EU HUBRIS: Dreaming is good, but somnambulism is dangerous

If you haven’t read it in the Telegraph yet, then Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s  analytically succinct extrapolation from the latest IMF missive is a joy to read and a marvel of making the complex accessible. AEP’s main conclusion is that the IMF has written off the euro project. That’s it, but by God he’s right…and by God, the ramifications of this are awesome.

Last March, I opined that the Troika as a whole was quietly backing away from further pouring of real money into the Greek debt-pit. I think that was right, but what Evans-Pritchard points out in today’s piece is that the IMF itself sees no end to the Brussels catatonia – and thus sees no point in sacrificing its ‘reputation’ on the altar of The Church of the Holy Belgian Empire.

For IMF, we can still largely read ‘Washington & the US Fed’, because whatever one makes of DSK’s demise, it resulted in the mathematically challenged Doris Lagarde getting the top job – a skilful melange of media management and threats from Tim Geithner having ensured that she would be the winner. Strauss-Kahn was, after all, a French Leftie; whereas Lagarde was and is “our gal”. DSK’s troops have been quietly sidelined since her arrival, and the Frenchman’s collectivist leanings dumped in favour of austere growth – surely the funniest oxymoron in economic history.

So in short, this latest IMF salvo says “That’s it guys, we’re outta here”. Henceforth – and you read it here first – Europe (“Yerp”) will become the Great American Alibi for all things horrid that happen over there. But not entirely unconsciously, it means that the US elites are now unable to see any alternative to the Tsunami of ordure heading their way. In an election year. With a massive debt. A massive debt dependent on low bond rate confidence. A confidence without which, America’s debt would quickly become unsustainable.

In those circumstances, there is no limit to the stunts our self-satisfied Black Dude in the White House might pull. You have been warned.

The only way in which I would beg to differ from most analyses of the Euroblown saga is that (myself included at times) commentators have overused ‘denialism’ as a term. It isn’t really what underlies the Berlin-am-Brussels problem. Rather, I see it as some hard-headed Franco-German people (having had a marvellous dream in the 1950s) handing the baton to later (and egomanic) disciples – whose neurotic dreams of domination led them to go sleep-walking, with all the dangers that accompany somnambulation.

Somnambulation is the human right-cortex trying to convert its ambition into action by demanding a physical movement towards the goal. Thus the mind’s eye sees an all-conquering Superman gliding towards Nirvana: whereas in the real world, a mere mortal is in danger of falling down the stairs with a crash.

Given the derisory nature of it, I can well believe that Herman van Rompuy’s poetry is written in his sleep. Given the facial features endured by Manuelo Barroso, I suspect he may have walked into a many a wall during the hours after midnight. The gap between human aspiration and achievement creates a good proportion of all humour (the pratfall is the epicentre of slapstick) but the downside is that, when the mad somnambulist is given power, he or she may well walk satisfyingly into the threshing machine, but innocent millions of citizens – wishing only to mind their own business – usually wind up suffering because of it.

I don’t see the point in dreaming the impossible dream. But I’m all for aspiring to something fresh, creative and relevant to the future. I prefer vision to dreaming, probably. But both are infinitely preferable to sleep-walking. Closing your eyes to the danger does not stop somnambulators from walking off a cliff. And it does not dull their pain.