Walter Russell Mead finds himself only moderately sympathetic. “Any sentient depositor in a Cypriot bank,” he points put, “had to know that things weren’t right. The dubious nature of the Cypriot banking system has been a notorious fact for almost a generation; during all this time Cypriots seemed perfectly happy that their country was running an offshore money laundry for some of the nastiest people around.”
I take his point. But what do you suppose will happen in Greece, Portugal, and all the other economic basket cases that populate the European Onion — I mean “Union”? It partly depends on whom you believe. European financial authorities, Mead reports, “are swearing up and down that they will never, ever do anything like this again” —feeling better yet? — “and that the rest of Europe’s banks are as sound as the euro itself [thank goodness!], but that of course is exactly what they would say if they were planning to take much of your money away.”
I have been predicting the dissolution of the EU for some time. I was expecting a Hollow Men sort of ending, not with a bang but a whimper. It now looks likely that there will be a few bangs after all.
UPDATE: Reuters is now reporting that the Cypriot Parliament is postponing a vote on the levy until Monday. “Making bank depositors bear some of the cost” of the bailout — in plain English, confiscating the private property of person A by person B to pay person C — has been “taboo.” But “officials,” i.e., the unelected, unaccountable Eurocrats in Brussels, have decided there is no other way to save Cyrpus for the eurozone. But take heart: “European officials said it would not set a precedent.”
Query: just how stupid do they think we are?
Also read: Want to See a Bank Panic? Head for Cyprus