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The rise of Europe’s military austerity The EU's new plan will make 2008 look like child's play

"This combination of austerity, renewed German hegemony and aggressive militarism makes the Europe of the past decade look positively benign." (Credit: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)

"This combination of austerity, renewed German hegemony and aggressive militarism makes the Europe of the past decade look positively benign." (Credit: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images)


May 9, 2023   6 mins

First came the pandemic recession, caused by the decision to shut down entire societies via lockdowns; then came the largest energy and commodity shock in 50 years, caused by the decision to sanction Europe’s largest supplier of gas to the continent. In recent years, EU governments have resorted to massive deficits to paper over the ruinous effects of these elite-engineered crises, much as they did in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. In doing so, they have succeeded in racking up some of the highest levels of public debt in post-war history — and, just like a decade ago, they are now asking workers and ordinary citizens to foot the bill.

With no small irony, the European Commission has just unveiled its draft plan for reducing public debt across the bloc — debts which the Commission previously encouraged. In early 2020, for instance, the EU suspended its notoriously tight budgetary rules in order to, as Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declared, allow countries to spend “as much as they need”. The ECB also stepped in, launching a trillion-euro bond-purchasing programme to help governments finance their ballooning fiscal deficits. The following year, member states also agreed on a much-vaunted, €750-billion Europe-wide “recovery plan”.

At the time, observers heralded these unprecedented measures as evidence that the EU had finally learned from its past mistakes and overcome its pro-austerity bias. Some even described it as the EU’s “Hamiltonian moment”, which signalled that the bloc was finally evolving into a fully-fledged federation. This was wishful thinking. It was only a matter of time before old conflicts re-emerged between Europe’s fiscal hawks — first and foremost Germany — and the high-debt countries of the periphery.

Moreover, for all the talk of the EU’s integration-through-crisis approach, it should be apparent by now that no crisis will be big enough to muster support — among Europe’s national elites or, even more so, among ordinary citizens — for a move towards full-blown federalism. History has its rules, and the economic, political and cultural conditions for that simply aren’t there, and won’t be for a long time. More importantly, such starry-eyed analyses betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of the EU. European economic and monetary integration is a fundamentally anti-democratic project — one that is aimed at placing economic policy beyond the control of voters. Depriving nations of their currency-issuing powers was a fundamental plank of this project, because it meant that governments had little choice but to go along with the policies dictated by the new currency issuer — the EU — regardless of their democratic mandate.

National elites, eager to escape the pressures of their own electorates, embraced the process only for the dramatic consequences of doing so to become apparent in the aftermath of the euro crisis. At this point, the EU employed its powers to subvert democracy and impose crushing austerity across the continent, even against the wishes of elected governments. (Just ask Greece or Italy.)

In this sense, the suspension of the EU’s fiscal rules and the ECB’s transformation into a lender of first resort were extraordinary precisely because they made euro countries somewhat “sovereign” again, whereby democratically elected governments could choose their budgetary policies without the constant threat of retaliation from the ECB or the European Commission. But this is also why it was only a matter of time before these measures were curtailed; after all, they defeated the very purpose of the EU’s project.

The first step in the restoration of the status quo came last summer, when the ECB ended its bond-buying programme and began raising interest rates. The second is the European Commission’s debt-reduction plan, which is little more than a rehash of the old Stability and Growth Pact, first conceived in 1997. According to the proposal, countries with a deficit-to-GDP ratio above 3% or a debt-to-GDP ratio above 60% — the thresholds decided in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty — will be required to implement a fiscal adjustment programme; the higher the deficit/debt, the faster countries will required to bring those ratios down.

Today, around two dozen countries would fall under the scope of the new deficit and debt-reduction plans; the ones required to make the most stringent action would be Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Belgium. These nations would have to commit to a minimum deficit reduction of 0.5% of GDP every year, which could increase to 1.5% in some cases, mainly through budget cuts amounting to several billions of euros every year. In other words, austerity.

For Germany, however, this is still too soft; its finance minister, Christian Lindner, wants a binding and inflexible minimum debt-reduction trajectory of 1% of GDP per year for the worst transgressors. But despite their disagreements, Germany and the Commission ultimately share the same underlying assumptions: that the deficit and debt levels of some countries — depending on how much they exceed a set of arbitrary limits decided more than 30 years ago — are “unsustainable” and that growth depends on “sound public finances”. This is an exact replay of the debate that dominated the euro crisis of the 2010s. Even then, after relaxing fiscal rules to allow for the massive bailout of the banking system, Germany and the EU insisted that there was no alternative to the imposition of harsh fiscal austerity on the great majority of European countries, especially those at the periphery.

These policies didn’t just raise unemployment, erode social welfare, push large portions of the population to the brink of poverty and, in the case of Greece and other countries, create a genuine humanitarian emergency — they also completely failed to achieve their stated aims of kickstarting growth and reducing debt-to-GDP ratios. On the contrary, they drove economies into recession and increased debt-to-GDP ratios. Meanwhile, democratic norms were dramatically upended, as entire countries were essentially put into “controlled administration”. The result was a “lost decade” of stagnation and permacrisis which led to a profound divide between the eurozone’s north and south, and brought the monetary union to the brink of self-implosion.

The whole austerity experiment was such a catastrophic failure — as even the IMF later admitted — that one cannot help but despair at its revival. But ultimately, this is just another reminder that none of the underlying problems of the euro have been resolved: the cultural outlook and economic interests of member states continue to be irreconcilable, and the fate of nations and democratically elected governments continues to be in the hands of unelected technocrats in Frankfurt and Brussels. Yet it’s hard to see how Europe could survive a second round of austerity, which would come at a time when the state of the global economy is far bleaker than it did a decade ago: we are facing high inflation, supply-chain disruptions, global fragmentation and a war with no end in sight at Europe’s border with Russia.

Here, though, is the greatest paradox of the present situation: while the EU is devising a plan to get states to cut their overall budgets, it is also calling on governments to increase their defence budgets to at least 2% of their GDP to comply with Nato’s spending target. And among those countries expected to drastically increase their defence spending are some of the bloc’s most indebted nations (which therefore also face the harshest debt-reduction requirements): Portugal (whose spending stands at 0.8% of GDP), Spain (1%), Belgium (0.9%) and Italy (1.4%).

Just last week, the European Commission announced its billion-euro plan to increase Europe’s capacity for producing ammunition to send to Ukraine, for which member states will have to contribute up to a billion euros — yet another step in Europe’s “switch to war economy mode”, as commissioner Thierry Breton put it. In other words, European countries will soon be required to cut back on social welfare and crucial investment in non-defence-related areas in order to finance the EU’s new defence economy — we might call this military austerity — in the context of the bloc’s increasingly vassal-like subordination to US foreign policy.

All of which points to the inevitability of Germany’s return as the EU’s “economic policeman”. For the past year, the country has been trying to redefine its role in light of the massive tectonic shifts brought about the war in Ukraine — especially Europe’s geopolitical pivot from the West to the East. Perhaps it has finally found one: in the form of a renewed “special relationship” with the US as its primary Western European proxy, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. As Wolfgang Streeck has argued, this would entail re-establishing a position of economic leadership within the EU, on the provision of managing it on Washington’s behalf and of “tak[ing] responsibility for organising and, importantly, financing the European contribution to the war”.

This combination of austerity, renewed German hegemony and aggressive militarism makes the Europe of the past decade look positively benign. But this simply confirms the old adage that, when it comes to the EU, there’s always a way for things to get worse.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

” …for all the talk of the EU’s integration-through-crisis approach, it should be apparent by now that no crisis will be big enough to muster support — among Europe’s national elites or, even more so, among ordinary citizens — for a move towards full-blown federalism.”
The people of Europe may not want a federal USofE but to suggest that leaders within the EU don’t want federalism? You must be joking.
Macron – the pound shop Napoleon the BBC so fawns over – is a committed and quite explicit Federalist. He has written several books and given countless speeches on the subject. He is determined to see a federal EU – with France and Germany at the top table – just slightly more equal than the others.
Ursula von der Leyen – is another avowed and explicit Euro-federalist. This is a woman who announced: “I imagine the Europe of my children or grandchildren not as a loose union of states trapped by national interests.” …. “My aim is the United States of Europe”
Charles Michel – failed Belgian PM and now President of the council is of a similar bent.
Juncker – Another Federalist from top to toe. It isn’t possible to know anything about Juncker and not know he is an avowed Federalist.
Verhofstadt – probably the most vociferous federalist of the lot. You might have got a clue from his book title – Verenigde Staten van Europa (“United States of Europe”)
Martin Schulz, former President of the Parliament
Frans Timmermans, Former Vice Pres of the Commission
Martin Selmayr, former Sec Gen of the commission
… all of these people, and many more beside, are openly and explicitly pro federalism. It becomes tricky to deny that there is a cabal who fully intend to push for a united states of Europe, a fully federal EU.
Public antipathy for a USofE is no impediment in the minds of these zealots because they are quite explicit that the views of the little people should never stand in the way of the wider ambitions of a federal EU superstate.
I’m glad we are no longer part of this grisly experiment in corporate empire building, but actually the only way to really tackle the problems in the Eurozone would be for full political and fiscal union. I wanted no part of that – one of the main reasons I voted to Leave – but without such a union, and the natural transfers that would see Germany help its neighbours rather than exploit them, then I cannot see how you solve the problem.
The current situation is unsustainable, it has only been QE keeping it afloat. For some years now it has been, in effect, a public-funded Ponzi scheme. This one, unlike a private Ponzi scheme, can (theoretically) go on indefinitely – but only true fiscal union, with centralised tax resources and mutualised debt will rescue it. Ponzi’s eventually fail – and it won’t be pretty. The only way to avoid that is a transfer union – something the “frugals” and German taxpayers simply won’t countenance.
For all the talk of “the club”, it has been telling that the wealthier members have shown no appetite whatsoever to help their poorer brethren. Covid merely highlighted the gap between their rhetoric and the reality.
Italy, a founding member of the EU club, in extremis, asked for assistance from fellow members.
The response? A Gallic shrug of indifference swept the corridors of Brussels like the world’s most apathetic Mexican-wave.
Trying to maintain a single currency among countries with radically different economies, with no proper political and fiscal union was always going to be risky – if not downright impossible. In their zeal to expand the Eurozone the EU admitted member states who were, by any honest metric, not ready to join.
Their ‘solution’ to the problems since 2008 has merely papered over the cracks, they’ve never tackled the fundamental weaknesses at the heart of the “project”. The various schemes put forward are only about delaying the inevitable – they do nothing to address the core issue.
For all that hard-core Remainers claim they’ve never heard a sensible reason for Brexit, I have to say I have never heard a Remainer give a sensible answer to the following issues:
• Do you believe you can “fix” the Eurozone’s inherent weakness without full fiscal union?
• Do you think full fiscal union is possible without full political union?
• Do you see any politician in Europe with the guts (let alone the popularity) to make the case for such a future?
• If not, then how do you see this playing out?
• If you agree that the Eurozone cannot survive the coming recession and sovereign debt crisis unless it adopts a full fiscal transfer union, then it must surely federalise. If you think that is the best way forward – for Europe and, by extension, for us – do you think that should simply be implemented without recourse to the ballot box, or should each of the member states seek the consent of their people?
• If the latter, what should happen (as seems nailed-on certain) if one or more member states reject that future?
• If full federalism is the only solution (and I can’t think of another one), should it be forced through without democratic consent? If so, would that not make the EU the totalitarian state that Remainers usually suggest is only a head-banging ukipper’s fantasy?
There are still – to my amazement – plenty within our Parliament, our media and institutions, who’d wish to see us row back out to this sinking ship and climb aboard – but if they can’t address the questions listed above then I don’t see why anyone should take them at all seriously.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

A brilliant synopsis of the current ‘state of play’, thank you.

