Angela Merkel and the coldness of the touch.
Via Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle:
Nearly a minute passed until Merkel saw that Reem was crying and approached her saying: “You did that very well,” while stroking her hair and right shoulder.
The discussion host then intervened, telling Merkel that it was not a case of Reem doing things well, but instead a very stressful situation for the teenager.
“Despite that I want to caress her,” Merkel replied sharply, saying she understood that the situation for Reem was stressful.
WTF! Who’s stressed now?
Way-illustrative flashback to July 2006 and the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, where our own illustrious George W gave Mz Merkel an impromptu neck rub/grope-massage — both appeared to have saturated the moment (photo found here).
And a year later, Mz Merkel paid a visit to Texas — from the Baltimore Sun‘s The Swamp, November 2007:
The question came up this week in the Map Room of the White House, where Bush sat for an interview with German TV, whose reporter asked him: “Mr. President, in a couple of days the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel will come to your ranch, which I think is a ‘special privilege. What will you do with her on the ranch on a weekend like that?”
“Well, we will — if she wants — we’ll do anything she wants,” Bush said.
“If she wants to go for a hike, I’ll go for a hike. If she — I look forward to showing a piece of property I dearly love.
“But we’ll have plenty of time to visit in a different setting,” he said. “It’s not very formal, but it will be conducive to a conversation amongst friends.”
Now Mz Merkel is proven an asshole, just as George W was known going in, especially in the Greek fuck-up, and yesterday with that young Palestinian girl, who Merkel made cry — seemingly the whole world also thinks Angela is indeed an asshole, and a cold-hearted one, too.
Paul Krugman in his New York Times blog post this past weekend wrapped the tidy bow:
Even if all of that is true, this Eurogroup list of demands is madness.
The trending hashtag ThisIsACoup is exactly right.
This goes beyond harsh into pure vindictiveness, complete destruction of national sovereignty, and no hope of relief.
It is, presumably, meant to be an offer Greece can’t accept; but even so, it’s a grotesque betrayal of everything the European project was supposed to stand for.
Can anything pull Europe back from the brink?
Word is that Mario Draghi is trying to reintroduce some sanity, that Hollande is finally showing a bit of the pushback against German morality-play economics that he so signally failed to supply in the past.
But much of the damage has already been done.
Who will ever trust Germany’s good intentions after this?
In a way, the economics have almost become secondary.
But still, let’s be clear: what we’ve learned these past couple of weeks is that being a member of the eurozone means that the creditors can destroy your economy if you step out of line.
This has no bearing at all on the underlying economics of austerity.
It’s as true as ever that imposing harsh austerity without debt relief is a doomed policy no matter how willing the country is to accept suffering.
And this in turn means that even a complete Greek capitulation would be a dead end.