Europe is nearing a tipping point - and it's not so inconceivable that the ongoing financial crisis could descend into all-out war. With a second bailout coming down the pike for Greece - and more austerity - or starvation - on the way for the Greek people - hotter heads are speaking up. One being German Finance Minister Wolfgang Shauble. You see - when we're talking about "bail outs" for Greece - or I should say bailouts for banksters who've invested in Greece and don't want to lose their money - we're essentially talking about German money. That's primarily who's footing the bill for these bailouts - along with Nordic nations. And Schauble - the German finance minister - is getting fed up. After all - it's his job to make sure German money is invested wisely. And Schauble doesn't see Greece - with its capital city of Athens on fire - suicide rates skyrocketing - and unemployment at 20% - as a wise investment.
So before forking over the money - Schauble is making some outrageous demands of Greece - the main one being that Greece should postpone their elections so a new government won't come to power that may do what Iceland has done in two citizen referendums - say, "hell no!" to the banksters - including the German banksters. Think about that for a second - here's one sovereign European nation - Germany -trying to prevent another sovereign European nation - Greece - from holding democratic elections. That's where this financial crisis has brought us. As expected - Schauble's demands have been met with anger and animosity from Greece. The Greek President called it an "insult." The Greek Finance Minister suggested that a conspiracy was underway to have Greece kicked out of the Eurozone. And Greek newspapers are routinely publishing political cartoons portraying the Germans as Nazis.
So things are getting pretty nasty in Europe. The Germans - aside from Angela Merkel, who still thinks Greece can be saved - are growing tired of throwing their money down the blackhole Greek economy that's being ravaged by IMF austerity measures. And the Greeks are on the verge of overthrowing their government which, itself, is now being run by an unelected bankster. Thanks to austerity spending cuts - schools in Greece are running out of books - people aren't getting the medical attention they need with a 40% cut in the public health budget in 2010 - and now the IMF wants a 32% cut in the minimum wage - along with more lay-offs for government workers. That explains the riots in Athens. Even the Financial Times - the newspaper where rich people talk to rich people - is catching wind of the volatility and the prospects of violence across borders. As columnist Wolfgang Munchau wrote in Sunday's Financial Times, "German MPs expressed outrage at the Greek outrage. Bild, the German mass-market daily, is calling for Greece to be 'kicked out' of the eurozone. I shudder at the thought of an act of violence committed against Germans in Greece or Greeks in Germany. This is the kind of conflict that could easily escalate."
Entering into that equation - the Greek elections are on the horizon - the same elections that German Finance Minister Schauble wants to scrap. We're already seeing extreme far-left and far-right parties making gains in the polls in Greece. Remember - it was economic desperation in Europe following the last Republican Great Depression that gave rise to extreme fascist governments - and eventually World War 2. Right now - Financial Technocrats tentatively have the reins of government in places like Greece and Italy - but with an agenda that includes pain and suffering for their people - it may only be a matter of time before those technocrats are shown the door by an increasingly unruly and violent populous. Again - just look at what's been going on in Athens. And who might win the upcoming Greek elections is anyone's guess - hence the fear coming from the German Finance Minister and the Financial Times Editorial Board. This is turning into a really bad situation - and here's the most interesting part:
This whole mess - the implosion of the Greek economy - the suffering of the Greek people under austerity - the anger coming from Germany - and the increasing likelihood of extremism and violence - can all be traced back to one place. One bank in fact. One bank on Wall Street actually.
This crisis would have never even come into existence had it not been for shady financial deals orchestrated by Goldman Sachs. Shady financial deals that are almost identical to what banks like Goldman Sachs dished out to American homeowners, which eventually led to the financial collapse in 2008. No matter which way you look at it - the banksters have their fingerprints all over this mess. So it's not about a Government living beyond its means - it's about a form of capitalism - or vulture capitalism - that allows big banks on Wall Street to make enormous profits while ruining entire national economies. If the bankster-mandated austerity continues in Greece - and the Greek people are pushed closer and closer to the breaking point - and the animosity among the Germans and other creditor nations grows - then Europe could even explode into war. At least that's what history tells us may happen.
And if it does - then it will be a war abetted by Wall Street.
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)