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

100%

Gordon Chamberlain
Gordon Chamberlain
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I think you’ve nailed it.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Yes Paddy has nailed it. A lot of us have not that level of understanding but I sense he is talking the truth instead of just rhetoric.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

Yes Paddy has nailed it. A lot of us have not that level of understanding but I sense he is talking the truth instead of just rhetoric.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

In other words, the euro is doing exactly what its creators intended: force federation down the throats of the people.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

Yup.
If you had any doubts left then you only need look at who was appointed to replace Juncker et al. Open federalists – despite the fact that the EU Parliament put forward more pragmatic candidates who did not want to see the federalist future pushed so hard.
Wishing to be part of a USofE is an entirely credible and valid position – I wholeheartedly and strongly disagree with it, but have no problem with those who genuinely espouse such a view – if they have the moral courage to be open and honest about it.
Where I do have a problem is with those who seek to achieve such an aim via the back-door, without gaining the consent of those they wish to govern.
If an honest referendum were held on a federalist future in all EU member states then we’d see a widespread rejection of it.
Of course there’d be some backing for such a vision – but country by country, how many would see a majority vote to become a province within a USofE? …. Ireland? France? Spain? Italy? Germany? The Netherlands? Not a chance. Not even Denmark. …. Maybe, just maybe, Belgium would enjoy the idea, but who’d join them?
But, of course, the EU won’t do that – for the same reason they have never done that. The concerns of the citizenry are simply not a factor. It would happen incrementally, as all these things do – but quite deliberately.
As the arch federalist J-C Juncker himself described it, “We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”
And don’t for a minute imagine that a veto would save a sovereign state from being subsumed – Such trifles have been swatted aside by the commission before now. ‘Unanimous consent’ becomes ‘Qualified Majority voting’ whenever it suits the commission’s broader objectives.
I’d no more trust Brussels to honour a veto than I would have trusted Juncker with the keys to the wine cellar.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”

An honest politician. Well I never.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I note that Sunak was all over Macron and Ursula von de Leyen. Quite frightening. Is Sunak clever enough to pull the wool over our eyes and take us back in? I fear that he is. Without such people like Farage and others the British are getting easier to deceive.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”

An honest politician. Well I never.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I note that Sunak was all over Macron and Ursula von de Leyen. Quite frightening. Is Sunak clever enough to pull the wool over our eyes and take us back in? I fear that he is. Without such people like Farage and others the British are getting easier to deceive.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

Yup.
If you had any doubts left then you only need look at who was appointed to replace Juncker et al. Open federalists – despite the fact that the EU Parliament put forward more pragmatic candidates who did not want to see the federalist future pushed so hard.
Wishing to be part of a USofE is an entirely credible and valid position – I wholeheartedly and strongly disagree with it, but have no problem with those who genuinely espouse such a view – if they have the moral courage to be open and honest about it.
Where I do have a problem is with those who seek to achieve such an aim via the back-door, without gaining the consent of those they wish to govern.
If an honest referendum were held on a federalist future in all EU member states then we’d see a widespread rejection of it.
Of course there’d be some backing for such a vision – but country by country, how many would see a majority vote to become a province within a USofE? …. Ireland? France? Spain? Italy? Germany? The Netherlands? Not a chance. Not even Denmark. …. Maybe, just maybe, Belgium would enjoy the idea, but who’d join them?
But, of course, the EU won’t do that – for the same reason they have never done that. The concerns of the citizenry are simply not a factor. It would happen incrementally, as all these things do – but quite deliberately.
As the arch federalist J-C Juncker himself described it, “We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.”
And don’t for a minute imagine that a veto would save a sovereign state from being subsumed – Such trifles have been swatted aside by the commission before now. ‘Unanimous consent’ becomes ‘Qualified Majority voting’ whenever it suits the commission’s broader objectives.
I’d no more trust Brussels to honour a veto than I would have trusted Juncker with the keys to the wine cellar.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb post. I endorse every word. The contempt of the so-called “elite” for national parliamentary democracy has never been better expressed than by Ken Clark who memorably said “I look forward to the day when our Westminster Parliament is just another council chamber in Europe”. There were many reasons I campaigned so hard for Brexit but preserving democratic accountability in Britain was pre-eminent. And therefore to avoid our inevitable absorption into a United States of Europe, which has been the end game ever since Jean Monnet created the “Action Committee for a United States of Europe”.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Surely not the recently ennobled ‘Kenneth Harry ClarkE Baron Clarke of Nottingham CH, PC, KC.’, otherwise known as “hush puppy Ken”?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

The very man.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

The very man.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Surely not the recently ennobled ‘Kenneth Harry ClarkE Baron Clarke of Nottingham CH, PC, KC.’, otherwise known as “hush puppy Ken”?

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Hear Hear! A genuine Tower of Babel is just a stone’s throw away. The fact that people would still be keen to sign up for the EU lunacy is pretty shocking, but then again, the “collective West” seems to be signing up for all things lunatic, including more NATO, and the bottomless pit / slush fund nicknamed Ukraine.
(Not sure why the author thinks Germany would be an economic steward moving forward – they’ve just commenced their own de-industrialization – with no end in sight.)

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I agree apart from Nato which we definitely need. I also am not in agreement of leaving Ukraine to be devoured by Russia any more than I would agree to Britain being devoured by the EU.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
1 year ago

I agree apart from Nato which we definitely need. I also am not in agreement of leaving Ukraine to be devoured by Russia any more than I would agree to Britain being devoured by the EU.

Pete Rogers
Pete Rogers
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said.
Perhaps a hidden motive for Brexit in the higher echelons of power was our desire to Always act as The US’s distinct Lieutenant in its foreign policy. Whereas the German led EU has a more subjected status in relation to the US. Always remember the 3 principles of NATO.
Keep Russia OUT, America IN, and Germany DOWN. This may have evolved somewhat but it remains the thread.
In order to substantiate this I summarise a document leaked from the Rand Corporation reporting to a US Committee entitled “Weaker Germany, Stronger America” in January ’22.
The committee came into existence because of concerns that the growing energy relationship between Russia and Germany would have the deleterious effect of moving a German led EU away from US subjection and that could cause other difficulties down the road as with a changing alignment the EU could represent a serious competitor as its GDP was not that far short of the US.
Any watering down of European hostility towards Russia was a concern for the US
The writer congratulated the administration on its achievement in preventing Nord Stream II from going into operation, then said that the cessation of a Russo-German energy relationship was necessary to secure future US hegemony.
He continued that the best way for the US to achieve this aim would be to get Russia and Germany on opposite sides of a military conflict and that what the US was then doing in Ukraine should ensure this outcome,
This appears to leave Europe between a rock and a hard place with its leader nation rather compromised.
We are left to reflect on the inversion of the EU project after 2008.
Before that time the banks and German Industry told the weaker nations that the miracle had arrived and all they had to do was take up the massive loans offered from the banks to transform their nations by paying the industrial and construction base – mainly German – to modernise infrastructure and other expensive features which would all easily pay for itself.
When this policy – upon which part of the thriving of German Industry depended – blew up because of the financial crisis the poorer countries which were most severely harmed were treated as the guilty parties and that remains the Authorised Version.
According to that perspective, the EU had been the plaything of German interests under US Geopolitical control and we are best outside the hidden consequences of that situation.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Rogers

Depressingly accurate analysis!
But what should potentially concern us more over the coming decade is how does the US play the same game with the EU vis a vis China, if Biden the Senile-Sinophile is no longer in office?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘Sino delenda est’.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘Sino delenda est’.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Rogers

Depressingly accurate analysis!
But what should potentially concern us more over the coming decade is how does the US play the same game with the EU vis a vis China, if Biden the Senile-Sinophile is no longer in office?

Michael F
Michael F
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Are you prepared to write the next article?

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael F

Few things I’d enjoy more, frankly, if Unherd want to commission one.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael F

Few things I’d enjoy more, frankly, if Unherd want to commission one.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘ I wanted no part of that – one of the main reasons I voted to Leave ‘
Me too

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

A brilliant synopsis of the current ‘state of play’, thank you.

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

100%

Gordon Chamberlain
Gordon Chamberlain
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

I think you’ve nailed it.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

In other words, the euro is doing exactly what its creators intended: force federation down the throats of the people.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb post. I endorse every word. The contempt of the so-called “elite” for national parliamentary democracy has never been better expressed than by Ken Clark who memorably said “I look forward to the day when our Westminster Parliament is just another council chamber in Europe”. There were many reasons I campaigned so hard for Brexit but preserving democratic accountability in Britain was pre-eminent. And therefore to avoid our inevitable absorption into a United States of Europe, which has been the end game ever since Jean Monnet created the “Action Committee for a United States of Europe”.

TheElephant InTheRoom
TheElephant InTheRoom
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Hear Hear! A genuine Tower of Babel is just a stone’s throw away. The fact that people would still be keen to sign up for the EU lunacy is pretty shocking, but then again, the “collective West” seems to be signing up for all things lunatic, including more NATO, and the bottomless pit / slush fund nicknamed Ukraine.
(Not sure why the author thinks Germany would be an economic steward moving forward – they’ve just commenced their own de-industrialization – with no end in sight.)

Pete Rogers
Pete Rogers
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Well said.
Perhaps a hidden motive for Brexit in the higher echelons of power was our desire to Always act as The US’s distinct Lieutenant in its foreign policy. Whereas the German led EU has a more subjected status in relation to the US. Always remember the 3 principles of NATO.
Keep Russia OUT, America IN, and Germany DOWN. This may have evolved somewhat but it remains the thread.
In order to substantiate this I summarise a document leaked from the Rand Corporation reporting to a US Committee entitled “Weaker Germany, Stronger America” in January ’22.
The committee came into existence because of concerns that the growing energy relationship between Russia and Germany would have the deleterious effect of moving a German led EU away from US subjection and that could cause other difficulties down the road as with a changing alignment the EU could represent a serious competitor as its GDP was not that far short of the US.
Any watering down of European hostility towards Russia was a concern for the US
The writer congratulated the administration on its achievement in preventing Nord Stream II from going into operation, then said that the cessation of a Russo-German energy relationship was necessary to secure future US hegemony.
He continued that the best way for the US to achieve this aim would be to get Russia and Germany on opposite sides of a military conflict and that what the US was then doing in Ukraine should ensure this outcome,
This appears to leave Europe between a rock and a hard place with its leader nation rather compromised.
We are left to reflect on the inversion of the EU project after 2008.
Before that time the banks and German Industry told the weaker nations that the miracle had arrived and all they had to do was take up the massive loans offered from the banks to transform their nations by paying the industrial and construction base – mainly German – to modernise infrastructure and other expensive features which would all easily pay for itself.
When this policy – upon which part of the thriving of German Industry depended – blew up because of the financial crisis the poorer countries which were most severely harmed were treated as the guilty parties and that remains the Authorised Version.
According to that perspective, the EU had been the plaything of German interests under US Geopolitical control and we are best outside the hidden consequences of that situation.

Michael F
Michael F
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Are you prepared to write the next article?

