_ I’m listening to public radio from the Austrian state of Styria that includes Graz. What seems curious is that it’s supported by the state, which means tax money. In the United States nobody with a public radio would be able to get away with playing nonstop Christmas music of the religious variety on Christmas Eve. Maybe they would have gotten away with it some decades ago, but no longer.

This is Europe. It’s old-fashioned. Maybe we should think twice before we make it just like us, before it becomes the United States of Europe. Don’t we need countries that embrace the old values as well as the new?

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_ Hitler didn’t pursue the English soldiers at Dunkirk. He let them get away and get ferried back to Britain. This allowed Churchill to stay in power. That eventually led to Hitler’s demise five years later.

You could say that Germany fumbled the ball in 1940 and gave up taking on a leadership role for the rest of the century. But now after reunification Germany is poised to lead the EU. It’s got a second chance.

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You might think economics are boring, but the Euro Crisis seemed to be the only economic story that in a worse case scenario could lead to war. Even Angela Merkel said that if the Euro Zone failed, she couldn’t guarantee that Europe would enjoy another sixty years of peace.

Lehmann Brothers might have failed in 2008. That might have caused the collapse of the housing market and the curent recession. But no one feared that it would cause civil war to break out in the United States. But in Europe, fresh from two world wars, friction could lead to armed conflict. England and Germany are at odds again. Germany wants to dominate the low countries and other countries to the East.

The only thing different from one hundred years ago when World War I began is that the United States is the referee.

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You read about German towns being evacuated because of bomb scares — and not terrorist bombs either. These are bombs left over from World War I and World War II. Every time they build something new, they have to comb the area for bombs first.

In the United States you might find bullets from the Civil War around Fredericksburg in Northern Virginia. But they are of interest only to collectors, not to anyone else. Nor do they cause towns and cities to be evacuated.

This constant reminder of the effects of war has a psychological effect on the population in Germany. That’s one of the reasons they are pacifists.

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We defeated Germany in two world wars, but we still need the country on our side to manage world affairs. We take care of the earth the way the British Empire used to. But Germany still has to manage Europe.

The EU is the perfect illustration of this fact. We can provide foreign aid to small, developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. But we can’t just give money to Western European countries. It wouldn’t look right. Germany is in charge in this sphere.

We can’t persuade Germany to accept Anglo notions of economics. They have German notions. We say they should print money. They say they want more austerity.

We’re stuck with that. As a member of Merkel’s cabinet said, “Europe is speaking German.”

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_ I’m reading in an editorial about the Euro Zone crisis how on December 9 European countries agreed to write into their national constitutions that budgets have to be balanced. And if they are not, automatic corrective measures would be put into effect.

In the United States we could put such a measure in the national constitution and it would probably be struck down as an improper use of the constitution to limit the powers of Congress. Congress is supposed to be able to do whatever it chooses about money — even spend more than it takes in.

But in real terms we Americans are getting away with this kind of behavior about budgets and money because we won World War II and set ourselves up as the super power. We feel that everyone and anyone will buy treasury bonds because the world peace and the world order depends on us. And in practical terms we must be able to overspend and print money so we can send troops here and there at a moment’s notice and import goods, which depends on Americans having lots and lots of money to spend to prop up the rest of the world.

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Wolfgang Schauble, Germnay’s Finance Minister, announced that Germany would pay its contribution to the European Stability Mechanism in 2012. It’s supposed to be paid in over 5 years in 5 equal installments. Its lending capacity is supposed to be 500 billion euros.

Wolfgang says his aim is to create trust. In order to do this, there are rumors that the contribution may be much larger than expected. Everybody knows that only Germany is capable of doing this.

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_ France may get downgraded. Belgium might get downgraded. But no credit rating agency can realistically downgrade Germany. First of all it would be meaningless. Germany follows all the budget rules that are promulgated. Secondly no one would pay attention. In its region of Europe, the bund is the safe haven. It has the same place that the American treasury bond has. Earlier this year a credit agency decided to downgrade the U.S. Nobody paid attention, and even more people flocked to buy the treasury bond.

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Fitch, a British credit rating agency, says that it doesn’t believe the Euro Crisis will be solved. Fitch cites Germany’s resistance to letting the ECB take over and print money. Because of this it is downgrading France from a AAA credit rating and putting other EU countries on a credit watch: Belgium, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Ireland, and Cyprus.

Fitch is also critical that Germany doesn’t want to strengthen the European Stability Mechanism. He says this increases the divide between north and south in the Euro Zone and fans resentment. Austerity works for Germany but not for Greece.

Still the credit rating agency isn’t giving Germany free reign to solve the Continent’s budget problems. The whole world doesn’t think like an Anglo.

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_ England has been the enemy of Germany for over one hundred years. First there was World War I and World War II. Now England is the enemy of the Euro Zone. In Yes, Minister! and Yes, Prime Minister! the ministers talked about how they were going to sabotage what was going on in Brussels. David Cameron tried last week to interfere some more by vetoing the EU treaty changes. Germany wants England to drop out, and drop out they probably will.

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