by Guest Author Roberto Buffagni
In Italy we have a saying: “Occhio di straniero, occhio di sparviero”: the foreigner has hawk’s eyes. Let me congratulate with you for your synthesis: it’s right to the point. I’ll try to add something from my vantage point inside Europe. (1) The original sin in the building of euro is the following: history says that there is no money without a prince who mints and guarantees it (with his sword).
(2) Who is Europe’s prince? If being prince means having the longest sword, the answer can easily be found (try under “U”, like in “United States of America”, or under “B”, as in “Bases, American with nuclear weapons on Europe’s soil”)
(3) Meet the pink mammoth in the cosy UE drawing board at Bruxelles. Until recently, it was peacefully eating its grass in the vast bureucratic pastures of Commissions and Subcommissions laboring under the strain of imposing uniformed weights and measures on bananas and salami all over Europe; but now it seems to be getting a little nervous.
(4) Before running away and being substituted by a safer appointee by the Financial Powers That Be, the former Greek premier Papandreou, on the verge of imposing to Greek people an impressing and longlasting recession, has fired at once the equivalent of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Heads of Army, Navy, Air Force), substituting them with OTAN verified officers.
(5) In my home country, President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano (a former communist who after having served well USSR has turned to be the best USA’a political asset in Italy, so much that recently, the NYT lavishly praised him on its front page) has kindly persuaded Prime Minister Berlusconi to resign so to be substituted by Professor Mario Monti, UE technocrat and Goldman Sachs Advisor for Europe – just like Mario Draghi, now head of BCE, was Goldman Sachs Vice-President for Europe. Secretary of State in Mont’s Government: Giulio Terzi di Santagata, former ambassador in Washington (and Tel Aviv). Secretary of Defence: Adm. Di Paola, who accepted his new appointment by sms from his current location at OTAN Headquarters in Afghanistan.
In a parliamentary republic like Italy, a Premier resigns only if he loses his majority in Parliament, and Berlusconi never lost it; just like, according to the Constitution, the President of the Italian Republic should have no political role in chosing governments, being an institutional figure.
Maybe an impressively hard speculative attack on Berlusconi’s firms (he is a billionaire) in the previous days has something to do with his unheard of decision. I suspect that maybe he received, too, a jovial phone call by Mrs. Clinton, something like “Hi, Silvio! How’s your business? How are your sons? You have five, don’t you?” but of course I have no evidence of it.
(6) Once upon a time, when UE was a small child, General de Gaulle said that integration of Europe could be viable only if a) by treaties among sovereign nations b) by a federal government legitimated by the vote of European peoples c) Europe independence was guaranteed by European swords. After which, he d) took France out of OTAN e) built an independent nuclear armament, the “force the frappe” f) asked the US government to pay French exports in solid gold by monthly rates (Nixon and Volcker had not yet thrown away that part of the Bretton Woods’ treaties).
(7) No doubt that M. de Gaulle was not an easygoing fellow, but he was not a dictator or a fascist (on the contrary, he bet his life and his fortunes against fascism when fascism had crushingly won his country). And when he told the things I have briefly resumed, economy in Europe was going very well.
(8) Now, a friend of mine working in Greece tells me that in Athens’ hospitals (Athens, Greece, Europe) the inpatient’s relatives are beginning to bring in breakfast, lunch and dinner for their dear ones, because the hospitals have no more money to ensure a proper nutrition. Medicines are getting scarce.
To sum up. As our kind host rightly says, Financial Powers ARE (or at least own) Western Civilization. But if the Financial Powers do not deliver the single good they produce (in effect, they create out of nothing), keeping it just for themselves, maybe Western human beings, even of the European brand, will begin to wonder why they should accept the yoke of such an ineffective and exacting prince, who reduces them in debt peonage while giving them just gay marriage and Iphone.
If and when they realize this simple fact, I hope that we will find a leader such as M. de Gaulle, but I’m afraid that the historical record is not so comforting, and statistics suggest that slaves revolts have no good manners.
Chi vivrà vedrà, who will live will see.
And begging your pardon for so long a comment, I’ll add a little philologic note: we call ourselves Western Civilization, but if words have to keep their meaning, in our civilization and its ways nothing Western exists any more. Our fathers the Greeks (the ancient ones) built their and our civilization on the basis of a single concept, “metron”, which means “measure”, “limit”. Greek tragedy, architecture, political science, ethics, are all based on it; and in the plains of Marathon and Thermopylae, in the waters of Salamis, they fought Eastern “apeiron”, which means lack of limit, and chaos: a lack of limit which expresses itself by Emperors issuing orders at their whim, in peoples enslaved, their reason darkened by the drunkenness of fear and desire. I’ll add that the Greeks were horrified by the Phoenicians, too, because in their cities money was the absolute master, and because their God Baal exacted human sacrifices, especially liking the sacrifice of the firstborn.
Simple Explanation of Why Night Falls over Europe by Fabius Maximus