Germany Opts for Economic Suicide
The narrative of the Obama presidency has been a soap opera, with the lead character careening from one dilemma to another -- never resolving any. Each episode ends on a cliffhanger -- a promise that the next show will grant resolution on whether the economy will grow or descend into a double-dip recession or will the Middle East become a idealized democratic wonderland or the tinderbox of a new world conflict.
Yet the lead in this drama is so self-assured that he feels a sense of entitlement to the trappings of the role he now portrays. President Obama has become the personification of political expediency and cynicism as his ego and vanity allow him to say or do anything in order to win re-election irrespective of the short or long-term well-being of the American people.
He is not alone. In Germany they too have a leader who feels no compunction in doing whatever it takes to win re-election regardless of the impact on the country's economy and future.
The government of Germany in an astonishing about face has decided to phase out all nuclear energy by 2022, shuttering many plants (up to 17) this year. It was only in September of 2010 that the same government headed by Angela Merkel came to the conclusion to extend the operating lives of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, which had been scheduled to go off line by 2021 as a means of helping the country meet its ambitious goal of reducing CO2 emissions and maintain its leadership role as Europe's dominant economy.
The Green Party has become a potent force in German politics, using the Fukushima reactor meltdown in Japan as a rallying point called for the abolition of all nuclear power. Facing a contested re-election the current chancellor chose to side with the extreme environmental lobby. Per Der Spiegel, "In Merkel's mind, the only thing that matters is that she remains chancellor."
It is not clear in the recorded history of the current German landmass when the last time a 9.1 scale earthquake and massive tsunami simultaneously devastated that part of Europe. Perhaps in the Neogene Period (23.0 to 3.6 million years ago) but that's hard to say as accurate weather records were unavailable. As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
The ethics commission had been given the task of "reevaluating" the risk of nuclear energy. But by the "reevaluate" what was meant was the slightest possibility of a nuclear accident similar to the one in Fukushima -- no matter how unlikely -- was now to be classified as unacceptable. What is being ignored in the process is the fact that each form of energy is associated with incalculable risk.
[For the record there has never been a significant nuclear accident in Germany while nuclear energy accounts for 35% of their electrical generation]
By shutting down nuclear completely the country will be extraordinarily dependent on the whims of another historically implacable foe, Russia. As natural gas will have to be the alternative fuel source as well as the continued use of imported coal (which leaves a major carbon footprint.) The ephemeral hope of so-called renewable sources such as solar and wind, cannot begin to substitute even with a massive and unsustainable financial investment in infrastructure and resultant destruction of the same environment the Green Movement is sworn to protect.
Perhaps no newspaper in Germany summarizes this headlong dash toward national suicide better than Die Welt:
The nuclear phase-out marks a creeping rejection of the economic model which has transformed Germany into one of the richest countries in the world in recent decades...What will the new energy age cost us Germans in terms of money and jobs? Are we completely indifferent to the risk of a major power outage?
But it is careless to carry out a phase-out under extreme time pressure, rushing it through with scant regard for how fast the economy can adapt. Energy is the lifeblood of industry, which in turn is the basis of our economy and our prosperity. A stable energy supply is taken for granted in Germany and is an enormously important locational advantage when attracting foreign investment. The mere impression that this supply is no longer 100 per cent guaranteed would be enough to scare off investors.
In Germany, it is the absurdity of the Green Movement trying to create an environmental utopia and in the United States it is the determination of the current administration and the American Left trying to recast the nation into a socialist nirvana. In both cases the elected leadership has no scruples or ethics as they are determined to win re-election in order to maintain power regardless of the long-term damage to their citizenry.
The economic statistics currently being reported in the United States are grim, from the low level of job creation, the high permanent unemployment, the ongoing and accelerating decline in housing values to the reported much slower growth in manufacturing. There is now open discussion, not only on Main Street but Wall Street, of a double dip recession or a depression. Yet the President and his party insist that all is well and on the road to recovery as they refuse to curtail spending, regulations (such as Obama Care) and only talk of raising taxes while employing their threadbare playbook to pummel their opposition as mean-spirited and cruel.
Today there are no adults as world leaders only those whose interest are themselves, their ideology and trappings of office. There is no one capable of looking the people in the eye and telling the truth as they are incapable of handling the truth themselves much less knowing what to do about the situations and dilemmas at hand. They react with theories promulgated by the self-proclaimed and egocentric intellectuals who themselves have no worldly experience.
The most insidious trait of the world's ruling class is that they are incapable of admitting their mistakes and utilizing the proven methodology and actions of the past in order to understand human nature and react accordingly. Prosperity creates its own conundrum, mainly the creation of an elite class having never faced true adversity and are so enamored with themselves that they cannot accept tried and true solutions rooted in the past.
Mankind faces no different problems today than it has at various times in its history. Only the scale is different. The solutions are in the pages of history as well, particularly in the tenets of the founding of the United States. Until the narcissism and ignorance of today's elites are replaced by those willing to face reality and act accordingly, the world will continue to become an exceedingly dangerous place and the United States, Germany and others will be in the economic thrall of China and overwhelmed by the religious fanaticism of the Islamic Jihad.