Saturday, 3 December 2011

"Looks Like We're In For Nasty Weather..."

I was nine years old when the Berlin Wall came down. I can vaguely remember it being on the six o'clock news on television. I took German as my second language at GCSE and A-level. I took part in a school exchange program with a school in Essen, near Dusseldorf. In my early twenties, I visited Berlin several times as well as other German cities including Munich (although I much preferred Vienna). In all that time I grew up with the sense that Germany had been, was, and would continue to be one of the world's richest, smartest, cleanest, best-run countries.

On the other hand, I knew about the second and first world wars and the distrust of the Germans that my grandparents generation had had. There were undercurrents of this distrust in football and TV comedies too.

So I grew up admiring Germany and the Germans, though I kept some sense of heavily conditioned wariness under wraps; sort of like the way you might regard a reformed ex-convict - you want to like them, but with the suspicion that there's something else there underneath it all.

And of course, there is...
"Men who look like Nazis, call themselves Nazis, blow up Jewish cemeteries and kill Turkish shopkeepers are not little boys playing cowboys and Indians. They're Nazis."
That's Claire Berlinski writing at Ricochet just a short while ago on the existence of actual, murdering neo-Nazis in Germany.

Given the financial crisis the European (i.e. French and German) banks find themselves in now, and given that Chancellor Merkel is openly talking about a European fiscal union, I think there's a good chance that they'll eventually have to start monetizing their debts through inflation in order to keep the Eurozone together.

That is not too dissimilar from the route the Weimar Republic took.

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