Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

Is Trumpism the New Nationalism?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Since China devalued its currency 3 percent, global markets have gone into a tailspin. Why should this be?

After all, 3 percent devaluation in China could be countered by a U.S. tariff of 3 percent on all goods made in China, and the tariff revenue used to cut U.S. corporate taxes.

The crisis in world markets seems related not only to a sinking Chinese economy, but also to what Beijing is saying to the world; i.e., China will save herself first even if it means throwing others out of the life boat.

Disbelievers in New World Order mythology have long recognized that this new China is fiercely nationalistic. Indeed, with Marxism-Leninism dead, nationalism is the Communist Party’s fallback faith.

China has thus kept her currency cheap to hold down imports and keep exports surging. She has run $300 billion trade surpluses at the expense of the Americans. She has demanded technology transfers from firms investing in China and engaged in technology theft.

Disillusioned U.S. executives have been pulling out.

And the stronger China has grown economically, the more bellicose she has become with her neighbors from Japan to Vietnam to the Philippines. Lately, China has laid claim to virtually the entire South China Sea and all its islands and reefs as national territory.

In short, China is becoming a mortal threat to the rules-based global economy Americans have been erecting since the end of the Cold War, even as the U.S. system of alliances erected by Cold War and post-Cold War presidents seems to be unraveling.

Germany, the economic powerhouse of the European Union, was divided until recently on whether Greece should be thrown out of the eurozone. German nationalists have had enough of Club Med.

On issues from mass migrations from the Third World, to deeper political integration of Europe, to the EU’s paltry contributions to a U.S.-led NATO that defends the continent, nationalistic resistance is rising.

Enter the Donald. If there is a single theme behind his message, it would seem to be a call for a New Nationalism or New Patriotism.

He is going to “make America great again.” He is going to build a wall on the border that will make us proud, and Mexico will pay for it.

He will send all illegal aliens home and restore the traditional value of U.S. citizenship by putting an end to the scandal of “anchor babies.”

One never hears Trump discuss the architecture of our rules-based global economy.

Rather, he speaks of Mexico, China and Japan as tough rivals, not “trade partners,” smart antagonists who need to face tough American negotiators who will kick their butts.

They took our jobs and factories; now we are going to take them back. And if that Ford plant stays in Mexico, then Ford will have to climb a 35-percent tariff wall to get its trucks and cars back into the USA.

Trump to Ford: Bring that factory back to Michigan!

To Trump, the world is not Davos; it is the NFL. He is appalled at those mammoth container ships in West Coat ports bringing in Hondas and Toyotas. Those ships should be carrying American cars to Asia.

Asked by adviser Dick Allen for a summation of U.S. policy toward the Soviets, Ronald Reagan said: “We win; they lose.”

That it is not an unfair summation of what Trump is saying about Mexico, Japan and China.

While the economic nationalism here is transparent, Trump also seems to be saying that foreign regimes are freeloading off the U.S. defense budget and U.S. military.

He asks why rich Germans aren’t in the vanguard in the Ukraine crisis. Why do South Koreans, with an economy 40 times that of the North and a population twice as large, need U.S. troops on the DMZ?

“What’s in it for us?” he seems ever to be asking.

He has called Vladimir Putin a Russian patriot and nationalist with whom he can talk. He has not joined the Republican herd that says it will cancel the Iran nuclear deal the day they take office, re-impose U.S. sanctions and renegotiate the deal.

Trump says he would insure that Iran lives up to the terms.

While his foreign policy positions seem unformed, his natural reflex appears nonideological and almost wholly results-oriented. He looks on foreign trade much as did 19th-century Republicans.

They saw America as the emerging world power and Britain as the nation to beat, as China sees us today. Those Americans used tariffs, both to force foreigners to pay to build our country, and to keep British imports at a price disadvantage in the USA.

Then they exploited British free trade policy to ship as much as they could to the British Isles to take down their factories and capture their jobs for U.S. workers, as the Chinese do to us today.

Whatever becomes of Trump the candidate, Trumpism, i.e., economic and foreign policy nationalism, appears ascendant.

