Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Eurocrisis

National Self-Determination is Overrated

I have a new piece out for Current Affairs about the importance of political unions in the 21st century. Here’s the link:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/11/national-self-determination-is-overrated

The original title was “In Praise of Unionism: What the European Left Can Learn From America,” but we souped it up a bit. It’s a bit longer and more comprehensive than the stuff I usually do here. The folks at CA are delightful to work with. They’re putting out some really terrific long-form pieces that dig into things more deeply than a lot of what we see on the web these days.

Angela Merkel is Not Fit to Lead the West

Each time there’s an international summit, I see the same articles over and over, arguing that America no longer leads the west–Germany does. It’s understandable why people make this argument–President Trump is rather uninspiring, to put it mildly, and Germany is the last of the major western powers to retain the leader it had before the 2008 financial crisis. Chancellor Merkel has been in power for nearly 12 years. In that time, the United States has had three presidents and Britain has had four prime ministers. Merkel seems to offer stability in a world that’s increasingly off its rocker. But seeming is not being–in truth, there is no western leader who has done more in the last decade to contribute to the political instability that has brought about Trump and Brexit than Angela Merkel.

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Good Cop, Bad Cop: A Political Strategy for a Better Europe

The European left is in disarray when it comes to Europe, with a protectionist, euroskeptic left arrayed against an internationalist, integrationist left. The family feud between these two factions has fractured the left and made it impossible for it to compete. In France, the left is split between Jean-Luc Melenchon’s protectionist faction and Benoit Hamon’s internationalist faction, and because of this both candidates are likely to fail to make the top two in the first round, resulting in a two-way contest between the French establishment (embodied by either Macron or Fillon) and the right nationalists (Le Pen). In Britain, internationalist Labour supporters (including many young activists) feel betrayed by Jeremy Corbyn’s willingness to accommodate Labour to Brexit. In Greece, SYRIZA has gone along with austerity measures rather than risk the fallout of leaving the Euro, disappointing many of its supporters who elected it to stop the pain. We’re killing ourselves and our movement over this and we need a new strategy–if we don’t get one, the left is not going to offer coherent alternative to the right and it’s not going to win.

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This is Horrible, but it’s No Coup: Why the Greek Deal is Democratic

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has betrayed the people of Greece by agreeing to the troika’s austerity demands. The deal is terrible and will unnecessarily inflict additional mass suffering on Greece’s unemployed (25%), youth unemployed (50%), and children living in poverty (40%). Many well-intentioned people have participated in the hashtag #ThisisaCoup, accusing the EU of overriding democracy. While I share the frustration and anger, it’s very important that we understand that this is precisely the way European voters insisted that policymakers design the European Union to work. It is the voters of Europe who have inflicted this travesty of justice upon the continent.

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Greece Should Dump the Euro

The Greek government has decided to hold a referendum on whether or not to agree to the austerity and neoliberal reforms demanded by the troika (the IMF, the ECB, and the EU). The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, has implied that if Greeks vote for austerity, he might resign. I’ve written about the negotiations between Greece and the troika in the past. Since then, events have unfolded and it’s now time for Greece to make good on its threat and dump the Euro. Here’s why.

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