An economically entwined peace has settled on the Franco-German frontier. France and Germany have prospered. Why? Despite Merkel's statement, they have not prospered because of the euro; they did well when they used francs and marks. The French and Germans work. Every nation confronts internal corruption, but by and large French and German financial data are trustworthy. Honest trade has built strong political ties.
Greek governments, on the other hand, have lied about debt, violated EU fiscal agreements and borrowed money they cannot repay. The Greek people, who voted for the governments, enjoyed the benefits of the borrowed cash. Now French and German taxpayers say no more freeloading.
The extended Franco-German peace tells us a European "common market," the old EEC concept, makes sense. The euro-zone's common currency union? Letting the dishonest borrowers fleece honest lenders then avoid consequence seeds conflict.
In or out of the euro-zone, Greece faces an extended and painful period of political and economic change. The bills are due.
In order to make the changes Greece must make to revive then fully modernize its economy, Papandreou needed a definitive and very public moral and psychological commitment by the Greek people.
A "YES" vote in the referendum would have given him the popular imprimatur to make the necessary structural reforms, confront embedded special interest groups and sideline the violent, policies he indicates he wanted to pursue.
But it appears lenders and domestic opponents weren't willing to take that chance.
We may see Prime Minister Merkel's violence sooner than later.
To find out more about Austin Bay, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS.COM
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
Be the first to read Austin Bay's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.
Great Moments in Human Rights: Mandated “Emotional Support” Animals in College Dorms | Daniel J. Mitchell