Europe’s Real Existential Crisis

Europe's Real Existential Crisis

By Patrick J. Buchanan

However the Greek crisis ends, whether with Athens leaving the eurozone, or submitting and accepting austerity at the dictates of its creditors, the European Union appears headed for an existential crisis.

Greece borrowed and spent beyond its means, like New York City in the ’70s, and Detroit, Illinois, and Puerto Rico today. But the crisis of Europe is about more than budget deficits and bad debts.

All the momentum toward One Europe — the dream of the generation of Jean Monnet that drove Europeans toward ever-deeper union — seems to have dissipated. The momentum is now toward separation and dissolution.

The Greek crisis exposed one fault line in the union, the desire of the Mediterranean nations to build welfare states that their economies could not sustain without huge borrowing abroad.

Paying these debts is going to force ever-greater austerity on those nations. Eventually, their peoples may choose, as debtors do, to walk away, rather than pay.

But not only economics imperils the EU. There is the call of tribe and nation that has often before torn the Old Continent apart.

The U.K. Independence Party and National Front in France, both of which want out of the EU, have millions of supporters, and emulators across Europe. These parties appeal to national histories, heroes and cultures, while acolytes of the EU and eurozone sound like editorials in the Financial Times. Who would fix bayonets for Brussels and the European Commission?

NATO is a shell of what it once was. It is today, a virtual fraternity of freeloaders. With exceptions, like the Poles, Estonians and Turks, European nations have all slashed their defense budgets to beneath two percent of GDP. Angela Merkel is described as the Iron Chancellor for facing down Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, but she seems more like Willy Brandt when talking to Vladimir Putin.

A century ago, after Lloyd George and Clemenceau did their map work in Paris, one could walk from Baghdad to Cairo, turn south, and walk 5,000 miles to Cape Town, without leaving British territory.

Today, Britain and France, the imperial powers of Sykes-Picot, would prefer to have the Americans police the Middle East. Our allies have terrible memories of European wars that produced no comparable gains, and none of them, understandably, wants to fight again.

They have another concern in common. Their continent is being invaded.

From the failed states of the sub-Sahara to the war-torn nations of the Mahgreb and Middle East, the Third World is coming to occupy the Mother Continent.

On July 2, The New York Times had several stories on the Greek crisis, but several also on Europe’s immigration crisis.

Some 8,000 trucks were stranded at Calais and Dover, the opposite ends of the Channel Tunnel, as migrants piled onto the vehicles crossing into England. The threatened drivers could do nothing to prevent it.

“Migrants are streaming into Europe from North Africa and the turbulent Middle East,” said the Times, “The European Union has been trying to force countries to share the burden. But the bloc has so far failed to agree on how to do so. In Britain, the issue is particularly charged, and euroskeptic politicians are pushing for the country to leave the union, with immigration a chief complaint.”

Another headline on the same page read, “Russia Sees an Especially Potent Threat in Its Converts to Islam.” The story related the fears of a jihadist uprising within her borders as ethnic Russians convert to militant Islam and join the 15-20 million Muslims inside Russia already, and the two million in Moscow alone.

Russia and Europe have more in common than they realize — the same existential threat.

Another story in the Times, “Europe to Fight Islamic Radicals on Social Media,” reported on jihadist recruitment inside Europe.

A leader of Europol, said the Times, “has estimated that up to 5,000 people from Western Europe have traveled to Syria and Iraq, many to join the Islamic State. British officials believe that at least half of the 500 or so Britons who have done so have already returned home and represent potential threats…”

Europe has survived depression and the worst wars in modern history, though her wounds are terrible and lasting. But can Europe, with native-born populations that are aging, shrinking, and dying, survive a never-ending invasion of Third World peoples that Europe has never assimilated before? Especially when millions of these people profess a militant faith that has historically been alien and hostile to Europe?

The birth dearth in Europe has endured for 40 years. There is no end in sight to the Third World invasion, as the lands of the Middle East and sub-Sahara descend ever more deeply into tribal, sectarian and civil war, and send new millions of refugees streaming toward the Mediterranean coast.

