Greece and the lessons of Versailles

After commenting on the fake “assistance” that the Euro countries have bestowed on Greece for the past five years — stabilising Greece just far enough to get international banks clear of the falling debris, and then pushing it off the cliff — it occurred to me that this ties in usefully with the discussion that has been bubbling up — from Thomas Piketty among others — of how chief scold Germany had its debts written off after both world wars. Or, rather, it defaulted on its WWI debts as preparation for initiating WWII; the world then decided to cancel most of its debts after WWII — including debts to Greece — at the London conference of 1953. It would be hard to say that Germany in 1953 was more deserving of international assistance or forgiveness than Greece today. In part, this reflects the predilection for strong villains: Germany was seen as inherently strong, if currently weakened; Greece is viewed with contempt, for its weak and corrupt political system. Having reduced much of Europe to rubble and murdered millions is just one of those misadventures that befall those with big plans. At least you knew, if you bailed out Germany, the money wouldn’t just be wasted…

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