There are protests in the street of Europe. Not over conservative George Bush, but over the visit of G20 political leaders including Barack Obama for a conference in London beginning Thursday, April 2. The same Obama who was greeted like a rock star last July in a speech in Germany.
So what is going on here?
Well, it’s more of the same, with a twist. You first have to look at some history.
The current London protests in advance of the meeting of the leaders of the 20 top industrialized nations are the same protesters who always are out in the streets of Europe. They protested Ronald Reagan’s tough stance against the Soviets in the 1980s. They rioted against the World Trade Organization. They opposed the Iraq war. These are the same hooligans who recently demonstrated violently for weeks in Greece and in other European capitals over the shooting death of a Greek student in Athens after other protesters had intentionally drawn the police into a confrontation.
In short, these are professionals from the political left. This is what they do for a living. They are permanent agitators, communist students, anarchists, violence-prone labor leaders, or are unemployed and angry in the weak economies of Europe. The more violent ones are the ones we see in the media, taking on police. They come from the far left. Other Europeans join them, according to the cause.
This year there is more than the usual anger over the global financial crisis and over the so-called ‘global warming’ bogeyman. So it doubles up on their usual rage. This time, however, other more moderate Europeans may be joining the protests over American policy made by… Barack Obama?! Because they see the end of the road coming. And here is why.
Europe has been a very socialistic continent for centuries with big governments and high taxes. The American Founding Fathers warned against creating an oppressive European-style nation here in America. But Euros never learn their lesson. In the 1930s, Hitler took power in Germany after the government had spent the nation into oblivion in the 1920s, setting off hyperinflation. World War II ensued and taught Europe nothing.
Following the war, as America financed Europe’s reconstruction, it fell back into its usual habits. While America paid to rebuild and to defend Europe from the Soviet Union, Europe rebuilt its welfare states with high levels of taxation and government spending and low levels of defense spending. After all, America was paying that bill.
The results were predictable: Stagnant economies, low growth and high unemployment rates, in many cases reaching chronic year-after-year, decade-after-decade levels of 8% or 10%. And that is just the official number. The real numbers are said to be higher. But since the governments were “paying off” the unemployed citizens with massive subsidies, many simply lived off the dole.
As former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher once noted, however: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” And these welfare-state policies have been under increasing pressure for many years, even in leftist Europe. The recent elections in Germany and France of pro-capitalist, pro-growth and pro-American leaders have been the result of economic disquiet despite the American media assertions that Europe hates America and capitalism.
Socialist Gordon Brown in England is expected to be the next to go in the coming elections. Even far-left London, run for years by “Red Ken” Livingstone, elected in 2008 a conservative mayor in Boris Johnson, sort of a Rudy Giuliani for Britain.
So Europe already was seeking changes for its chronic economic problems when the US financial crisis hit. This crisis has ricocheted around the globe because the United States still has been the economic engine of the world for one reason only: We are the most capitalistic and growth-oriented nation on earth. And the reason that Europeans are panicking now is that American growth has kept their socialist economies afloat for decades, but that now seems to be changing.
German chancellor Angela Merkel is warning publicly that Obama is going to kill the American economy with his reckless spending. Czech prime minister Topolanek recently said that Obama’s plans represent “the road to hell”. Many other Euro leaders are warning Obama as well. Isn’t this precious – socialist Europe warning America about overspending!
Meanwhile the usually leftist European populace, already nervous, is recognizing that if America fails that they have no hope, that they will sink even more than they already have.
Thus the G20 Euro protests now are going to include some protests of Obama himself. What they will never admit is that this whole situation shows that socialism finally has utterly failed and can no longer be bailed out. And they will be joined by others from the center and the right in support of a more capitalist, growth-oriented economy for both Europe and the US, which will be to the benefit of the whole world.
What a difference 8 months makes.
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