulating macroeconomic variables is like hunting bears by setting the forest on fire.

and discourages stable long term low interest investments need by the manufacturing industries.

The central bank sets the reference rates for borrowing in own currency.

Anyways, leaving aside the thin air of economic theory, the reality of the economic situation is that pumping more money into the periphery would reproduce the causes that led to the crisis in the first place and produce another consumer bubble without building domestic manufacturing industry.

Not if you simultaneously float the currencies involved, no: Under balanced trade (which is what managed floating does for you), consumption drives investment.

If you wish to maintain the fixed exchange rate regime, then of course no action which exclusively targets the deficit countries can resolve the structural cause of the crisis, because the structural cause of the crisis is that surplus countries are running unsustainable current accounts surpluses.

However, a policy of forcing the surplus countries to underwrite the current account deficits of deficit countries would stabilize the system, end the humanitarian catastrophe, and encourage the surplus countries to stop pursuing harmful surplus-generating policies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 05:37:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European:

And to think that you can control inflation at 8 to 10% is absurd. High inflation invariably tends to spiral out of control and it can only be brought down again by very painful measures.

Not really. It is as far as I can tell a common idea that inflation is driven mainly by expectations so inflation triggers more inflation until you get to hyperinflation. But I don't think it matches reality. Hyperinflation tends instead to be a phenomena of its own and high stable inflation is possible.

Here is for example Inflation in Sweden 1831-2012

You can easily see a number of external events there - WWI&II, the 70ies oil crisis - but even those do not lead to out of control inflation.

Do you have any examples of high inflation spiraling out of control from mainly internal factors like inflation expectations?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:04:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Inflation is one way for competing claims over resources to express themselves. Destroying the ability of a large section of the population to make those claims will get rid of it. Of course, that also destroys domestic demand and creates a large export dependency. The high profit/rent and low inflation approach came at the cost of increasing imbalances that had to give at some point.
by generic on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 08:32:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That policy regime sucks for rentier interests. But that's a feature, not a bug.

It also tends to result in weak productivity growth, which IS a problem.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 11:28:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It tends to coincide with weak productivity growth. Because most states do not voluntarily pursue such policies.

I've not seen any good statistical evidence that the policy leads the drop in productivity growth, rather than vice versa.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 11:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Behaving in that way leads to a lack of competitive pressures for domestic industry. It leads to an explosion in wage costs. If you can devalue yourself out of any situation, you never have to adapt, especially when you are a small export-dependent nation. The result is stagnating incomes.

Floating exchange rate, independent central bank, central bank mandate including both inflation targeting and financial stability, and fiscal stimulus when you hit the zero lower bound, seems like a completely sufficient policy outfit.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 11:47:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How does it lead to a lack of competitive pressure on domestic industry? From that it would appear to follow that the fact that the Earth is a closed economy (excluding the activities of space probes, which have yet to generate substantial export revenues) implies a lack of competitive pressure on Earth-bound industries.

Which is hardly the case.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 12:01:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would companies try to become better if there are not constant cost pressures? If you keep devaluing, status quo will seem ok, and there will be no reason to try to become better. Keep in mind that there won't be many, or perhaps zero, domestic competitors in a small, highly specialised and trade-dependent economy.

As Kjell Olof Feldt, social democratic minister of finance during the 80's in Sweden said: devaluation is like peeing your pants; first it feels good - then it doesn't.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 12:11:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because if you do not become better and your neighbor does, then the currency will appreciate (or depreciate too slowly for you, which comes to the same thing). It does not matter what sector of industry your neighbor is in: The private sector will, under a floating currency regime, be competing for a (from the point of view of the individual export firm) fixed export revenue set by the volume of imports. If your productivity drops, then someone else can grab your share of the export revenues.

Of course, the entire society could, in principle, decide that they want to not work so hard and just import less instead. But why is that not an acceptable policy decision? Sucks to be a rentier under that policy, but fuck the rentiers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 12:15:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Current Account to GDP (in percentage)

Notable events here are the reunification of Germany and the introduction of the euro.

