The US should restore strong relations with Europe

Anybody interested in seeing what a destruction of the Greek economy would have meant to the U.S. national security can consult NATO’s website. Greece is hosting American-operated military facilities controlling the Eastern Mediterranean, part of West Balkans, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Greek tragedy is a case where Germany bears direct responsibility. Serving as a de facto boss of the Eurogroup — a forum of the euro area finance ministers monitoring the group’s economic management — Germany could have corrected Greece’s allegedly wrong policies and stopped a widely suspected tempering with public finance accounts.

Berlin did nothing, and then made things worse by dragging its feet, meting out cruel “restructuring” punishments and saddling Athens with an unbearable 325 billion euro of public debt.

Washington looked the other way, but it now realizes the importance of having a deeply wounded Greece on board, while other regional alliances look increasingly questionable.

Europe’s ongoing migration crisis is another tragedy caused by Germany. Dressed up as a humanitarian gesture, migrants and refugees were allegedly invited to relieve the country’s growing labor market shortages — an initiative derided by a French philosopher as “violins and adding machines.”

Humanitarian considerations aside, it is odd that Germany would call on migrants to fill its employment vacancies instead of giving jobs to millions of EU workers facing jobless rates ranging, in 2014-2015, from 11 percent in France to 13 percent in Italy, 14 percent in Portugal, 23 percent in Spain and 26 percent in Greece.

And then, when Berlin realized it could not handle the migrants’ influx, it further divided Europe by seeking to impose mandatory immigrant quotas on countries that had not even been consulted beforehand about Germany’s unilateral decisions.

Those huge policy blunders have now put German democracy in danger. The established center-right and center-left governing coalition parties are losing ground, while the nationalist and xenophobic hard-right Alternative for Germany has gone from zero votes in 2013 to 15 percent, and counting, in the latest opinion polls.

As a principal stakeholder in the Western world order, Washington cannot watch all that with a distracted eye, and keep harping on divisive and relatively small trade and financing issues. No, the true task is to keep the EU, with Germany at its core, firmly anchored in a strong and closely-knit trans-Atlantic community.

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