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

‘ I wanted no part of that – one of the main reasons I voted to Leave ‘
Me too

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

” …for all the talk of the EU’s integration-through-crisis approach, it should be apparent by now that no crisis will be big enough to muster support — among Europe’s national elites or, even more so, among ordinary citizens — for a move towards full-blown federalism.”
The people of Europe may not want a federal USofE but to suggest that leaders within the EU don’t want federalism? You must be joking.
Macron – the pound shop Napoleon the BBC so fawns over – is a committed and quite explicit Federalist. He has written several books and given countless speeches on the subject. He is determined to see a federal EU – with France and Germany at the top table – just slightly more equal than the others.
Ursula von der Leyen – is another avowed and explicit Euro-federalist. This is a woman who announced: “I imagine the Europe of my children or grandchildren not as a loose union of states trapped by national interests.” …. “My aim is the United States of Europe”
Charles Michel – failed Belgian PM and now President of the council is of a similar bent.
Juncker – Another Federalist from top to toe. It isn’t possible to know anything about Juncker and not know he is an avowed Federalist.
Verhofstadt – probably the most vociferous federalist of the lot. You might have got a clue from his book title – Verenigde Staten van Europa (“United States of Europe”)
Martin Schulz, former President of the Parliament
Frans Timmermans, Former Vice Pres of the Commission
Martin Selmayr, former Sec Gen of the commission
… all of these people, and many more beside, are openly and explicitly pro federalism. It becomes tricky to deny that there is a cabal who fully intend to push for a united states of Europe, a fully federal EU.
Public antipathy for a USofE is no impediment in the minds of these zealots because they are quite explicit that the views of the little people should never stand in the way of the wider ambitions of a federal EU superstate.
I’m glad we are no longer part of this grisly experiment in corporate empire building, but actually the only way to really tackle the problems in the Eurozone would be for full political and fiscal union. I wanted no part of that – one of the main reasons I voted to Leave – but without such a union, and the natural transfers that would see Germany help its neighbours rather than exploit them, then I cannot see how you solve the problem.
The current situation is unsustainable, it has only been QE keeping it afloat. For some years now it has been, in effect, a public-funded Ponzi scheme. This one, unlike a private Ponzi scheme, can (theoretically) go on indefinitely – but only true fiscal union, with centralised tax resources and mutualised debt will rescue it. Ponzi’s eventually fail – and it won’t be pretty. The only way to avoid that is a transfer union – something the “frugals” and German taxpayers simply won’t countenance.
For all the talk of “the club”, it has been telling that the wealthier members have shown no appetite whatsoever to help their poorer brethren. Covid merely highlighted the gap between their rhetoric and the reality.
Italy, a founding member of the EU club, in extremis, asked for assistance from fellow members.
The response? A Gallic shrug of indifference swept the corridors of Brussels like the world’s most apathetic Mexican-wave.
Trying to maintain a single currency among countries with radically different economies, with no proper political and fiscal union was always going to be risky – if not downright impossible. In their zeal to expand the Eurozone the EU admitted member states who were, by any honest metric, not ready to join.
Their ‘solution’ to the problems since 2008 has merely papered over the cracks, they’ve never tackled the fundamental weaknesses at the heart of the “project”. The various schemes put forward are only about delaying the inevitable – they do nothing to address the core issue.
For all that hard-core Remainers claim they’ve never heard a sensible reason for Brexit, I have to say I have never heard a Remainer give a sensible answer to the following issues:
• Do you believe you can “fix” the Eurozone’s inherent weakness without full fiscal union?
• Do you think full fiscal union is possible without full political union?
• Do you see any politician in Europe with the guts (let alone the popularity) to make the case for such a future?
• If not, then how do you see this playing out?
• If you agree that the Eurozone cannot survive the coming recession and sovereign debt crisis unless it adopts a full fiscal transfer union, then it must surely federalise. If you think that is the best way forward – for Europe and, by extension, for us – do you think that should simply be implemented without recourse to the ballot box, or should each of the member states seek the consent of their people?
• If the latter, what should happen (as seems nailed-on certain) if one or more member states reject that future?
• If full federalism is the only solution (and I can’t think of another one), should it be forced through without democratic consent? If so, would that not make the EU the totalitarian state that Remainers usually suggest is only a head-banging ukipper’s fantasy?
There are still – to my amazement – plenty within our Parliament, our media and institutions, who’d wish to see us row back out to this sinking ship and climb aboard – but if they can’t address the questions listed above then I don’t see why anyone should take them at all seriously.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

What will destroy the euro in the end is not bad fiscal policy but over-regulation.

In France, for example, few businesses will risk expanding their workforce in order to exploit a new opportunity due to the cost of down-sizing should conditions change. It’s worse in Spain where, for example, you need a licence from the state to become a freelancer.

Try registering a new company in any of these countries and compare the experience with doing the same in the UK or USA.

The tragedy in the UK is that there is little or no enthusiasm amongst politicians for getting rid of legacy EU regulation because so few of them have any experience of entrepreneurial activity and just can’t see the enormous benefits that could follow.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

What EU regulations did you have in mind?

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

How about ALL OF THEM ?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

That’s about 4,000 isn’t it?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Stoater D

That’s about 4,000 isn’t it?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago

Start with the Financial Catastrophe Authority….

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

Working Time Directive. Why on earth should a hairdresser in Newcastle have their working hours regulated by an EU-wide regulation??

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

How about ALL OF THEM ?

Steven Farrall
Steven Farrall
1 year ago

Start with the Financial Catastrophe Authority….

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

Working Time Directive. Why on earth should a hairdresser in Newcastle have their working hours regulated by an EU-wide regulation??

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

What EU regulations did you have in mind?

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

What will destroy the euro in the end is not bad fiscal policy but over-regulation.

In France, for example, few businesses will risk expanding their workforce in order to exploit a new opportunity due to the cost of down-sizing should conditions change. It’s worse in Spain where, for example, you need a licence from the state to become a freelancer.

Try registering a new company in any of these countries and compare the experience with doing the same in the UK or USA.

The tragedy in the UK is that there is little or no enthusiasm amongst politicians for getting rid of legacy EU regulation because so few of them have any experience of entrepreneurial activity and just can’t see the enormous benefits that could follow.

Steve White
Steve White
1 year ago

None of the policies make any sense. The whole governance is always so convinced in the moment that it’s doing the exact right thing. Exactly what is needed, and exactly what will work. The news companies get on board and write the stories. They talk about it and all the things get justified and everyone who lives under it says one more time, “well okay”.
Then suddenly, “oops things didn’t work out”, and “oh no, everything only got worse”. But then dealing with the next crisis is done in the exact same manner, as if the most competent people are in charge. As if their way of looking at reality is best, even though they did the stupidest things that could be done. But there is no one else to take on the task. These politicians, these experts are what we have.
They get back up on camera, full of confidence, even swagger, and they state the next policies, define the next reality, and come up with the next solution. The same stupid people, the same stupid experts, dealing with the bad realities their policies created, what they didn’t foresee. Nothing learned, nothing repented of. No, none of it is their fault. We must address the things they say that must be addressed. We must do what they say must be done. They have all reality figured out. They are the smart ones, the chosen ones.
The whole thing is broken, yet, somehow life goes on here, we all find the money to pay our bills each month. We work, we try to get ahead. We try to enjoy our lives some with the limitations, but nothing gets better, nothing gets brighter, nothing changes.
Because we have a bunch of narcissistic politicians who live in their own heads. They have their little fantasies that they mix in with reality where they are always doing the best. Where they are always the ones in the right. We’re stuck in this abusive relationship under these truly unaccountable, unethical phony people. They are really not that bright, hardly ever right. They are self-righteous, arrogant, corrupt, fools.
I am glad that I am able to say that for now, because there will come a time in the not so distant future where you won’t be able to say that. You won’t be able to speak up about these clowns. Because they don’t like it. It makes them feel injured to point out what they are afraid you will point out. That they are phony people, they are incompetent, they are liars, and cheats, and just not that bright. 

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve White

Steve, you are exactly right.
This country could be a happy, prosperous and peaceful country in which to live.
It is slowly being destroyed by our cretinous and cowardly politicians, civil servants and their groupthink.
It is a tragedy for the nation that the woke buffoon King Charles is now our head of state.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve White

A perfect example of your point has just bubbled to the surface. Von der Leyen has just pronounced that Kyiv is “the beating heart” of European values. Kyiv is the capital of one of the most corrupt nations in Europe, and the Ukrainians are a long way from accepting the social programme of the EU Commission on gay rights and abortion. One wonders why she produces this drivel – surely she can’t actually believe it?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Her favourite 30 year Shetland pony, rather oddly named Dolly, was recently ‘hoovered up’ or ‘harvested’ by good old Mr Wolf.
Perhaps she is still suffering from PTSD.?

ps.My ‘agents’ inform me that Mr Wolf is still ‘on the run’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

Her favourite 30 year Shetland pony, rather oddly named Dolly, was recently ‘hoovered up’ or ‘harvested’ by good old Mr Wolf.
Perhaps she is still suffering from PTSD.?

ps.My ‘agents’ inform me that Mr Wolf is still ‘on the run’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve White

Steve, you are exactly right.
This country could be a happy, prosperous and peaceful country in which to live.
It is slowly being destroyed by our cretinous and cowardly politicians, civil servants and their groupthink.
It is a tragedy for the nation that the woke buffoon King Charles is now our head of state.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve White

A perfect example of your point has just bubbled to the surface. Von der Leyen has just pronounced that Kyiv is “the beating heart” of European values. Kyiv is the capital of one of the most corrupt nations in Europe, and the Ukrainians are a long way from accepting the social programme of the EU Commission on gay rights and abortion. One wonders why she produces this drivel – surely she can’t actually believe it?

Steve White
Steve White
1 year ago

None of the policies make any sense. The whole governance is always so convinced in the moment that it’s doing the exact right thing. Exactly what is needed, and exactly what will work. The news companies get on board and write the stories. They talk about it and all the things get justified and everyone who lives under it says one more time, “well okay”.
Then suddenly, “oops things didn’t work out”, and “oh no, everything only got worse”. But then dealing with the next crisis is done in the exact same manner, as if the most competent people are in charge. As if their way of looking at reality is best, even though they did the stupidest things that could be done. But there is no one else to take on the task. These politicians, these experts are what we have.
They get back up on camera, full of confidence, even swagger, and they state the next policies, define the next reality, and come up with the next solution. The same stupid people, the same stupid experts, dealing with the bad realities their policies created, what they didn’t foresee. Nothing learned, nothing repented of. No, none of it is their fault. We must address the things they say that must be addressed. We must do what they say must be done. They have all reality figured out. They are the smart ones, the chosen ones.
The whole thing is broken, yet, somehow life goes on here, we all find the money to pay our bills each month. We work, we try to get ahead. We try to enjoy our lives some with the limitations, but nothing gets better, nothing gets brighter, nothing changes.
Because we have a bunch of narcissistic politicians who live in their own heads. They have their little fantasies that they mix in with reality where they are always doing the best. Where they are always the ones in the right. We’re stuck in this abusive relationship under these truly unaccountable, unethical phony people. They are really not that bright, hardly ever right. They are self-righteous, arrogant, corrupt, fools.
I am glad that I am able to say that for now, because there will come a time in the not so distant future where you won’t be able to say that. You won’t be able to speak up about these clowns. Because they don’t like it. It makes them feel injured to point out what they are afraid you will point out. That they are phony people, they are incompetent, they are liars, and cheats, and just not that bright. 