If there is balanced trade you get a bit up some years and a bit down some years. Consistent surpluses as Germany has had since the introduction of the euro indicates a mercantilistic strategy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 03:45:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Eurozone has broadly neutral external trade and current account balances, as the currency is allowed to float freely. Any Northern Eurozone or "Neuro" will likely have a hawkish central bank and broadly neutral current account balance. Since Germany will do its darnedest to retain a sizeable current account surplus and it will be an even larger percentage of the Neuro economy than it is of the Euro economy, there must be some Neuro countries with structural trade/current account deficits. The Euro crisis will reproduce itself within the Neuro unless the Neuro is deliberately devalued (i.e., the "currency war" that Germany accuses everyone else of engaging in).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:07:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See also Joerg Bibow's: Draghi's Liquidity Bluff will be Called (December 31, 2012)
This ignores the key flaws in the Maastricht regime of the EMU and the true causes of the crisis. One original sin was to put no one in charge of minding the store of the giant integrated euro economy. No demand management was foreseen in good times, no lender of last resort in bad. Predictably, the Euroland economy has proved prone to protracted domestic demand stagnation and conspicuous reliance on exports for its meager growth, while crisis management has been by trial and error; and errors with no end it would seem. The second original sin was to forget what fifty years of European monetary cooperation were all about, namely to forestall the risk of beggar-thy-neighbor currency devaluation. The euro provided the coronation of that very endeavor in the sense that exchange rates disappeared with national currencies. But this only meant that under the EMU trends in national unit labor costs have taken on the role of determining intra-union competitiveness positions alone. The golden rule of monetary union therefore requires that national unit labor cost trends stay aligned with the common inflation rate that union members have committed to - when they didn't.

It is a well-known fact that Germany's unit labor cost trend departed from the 2 percent stability norm, settling for zero under the euro regime. As Germany turned űber-competitive, its euro partners lost competitiveness just the way they would have in case of 20 percent deutschmark devaluation in pre-EMU times. Alas, the EMU has actually complicated matters as diverging unit labor cost trends essentially dealt the currency union an asymmetric shock that undermined the "one-size-fits-all" monetary policy. With wage repression and mindless austerity suffocating German domestic demand, the ECB's stance became far too tight for the former "sick man of the euro." By contrast, set to suit the average of the euro aggregate, the ECB's stance became far too easy for other euro members, nourishing property market bubbles and growing current account imbalances as a result. Prior to the crisis, Germany's soaring current account surplus was concentrated in Europe, about two thirds with its euro partners. Lending flows from Germany were instrumental in allowing intra-area divergences to persist and imbalances to build up. Herein rests the source of Germany's exposure to solvency problems in the euro periphery.

While these basic facts should be well-known by now, their official reading pins the blame solely on debtor countries. Somehow everyone but Germany lost competitiveness. And somehow fiscal profligacy was the main villain in all this. A sober reading of these facts suggests requirements for crisis resolution that squarely defy the strategy currently pursued by the euro authorities.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:57:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think, on purely economic grounds, a Northern alliance will most likely follow an EU breakup. Most countries bordering Germany depend on the German market. This will create a bloc other countries will join by and by. Any Southern alliance is likely to be dysfunctional.
The Northern alliance (or "Neuro") would probably be a successor of the current Baltic Sea Region. The Southern alliance or "Seuro" would have naturally been organised around the Euromediterranean Partnership. However, as it happened when Sarkozy attempted to beef the moribund EuroMed up, Merkel insisted that every EU member state should be part of the Union of the Mediterranean, in that way ensuring it could not function (40-something 'Mediterranean' countries all the way to Scandinavia?). Unfortunately, Sarkoxy didn't demand as quid-pro-quo that France get a seat on the Baltic Cooperation...

(Yes, the name "Neuro" is an intentional pun)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:07:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Members of the Baltic Sea region:

Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland

I don't think so. This includes only four euro members and that counts latvia.