Who or what will stop them? As Gen. Petraeus said on that road to Baghdad: “Tell me how this ends.”

Derail Fast Track!

Derail Fast Track

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Last November, Republicans grew their strength in Congress to levels unseen since 1946. What united the party and rallied the nation was the GOP’s declared resolve to stand up to an imperious president.

Give us powerful new majorities, said John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, and we shall halt these usurpations of Congressional power.

And, so, what is the first order of business now in the Ways and Means Committee of Paul Ryan and Senate Finance Committee of Orrin Hatch?

“The first thing we ought to do,” says Ryan, “is pass trade promotion authority.” Trade promotion authority, or “fast track,” is a synonym for Congress’s surrender of all rights to amend trade treaties, and a commitment to confine itself to a yes or no vote on whatever deal Obama brings home.

Watching the GOP’s reversion to form calls to mind the term the neocons gave the French for refusing to join Bush II’s big march to Baghdad: “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”

With the huge Trans-Pacific Partnership in negotiations, Obama wants Boehner and McConnell to agree in advance not to tamper with it. “Hands off!” he demands. If this GOP agrees to this, it will, in its first great decision, be engaging in an act of self-castration.

Why would they do this?

Has Obama’s record been so impressive the GOP should give up its constitutional power to amend trade treaties? As the liberal group Public Citizen notes, the biggest trade deal of Barack’s term, the U.S.-Korea trade pact modeled on NAFTA, has been another job-killer for American workers:

“Since the Obama administration used Fast Track to push a trade agreement with Korea, the U.S. trade deficit with Korea has grown 50 percent — which equates to 50,000 more American jobs lost. The U.S. had a $3 billion monthly trade deficit with Korea in October 2014 — the highest monthly U.S. goods trade deficit with the country on record.”

Everywhere we hear that the issue of our time is the wage stagnation of the middle class.

But what has caused U.S. wages to stop rising for longer than any period in our history? What caused the inexorable growth of U.S. wages, from the Revolution to Reagan, to stop dead?

Like Poe’s “Purloined Letter,” the answer is right in front of us.

Wages are the price of labor, and price is determined by supply and demand. Wages have fallen because the supply of labor has exploded.

Following the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, we threw open America’s doors to a flood of immigrants, legal and illegal.

Some 40-50 million have poured in, an unprecedented expansion of the labor force.

As these immigrants — many uneducated, unskilled, unable to speak English well — entered the labor pool, they were willing to work for less than native-born Americans who needed higher wages to sustain their standard of living. In the service industries, manufacturing, construction, U.S. employers found themselves in a buyers’ market for workers right here in the USA.

Yet, over a million new low-wage workers pouring into the USA every year was not enough for our banksters and corporatists.

Thus, “free-trade” Republicans and their collaborators in the Business Roundtable and U.S. Chamber of Commerce decided to drop the U.S. labor force into a worldwide labor pool where the average wage was but a tiny fraction of an American living wage.

Like Dr. King, our transnational corporations had a dream — a dream of bypassing all U.S. regulations on wages and hours, health and safety, and the environment — a dream of getting rid of all those high-wage U.S. workers and their unions.

How to realize this dream?

Move production out of the United States, out from under the jurisdiction of U.S. law, into the Third World, and then bring your products back free of charge. To these folks, America is the best market to sell into, but, as a place to produce, give us China!

Mexicans, Latin Americans, East and South Asians, Chinese would all work for less than Americans, thus enabling corporate executives to take home fatter shares of far larger profits, in salaries, bonuses, benefits, stock options and soaring equity prices.

Like NAFTA and GATT, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is an enabling act for multinationals to move freely to where it is cheapest to produce while securing access to where it is most profitable to sell.

A new Magna Carta — for the billionaires’ boys club.

For 40 years, U.S. workers have seen factories close, jobs disappear and company towns become ghost towns, the “creative destruction” of Joe Schumpeter’s felicitous phrase.

Only the wholesale destruction was no accident, it was planned.