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

“Today, around two dozen countries would fall under the scope of the new deficit and debt-reduction plans;”
There are only 27 of them so would be better to talk about who isn’t on the naughty step (presumably Germany at the moment but as it’s economy goes down the pan due to lack of cost effective energy supply that will change).
“the ones required to make the most stringent action would be Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Belgium.” 
The usual suspects of Greece, Italy and Spain are no surprise but seeing France there does not bode well as France normally is the worst for simply ignoring EU directives that don’t suit it.
UK never being part of the Euro and now being outside the EU this ought to be good news for us, except out own national elite seem determined to destroy us too.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

“Today, around two dozen countries would fall under the scope of the new deficit and debt-reduction plans;”
There are only 27 of them so would be better to talk about who isn’t on the naughty step (presumably Germany at the moment but as it’s economy goes down the pan due to lack of cost effective energy supply that will change).
“the ones required to make the most stringent action would be Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Belgium.” 
The usual suspects of Greece, Italy and Spain are no surprise but seeing France there does not bode well as France normally is the worst for simply ignoring EU directives that don’t suit it.
UK never being part of the Euro and now being outside the EU this ought to be good news for us, except out own national elite seem determined to destroy us too.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

We really must get away from this childish “recessions are bad” (and must be avoided at all costs – including piling up something even worse for the future) narrative.
Recessions are a good and necessary part of the creative destruction of capitalism. They expose and kill off the failing enterprises that need to be closed down. Pretending this isn’t necessary or helpful is just delusion.
I do sometimes wonder what Mr. Fazi is thinking. If you don’t want “sound public finances”, presumably you are campaigning for *unsound* public finances.
He might benefit from studying the UK public finances after 1815 when Gladstone’s successful policy of “retrenchment” (that’s what they called sound public finances in those days) got the UK debt under control – and hugely reduced it.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The way the MSM present recessions (omg, GDP fell 0.1% last quarter, we’re doomed!!) is intended to manipulate people’s emotions so they become more compliant with the progressive agenda. These outlets have become intolerable. What you’ve just written would’ve passed as basic common sense fifty, or even thirty years ago.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

What annoys me almost as much as the idea that a 0.1% fall over 1 quarter is a reliable measure of any long term trend. That “0.1%” probably has at least a 0.3% tolerance on it (0.3% either way), based on the revisions usually made later.
These MSM morons are literally measuring noise half the time.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

What annoys me almost as much as the idea that a 0.1% fall over 1 quarter is a reliable measure of any long term trend. That “0.1%” probably has at least a 0.3% tolerance on it (0.3% either way), based on the revisions usually made later.
These MSM morons are literally measuring noise half the time.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Similar issue with politicians trying to demonise short sellers who carry out the vital role of ensuring that prices don’t just go up and up on assets but rather reflect some sort of reality. They prevent huge crashes by stopping the asset ‘inflation’ before it has got too ridiculous..

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The problem is that the West no longer has or believes in Capitalism. How much that is down to the Greens is moot. Net Zero is the ultimate disaster, and the only question is ‘Will the populace realise what it means before the damage can’t be undone, or will our leaders realise that IF they don’t fix it before then, they are toast. Possibly real toast.
The FIRES report, P6, graphic indicates that for “Net Zero by 2050” there will be in the UK, No maritime shipping (presumably that means none using fossil fuels), No air travel and NO fossil fuels.
That is 27 years away. The country is NOT and has not for centuries, been self-sufficient in food. A population of 70m+ on an Island with only the Channel Tunnel (or a currently mythical fleet of sailing ships) to connect us to anywhere we can get food is a famine in the making. Quite frankly it is insanity. Net Zero is the belief that a pre-industrial energy policy can support a post-industrial civilisation. Doomberg has a response to that, perhaps the morons who rule us should take out a subscription before we are the new 3rd world?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The way the MSM present recessions (omg, GDP fell 0.1% last quarter, we’re doomed!!) is intended to manipulate people’s emotions so they become more compliant with the progressive agenda. These outlets have become intolerable. What you’ve just written would’ve passed as basic common sense fifty, or even thirty years ago.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Similar issue with politicians trying to demonise short sellers who carry out the vital role of ensuring that prices don’t just go up and up on assets but rather reflect some sort of reality. They prevent huge crashes by stopping the asset ‘inflation’ before it has got too ridiculous..

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The problem is that the West no longer has or believes in Capitalism. How much that is down to the Greens is moot. Net Zero is the ultimate disaster, and the only question is ‘Will the populace realise what it means before the damage can’t be undone, or will our leaders realise that IF they don’t fix it before then, they are toast. Possibly real toast.
The FIRES report, P6, graphic indicates that for “Net Zero by 2050” there will be in the UK, No maritime shipping (presumably that means none using fossil fuels), No air travel and NO fossil fuels.
That is 27 years away. The country is NOT and has not for centuries, been self-sufficient in food. A population of 70m+ on an Island with only the Channel Tunnel (or a currently mythical fleet of sailing ships) to connect us to anywhere we can get food is a famine in the making. Quite frankly it is insanity. Net Zero is the belief that a pre-industrial energy policy can support a post-industrial civilisation. Doomberg has a response to that, perhaps the morons who rule us should take out a subscription before we are the new 3rd world?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

We really must get away from this childish “recessions are bad” (and must be avoided at all costs – including piling up something even worse for the future) narrative.
Recessions are a good and necessary part of the creative destruction of capitalism. They expose and kill off the failing enterprises that need to be closed down. Pretending this isn’t necessary or helpful is just delusion.
I do sometimes wonder what Mr. Fazi is thinking. If you don’t want “sound public finances”, presumably you are campaigning for *unsound* public finances.
He might benefit from studying the UK public finances after 1815 when Gladstone’s successful policy of “retrenchment” (that’s what they called sound public finances in those days) got the UK debt under control – and hugely reduced it.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

Well Well, there you go.

Someone has finally written about Germany’s (planned) hegemony of Europe (or specifically The EU).

Twice in the 20th century it was tried, and failed.

”Third time lucky?”

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

No chance.”The Hun”* maybe brilliant at micro but hopeless at macro, as history proved in 1918 & 1941.

(*A term of affection dating from 1914-18.)

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

If anyone does not know Germany has much of Europe in its own financial stranglehold – then they need to look into it more. Essentially all financial EU roads lead to Germany. The ECB has no money – it has to be created and underwritten by ECB Shareholders (Euro members) of which Germany is the key/
Ask Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece after the last financial crisis ”The Computer (ECB) said No”. The UK bailed out Ireland as their beloved EU/Germany would not.

An excellent book ‘The Shadow Liabilities of EU Member States‘ is an eye opener (but not for me and a few others).
Germany is indeed calling the EU Shots, as I believe tbhis article also concurs.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

I don’t disagree with you, but my point is that historically Germany always seems to fall at the ‘final fence’. I put this down to arrogance or over confidence.

Perhaps if one Publius Quinctilius Varus hadn’t made such a hash of things in AD9 we wouldn’t have this ‘problem’?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

British Cavalry joke ” Is that the sound of that German Leopard tank’s turbochargers?… No it the the 1945 remnants of the 351st Panzer Grenadiers spinning in their graves at the horror of their useless successors”….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
11 months ago

British Cavalry joke ” Is that the sound of that German Leopard tank’s turbochargers?… No it the the 1945 remnants of the 351st Panzer Grenadiers spinning in their graves at the horror of their useless successors”….

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

I don’t disagree with you, but my point is that historically Germany always seems to fall at the ‘final fence’. I put this down to arrogance or over confidence.

Perhaps if one Publius Quinctilius Varus hadn’t made such a hash of things in AD9 we wouldn’t have this ‘problem’?

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

If anyone does not know Germany has much of Europe in its own financial stranglehold – then they need to look into it more. Essentially all financial EU roads lead to Germany. The ECB has no money – it has to be created and underwritten by ECB Shareholders (Euro members) of which Germany is the key/
Ask Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece after the last financial crisis ”The Computer (ECB) said No”. The UK bailed out Ireland as their beloved EU/Germany would not.

An excellent book ‘The Shadow Liabilities of EU Member States‘ is an eye opener (but not for me and a few others).
Germany is indeed calling the EU Shots, as I believe tbhis article also concurs.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

No chance.”The Hun”* maybe brilliant at micro but hopeless at macro, as history proved in 1918 & 1941.

(*A term of affection dating from 1914-18.)

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

Well Well, there you go.

Someone has finally written about Germany’s (planned) hegemony of Europe (or specifically The EU).

Twice in the 20th century it was tried, and failed.

”Third time lucky?”

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

The title looked interesting; sadly, though, Fazi lived down to my expectations of him being the Owen Jones of UnHerd.

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
1 year ago

The title looked interesting; sadly, though, Fazi lived down to my expectations of him being the Owen Jones of UnHerd.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

haha….So EU should have spent its way out of debt? Rather than so called ‘austerity’ back in the day?

”These policies (austerity) didn’t just raise unemployment, erode social welfare, push large portions of the population to the brink of poverty and, in the case of Greece and other countries, create a genuine humanitarian emergency — they also completely failed to achieve their stated aims of kickstarting growth and reducing debt-to-GDP ratios. On the contrary, they drove economies into recession and increased debt-to-GDP ratios. ** The result was a “lost decade” of stagnation and permacrisis”

You silly euroweenies – don’t you get it? You are being destroyed. The Ukraine war and sanctions were not for Freedom and Democracy – it was to break you, Break the world, like the Plandemic was. Now they Want you to try to spend your way out of this even deeper pit of debt you are in…….haha

”Yet it’s hard to see how Europe could survive a second round of austerity, which would come at a time when the state of the global economy is far bleaker than it did a decade ago: we are facing high inflation, supply-chain disruptions, global fragmentation and a war with no end in sight at Europe’s border with Russia.”

Well you sure cannot survive greater profligacy. It is like drinking your way to sobriety, it is not a real thing.

See- you have been hooked on Socialism – intentionally, to destroy you. You have more people getting money than comes in. Government, which is a parasite, is over half the ”GDP”, haha…. Every one who does not produce is ‘Entitled’, and the workers are too few to pay for it. Government is a machine to waste money pointlessly. This is Intentional. Your sickoo Lefty/Liberal postmodernist welfare state is not to help the poor – it is to make the successful and hard working poor too. Poor are clients of the state – the government (Global) wants you poor so the state owns you – so they are having you spend your nations into poverty. Same as USA.

Free Market Capitalism, or chains of poverty via Socialism? You guys chose the later….were conned into it……Clement Atlee, LBJ, haha, they got you….

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

While it is true that it is not possible for governments to spend their way out of debt, it is also commonly forgotten that they cannot save their way out of debt either – not, that is, unless the fiscal austerity in question is accompanied by supply-side reform.

The reason governments get into debt is that they keep spending money on stuff that doesn’t produce growth. Austerity that works isn’t merely spending less money: it’s cutting the expenditures that possess no value in order to reallocate capital to things that do create value. Proper austerity is therefore the statist equivalent of the creative destruction of free markets, and it is worth pointing out that although the UK was not in the Eurozone in 2009, it made almost as great a pig’s ear of the austerity measures as did the Eurozone.