Austria, the Benelux countries, Slovakia, Slovenia and the non euro using Czech republic are even more intertwined with the german economy then the members of Baltic sea region.

And that said, even with my "realistic" additions only one of the four largest trade partners of Germany - the Netherlands-  is included.

by IM on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 03:38:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Realistically, any supra-national Baltic Sea organization that includes Germany and excludes Russia would have the latter freaking out.  Russia has strong memories of WW 2 and from that a fear of a (what they would see as) German-dominated alliance on their western border.

Plus Poland doesn't exactly have warm fuzzies for either Germany or Russia.  

So it's complicated.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:00:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus Poland doesn't exactly have warm fuzzies for either Germany or Russia.  

The relationship between Poland and Germany hasn't been this good since the siege of Vienna. That is not the problem.

by IM on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:04:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The relationship between Poland and Germany hasn't been this good since the siege of Vienna.

That is very true. In his speech on a possible Brexit, the Polish foreign minister made it very clear that the country's future is with Germany and continental Europe.
I don't see any Northern or Eastern country (except the UK, and Ireland) not joining a Northern alliance around Germany. The UK and France are the wild cards in this game.
by The European on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is about staying in a rump-EU, Sweden would stay. If it is a new alliance that comes close to EU in importance, I doubt Sweden would join. Both the nationalist right and anti-EU left is much stronger now then when Sweden joined the EU, and that was a close call. For Finland it depends on how much they got burnt when the EU collapsed vs how scared they are about Russia. Both Sweden and Finland could end up going back to EFTA.

The Baltic countries will probably cling to Germany for safety whatever austerity may come.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:34:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is about staying in a rump-EU, Sweden would stay. If it is a new alliance that comes close to EU in importance,

The difference is in name only. Any new alliance would invariably integrate most of the things we have already in the EU. As to its potential importance, only time can tell.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:38:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I find it difficult to believe anything like the euro or the EU-as-political-project would emerge if the EU collapses.  Those, in my mind, are based on a Top/Down Model of organization of human interaction during a time of increasing Bottom/Up P2P links.  

I'm no Techno-Utopian but it seems clear, to me, the global linkages allowed by the Internet will have profound consequences, some of which we can't even begin to imagine.  As an example, what happens to Big-Box Brick-and-Mortar Stores when customers routinely purchase commodity consumer consumables over the internet?  What happens to continual consumption (purchase) of consumer durables after somebody figures out they can make a bloody fortune by junking planned obsolesce and receive long-term income from parts and service?  

A major change in Communications must lead to other major changes, across the board.  See what happened after the invention of the moveable type, as an obvious 'bit of proof.'  

Granted TPTB, who became TPTB under the previous circumstances, are going to do everything they can to prevent a phase transition.  However under foreseeable meta-changes, e.g., Global Warming, I think, in the end, there is bugger-all they can do about it.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:14:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think anything like EU-as-political-project is unlikely if the EU collapse, but for another reason. The EU is as a project to build a federal European state a project that tries to create and depends upon a European identity. And when those fail competing identities are strenghtened, which would be the member states as Neuro/Seuro identities are not developed. If the project returns in force it takes a generation or so.

So if EU fails I predict member states going their own ways with overlapping, weaker intergovernmental collaborations.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 04:21:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should Russia care about the Baltic? The Arctic is the future!

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Baltic is their only sea route on their west coast.  Somebody in Russia thinks that is important because they held onto the Kaliningrad Oblast.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 01:36:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In this respect as well, the Arctic may be the future...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:30:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't dispute it.  

I'm saying it's not an Either/Or situation.  I submit Russia can manage to do two things at the same time.  

