Monday, June 25, 2012

Angie rides the bomb to the EU summit

Something weird is going on with the Greek situation and the EU summit. The particular weirdness I have in mind is the fact that neither the Prime Minister nor the Finance Minister will be attending. In fact, the designated Finance Minister just announced he's out, presumably for health reasons. (Rapanos not to take finmin job Athens News 06/25/2012)

Now German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is saying that nothing will be decided about Greece at the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. (Germany says expect no decisions on Greece at EU summit Athens News/Reuters 06/25/2012)

Meanwhile, Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Angie's government, says that the EU summit won't be deciding anything about Greece. And this is odd, as well: "Seibert said officials from the country's 'troika' of lenders - the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - must first visit Athens to see how effectively the programme was being implemented, and then report back." It's a telling slip - or was it a slip? - that the article refers to the EU, the ECB and the IMF as "the country's", i.e., Germany's.

But that's a joke. The visits of the Troika's Men In Black, as they are known, are diplomatic rituals. They're not going to be poking around the Finance Ministry uncovering documents stashed behind bookshelves or something that are going to tell them anything substantial that they don't already know.

Angie's vision for Greece is portrayed this way by cartoonist Yannis Ioannou, whose Sunday cartoons regularly portray her as the Greek-speaking commandant of a concentration camp:

The Men In Black ("los hombres de negro") are set to make a ritual visit to Spain as a prelude to bringing down the hammer on that country yet again. (Almunia avisa de que España será mirada por la UE con más atención Público 25.06.2012)

Meanwhile, George Soros is adding to tensions by a high-profile announcement that the sky is set to fall on Europe in three days, as Joe Weisenthal reports for Business Insider in Europe Has 3 Days To Avoid A Fiasco That Could Turn Fatal 06/25/2012.

Spain's conservative government is showing a least a measure of good sense. Their banks need financial assistance to survive. But Angie is insisting that the aid to Spanish banks come not directly from EU institutions but from additional Spanish government debt obligations. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is resisting that.

Angie's position is telling. Spain is already operating under severe austerity measures that have had calamitous consequences for their economy, supposedly to show their credit worthiness. Now Angie insists on Spain taking on more sovereign debt. Which, under her sadomasochistic economic theories, will require even further austerity measures. It's hard to imagine that Angie isn't fully aware that this is the "shock doctrine": use a crisis to jam through measures that the One Percent want whether or not it makes the crisis worse. (On austerity's destructiveness, see Brad DeLong, Spending cuts to improve confidence? No, the arithmetic goes the wrong way VoxEU 04/06/2012)

And Angie, of course, is planning to be her usual bull-headed self at the summit, as Tony Czuczka reports for Bloomberg News, Merkel Hardens Resistance To Euro-Area Debt Sharing 06/25/2012:

Chancellor Angela Merkel hardened her resistance to euro-area debt sharing to resolve the region’s financial crisis, setting Germany on a collision course with its allies at a summit of European leaders this week.

Merkel, speaking to a conference in Berlin today as Spain announced it would formally seek aid for its banks, dismissed "euro bonds, euro bills and European deposit insurance with joint liability and much more" as "economically wrong and counterproductive," saying that they ran against the German constitution.

"It’s not a bold prediction to say that in Brussels most eyes -- all eyes -- will be on Germany yet again," Merkel said. "I say quite openly: when I think of the summit on Thursday I’m concerned that once again the discussion will be far too much about all kinds of ideas for joint liability and far too little about improved oversight and structural measures."
Angie is starting to look like Slim Pickens in the last scene of Dr. Strangelove, riding a nuclear bomb to the great that will set off a world cataclysm, waving his cowboy hat and shouting "Yee-Haw!!!"

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