Cameron/Osborne ducked all the really big decisions that would have fixed the public spending problems: the UK still possesses now, 13 years later, Gordon Brown’s conception of how the State should operate. That is why the country is in such trouble. And while I’m no fan whatsoever of the contemptible and anti-democratic EU, it does at least have some sort of mechanism by which it might carry out the necessary measures. In the UK our political system simply doesn’t have the capacity to do it.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

There is nothing magical about a 2% inflation target or a 60% debt ceiling. Experience would suggest neither of these are preconditions for rising living standards.

Take Italy. Italy persistently ran deficits and suffered higher inflation than most of the countries that were the EEC. Yet at the dawn of 1990 its GDP per capita had overtaken Germany’s. Italy had outgrown Germany for nearly 4 decades. If Germany had undergone an economic miracle, how do you describe what Italy had achieved after WW2? How could this have happened in a country where parts of it flirted with communism, with high inflation, and large deficits?

Italy’s golden years of economic growth abruptly ended when it joined the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM). It was decided that Europe would adopt Germany’s fiscal and monetary policies. Italy has barely grown since.

The UK joined the ERM too, and the economy suffered its worst recession ever, an experience that sowed the seeds of Brexit. To prove the point, Britain (unlike Italy) was forced out of the ERM and immediately began one of its longest economic expansions in history despite not following German fiscal orthodoxy. Again, how could this be if that orthodoxy is a precondition for rising living standards?

And of course, take the USA. A country that has not followed any orthodoxy it prescribes for others. Since 2008, the USA stands almost alone as a Western country that has increased GDP per capita. Almost everywhere else (France, Canada, UK, etc), where orthodox central bankers reign unchallenged, GDP per capita has stagnated.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The last paragraph of the article. “The combination of austerity, renewed German hegemony and aggressive militarism makes the Europe of the past decade look positively benign.”
Your ‘hahas’ give you away. I think you put your finger on the spot though. We are kidding ourselves (brought on by the socialists) that we are poor in Europe and that we should feel guilty for having those ‘poor’ people in our midst. The Socialists want to give more and more of our money away to finance bigger and bigger flat-screen TVs, newer mobile phones, even better vacations. (Not to mention the illegal things that the money buys). Meanwhile, the people who have worked and accumulated things are supposed to give it all up for the ‘poor’.
There is a bigger problem in the EU. They are used to being saved at the last moment by John Wayne riding in over the hill. They have to realise that John Wayne is now dead. The Europeans have thumbed their noses at a nuclear super-power which has now reacted. The Europeans have to pay for this. It is a lesson you are supposed to learn when you first go to school.
German hegemony no longer exists.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

While it is true that it is not possible for governments to spend their way out of debt, it is also commonly forgotten that they cannot save their way out of debt either – not, that is, unless the fiscal austerity in question is accompanied by supply-side reform.

The reason governments get into debt is that they keep spending money on stuff that doesn’t produce growth. Austerity that works isn’t merely spending less money: it’s cutting the expenditures that possess no value in order to reallocate capital to things that do create value. Proper austerity is therefore the statist equivalent of the creative destruction of free markets, and it is worth pointing out that although the UK was not in the Eurozone in 2009, it made almost as great a pig’s ear of the austerity measures as did the Eurozone.

Cameron/Osborne ducked all the really big decisions that would have fixed the public spending problems: the UK still possesses now, 13 years later, Gordon Brown’s conception of how the State should operate. That is why the country is in such trouble. And while I’m no fan whatsoever of the contemptible and anti-democratic EU, it does at least have some sort of mechanism by which it might carry out the necessary measures. In the UK our political system simply doesn’t have the capacity to do it.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Riordan
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

There is nothing magical about a 2% inflation target or a 60% debt ceiling. Experience would suggest neither of these are preconditions for rising living standards.

Take Italy. Italy persistently ran deficits and suffered higher inflation than most of the countries that were the EEC. Yet at the dawn of 1990 its GDP per capita had overtaken Germany’s. Italy had outgrown Germany for nearly 4 decades. If Germany had undergone an economic miracle, how do you describe what Italy had achieved after WW2? How could this have happened in a country where parts of it flirted with communism, with high inflation, and large deficits?

Italy’s golden years of economic growth abruptly ended when it joined the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM). It was decided that Europe would adopt Germany’s fiscal and monetary policies. Italy has barely grown since.

The UK joined the ERM too, and the economy suffered its worst recession ever, an experience that sowed the seeds of Brexit. To prove the point, Britain (unlike Italy) was forced out of the ERM and immediately began one of its longest economic expansions in history despite not following German fiscal orthodoxy. Again, how could this be if that orthodoxy is a precondition for rising living standards?

And of course, take the USA. A country that has not followed any orthodoxy it prescribes for others. Since 2008, the USA stands almost alone as a Western country that has increased GDP per capita. Almost everywhere else (France, Canada, UK, etc), where orthodox central bankers reign unchallenged, GDP per capita has stagnated.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

The last paragraph of the article. “The combination of austerity, renewed German hegemony and aggressive militarism makes the Europe of the past decade look positively benign.”
Your ‘hahas’ give you away. I think you put your finger on the spot though. We are kidding ourselves (brought on by the socialists) that we are poor in Europe and that we should feel guilty for having those ‘poor’ people in our midst. The Socialists want to give more and more of our money away to finance bigger and bigger flat-screen TVs, newer mobile phones, even better vacations. (Not to mention the illegal things that the money buys). Meanwhile, the people who have worked and accumulated things are supposed to give it all up for the ‘poor’.
There is a bigger problem in the EU. They are used to being saved at the last moment by John Wayne riding in over the hill. They have to realise that John Wayne is now dead. The Europeans have thumbed their noses at a nuclear super-power which has now reacted. The Europeans have to pay for this. It is a lesson you are supposed to learn when you first go to school.
German hegemony no longer exists.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

haha….So EU should have spent its way out of debt? Rather than so called ‘austerity’ back in the day?

”These policies (austerity) didn’t just raise unemployment, erode social welfare, push large portions of the population to the brink of poverty and, in the case of Greece and other countries, create a genuine humanitarian emergency — they also completely failed to achieve their stated aims of kickstarting growth and reducing debt-to-GDP ratios. On the contrary, they drove economies into recession and increased debt-to-GDP ratios. ** The result was a “lost decade” of stagnation and permacrisis”

You silly euroweenies – don’t you get it? You are being destroyed. The Ukraine war and sanctions were not for Freedom and Democracy – it was to break you, Break the world, like the Plandemic was. Now they Want you to try to spend your way out of this even deeper pit of debt you are in…….haha

”Yet it’s hard to see how Europe could survive a second round of austerity, which would come at a time when the state of the global economy is far bleaker than it did a decade ago: we are facing high inflation, supply-chain disruptions, global fragmentation and a war with no end in sight at Europe’s border with Russia.”

Well you sure cannot survive greater profligacy. It is like drinking your way to sobriety, it is not a real thing.

See- you have been hooked on Socialism – intentionally, to destroy you. You have more people getting money than comes in. Government, which is a parasite, is over half the ”GDP”, haha…. Every one who does not produce is ‘Entitled’, and the workers are too few to pay for it. Government is a machine to waste money pointlessly. This is Intentional. Your sickoo Lefty/Liberal postmodernist welfare state is not to help the poor – it is to make the successful and hard working poor too. Poor are clients of the state – the government (Global) wants you poor so the state owns you – so they are having you spend your nations into poverty. Same as USA.

Free Market Capitalism, or chains of poverty via Socialism? You guys chose the later….were conned into it……Clement Atlee, LBJ, haha, they got you….

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago

Seems like every article written by Mr. Fazi contains some reference to the EU capitulating to nefarious US foreign policy demands. Sure, these pieces begin well and include some interesting analysis … then pivot to blame it all on the Americans. If he stopped a couple paragraphs before the end I would have commended his insight.

It’s disappointing to realise that there are otherwise intelligent people who still think the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks anything other than unwarranted aggression and a breakdown of what was always supposed to be our shared, collective defence of Western values.

Last edited 1 year ago by J Guy
J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

And what the heck is that photo, anyway?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Fu Manchu!
Know your enemy.

09.22 BST. Changed to:-
The Reich Führerin.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Congratulations! Your comment had an effect – they changed the pic. Good to know someone is taking note.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Fu Manchu!
Know your enemy.

09.22 BST. Changed to:-
The Reich Führerin.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Congratulations! Your comment had an effect – they changed the pic. Good to know someone is taking note.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Fazi disagrees with Western involvement in Ukraine. I disagree with him on this, but his reasons are logical and honourable.

However, it is not true that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is entirely unwarranted or that there was no provocation. Starting in the 1990s, the West made a series of strategic blunders, worsened at times by outright dishonesty, in its dealings with Russia. The eastward expansion of NATO, driven principally by the expansionist ambitions of the EU, meant breaking a promise to Russia that NATO would not expand, and means that Russia can claim to have been deceived. This does not, of course, justify the Ukraine invasion, of course it doesn’t. And there is also of course the fact that Russia cannot itself claim to be a nation governed by a rules-based order and in possession of a functioning polity and civil society.

But Russia was indeed decieved, and no matter whose side you take here you cannot seriously claim that doing this to a nuclear superpower is a good idea. This mess is the direct result of a generation of idiotic policymakers in the West who are still making the key decisions now. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t as simple as you appear to believe.

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, Russia and her apologists try to play the part of the aggrieved party in the media, but every single one of those former Warsaw Pact countries that switched “sides” to NATO did so willingly and enthusiastically. Why? Because they knew first-hand what living under Russian hegemony was like. Make no moral equivalencies between the two former Cold War adversaries — only stark reality could drive Finland and Sweden to abandon decades of strategic neutrality.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

I was very careful not to draw moral equivalence between Russia and the West, I think my previous comment fairly clearly does not make that mistake. The observations I’m making are more related to statecraft and realpolitik than to simplistic moral generalities: we – the West that is – spent 30 years poking the bear, and now we’re supposed to be surprised it’s bitten us? Don’t get me wrong, Ukraine needs to win this war and the plan to assist Ukraine in doing so has my support. But I’m not going to do it wearing rose-tinted spectacles, not a chance.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The fact that Russia claims to have been provoked does not make it so. Russia is a gangster State and will look for advantage wherever it finds it. In this case, it clearly thought a takeover of Ukraine would be quick and easy, like the Crimea. The war is because it miscalculated, not because it was threatened.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel Taylor

“The fact that Russia claims to have been provoked does not make it so.”

No, but the fact that our own diplomats and strategists agree with the statement does make it so. Particularly George Kennan’s observations back in the late 1990s which make him look more like a prophet these days.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel Taylor

“The fact that Russia claims to have been provoked does not make it so.”

No, but the fact that our own diplomats and strategists agree with the statement does make it so. Particularly George Kennan’s observations back in the late 1990s which make him look more like a prophet these days.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The fact that Russia claims to have been provoked does not make it so. Russia is a gangster State and will look for advantage wherever it finds it. In this case, it clearly thought a takeover of Ukraine would be quick and easy, like the Crimea. The war is because it miscalculated, not because it was threatened.

Tiaan M
Tiaan M
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

The US should keep its nose out of Europe’s affairs. They are known to meddle in the domestic affairs of countries and instigate coups to get their preferred person in the right position. They did it with Ukraine and are currently doing it with Hungary

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Tiaan M

So you’d rather they hadn’t bailed Europe out in not one but two world wars then ?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Tiaan M

So you’d rather they hadn’t bailed Europe out in not one but two world wars then ?

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Generally I agree but do you think those politicians support the EU just because of the history with Russia rather than their buy-in to the EU and its endless coffers?

