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Germany is the most important power in Europe. This importance is a consequence of the communist collapse in 1989, by the way of which contemporary Germany could return to the Third Reich national territory. We can note that, thirty years later, the same causes produce the same effects…
Grexit: anatomy of German hegemony
Contrary to European belief, Germany didn’t accept while six months the political move in Greece. Until Tsipras accept formally concessions imposed by the Eurogroup, Germany refused to negotiate the least memorandum with which Greece could have the hope of breaking with « austerity ». Despite of multiple international pressures, Angela Merkel and her ministry Schauble considered that it was not possible to give any help to the Euroland weakest link.
This German behaviour has a simple explanation: Europe is based on a Treaty in which Maastricht convergence criteria forbid a reflationary policy. Everybody can contest the relevance of this general view, and a lot of economists, representatives and other experts don’t hesitate to do it. But the Treaty has force of law, and Germany is its keeper of the flame.
That convergence criteria are a dreadful concession done in 1992 by Europe to German obsession of strong currency is obvious! Few of Europeans understood at this time that the « German come back » was the one of German authority and hegemony on a laxist continent. Until 1989, the separation between Eastern Germany and Western Germany gave a sufficient weight to France to avoid a too excessive rigidity in the budget policies convergence in Europe. After 1989, German weakness ceased and another rule grew dominant: German will of an international division of labour to the advantage of German industry, without competitive devaluation assisting foreign industry.
The European Union is the German contemporary Lebensraum
Other aspects of this domination are well-known. Until 1992, the European Community was centered around Southern Europe. Spain, Portugal, Greece were the most recent members and countries such as Norway refused to join this Latin building. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the German reunification shifted the European center of gravity to Berlin and Germany preferred systematically the enlargement of the Union to its deepening. Within less than thirty years, Germany has pieced together a new Lebensraum, very closed to the 1942 one: a large labour and business pool to the East, and a strict political domination on Western and Southern Europe, except on England.
The Greek crisis has proved this strange History repeat. Because Greece tried to become emancipated from Germany rule, and on the childish pretext of « rebuilding trust », Angela Merkel demands a package of reforms and concessions worse than any could imagine six months ago. It must be clear for everyone: nobody can dispute German order in Europe, at the risk of being excluded of Europe or severely punished.
Hegemony, the German congenital anomaly
Few naive painters, in particular in France, haven’t understood how the fall of the Wall overturned the balance of power in Europe. They continue to believe in a form of possible German softening – as if Germany could give up spontaneously to its fundamental interests and to its attributes of continental power, in order to organise a kind of happy European island in a nightmare world. Obviously, it’s a pure illusion.
Germany is the modern heir of Prussia, a military kingdom who lived far from Western Europe and in a permanent rivalry with Russia. In the 19th century, Prussia developed its domination on Western part of the German space, but keeping its rough conception of world, and its tropism to Eastern Europe. Due to this inheritance, nobody in the modern Germany (we noted it out several times in the 20th century…) is able to understand European building out of this traditional outline.
This is the reason for which, since 1993, Europe develops a strange paradox. On one hand, the single currency makes up a tremendous bet and an unique opportunity in our history. On the other hand, the forced march of enlargement has deeply weakened the ground of European cooperation. This paradoxical trend is a component of German domination, made of authority and order with a will of short-term benefits.
Prussia has killed the long-term European project.
Because confusion between hegemony and cooperation is a German congenital anomaly, we cannot hope a long-term solution for Europe without dismembering Germany. This a survival condition for peace and prosperity on the continent. For its obvious that nothing will stop German domination except engaging a conflict with it and we can anticipate it from the moment that Germany will demand economic efforts to France.
In other words, the only way for Europe is to resume the conception prevailing before 1815, when Germany was divided in a plurality of small principalities. The principle of a federal state in 1947, with two countries, one on the Rhein bank and the other one around the ancient Prussia was a good basis for the European prosperity. This separation was a kind of come back to pre-napoleonic Europe, and History shows us that this balance of power is the better on for the continent.
The question today is to know how we can reach peacefully this target which suppose to admit the mistake of reunification in 1991.
The discussion can begin. But one thing is for sure: the excessive France weakness is a major source of instability in Europe.