:-)

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:36:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
any supra-national Baltic Sea organization that includes Germany and excludes Russia would have the latter freaking out

One of the reasons we should fear a EZone/EU breakup is that Germany will look for new partners and find them in the East in Russia or even in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), which would dwarf the Anglo-Saxon trade empire. Both China and Russia will be among Germany's most important trading partners and German industry will depend on Russia and Central Asia for resources.
In fact the very raison d'être for the EU and the EZone is France's determination to "bind" Germany to continental Europe.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This analysis raises a number of questions:

a) Under what geopolitical model is a Sino-German trade bloc possible independent of the American empire?

b) What does Germany offer as third wheel of a Sino-Russian trade bloc?

c) In which political universe is Germany going to accept being the (very) junior partner in a Russo-German trade bloc?

d) In what universe is the US going to tolerate a Russo-German trade bloc (remembering that the US has a number of current and potential clients in the ECE buffer states who will be more than eager to play spoiler on their behalf)?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 03:50:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My mental model breaks Europe up "naturally" into the basins of the various seas: Baltic, North Sea, Mediterranean and Black Sea. There are a few remaining landlocked countries: Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Belarus. Those can be satellites of the regions around them, or not. Right now, I see Czechia as almost as independent-minded as Switzerland, for instance. And the same may be true of Serbia or Belarus.

If you want Germany and the Netherlands in the same economc bloc, we're looking rather at the North Sea basin: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, UK, Norway, Denmark. But that replicates the situation with the old European Community (minus Italy) and the EFTA (UK, Denmark, Norway, etc). It didn't work out then (the EFTA countries remain outside the EU or are eurosceptic or uncommited members of it) so why should it work out now?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:28:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Human society, including economics, isn't natural. And an old name for the north sea in Britain was the german ocean. Anyway we could look at rivers: A federation of the Rhine would include Switzerland, Benelux, France and Germany. Almost the six founding members

That said, I just looked at current trade. And there Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia are more dependent on trade with Germany then any country in the Baltic, with the exception of Denmark. Austria e. g. 38.2% of imports came from Germany and 31.2% of imports did go there.

And of course the largest trade partner of Germany is still France.

German exports in 2012:

  1. France
  2. USA
  3. UK
  4. Netherlands
  5. China
  6. Austria.
  7. Italy
  8. Switzerland
  9. Belgium
  10. Poland

The first Baltic countries are Sweden (14) and Denmark (18). Out of the 8 european countries mentioned one isn't a member and two don't use the euro.

Now, if a North Euro without France or even Italy would make sense is another question, but the economic facts as of now don't hint to a Baltic Empire. The Hanseatic League won't rise again. :-)

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 05:57:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You forgot Liechtenstein. As their anthem used to say (until 1963 - tune is "God save the Queen")
Wo einst St. Lucien

Frieden nach Rhätien

Hineingebracht.

Dort an dem Grenzenstein

Und längs dem jungen Rhein

Steht furchtlos Liechtenstein

Auf Deutschlands Wacht.

Wouldn't a federation of the Danube be more interesting?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:07:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I intentionally left out microstates.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:09:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I just forget them.

Danube Federations were very popular in the interwar years. And while the biggest trade partners of Germany and Austria mostly are the same, there is one exception: Hungary.

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I quite like this map:


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:20:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course the largest trade partner of Germany is still France.

German exports in 2012:

1.France

That is a fantastic reason for France not to share a currency with Germany.

Imagine a core Eurozone with Germany and France alone, and Germany retaining its 6% current account surplus. If their common currency continued to float freely and the core Eurozone had a neutral current account balance, France would have an 8% current account deficit.

So either Germany gives up its current account surplus or the rest of the world allows the core Eurozone to devalue its currency so that it can run a 3% current account surplus. Or Germany accepts fiscal transfers to France comparable to the size of the current account balances.

As none of the three possibilities are politically plausible, there cannot be a core Eurozone consisting of Germany and France. In fact, there cannot be a Eurozone consisting of Germany and anyone else (as the successive failures of Europe's attempts to fix exchange rates without fiscal transfers over 40 years demonstrate).

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, because imports in 2012:

  1. Netherlands
  2. China.
  3. France.
  4. USA.
  5. Italy

That is a two-way relationship. Note: The Netherlands run a considerable trade surplus with Germany and that is probably the case since the revolt of the Netherlands or so. And this:

"In fact, there cannot be a Eurozone consisting of Germany and anyone else"

Is simply magical thinking.  So Germany couldn't share a currency with the Netherlands because of their unbalanced trade?