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

I was very careful not to draw moral equivalence between Russia and the West, I think my previous comment fairly clearly does not make that mistake. The observations I’m making are more related to statecraft and realpolitik than to simplistic moral generalities: we – the West that is – spent 30 years poking the bear, and now we’re supposed to be surprised it’s bitten us? Don’t get me wrong, Ukraine needs to win this war and the plan to assist Ukraine in doing so has my support. But I’m not going to do it wearing rose-tinted spectacles, not a chance.

Tiaan M
Tiaan M
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

The US should keep its nose out of Europe’s affairs. They are known to meddle in the domestic affairs of countries and instigate coups to get their preferred person in the right position. They did it with Ukraine and are currently doing it with Hungary

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Generally I agree but do you think those politicians support the EU just because of the history with Russia rather than their buy-in to the EU and its endless coffers?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I sometimes think Putin apologists don’t grasp that what they are defending is murder and brutalisation, which they’d rail against were it being committed by terrorists in another context. Essentially therefore they are defending the use of terror as a vehicle of policy.

Tiaan M
Tiaan M
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The same can be said about Ukraine and apologists for the west. They are also know for defending murder and brutalisation

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is disappointing that whenever someone points out that the West does not have entirely clean hands in its dealings with Russia, they are simply characterised as “Putin apologists”.
The US gave a clear promise that Russia ( for practical purposes including Belarus ) would never face NATO tanks on its border. Perhaps that was not in their gift, but they gave it anyway. They then set about breaking it.
The current proxy war in Ukraine is suiting the US establishment very well and they care no more about the casualties, military and civilian, than Putin does.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

Utter rubbish. There was no deal. And besides sovereign countries can make their own decision. (One irony I’ve noticed on UnHerd is a considerable overlap between Brexit supporters extoling the democratic imperative of self-determination who then seem to completely set aside the same principle regarding Ukraine and the eastern Europe Russian neighbours).

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

Utter rubbish. There was no deal. And besides sovereign countries can make their own decision. (One irony I’ve noticed on UnHerd is a considerable overlap between Brexit supporters extoling the democratic imperative of self-determination who then seem to completely set aside the same principle regarding Ukraine and the eastern Europe Russian neighbours).

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Ukraine’s Azov Battalion had been practicing that in the Donbas since around 2014

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I sometimes think the people who reply to my comments don’t go to the trouble of actually bloody reading them first.

Tiaan M
Tiaan M
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The same can be said about Ukraine and apologists for the west. They are also know for defending murder and brutalisation

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

It is disappointing that whenever someone points out that the West does not have entirely clean hands in its dealings with Russia, they are simply characterised as “Putin apologists”.
The US gave a clear promise that Russia ( for practical purposes including Belarus ) would never face NATO tanks on its border. Perhaps that was not in their gift, but they gave it anyway. They then set about breaking it.
The current proxy war in Ukraine is suiting the US establishment very well and they care no more about the casualties, military and civilian, than Putin does.

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Ukraine’s Azov Battalion had been practicing that in the Donbas since around 2014

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I sometimes think the people who reply to my comments don’t go to the trouble of actually bloody reading them first.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

This is ridiculous, after 1989 the Russians could not have seriously contemplated that former states they absolutely brutalised in Eastern Europe were not going to look towards Western Europe and NATO for closer ties?

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

Maybe that is why the USSR insisted as part of agreeing to German reunification that NATO would not extend east of Germany. They were so assured, and permitted reunification. Then the US and NATO reneged.

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

Not in writing.

Arthur G
Arthur G
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

Not in writing.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

Maybe that is why the USSR insisted as part of agreeing to German reunification that NATO would not extend east of Germany. They were so assured, and permitted reunification. Then the US and NATO reneged.

Gordon Chamberlain
Gordon Chamberlain
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree, the west and NATO are spinning a deceitful story about Ukraine and Russia. We have lied about why this is happening.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Who promised no NATO expansion? I only recall Russia unilaterally claiming a sphere of influence over all former Warsaw Pact countries. The Obama administration reversed the previous administration’s decision to place anti-missle defenses in Poland. Surely this was a gesture to assuage Russia’s stated concerns. But it changed nothing that I can discern respecting Russia’s stance and appetite.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I like this comment – too much of the commentary on the Ukraine conflict is around Ukraine good/Russia bad and there isn’t enough detailed analysis of what is a long term degradation of the situation in Eastern Europe. It is too complicated a situation for soundbite reporting and response. We need all parties to sit down and thrash out an honest response to the situation in which both sides appear to have honest grievances. I doubt we have any politicians up to the job either due to vested interest or lack of political talent.

Last edited 1 year ago by Amanda Elliott
J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, Russia and her apologists try to play the part of the aggrieved party in the media, but every single one of those former Warsaw Pact countries that switched “sides” to NATO did so willingly and enthusiastically. Why? Because they knew first-hand what living under Russian hegemony was like. Make no moral equivalencies between the two former Cold War adversaries — only stark reality could drive Finland and Sweden to abandon decades of strategic neutrality.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I sometimes think Putin apologists don’t grasp that what they are defending is murder and brutalisation, which they’d rail against were it being committed by terrorists in another context. Essentially therefore they are defending the use of terror as a vehicle of policy.

Charlie Dibsdale
Charlie Dibsdale
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

This is ridiculous, after 1989 the Russians could not have seriously contemplated that former states they absolutely brutalised in Eastern Europe were not going to look towards Western Europe and NATO for closer ties?

Gordon Chamberlain
Gordon Chamberlain
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I agree, the west and NATO are spinning a deceitful story about Ukraine and Russia. We have lied about why this is happening.

Andrew Holmes
Andrew Holmes
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Who promised no NATO expansion? I only recall Russia unilaterally claiming a sphere of influence over all former Warsaw Pact countries. The Obama administration reversed the previous administration’s decision to place anti-missle defenses in Poland. Surely this was a gesture to assuage Russia’s stated concerns. But it changed nothing that I can discern respecting Russia’s stance and appetite.

Amanda Elliott
Amanda Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I like this comment – too much of the commentary on the Ukraine conflict is around Ukraine good/Russia bad and there isn’t enough detailed analysis of what is a long term degradation of the situation in Eastern Europe. It is too complicated a situation for soundbite reporting and response. We need all parties to sit down and thrash out an honest response to the situation in which both sides appear to have honest grievances. I doubt we have any politicians up to the job either due to vested interest or lack of political talent.

Last edited 1 year ago by Amanda Elliott
J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

And what the heck is that photo, anyway?

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  J Guy

Fazi disagrees with Western involvement in Ukraine. I disagree with him on this, but his reasons are logical and honourable.

However, it is not true that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is entirely unwarranted or that there was no provocation. Starting in the 1990s, the West made a series of strategic blunders, worsened at times by outright dishonesty, in its dealings with Russia. The eastward expansion of NATO, driven principally by the expansionist ambitions of the EU, meant breaking a promise to Russia that NATO would not expand, and means that Russia can claim to have been deceived. This does not, of course, justify the Ukraine invasion, of course it doesn’t. And there is also of course the fact that Russia cannot itself claim to be a nation governed by a rules-based order and in possession of a functioning polity and civil society.

But Russia was indeed decieved, and no matter whose side you take here you cannot seriously claim that doing this to a nuclear superpower is a good idea. This mess is the direct result of a generation of idiotic policymakers in the West who are still making the key decisions now. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t as simple as you appear to believe.

J Guy
J Guy
1 year ago

Seems like every article written by Mr. Fazi contains some reference to the EU capitulating to nefarious US foreign policy demands. Sure, these pieces begin well and include some interesting analysis … then pivot to blame it all on the Americans. If he stopped a couple paragraphs before the end I would have commended his insight.

It’s disappointing to realise that there are otherwise intelligent people who still think the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks anything other than unwarranted aggression and a breakdown of what was always supposed to be our shared, collective defence of Western values.

Last edited 1 year ago by J Guy
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

Politicians never learn from their mistakes because they are completely unaccountable and are more likely to go on to more important jobs. There is only one thing that can save us and that is to adopt the Roman approach to punishing the army – decimation. Get rid of a tenth immediately and repeat until we get governments that work for the electorate.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

Politicians never learn from their mistakes because they are completely unaccountable and are more likely to go on to more important jobs. There is only one thing that can save us and that is to adopt the Roman approach to punishing the army – decimation. Get rid of a tenth immediately and repeat until we get governments that work for the electorate.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

The SNP just announced that if they were in coalition with Labour after the next election they were going to work to do as much as possible to rejoin the EU…. which is there ultimate stated goal.
Is that what Scots really want?

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

With any luck most of the SNP will be in HMP* Barlinnie by then.

(* His Majesty’s Prison.)

Alan Colquhoun
Alan Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

No!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

With any luck most of the SNP will be in HMP* Barlinnie by then.

(* His Majesty’s Prison.)

Alan Colquhoun
Alan Colquhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  William Shaw

No!

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

The SNP just announced that if they were in coalition with Labour after the next election they were going to work to do as much as possible to rejoin the EU…. which is there ultimate stated goal.
Is that what Scots really want?

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

Thomas writes so beautifully. I simply question whether Germany will be the EU mover and shaker going forward. The latest GDP figures and the implications of the US’s “make a choice – China or the US” – let alone their Green policies – put this mercantile economy in question going forward. The world is going East over the coming decades and Europe is no exception. Reading Unherd’s Poland as a great power, and doing my own research, I find myself wondering whether the mantle might pass in this direction over time. France will – as ever – do its own thing.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 year ago

Thomas writes so beautifully. I simply question whether Germany will be the EU mover and shaker going forward. The latest GDP figures and the implications of the US’s “make a choice – China or the US” – let alone their Green policies – put this mercantile economy in question going forward. The world is going East over the coming decades and Europe is no exception. Reading Unherd’s Poland as a great power, and doing my own research, I find myself wondering whether the mantle might pass in this direction over time. France will – as ever – do its own thing.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The Russian R-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile* is reputed to be capable of reaching London NW1 in three minutes. The subsequent explosion would ‘make you eyes water’ in Windsor or Heathrow, 13 miles away.

Perhaps it won’t work?

(* Sometimes irreverently called Satan II.)

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

How long to reach N1?

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

How long to reach N1?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago

The Russian R-28 Sarmat Intercontinental Ballistic Missile* is reputed to be capable of reaching London NW1 in three minutes. The subsequent explosion would ‘make you eyes water’ in Windsor or Heathrow, 13 miles away.

Perhaps it won’t work?

(* Sometimes irreverently called Satan II.)

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

“The bloc’s increasingly vassal-like subordination.to US foreign policy.”

Macron has only recently returned from a visit to China during which, speaking on behalf of the EU but without any mandate whatsoever, he called for EU “strategic autonomy” from the US over Taiwan, very publicly throwing Taiwan under the bus, virtually assuring China the EU would take no punitive action against China in the event of a Chinese invasion and in effect equating the USA with China.

Macron is a disgrace. He appears to consider France to be the EU’s diplomatic mouthpiece, possessing as it does a nuclear deterrent and sitting on the UN Security Council. With a view to parading the EU’s credentials as a top table power in an emerging multipolar world order, Macron is cosying up to Xi and even Putin. If that is what the EU calls “strategic autonomy” (I prophecy it will put Macron increasingly on a collision course with Eastern Europe), it is welcome to it.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago

“The bloc’s increasingly vassal-like subordination.to US foreign policy.”

