Category Archives: Germany

A sure way to revive German nationalism

Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka

Impose redistributive loans on Berlin for Keynesian purposes!

Dalrymple observes that negative-yielding bonds, representing a quarter of debt issued, are

hardly a resounding vote of confidence in the future. They are like an umbrella to protect us from an approaching monsoon.

He points out that economic gloom

is growing in Europe, where growth remains low and youth unemployment in many countries is high.

Yet-lower interest rates, penalising savers,

will not revive EU countries’ economies. Having lost control of their currencies as a result of monetary union, these countries cannot apply a fiscal stimulus.

Lagarde thinks she has the answer

We hear calls, echoed recently by Christine Lagarde, for a large European budget that can apply a stimulus to various countries as necessary. Such a budget, Dalrymple explains,

is seen by some as an antidote to the growth of populist nationalism in Europe, supposedly the consequence of the continent’s economic woes. An editorial in the Guardian, daily bible of the bien-pensants of much of the English-speaking world, was headed: The nationalism that taps into people’s angst and dislocation can be effectively challenged with a bazooka of a eurozone budget. In other words, if only governments of countries in which populism—that is to say, the popularity of one’s opponents—spent enough money to revive their economies, the people would return to their senses and re-enter the social-democratic fold that has served Europe so well—even if it led to the present trouble.

Where will the firepower of the proposed bazooka come from?

There can be only one answer under the present dispensation: from Germany. Oddly enough, the Germans don’t seem keen to furnish the bazooka. They have had some recent experience of large-scale lending, and it was not altogether happy in its results, economic or political.

A genuinely closer political union (the supposed aim of the European Union, but which Europeans have repeatedly said they do not want) might impose redistributive loans on Germany for Keynesian purposes—other countries in the EU outvoting Berlin.

It’s not easy to imagine the Germans accepting this. There could hardly be a better way to revive German nationalism, one of the eventualities that is the target of the proposed bazooka to destroy.

The situation would be even more dangerous because Germany

has achieved its pre-eminent economic position, in part, by not allowing a commensurate increase in the standard of living of its people, who may not be pleased to play the role assigned them by the EU. Polls already suggest that this is so.

The prideful Germans beat their breasts

The doctor-writer’s diagnosis of the deep German psychopathology — and why the rest of us always end up paying a heavy price for it

Dalrymple writes that a healthy patriotism

seems to be denied to Germany. The historical reasons for this are perfectly obvious, of course. But it is more difficult to rid oneself of pride than one might think: one can become proud of one’s lack of pride.

Moral exhibitionism

When Angela Merkel agreed to take more than a million migrants,

it was easy in her gesture to see her desire to restore the moral reputation of her nation.

One motive touted,

that with its ageing and declining population, Germany needed more young labour, is absurd: there are millions of unemployed young Spaniards, Italians and Greeks on its doorstep who could have been absorbed with much less difficulty.

Still the bully

The problem arises when Germany,

newly proud of its openness to refugees, tries to make other countries suffer the consequences of its policy, in the name of some kind of abstract principle. Thus other countries, such as Hungary, are to be bullied into taking refugees or face hostility and ostracism. (No one asks the refugees themselves whether they want to be resettled in Hungary. They are abstractions in the European psychodrama, not people of flesh and blood, with desires and ambitions of their own.)

Uriah Heep

The desire of the Germans

to overcome or dissolve their German-ness in the tepid bath of European Union-ness is the consequence of a certain historiography in which all of German history is but a run-up to Nazism: in other words that Nazism is immanent in the German soul, and the only way to control it is to tie it down as Gulliver was. But this supposed need does not exist to anything like the same extent in other countries, which may nevertheless be constrained by German power, influence and financial might to follow suit. The key to contemporary Europe may perhaps be found in the character of Uriah Heep.

The Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands

It was, writes Dalrymple,

the longest lasting of any in Europe, nearly five years, ending on the very day of the German surrender; and the islands also had a far bigger number of troops relative to the population than any other territory occupied by the Nazis, at times being nearly a quarter of the total.

Europeans fear for the future

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-23-19-21The people of Europe, says Dalrymple (from 30:19),

are not just nostalgic — they’re worried about the future.

They see themselves

as being part of a vast experiment.

Experiments

have been tried on the population — experiments over which they have not been consulted.

For instance, Angela Merkel’s acceptance of a million refugees:

She didn’t consult any German people.

Founder of modern bacteriology

screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-22-37-09

Dalrymple points out that there was much hostility towards Robert Koch in India, as the scientific agent of German expansionism. Attempts to disprove Koch’s theory continued in India until 1897.

Eure Schuld!

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-02-29Germany’s, ah, particular historical situation

There is, Dalrymple points out (from 1:09),

a particular historical situation in Germany which the Germans have been trying to overcome, unsuccessfully, for the last 70 years.

Taking in a million economic migrants

was an opportunity for the Germans to be better than everyone else.

The Scandinavians, he says, are the same.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-07-04Dalrymple does not think that Merkel

will take in another million migrants in a hurry.

He examines the argument that Merkel took this catastrophic step

because Germany’s population is declining, so they need workers, they need immigrants. But in that case, why not take in the unemployed of Spain or of Greece? Why not recruit there?