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NL trade surplus = Rotterdam.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:32:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even that is a tradition; that was the cause of the Navigation Acts after all

German trade surplus with eastern europe = Hamburg

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope.

The German trade surplus basically happens in the southern half of the country. And that cargo goes to Bremen, Rotterdam and Trias (in roughly that order).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 03:54:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if we just look at trade balances the five biggest (trade) surpluses of Germany in 2012 are:

  1. France
  2. USA
  3. UK
  4. Austria
5.Switzerland

Two of these euro countries, three of those countries with a free floating currency.

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:31:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So the biggest trade surplus of Germany is with France, not just the biggest export figure. My argument stands. If the Eurozone consisted only of France and Germany, France would be in a current account crisis in a few years. The only reason it isn't already is that there are a few dominos to fall before France: Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy...

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So either Germany gives up its current account surplus or ...

No, its the other way around: we have to give up trade deficits. That is the purpose of structural reforms, which are necessary irrespective of whether we have the Euro or not. It has nothing to do with the Euro. The problem is one of adapting traditional societies to the competitive environment of the modern world.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:02:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One country can't have a surplus without another country having a deficit. And since the eurozone has largely balanced trade with the rest of the world, the problems of trade surplus and defiicits are internal to the eurozone.



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:08:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the problems of trade surplus and defiicits are internal to the eurozone

Some countries like Portugal have had a trade deficit for the last 60 years. That predates EZone and EU membership.
Anyways, jobs in the South are lost to China and the emerging economies not to the North.
The simple fact of the matter is that countries in the South have priced themselves out of low-cost manufacturing without managing the transition to high value added production. That is a structural problem that won't be solved by exiting EZone/EU. That problem cannot be solved by monetary policy.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some countries like Portugal have had a trade deficit for the last 60 years. That predates EZone and EU membership.
First there was the Bretton Woods gold standard, then there was the European Monetary System, then there was the Exchange Rate Mechanisms ERM I and ERM II. Throughout, Portugal ended up devaluing its currency. If there hadn't been a decades-long policy of fixed exchange rates, maybe Portugal might have had a gradual devaluing of the currency (not a periodic crisis) and a much smaller trade deficit (still a deficit, but within statistical error of zero).

Trying to keep your currency overvalued will produce the trade deficit, and then the devaluation crisis. An overvalued currency, however, is great for the local elite to take their rentier income out of the country.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:00:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
First there was the Bretton Woods gold standard, ...

First there was the Salazar dictatorship (Franco dictatorship in Spain) which pampered its domestic industry and made it noncompetitive. These traditional structures together with an over reliance on real estate speculation is what's wrong with these economies.
by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:26:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then why did France devalue serially, just as Portugal did?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:29:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The simple fact of the matter is that countries in the South have priced themselves out of low-cost manufacturing without managing the transition to high value added production. That is a structural problem that won't be solved by exiting EZone/EU. That problem cannot be solved by monetary policy.

It must be solved by fiscal policy, and it can only be solved by fiscal policy if monetary policy doesn't work against it.

The EU allows no industrial policy, no independent fiscal policy, and has a monetary policy conducive to deflation, depression and unemployment.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The European:
That is a structural problem that won't be solved by exiting EZone/EU

how can it be solved, in your opinion?

keynesian job creation? government investment of citizens' taxes to provide employment and teach skills to make them productive?

whose fault is it they don't get smart like the germans and invent more saleable stuff for the world economy, or price their labour cheaper than asia's?

if we are in a painful transition period between old and new capitalism, what is the goal the suffering is for?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 10:04:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
how can it be solved, in your opinion?

The Andrew Mellon way:

liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate... it will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 10:15:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whose fault is it they don't get smart like the germansBavarians and invent more saleable stuff for the world economy, or price their labour cheaper than asia's?
Fixed that for you
Edmund Stoiber once caused something of an uproar when he said "unfortunately, not everyone in Germany is as intelligent as in Bavaria".
(today's Newsroom)

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 11:23:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Anyways, jobs in the South are lost to China and the emerging economies not to the North.