Macron has only recently returned from a visit to China during which, speaking on behalf of the EU but without any mandate whatsoever, he called for EU “strategic autonomy” from the US over Taiwan, very publicly throwing Taiwan under the bus, virtually assuring China the EU would take no punitive action against China in the event of a Chinese invasion and in effect equating the USA with China.

Macron is a disgrace. He appears to consider France to be the EU’s diplomatic mouthpiece, possessing as it does a nuclear deterrent and sitting on the UN Security Council. With a view to parading the EU’s credentials as a top table power in an emerging multipolar world order, Macron is cosying up to Xi and even Putin. If that is what the EU calls “strategic autonomy” (I prophecy it will put Macron increasingly on a collision course with Eastern Europe), it is welcome to it.

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago

Vassal-like submission to US foreign policy? Is that how European governments providing for their own defense and not having to rely so much on American help is to be perceived? Would vassal-like submission to Beijing and Moscow be preferable?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim McDonnell
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

Defence

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

On my side of the pond we spell it with an “s”.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

That is completely fair enough Jim! (yours was probably the original ‘english’ spelling anyway)

Last edited 1 year ago by rob drummond
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

That is completely fair enough Jim! (yours was probably the original ‘english’ spelling anyway)

Last edited 1 year ago by rob drummond
Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

On my side of the pond we spell it with an “s”.

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim McDonnell

Defence

Jim McDonnell
Jim McDonnell
1 year ago

Vassal-like submission to US foreign policy? Is that how European governments providing for their own defense and not having to rely so much on American help is to be perceived? Would vassal-like submission to Beijing and Moscow be preferable?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim McDonnell
Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

‘bloc’s increasingly vassal-like subordination to US foreign policy’ – I see far more resistance to the war in Ukraine in the US than in Europe. I wonder what you would be saying if the US had shrugged and said ‘local European problem’? On this one, I think there are enormous geo-political and moral hazards either way. But to present this as US leading the EU bull by the nose is off the mark

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

Whilst I would not put it in such strident terms as Tom does, it is clear that the US is the largest net beneficiary from the situation and the opposition in the US is mostly around not spending US resources on a European problem, hence the drive to get EU countries defence budgets to 2% of GDP (not a new aspiration by the US but being acted upon now).
I think you are right about the geopolitical and moral hazards when the invasion first occurred and I believe Putin expected a rather weak and disunited response from the West. However having been given bloody nose after bloody nose for over a year now by a remarkably united western backing of the Ukrainian forces, are those hazards still there?
Also does it make one a Putin apologist to question whether the current plan which, to misquote Black Adder, seems to be to continue with total slaughter until the only Ukrainians left are Zelensky, Mrs Zelensky and their tortoise Alan is really the right answer?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I first read “strident terms” as “student terms”, which actually seemed more apt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray
rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

I first read “strident terms” as “student terms”, which actually seemed more apt.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago

This is a very reasonable point, and one that doesn’t get nearly the attention it should. I well-remember back in the early 1990s people in the US, very reasonably, asking exactly where the interest was in Bosnia that needed US men to be sent to die. Had the internet been around at the time I imagine we would have seen similar US commentary to what we now see about Ukraine. The direct US interest in Ukraine in the sense of a strategically useful diminution of Russian capability is perhaps clearer. But like you I struggle with the characterisation of the EU being led here.
The day will come when the US will say no. Had Donald Trump won the last election we may have been at that day now. We in Europe have outsourced everything in the name of a doubtful idea of ‘change through trade.’ We outsourced our capacity to make corporate profit to China, we outsourced our fuel security to the Russians and we outsourced our military security to the US with very little if any idea of what a fall-back would be. We have no idea what we would do had the US just shrugged. Presumably the answer would be to throw money at Kiev and arms into the region. But the idea that this conflict ends without talking to the Russians is just fanciful.
The most the EU could do is the economic hit – that’s hardly trivial but it’s not irrecoverable for a country like Russia, one of the few states in the world that could be an autarky. Back in the 1990s the fashion was to see the EU as an economic giant and a political dwarf. 30 years on that formulation doesn’t seem to have done anyone any favours as the EU has denuded its economy with a botched currency union and has run up against the limits of its attraction as a political project. Indeed some Europeans would do very well to remember that when Republicans McCain and Kerry warned about Russia they were treated with disdain. And this is before we get to the very dumb promises made to Ukraine about membership, agriculture alone is going to be a huge problem.
Your point however is a good one. Whatever the US interest does end up being in Ukraine folks in Europe need to see that outsourcing security to the US is a plan with real risks, not theoretical ones. It only needs one election.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago

Whilst I would not put it in such strident terms as Tom does, it is clear that the US is the largest net beneficiary from the situation and the opposition in the US is mostly around not spending US resources on a European problem, hence the drive to get EU countries defence budgets to 2% of GDP (not a new aspiration by the US but being acted upon now).
I think you are right about the geopolitical and moral hazards when the invasion first occurred and I believe Putin expected a rather weak and disunited response from the West. However having been given bloody nose after bloody nose for over a year now by a remarkably united western backing of the Ukrainian forces, are those hazards still there?
Also does it make one a Putin apologist to question whether the current plan which, to misquote Black Adder, seems to be to continue with total slaughter until the only Ukrainians left are Zelensky, Mrs Zelensky and their tortoise Alan is really the right answer?

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago

This is a very reasonable point, and one that doesn’t get nearly the attention it should. I well-remember back in the early 1990s people in the US, very reasonably, asking exactly where the interest was in Bosnia that needed US men to be sent to die. Had the internet been around at the time I imagine we would have seen similar US commentary to what we now see about Ukraine. The direct US interest in Ukraine in the sense of a strategically useful diminution of Russian capability is perhaps clearer. But like you I struggle with the characterisation of the EU being led here.
The day will come when the US will say no. Had Donald Trump won the last election we may have been at that day now. We in Europe have outsourced everything in the name of a doubtful idea of ‘change through trade.’ We outsourced our capacity to make corporate profit to China, we outsourced our fuel security to the Russians and we outsourced our military security to the US with very little if any idea of what a fall-back would be. We have no idea what we would do had the US just shrugged. Presumably the answer would be to throw money at Kiev and arms into the region. But the idea that this conflict ends without talking to the Russians is just fanciful.
The most the EU could do is the economic hit – that’s hardly trivial but it’s not irrecoverable for a country like Russia, one of the few states in the world that could be an autarky. Back in the 1990s the fashion was to see the EU as an economic giant and a political dwarf. 30 years on that formulation doesn’t seem to have done anyone any favours as the EU has denuded its economy with a botched currency union and has run up against the limits of its attraction as a political project. Indeed some Europeans would do very well to remember that when Republicans McCain and Kerry warned about Russia they were treated with disdain. And this is before we get to the very dumb promises made to Ukraine about membership, agriculture alone is going to be a huge problem.
Your point however is a good one. Whatever the US interest does end up being in Ukraine folks in Europe need to see that outsourcing security to the US is a plan with real risks, not theoretical ones. It only needs one election.

Stephen Quilley
Stephen Quilley
1 year ago

‘bloc’s increasingly vassal-like subordination to US foreign policy’ – I see far more resistance to the war in Ukraine in the US than in Europe. I wonder what you would be saying if the US had shrugged and said ‘local European problem’? On this one, I think there are enormous geo-political and moral hazards either way. But to present this as US leading the EU bull by the nose is off the mark

rob drummond
rob drummond
1 year ago

There is a lot of ”funny money” within The EU.
Germany:
Putting aside Germany calls the financial shots, as can be seen by this article, Germanys actual debt to GDP – taking into account its off-balance sheet liabilities is probably double what it says officially. Due to its liabilities with the ECB – as indeed as all Euro member states.
I am not saying they cannot afford to pay – its just the disclosed numbers are disguised. I am not convinced The German Volk are actually aware of this – but perhaps they will be happy with it.

Another example of ‘funny money’:
Ireland:
Irelands ACTUAL GDP is probably around £225bn-ish. Their official GDP is listed at £511bn at the last count.Their economy is ‘growing’ like crazy, by recieving emails for orders (say between France and Belgium) and then hitting the ‘reply’ button – to book the ”sale/profit” in Ireland.
38% of ”Irish” Exports are also fake – in a similar manner as above. Irish debt to GDP is similarly effected and is around 100% not the 45% on their books.
Read the synopsis of this book:
Its an excellent book ‘The Shadow Liabilities of EU Member States‘ is an eye opener (but not for me nor a few others).
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/183806589X/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Other Shadow Banking books are available.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
1 year ago

Let everyone join hands and be friends!

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Regarding Germany: eugyppius dot substack – FDR article

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

UVL looks just like the sexy wife of a German Brigadier’s wife whom I met after Mass at Catholic Church at Sandhurst all those years ago and… got to know well!… Happy memories…

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

addenda and erata: 2 ” wives” !

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

This clarified absolutely nothing.

Wim de Vriend
Wim de Vriend
1 year ago

This clarified absolutely nothing.

Magali
Magali
1 year ago

That’s hilarious! First time I’ve heard/read someone describe UVL as sexy. 😉

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

addenda and erata: 2 ” wives” !

Magali
Magali
1 year ago

That’s hilarious! First time I’ve heard/read someone describe UVL as sexy. 😉

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

UVL looks just like the sexy wife of a German Brigadier’s wife whom I met after Mass at Catholic Church at Sandhurst all those years ago and… got to know well!… Happy memories…

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

This demonstrates the unsustainability of the modern concept of welfare, but does not provide a route back from it.
It defies belief that the population of modern Europe needs more welfare than in previous eras. But it is a fact that it has become accustomed to it. All the crises and landmarks (peak interest rates, lowest growth rates, highest deficits etc.) are merely trivia on the route to the collapse of the welfare State.
The author argues against using the brakes, and advocates the accelerator. Neither will change the destination.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

This demonstrates the unsustainability of the modern concept of welfare, but does not provide a route back from it.
It defies belief that the population of modern Europe needs more welfare than in previous eras. But it is a fact that it has become accustomed to it. All the crises and landmarks (peak interest rates, lowest growth rates, highest deficits etc.) are merely trivia on the route to the collapse of the welfare State.
The author argues against using the brakes, and advocates the accelerator. Neither will change the destination.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

You don’t have to read far into a Fazi article before the Putin apologist comes to the fore – ‘…then came the largest energy and commodity shock in 50 years, caused by the decision to sanction Europe’s largest supplier of gas to the continent’. Err no TF this happened because for the first time in 80yrs a European country invaded another and continues to indiscriminately lob missiles into residential areas.
That aside had a Right Wing Govt in any state proposed most of the alleged EU policies the Author outlines many right leaning commentators would have signalled strong support.
The question thus centres on democratic legitimacy. Here there is a debate about how the EU sets direction. There is far more democratic control than critics often contend, but there is no doubt in some countries it’s not well understood and a democratic deficit can pervade some thinking. Club members need to have a role in direction setting, but then as in any club to stay you need to abide by some rules. The international bond markets will set rules too of course, so the idea you don’t then just bob about on economic waves not of your own making if you seek total freedom naive too. Trade offs are a judgment made.
As regards Europe, and other Western states, now needing to re-prioritise defence and security spending – the old saying goes if you want to protect the peace plan for war. Deterrence works. It feels uncomfortable to say this doesn’t it but we are already in Cold War 2 and we better wake up to it quickly.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

His general point is right though: in the West we tolerate a level of rent-seeking behaviour that is utterly unsustainable. Far too many people – and particularly middle class people – live comfortably on the state. It’s worst in France and the club med – but we’re not far behind.