For scores of millions, the American dream is gone, sacrificed to the gods of the global economy — a new world economic order created by and for an elite whose 1,700 corporate jets were parked wingtip-to-wingtip last week while they partied in Davos.

That is why there may be a Syriza in all of our futures.

Is This the End of ‘One Europe’?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

How Europe‘s crisis resolves itself as yet remains unknown.

But with Sunday’s returns from France and Greece, the mega-trends on the Old Continent are unmistakable. And for the European Union, they are ominous.

Nationalism — be it economic nationalism or ethnic nationalism — is ascendant. Transnationalism and multiculturalism are in headlong if not irreversible retreat. The European project is itself imperiled.

To be sure, no one should underestimate the commitment of Europe‘s elites to the vision of One Europe as challenger to the United States. In the capitals and corporate headquarters of the continent, these elites are, almost to a man and woman, devout Europeans.

Yet their ability to keep Europe on course until its peoples have yielded up their sovereignty and agreed to submerge themselves in a single entity is now in question. From Paris to Athens, the radical left and the nationalist right are resurgent. Marxists and patriots dream different dreams than the disciples of Jean Monnet.

Consider what the French electorate just said.

In the first round of voting, communists and radicals took 11 percent. Their leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, endorsed the socialist Francois Hollande, who went on to win Sunday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who ran second in the first round with only 27 percent, raised his total Sunday to 48 percent. Though Marine Le Pen of the National Front had refused to endorse him, Sarkozy openly courted her voters.

As Marine put it, they call us racists, protectionists and xenophobes. Then they come asking for our endorsement, echo our words and seek our votes.

The near 30 percent the National Front and far left combined pulled in the first round is unprecedented in the annals of the Fifth Republic.

In Greece, the returns were equally dramatic.

PASOK, the governing center-left party, ran third with 13 percent of the vote. New Democracy, the center-right party that is in coalition with PASOK, ran first but won only 19 percent.

These two parties saw their combined support sliced in half since the last election and may be unable to form a government that can continue to impose the austerity the German-led eurozone is demanding as the price of Greece‘s bailout.

The parties that gained most were the communists with 7 percent, Syriza, a radical-left party, with 17 percent, and Golden Dawn, a far-right party that has called for land mines on the border, with 7 percent. All three will bedevil any coalition that accedes to German demands.

What is causing the collapse of the center in Europe?

The austerity being imposed by Germany and her hard-money allies in the north of Europe on the indebted nations of the south of Europe.

Across the continent, voices are rising to demand that a growth package be attached to Angela Merkel’s fiscal pact.

But a growth package means tax cuts and spending increases. How do Europe‘s nations provide these without adding to deficits and national debts, which mean new borrowing and the higher interest rates that are a primary cause of the present crisis?

The debtor nations seem to be saying this:

“Yes, we have been addicted to the narcotic of deficit spending. But we cannot survive going cold turkey. If you force us into it, our people will rebel and throw us out. Before we can give up the drugs, we need a new fix.”

From inception, the European project was built on a Faustian bargain.

If the nations of Europe would surrender their sovereignty, let their identities be diluted through immigration and open borders, and submerge themselves in a larger and more inclusive Europe, their peoples would be rewarded with an unparalleled prosperity.

Surrender your souls, and we will make you rich, secure and happy, said the eurocrats to the peoples of Europe.

After two terrible wars, Europe‘s peoples took the bribe.

Free-riding off America’s defense, enjoying a prosperity produced by internal free trade and the explosive growth of their welfare states, financed at low interest rates once the euro was accepted as the common currency, they came to relish the good times.

Now the bill has come due. Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain must sacrifice and suffer to pay for these good times. Their public sectors must be pared back, pensions reduced, retirement age advanced. They must work harder and longer for all the years it takes to put their fiscal houses in order and pay back what they owe.

The left is saying is: We want our pensions restored, our public employees rehired. If our leaders need more money, take it from the rich, take it from the banks, take it from the big corporations.

The right is saying: We want our countries and culture back. We want our borders closed. We want no more immigration from the rest or Europe or the rest of the world.