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-08-46No, says Dalrymple, this is not the real reason. The real reason the Germans took in so many economic migrants is that

they still feel tremendous guilt, and are trying to demonstrate that they are not as they were before.

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-23-10-13

L’union fait la force

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 08.57.05Dalrymple reports that Arnaud Montebourg, who was Ministre de l’Économie, du Redressement productif et du Numérique under François Hollande, accepts that the EU is bankrupt. Montebourg suggests

  • a return to real national borders
  • the reduction of the number of European bureaucrats by 97%
  • the ending of the tendency to regulate the cocoa content of chocolate or the market for goat’s cheese
  • the return of money-issuing powers to the various countries’ central banks (while keeping the euro)

Montebourg also calls for an alliance of the grasshoppers (France, Spain, and Italy) against the great wicked ant, Germany. Dalrymple comments:

What a wonderful way to promote peace and harmony between France and its neighbour across the Rhine!

Le Carré’s Muslim zombies

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 07.59.38In A Most Wanted Man (2008), Dalrymple explains, a half-Russian, half-Chechen illegal immigrant to Germany with a past as a Muslim activist becomes the object of the unfair and unscrupulous attentions of German, British and US spies.

As usual in John le Carré,

the spies are as much concerned with doing each other down as with the ostensible object of their investigation.

The illegal immigrant

Edward Said: would have complained of reprehensible orientalism

Edward Said: reprehensible orientalism

is befriended by a radically, though not implausibly, humourless German female civil rights lawyer and an unlikely and unlikeable British private banker, both of whom are ‘turned’ by the intelligence services of their respective countries.

Dalrymple notes that le Carré

is clearly sympathetic to the Muslim characters in his story, making them morally superior to the Westerners.

However, the Muslim characters

are unrealistic and almost ­zombie-like. No doubt Edward Said, if he were alive, would accuse le Carré of orientalism, in this instance with some justice.

Monotony and feebleness of Eurofederalist argumentation

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 10.34.53The best hope for the European Union, writes Dalrymple,

would be for it to eventually evolve into an enormous Belgium. More likely, it will evolve into an enormous Yugoslavia circa 1990.

The European political class and its intellectual cheerleaders

appear determined to produce one or the other. Whenever I listen to the defenders of the European Union I am astonished at the thinness of their argumentation and the ruthlessness of their determination.

Here are just three of the feeble and sketchy arguments:

1. European civilisation is superior to all others, for it is the only one that has ever accorded adult status to individuals. From now until 2020, 130m children will enter forced marriages. Without the indispensable infrastructure that is the European Union, Europe will be swept away by ill winds that blow from all directions.

Dalrymple:

Preposterous and cowardly. European civilisation predated the European Union by some years. The malign trend does not reach Europe from all directions—not from North or South America, for example, or Russia. The words are directed against Muslims, though there is not the courage to say so. There is no danger or prospect of forced marriage becoming general in Europe, nor is there any reason to suppose that a Europewide state would be better at preventing or prohibiting it among Muslim minorities than the present nation states are.

2. The only way of combating the kind of nationalism that led to catastrophic European wars is European federalism.

Dalrymple:

Absurd. There is no reason to believe that, but for the European Union, Portugal would attack Estonia, Ireland Luxembourg, or Greece Denmark. The only plausible candidates for a serious military conflict on the continent are France and Germany. What is really being said is that the European Union is necessary to contain Germany. This is to subscribe to the view of the Germans as eternal militarists, the inevitable enemy of France. I do not believe that but for the European Union, Germany would attack France.

3. The countries of Europe must unite politically in order to compete in the world. Large countries such as China, India, and the USA have clout; there is no place for small countries. In order to be of any account, European nations must forgo sovereignty and become part of a heftier entity.

Dalrymple:

This ignores

  • the political difficulties of union
  • the impossibility of making a functioning democracy of so many different nations
  • the inevitable clashes of national interest that federalisation would entail

It also ignores the evidence that many of the most successful countries in the world are small. There is no reason why countries cannot cooperate, including militarily, without pooling sovereignty; such pooling as has occurred in Europe has held its prosperity back. The currency union without any kind of fiscal union has proved disastrous for several countries, and is economically deleterious for all. But the further step of fiscal union could only be imposed by an unelected, authoritarian bureaucracy upon countries unwilling to comply, and whose interests might not be served by compliance. Sooner or later, a federation would lead to war, or at least to revolution.

The arguments of the federalists

are trotted out with monotonous regularity, like the stories of someone with Alzheimer’s, and anyone who raises objections, however obvious and unanswerable, is immediately compared to a rabid nationalist, as if to be attached to a national identity were a symptom of hating everyone else. There are such rabid nationalists, to be sure. Forced federation is the best way of ensuring their increase in numbers and influence.

The badness of an idea

does nothing to halt its progress. Europe is sleepwalking (yet again) to cataclysm.

Bad old habits of the Germans

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 07.16.57Dalrymple writes that a common European identity

has to be forged deliberately and artificially, and one of the imperatives for attempting to do so is the need of Germans for an identity that is not German. And since the Germans are very powerful in Europe, by weight of their economy, their need to escape from themselves by absorbing everyone into a new collective identity will sooner or later be perceived in the rest of Europe as the need to impose themselves— as a return to their bad old habits.