Reluctant Mlungu
Reluctant Mlungu
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

No, the sharp jump in energy (specifically gas) prices was indeed caused by the EU’s hysterical rush to sanction Russia. I’m not denying that this was in response to the invasion, but the cause-and-effect is crystal clear, except to juvenile thinkers.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

But the EU is not a club. That’s fatuous. And even it it was a club, members of a club and reasonably easily leave. Is there a democratic deficit? That is a rather 1990s term and a way of looking at it which, to my mind, is well out of date. There is no Finer-style Man on Horseback here. Democratic rules and process are qualitatively in place for sure in the EU.
The issue is I think far more about a constitutional deficit. It’s no good just glossing over that the EU is basically a one-way deal. Once something is gone and signed over to the EU then that’s it pretty much forever, irrespective of what the future may bring or what future electorates may have to say on the matter. You may be comfortable with that, however you have no expectation everyone else will be. And then, as neofunctionalism tells us, the spillover effects are remorseless. Pretty much anything and anything can be regarded as a ‘single market’ issue.
We see this most obviously with free movement where a lot of people (not just in the UK) have serious reservations about the ever-growing nature of free movement, but with no recourse to challenge the direction. It’s not exactly as if the ECJ is going to change course is it?
As we have seen with the UK, the right to leave – a treaty right – is pretty much on paper only. Why exactly does a member of the club exercising an explicit club rules right cause heads to spin?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m quite sure that all the people who signed those treaties had it in mind that the EU was permanent and binding and there was no way out – just they didn’t mention that part to the voters.
Now, of course, there is a reasonable argument for integration to some extent. But that integration does not need a constitutionally deficient political construct on top. Let’s at least say as much.

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The West had the chance to bring Russia into the western club, but the US in particular didn’t want that and used NATO to try and put an end to any future ‘challenge’ from Russia to its dominance in Europe. Imagine a Russian minister turning up on Jan 6th in Washington and encouraging the Capitol ‘coup’. OR imagine Mexico asking to join a Russian defence pact – in fact,why imagine? Look back to the threatened siting of Russian missiles in Cuba and the US response to that. A reading of the true history of the US/EU/NATO response to Russia might help understand how much more restraint Putin showed with the behaviour of NATO/US/EU than the US has ever shown. Even George F Kennan advised against the US policies that have led to this Ukraine war. As for NATO it should have been scrapped when the Warsaw Pact was scrapped. Afghanistan/Iraq are a fair way off the North Atlantic.
If it turns out that Boris did indeed stop Zelensky negotiating with Putin/Russia then he may well be responsible for the destruction of the Ukraine. As for the Eastern EU countries, I never cease to be amused how they swap between villains and heroes depending upon the topic of the conversation and who their opponents in that conversation are – the EC or Putin.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

His general point is right though: in the West we tolerate a level of rent-seeking behaviour that is utterly unsustainable. Far too many people – and particularly middle class people – live comfortably on the state. It’s worst in France and the club med – but we’re not far behind.

Reluctant Mlungu
Reluctant Mlungu
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

No, the sharp jump in energy (specifically gas) prices was indeed caused by the EU’s hysterical rush to sanction Russia. I’m not denying that this was in response to the invasion, but the cause-and-effect is crystal clear, except to juvenile thinkers.

Sam Hill
Sam Hill
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

But the EU is not a club. That’s fatuous. And even it it was a club, members of a club and reasonably easily leave. Is there a democratic deficit? That is a rather 1990s term and a way of looking at it which, to my mind, is well out of date. There is no Finer-style Man on Horseback here. Democratic rules and process are qualitatively in place for sure in the EU.
The issue is I think far more about a constitutional deficit. It’s no good just glossing over that the EU is basically a one-way deal. Once something is gone and signed over to the EU then that’s it pretty much forever, irrespective of what the future may bring or what future electorates may have to say on the matter. You may be comfortable with that, however you have no expectation everyone else will be. And then, as neofunctionalism tells us, the spillover effects are remorseless. Pretty much anything and anything can be regarded as a ‘single market’ issue.
We see this most obviously with free movement where a lot of people (not just in the UK) have serious reservations about the ever-growing nature of free movement, but with no recourse to challenge the direction. It’s not exactly as if the ECJ is going to change course is it?
As we have seen with the UK, the right to leave – a treaty right – is pretty much on paper only. Why exactly does a member of the club exercising an explicit club rules right cause heads to spin?
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m quite sure that all the people who signed those treaties had it in mind that the EU was permanent and binding and there was no way out – just they didn’t mention that part to the voters.
Now, of course, there is a reasonable argument for integration to some extent. But that integration does not need a constitutionally deficient political construct on top. Let’s at least say as much.

Simon Simple
Simon Simple
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The West had the chance to bring Russia into the western club, but the US in particular didn’t want that and used NATO to try and put an end to any future ‘challenge’ from Russia to its dominance in Europe. Imagine a Russian minister turning up on Jan 6th in Washington and encouraging the Capitol ‘coup’. OR imagine Mexico asking to join a Russian defence pact – in fact,why imagine? Look back to the threatened siting of Russian missiles in Cuba and the US response to that. A reading of the true history of the US/EU/NATO response to Russia might help understand how much more restraint Putin showed with the behaviour of NATO/US/EU than the US has ever shown. Even George F Kennan advised against the US policies that have led to this Ukraine war. As for NATO it should have been scrapped when the Warsaw Pact was scrapped. Afghanistan/Iraq are a fair way off the North Atlantic.
If it turns out that Boris did indeed stop Zelensky negotiating with Putin/Russia then he may well be responsible for the destruction of the Ukraine. As for the Eastern EU countries, I never cease to be amused how they swap between villains and heroes depending upon the topic of the conversation and who their opponents in that conversation are – the EC or Putin.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

You don’t have to read far into a Fazi article before the Putin apologist comes to the fore – ‘…then came the largest energy and commodity shock in 50 years, caused by the decision to sanction Europe’s largest supplier of gas to the continent’. Err no TF this happened because for the first time in 80yrs a European country invaded another and continues to indiscriminately lob missiles into residential areas.
That aside had a Right Wing Govt in any state proposed most of the alleged EU policies the Author outlines many right leaning commentators would have signalled strong support.
The question thus centres on democratic legitimacy. Here there is a debate about how the EU sets direction. There is far more democratic control than critics often contend, but there is no doubt in some countries it’s not well understood and a democratic deficit can pervade some thinking. Club members need to have a role in direction setting, but then as in any club to stay you need to abide by some rules. The international bond markets will set rules too of course, so the idea you don’t then just bob about on economic waves not of your own making if you seek total freedom naive too. Trade offs are a judgment made.
As regards Europe, and other Western states, now needing to re-prioritise defence and security spending – the old saying goes if you want to protect the peace plan for war. Deterrence works. It feels uncomfortable to say this doesn’t it but we are already in Cold War 2 and we better wake up to it quickly.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

Some perceptive stuff here, spoiled by empty headed hyperbole. The economic hits we took from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine weren’t elite engineered, they were engineered by Mr Covid and Mr Putin, but Fazi can’t resist a chance to make his fatuous comments.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

The responses to both Covid and Ukraine were decided upon in isolation by the elite with little thought to the consequences on ordinary people. A pliant mainstream media has supported a free speech denying campaign to ensure the plebs unquestioning loyalty to these responses, which should at least be being continually questioned if we are living in a liberal democracy.
To counter the immediate economic consequences of Covid more money was printed a disproportionate amount of which has ended up in the pockets of the already rich.
Whilst I don’t agree with Tom’s perspective on everything, to call his comments fatuous is fatuous.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

National statistics office [hardly a woke organisation] estimates covid related deaths in the UK at 330,000. It’s reasonable to consider this a little high, so lets go with 220,000,from Devi Shrider, professor at Edinburgh university. Spikes of death rates at 1500 people a day, no treatment until the vaccine [after the first year and a half, and we got lucky with that] 30% of people hospitalised dying a particularly nasty death etc. These are the consequences, wake up from your conspiracy dream.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

What conspiracy dream? Another fatuous comment clearly you remain one of many who never questioned the reality behind the numbers that were trotted out by MSM.
The vast majority who died were 80+ and they mostly died with Covid not from Covid. The massive debt, the lost opportunities and mental health issues now facing our young were not considered in the response to Covid. The hangover from the response to Covid will haunt a generation.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Over 80s are people too. Many people who died from covid had other illnesses, but could have looked forward to many years if covid hadn’t carried them off. There are well established criteria for deciding cause of death and that’s what the NSO is using. Until the vaccine kicked in, after 18 months, we really didn’t know how things would eventually pan out, so we applied responsible caution. The debt, mental health issues clearly were considered but if you’re presented with a dilemma, which it was, then some things have to take priority over others.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Over 80s are people too. Many people who died from covid had other illnesses, but could have looked forward to many years if covid hadn’t carried them off. There are well established criteria for deciding cause of death and that’s what the NSO is using. Until the vaccine kicked in, after 18 months, we really didn’t know how things would eventually pan out, so we applied responsible caution. The debt, mental health issues clearly were considered but if you’re presented with a dilemma, which it was, then some things have to take priority over others.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

Don’t you mean Devi Lalita SRIDHAR FRSE?
If so there isn’t space here to discuss her qualifications or lack of, but she cannot be described as an authority on COVID by any stretch of the imagination.

I presume by “ National statistics office” you really mean the Office of National Statistics or ONS?

As Adrian Smith has correctly pointed out the average age of a COVID death in the U.K. was 82, a year longer than life expectancy itself!

So Sir, disappointingly you seem to be a male hysteric, to whom accuracy is unknown. Pull yourself together while you still can.

COVID is/was the greatest confidence trick since the Resurrection, how did you seriously miss that?

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

You’re not very mature, are you.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

That’s for others to say, but in your sad case you are obviously educationally subnormal.

Still I mustn’t “mock the afflicted “ as we used to say in those ‘mature’ days years ago, probably before you were born.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

You keep making my point for me. I’m a retired NHS clinician, by the way, fool.

Last edited 1 year ago by Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

You keep making my point for me. I’m a retired NHS clinician, by the way, fool.

Last edited 1 year ago by Doug Mccaully
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

That’s for others to say, but in your sad case you are obviously educationally subnormal.

Still I mustn’t “mock the afflicted “ as we used to say in those ‘mature’ days years ago, probably before you were born.

Doug Mccaully
Doug Mccaully
1 year ago

You’re not very mature, are you.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

What conspiracy dream? Another fatuous comment clearly you remain one of many who never questioned the reality behind the numbers that were trotted out by MSM.
The vast majority who died were 80+ and they mostly died with Covid not from Covid. The massive debt, the lost opportunities and mental health issues now facing our young were not considered in the response to Covid. The hangover from the response to Covid will haunt a generation.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Doug Mccaully

Don’t you mean Devi Lalita SRIDHAR FRSE?
If so there isn’t space here to discuss her qualifications or lack of, but she cannot be described as an authority on COVID by any stretch of the imagination.

I presume by “ National statistics office” you really mean the Office of National Statistics or ONS?

As Adrian Smith has correctly pointed out the average age of a COVID death in the U.K. was 82, a year longer than life expectancy itself!

So Sir, disappointingly you seem to be a male hysteric, to whom accuracy is unknown.