Because of the overvalued exchange rate relative to where it would be if the south did not have to subsidize German currency policy.

The simple fact of the matter is that countries in the South have priced themselves out of low-cost manufacturing without managing the transition to high value added production. That is a structural problem that won't be solved by exiting EZone/EU. That problem cannot be solved by monetary policy.

The simple fact of the matter is that "structural adjustment" is making that problem worse, not better.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 04:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the accounting is still based on national borders.  Which is a problem nobody seems willing to face.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:23:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we have to give up trade deficits

Therefore, the Eurozone must run a trade surplus with the rest of the world.

And the rest of the world is going to accommodate that without allowing their freely floating currencies to devalue, exactly why?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So either Germany gives up its current account surplus or ...
No, its the other way around: we have to give up trade deficits.
The surplus country has policy space, the deficit country doesn't. Therefore it's the surplus country that has agency. Especially in a fixed exchange rate regime.

If the surplus country won't play ball, the fixed exchange rate system breaks down. The story of the past, I don't know, 150 years?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:14:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, its the other way around: we have to give up trade deficits.

The sum of all foreign trade must be zero. Ergo, to give up deficits, you must give up surpluses.

That is the purpose of structural reforms,

No, if that were the purpose of structural reforms, then the structural reforms would include confiscatory taxation of extreme wealth, sharp discounting of overvalued currencies, picking strategic industry winners for aggressive state investment, and imposing restrictive joint venture and local sourcing requirements for high-tech imports.

This is not what is being done, therefore the purpose of structural reform is not to do away with trade imbalances (unless you wish to postulate that those who peddle structural reform are all idiots who do not understand elementary import substitution strategies).

which are necessary irrespective of whether we have the Euro or not.

Why?

It has nothing to do with the Euro. The problem is one of adapting traditional societies to the competitive environment of the modern world.

If adapting to the competitive environment of the modern world leaves a large fraction of the population substantially worse off, then why should we not simply throw up protectionist barriers against foreign competition?

Competition is, after all, a policy, not an objective. If we can protect the interests of the bottom three quarters of the income distribution at the "cost" of wiping out the accumulated wealth of the top quarter, then that's a feature, not a bug.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 04:09:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The sum of all foreign trade must be zero.

Never going to happen.  Latvia, say, is never going to have a viable domestic automotive industry and Germany, say, is never going to have autarky in food production.  The relative production costs, thus purchase price, for manufactured goods versus agricultural commodities means a steady trade imbalance between the two regions.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And still the sum of all foreign trade must be zero, by the magic of double-entry bookkeeping: The exports of one state are the imports of another state. Sum up over the whole planet, and you have zero (so long as the rest of the galaxy does not pay us for the space probes we send them).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 02:38:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trade is the flow of goods and services thus we need to look at Cash Statements rather than Balance Sheets.  History shows there will always be a larger flow of cash from resource to resource-user regions.  (Tho' I concede the current situation increases that flow.)  Mostly, IMO, from the fact there are many more potential and actual resource regions producing, e.g., wheat, than resource-user regions producing, e.g., iPods.  Also resource regions tend to be over-populated with respect to the per capita current market value of their goods in international trade.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 03:13:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whichever way you look at it, at the macro level it has to net to zero. That's really not controversial, except to German politicians it would seem.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 03:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Surely you mean "fine us for parking the space junk we send them"?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 13th, 2013 at 08:51:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Human society, including economics, isn't natural.
Yes it is. Societies are what humans do. Silly dualist rabbits.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:23:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Humans aren't natural but cultural. The natural human is pretty boring.
by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:28:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nope. Cultural is natural, for humans and a pile of other animals too.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 06:17:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cultural is all the same a big pile of natural for humans.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 07:16:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No other species has external inter-generational memory or the ability to communicate abstractions to anything like the extent humans do.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 07:42:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite.