Let France be France again. Let Greece be Greece again.

Tribalism, radicalism and socialism are the growth stocks of the new Europe.

David Cameron’s Finest Hour

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to veto Germany‘s demand for a new European fiscal union will define his premiership.

More than that, Cameron has raised a banner for patriots everywhere fighting to retain their national independence.

With his no vote on fiscal union, Cameron declared to the EU: “British surrenders of sovereignty come to an end here. And Britain will deny Brussels any oversight authority of any national budgets or any right to sanction EU members.”

The euro-skeptic right is understandably ecstatic.

“He Put Britain First,” thundered the Daily Mail. “There is now a wonderful opportunity for Britain gradually to loosen itself from the shackles of a statist, over-regulated, anti-democratic, corrupt EU.”

The Sun featured Cameron as Winston Churchill, flashing a wartime V-for-Victory sign over the banner headline: “Up Eurs — Bulldog PM Sticks up for Britain.”

The British left, however, almost took to bed.

“Cameron Cuts U.K. Adrift,” wailed the Guardian. “The EU Leaves Britain,” moaned The Independent.

Coalition partner Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats went weak in the knees, claiming the prime minister had left Britain “isolated and marginalized … hovering somewhere in the mid-Atlantic.”

Yet one imagines that Britain will somehow survive.

And while he may have been unaware of the firestorm that would follow his decision, Cameron has exposed the backroom game that is going on in Europe. The Germans have seized on the crisis caused by the fiscal promiscuity of Club Med — Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal — to effect a giant leap forward into European fiscal and political union.

Berlin is basically offering the bankrupts a bribe, saying:

“All right, we will bail you out. But, in return, all 17 members of the eurozone shall accept revisions to the EU treaty under which they submit their budgets to Brussels. And if their deficits and/or debts exceed permissible limits, those nations will be sanctioned and fined.

The Germans are exploiting the crisis to impose their model on the eurozone today and all of Europe tomorrow.

Well, some may ask, since Germany is the most successful economy in Europe, why not impose that model?

Answer: For a nation to submit its budget for review by a higher authority, and accept the right of such an authority to alter that budget or punish that nation, is to cease in a fundamental way to be free.

Cameron may seem isolated, but he speaks for tens of millions outside Britain — Italians, Greeks and others fed up with the imposed austerity, North Europeans fed up with having to bail out Club Med deadbeats who do not work as hard or as long.

Nationalism is on the boil across Europe, and it is impossible to believe the leaders of those 26 EU countries, by cutting some deal with Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, can bind their countrymen forever to cede veto power over their future budgets to Brussels.

Will Greeks and Italians really accept a decade of austerity to pay off debts larger than the national economy, to banks and bondholders, for hundreds of billion of euros already spent?

Were Italy and Greece U.S. citizens rather than EU countries, both would long ago have declared bankruptcy, been forced to pay what they could, then been released from remaining obligations, while their creditors would have been forced to swallow their losses.

Moreover, there are pragmatic reasons for rejecting the German plan. Europe appears headed for stagnation or recession. Yet under the fiscal union scheme, virtually all eurozone nations would have to raise value-added and income taxes to balance budgets where the domestic welfare states consume almost all of the national economy.

Does raising taxes make sense in a recession? Would it not risk deepening the recession, raising debt-to-GDP ratios, forcing interest rates to rise to attract investors to new national bonds as old bonds came due?

All of this raises the larger question. Can the eurozone survive? And if it cannot, can the EU?

Given the hostile attitude of Greeks, Italians and many others to years of austerity to pay back debts, given the growing reluctance of the European Central Bank, Germany and Northern Europe to bailing out deadbeats, given the lack of resources available, are not defaults in the eurozone almost inevitable?

And if that happens, given the size of the debts, the result would be like the collapse of Lehman Brothers raised to the third power.

Trillions of euros of debt that appear today as assets on the balance sheets of giant banks and within the portfolios of millions of investors would vanish overnight.

