Greek Debt Crisis: Merkel the Scapegoat

Matthew Yglesias proves that Godwin’s law is attainable in 140 characters or less. Clever.

Lord knows I picked a bad week to defend German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU. But if, as many observers are now arguing, the current EU-IMF package isn’t sufficient to keep Greece from eventual insolvency and debt restructuring, then nothing that was on either side of the table a few weeks ago was even remotely sufficient. Which is to say, Merkel did not single-handedly torpedo a workable solution.

I understand, too, the importance of signaling when it comes to the markets. But once the signaling is said and done, investors still tally up balance sheets. And if the numbers for Greece just don’t add up, no amount of signaling would have fixed them. All it would have meant is that the EU — and German voters — would have been left holding the bag on the last round.

The politics of the EU are messy, and the governance of the eurozone is a mess. Add to that the PIIGS debt-to-GDP ratio, which is a spectacular mess. Certainly there’s enough blame to spread around without comparing Merkel to Hitler, no?