Pope Benedict XVI, who like other teenagers in Nazi Germany, was forced to join the Hitler Youth, recently recalled solemnly the evils of Nazism. Although it was once fashionable to try to present Christianity as some sort of precursor to Nazi anti-Semitism, and in particular to attack the Catholic Church as an accomplice of the Nazis, honest history tells a very different story. Nazi persecution of all serious Christians was unrelenting and severe.
The financial crisis threatening to bring down the economies of Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain (the so-called “PIGS” countries) has long-term consequences which will affect whole generations in those nations. But the problems in Spain — high unemployment and immigration woes, regional tensions, and a low birth rate — seem to be combining in a "perfect-storm," making a financial meltdown perhaps even more likely there than in any of the other troubled European Union member-states.
At last week’s meeting held in Deauville, France, the assembled leaders of the so-called G8 (the “wealthiest industrialized nations”) agreed to send at least $20 billion dollars to Egypt and Tunisia to help the nascent governments in those countries to spur their economic growth. The G8 leaders hope that a large infusion of aid money will prevent these countries from sliding away from the “democracy” they claim to be establishing.
The walls are closing in on the eurozone, as options for resolving the European debt crisis are about to narrow dramatically. After many months of drama and handwringing, the sovereign debt bailout express is about to run off the rails, leaving the European central bank, and probably a number of megabanks across Europe, in financial ruins, and most likely spelling the demise of the euro and of the entire eurozone experiment.
In its efforts to avoid restructuring (i.e., defaulting on) its debt, Greece announced the sale of some of its assets to raise funds and to satisfy the austerity requirements imposed on the country last March. It is trying to raise $70 billion by 2015. Its efforts won’t be nearly enough.