No other species (unless our powers of observation are too limited for us to notice) has anything like the volume, complexity, and duration of human culture.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 08:16:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which makes it not natural?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 10:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that what I said?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 11:14:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Some) etologists define culture inclusively as socially transmitted behaviour. Of course economics is cultural. Of course culture is natural for humans. Of course nonhuman animals may have culture.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 12th, 2013 at 08:01:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German exports in 2012:

That is history. What is important for future policies will be future trade flows. The top ten destinations for German exports in 2020 are estimated to be as follows:

  1. China (15.6%)
  2. France (8.8%)
  3. Russia (7.0%)
  4. Netherlands (6.5%)
  5. US (6.4%)
  6. UK (5.6%)
  7. Poland (5.2%)
  8. Austria (5.2%)
  9. Switzerland (4.6%)
  10. Italy (4.3%)

China will become the most important trade partner. Russia will overtake the US. France will loose it's top position and the South will be insignificant.

But the determining factor for the formation of a German-centered trade block following an EZone/EU collapse would be the question where Northern and Eastern countries export to. I'm pretty sure that to most Germany will be the most important export market.

by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 06:50:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I admit I didn't link either because I did find only german language sources. My source was the german statistical office, though. That said, I would like a source for that claim.

And 2012 is of course the present, not the past, except in a hyper literal sense.

Even so, this guess includes six members of the EU and Switzerland.

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:00:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would like a source for that claim

It's a GS projection:

http://www.goldmansachs.com/s/GMeT_othermailings_attachments/63488662514238375059101.pdf

And no, trade figures for 2012 do represent the past of business that has been completed and payed for. File closed. Current order books and business plans have to take into consideration a horizon of 2020 at the very least.

by The European on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That is nonsense. We know about the recent past, in this case 2012. We only guess about the future. So if we want to know, the recent past is closest to the present we can get.

And Goldman Sachs - in 2007 they probably made projections how Ireland would grow into the largest european economy or something.

by IM on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 07:51:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can wipe your arse with Goldman projections. If you have a particular hatred for your gastrointestinal flora.

Come back with a halfway credible source and then we can talk.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 04:13:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What would a credible source look like? Anyone making projections for 2020 is pulling numbers out of orifices usually reserved for excreting more solid waste.
by generic on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 04:42:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well. I cannot categorically refuse to consider the possibility that there might, in fact, be a useful projection around somewhere that reaches all the way to 2020.

Proving a negative is hard, after all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 04:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China will become the most important trade partner. Russia will overtake the US. France will loose it's top position and the South will be insignificant.
So Germany will export 6% of their GDP to the BRICs, and in order for the Eurozone as a whole to maintain a neutral current account balance, the rest of the Eurozone will import 4% of their GDP from the BRICs. And then Germany will tell everyone that because they don't export directly to the rest of the EZ, the rest of the EZ's deficit is none of its concern.

But the fact is, the rest of the world cannot be relied on to keep the Euro undervalued so it can avoid running a neutral current account balance. Because there's no way to coerce the BRICs, politically, to overvalue their currencies.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 08:08:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, my mental model is more 1914, which is suiting since we are soon to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

My analysis of events is confirmed by Jean-Claude Junkers, the former head of the Euro group. In a newspaper interview he said today that nobody should be about any illusion about the question of war and peace in Europe having been decided once and for all. He also noted that the situation in Europe in 2013 is remarkably like the situation in 1913. It is comforting to know that at least somebody is listening to me.
by The European on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 04:06:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Juncker and the Eurogroup have, of course, been wrong about just about everything else they have said publicly since before the beginning of the present depression.