Like the “fire bell in the night” Thomas Jefferson heard in 1820, a harbinger of civil war, Cameron’s declaration that European fiscal and political union goes forward, only without Britain, may be a harbinger of the breakup that is coming.

And if the eurozone collapses, and the EU follows, what, then, is Europe — other than a geographic expression?

‘Arrivederci, Roma’

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Will popular democracy bring down the New World Order?

A fair question. For Western peoples are growing increasingly reluctant to accept the sacrifices that the elites are imposing upon them to preserve that New World Order.

Political support for TARP, to rescue the financial system after the Lehman Brothers collapse, is being held against any Republican candidate who backed it. Germans and Northern Europeans are balking at any more bailouts of Club Med deadbeats.

Eighty-one members of David Cameron’s party voted against him to demand a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union altogether, the worst Tory revolt ever against the EU.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou imperiled the grand bargain to save the eurozone by announcing a popular vote on whether to accept the austerity imposed on Greece, or default, and let the bank dominoes begin to fall. The threat faded only when Papandreou cancelled the referendum.

But the real peril is Italy, No. 3 economy in the eurozone, with a national debt at 120 percent of gross domestic product.

After the plan to save the eurozone was announced, interest rates on new Italian debt surged above 6 percent, with 6.5 regarded as unsustainable.

When Papandreou announced his referendum, the cost of Italian debt surged again. Should buyers of Italy’s debt go on strike, fearing a Rome default or write-down, that is the end of the eurozone and potentially the end of the EU.

But an even larger question hangs over Rome.

Will Italy survive as one nation and one people?

For the austerity demanded of Italy to deal with its debt crisis is adding kindling to secessionist fires in the north, where the Lega Nord of Umberto Bossi, third largest party in Italy, seeks to lead Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto, with the cities of Turin, Milan and Venice, out of Italy into a new nation — Padania.

The north has long resented Rome, Naples and Sicily, seeing them as lazier and less industrious. Bossi, who calls himself “Braveheart,” after the Scottish hero of the Mel Gibson movie, sees northern people as Celts who are ethnically different and separate from the rest of Italy.

The Northern League belief that people of Southern Italy caused their debt crisis, bringing on austerity, mirrors the belief of much of Northern Europe that Italy and Greece do not deserve to be bailed out.

As the north is also home to 60 percent of the immigrants who have poured into Italy — Gypsies from Romania, Arabs from the Mahgreb and Middle East — Bossi’s party is aggressively anti-immigrant, as are the other surging populist parties of Europe.

Americans who deplore the tough laws against illegal immigration in Arizona and Alabama might look to Italy, where the Northern League managed to have illegal entry into the country declared a felony.

The League was also behind a new law calling for sending back tens of thousands of Arab Spring migrants who arrived on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, which is closer to Africa than Italy.

But while resentment against the south for alleged freeloading and causing the debt crisis is bringing the secession issue to a boil, demography may be the greater threat to the national future.

Italy, says Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference, is heading for “demographical suicide,” and the reason is a low birth rate caused by its “cultural and moral distress.”

According to Italy’s National Office of Statistics, in 2009 the fertility rate of Italian women was 1.41 children per woman. This is only two-thirds of what is needed simply to replace Italy’s existing population.

Italy’s fertility rate has been below replacement levels for 35 years. By mid-century, Italy will be a nation with a birth rate that will have been below, at times far below, zero population growth for 75 years.

Italy’s birth rate in 1950 was almost twice its death rate. But the death rate equaled the birth rate in 1985, exceeds it today and will be approaching twice the birth rate by 2050.

Italy is not only aging, with the median age of its population going from 43 today to 50 at midcentury, Italy is dying. If this does not change, what the world knows as Italy will not exist at the end of this century.

Like other European nations, Italy faces an existential crisis.

Her national debt is twice what the EU says is tolerable. She must undergo years of painful austerity to pay back what she has borrowed and spent. Yet a shrinking population of working age young and an expanding pool of seniors and aged to care for will make that increasingly difficult, and default on her debts increasing attractive, as it is today to the Greeks.

