Germany and the Machine From Hell

By Clive Crook

This column by Gideon Rachman for the FT is very good: Germany faces a machine from hell. I don't think it's quite right, though: it lets Germany off too lightly, for reasons I explain in a column I've just finished writing. I'll post a link to that later. Meanwhile, read Gideon:

Across southern Europe, the "ugly German" is back - accused of driving other nations
into penury, deposing governments and generally barking orders at all and sundry.

There is also a much more polite form of German-bashing going on at the official level. At
the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Christine Lagarde, the International
Monetary Fund's head, Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, and David Cameron, the
British prime minister, all made essentially the same point. Germany has to pay up. The
argument goes that if the eurozone is to survive - and the world economy is to avoid
disaster - Germany has to do much more, and pay much more, to keep the single
currency afloat.

These arguments are deeply unfair. They fail to recognise how much Germany has already
done for southern Europe. And they make demands for financial commitments that would
risk economic and political disaster back in Germany.  

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/germany-and-the-machine-from-hell/253095/