So his value as an authority is, perhaps, somewhat questionable.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 05:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Juncker started talking (some) sense in his farewell appearance in the European Parliament.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:18:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Finally telling the truth - Juncker's shocking farewell statement to the European Parliament (Eurointelligence, 11.01.2013)
Now he is talking, shortly before leaving office. And this time, no one accuses him of lying. Jean-Claude Juncker delivered a furious valedictory speech at the economic and monetary affairs committee of the European Parliament. This was picked up by the Spanish press in particular. Cinco Dias calls Juncker's intervention "a furibund attack on Berlin". The BBC has footage of the full 90-minute session. He said:

  • that he disagreed with the rhythm of adjustments "imposed on certain countries", and that the Eurogroup has not made political valuations of the adjustments which too often were just rubber-stamping recommendations by the Commission, ECB and IMF "whose democratic legitimacy is not clear".
  • that "the choice was made to make the adjustment fall on the weakest";
  • that certain countries who benefitted from capital flight out of Greece were not doing anything about it;
  • that the mistake has been made to "underestimate the drama of unemployment" and to "give the impression that Europe is only there to punish" and by not rewarding the "program countries" for following through with their adjustment plans;
  • that his successor would be well advised to "listen to all Eurozone members on an equal footing" even if it takes a long time to go through a meeting, or else "we'll see the results in 6 months if my successor doesn't";
  • that the ESM should have "some degree of retroactivity" and be able to "recapitalise banks" and not just address "new problems that may apply in the future";
  • that the results of the latest European Council were "disappointing", because "the original idea was to present a road map for the following decades";
  • in respect of economic policy coordination, that "we can't carry on with a system where the Frankfurt monetary arm is strong and the economic policy arm is feeble" and "those who refused [in 1997] are now the largest voices calling for this idea". And "we have to make sure that every time a government recommends a structural reform it is explained to the Eurogroup and that the ministers in charge explain the consequences and others say what the consequences of such reforms will be  on policy in their countries";
  • "there's a need for all member states to agree on a 'minimum social wage'", a need for "a basis of minimum social rights for workers", as "otherwise we're going to lose the support of the working classes". There's a need to "agree on the elements of solidarity", "principle and ways and means of bank resolution", and "a deposit guarantee scheme";
  • that the Green party in Luxembourg will vote against the Fiscal Treaty because "they are fed up with what they see as a German diktat";
The BBC video is quite good.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 11th, 2013 at 05:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I doubt that Europe is lucky enough to have a meaningful war. Yes, people will die but they do that every day ... no big whup. But, should the unforeseen happen and you go for it, make sure it's not a wasted effort and you get at least 2 results.

  1. Get rid of all monarchies, popes, and super-rich. Think of them as vermin to be exterminated or you will have accomplished nothing for your sacrifice.

  2. Stop this "freedom to breed" attitude that you seem to embrace. Get this. In order to legally drive my car I need a valid driver's license (to prove I'm a responsible driver), a current car registration tag (to prove my car is road worthy), and car insurance which I never collect on because I'm a sane cautious driver. You folks have TV ads where you encourage people to go to bars, get drunk, and maybe you will get lucky and a woman will end up pregnant. And then you have the nerve to fret over global climate change.

You're not lucky enough to have a meaningful war. The frog will continue to simmer unto death. Plan on it.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 05:50:58 PM EST
Get rid of all monarchies, popes, and super-rich.

It was my understanding that wars are always fought to make some people very rich. What other purpose could there be? Apart from a handful of profiteers, all others lose.
by The European on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:14:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sometimes wars are fought to keep some people super-rich. Or by some super-rich to prevent other people from becoming super-rich.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Mar 9th, 2013 at 06:39:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
THE Twank:
Stop this "freedom to breed" attitude that you seem to embrace.

You do know that births in the EU as a rule are quite a bit below replacement rate? That the states with the highest births almost - but not quite - reach replacement rate and that without immigration all EU states would have declining population?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 03:27:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and car insurance which I never collect on because I'm a sane cautious driver.

That doesn't follow. All it takes is a landlord who doesn't maintain the drainage where you park your car, a heavy rainstorm with water reaching the engine, and (possibly - I only thought of this possibility much later) collaboration between a garage owner and insurance adjuster, and you end up collecting more from auto insurance companies than you've paid in (in my case, than I've paid all my life).

Of course, this was in NY. Maybe such things don't happen in CA.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Mar 10th, 2013 at 07:27:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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