The Northern League, seeing the south as the source of its troubles, will grow in appeal, as those troubles grow.

If your debts are larger than your economy, your death rate exceeds your birth rate and every new generation will be one-third smaller than the previous one, what kind of future does your country have?

The kind of future Italy faces.

Can a Geriatric Germany Save Europe?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As Greece lurches on the precipice of default on its sovereign debt, a default that could bring down banks across Europe and precipitate a global financial panic, a consensus is building that there is but one way out.

First, a structured default on the Greek debt, giving creditors a major haircut, but compensating them with eurobonds of half the face value of the Greek bonds, guaranteed by the European Central Bank.

Second, a huge new European Financial Stabilization Facility of trillions of euros to recapitalize stricken banks and buy up the sovereign debt of Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain, should private investors flee their bonds.

Such a solution, however, depends upon Germany, the richest nation in Europe and major contributor to the ECB.

Hard-money Germans, however, do not relish bailing out the deadbeat nations of Club Med who have more generous welfare states than their own.

Politically, it may not be possible to cajole or coerce the Germans, indefinitely, into saving the eurozone, the collapse of which could bring on a depression and bring down the European Union itself.

There is another reason the European Monetary Union and EU may be headed for the boneyard: demography.

Looking over the 2008 World Population Prospects from the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, one finds that the nation which is to carry Europe back to solvency is aging, shrinking and dying.

Every decade of this century, Germany will become less able to sustain its dynamism, let alone carry the continent.

Consider. In 2010, there were 82 million Germans. Fully 26 percent were 60 years of age or older; 20 percent were 65 or older; 5 percent were 80 or older.

Now, fast forward to 2050.

Between 2010 and mid-century, 12 million Germans will disappear. In 2050, Germany will be a nation of 70 million, whose median age will have risen from 44 today to 51. And the life expectancy of all Germans will rise from today’s 80 years to 84.

The average German may enjoy four more years of life, but he or she will also require four more years of social security and health care provided by the taxpaying public. And that taxpaying public is also going to shrink.

By 2050, the percentage of Germans over 60 will have risen from 26 to nearly 40 percent. The percentage 65 and over will have risen from 20.5 to 32.5 percent, and the share over 80 will have tripled from the present 5 percent of the population to 14 percent.

By 2050, one in three Germans will be 65 or over, and one in seven will be 80 or over. That is a lot of old-timers for working Germans, whose numbers and share of the population will have been dramatically reduced, to support.

Moreover, the percentage of German women in the childbearing ages of 15 to 49 will have fallen from today’s 45 percent to 34 percent, guaranteeing a continuous decline in the German population for the rest of the century.

There is not a single year between 1970 and 2050 where Germany‘s birth rate even approaches the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. By mid-century, Germany will have been below zero population growth for 80 years. This is a nation slowly taking its leave of this world.

For Club Med to be rescued, the shrinking German labor force will have to carry an ever-expanding cohort of German retirees and aged, as well as growing numbers of retired and aged of the debt-ridden south of Europe.

Consider the nation closet to default: Greece.

In 1950, nearly half of Greece‘s population was 24 or younger. In 2050, less than one-fourth of all Greeks will be 24 or younger.

Today, one-fourth of all Greeks are 60 or older. But in 2050, it will be nearly 38 percent. Less than 4 percent of Greeks are 80 or over today. By 2050, that will have tripled to almost 11 percent.

Italy, a country of 60 million, is on schedule to lose 3 million people by 2050. The share of Italy‘s population 65 or over will go from one-fifth today to one-third by mid-century.

Italians over 80 will double from 6 percent today to 13 percent in 2050. Life expectancy will rise by four years to close to 86.

Across Europe, not one nation has a birth rate sufficient to replace its native-born population. The share that is of working age is shriveling, while the share that is eligible for state-funded pensions, social security and health care is growing.

And it is the Germans who are leading Europe into retirement centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Europe needs more young workers to maintain the dynamism of the continent and make good on all promises made to her people.

To the south, the exploding Muslim populations of the Maghreb and the Middle East appear ready to come and help out.

“This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”