Today Washington at least is strongly opposed to austerity, to guarding against moral hazard as job #1, to deflation, and to worrying too much about confidence in the currency. When Undersecretary of the Treasury Lael Brainard speaks, she calls for pro-growth policies and symmetric adjustment in Europe. When Tim Geithner speaks, he tells the Europeans to be more aggressive in leveraging up their recovery and rebuilding funds and spending them than he dared to do himself in 2009 and 2010.
... by the last year of the War in Europe intractable circumstances were dictating the decisions of the leadership in American and Britain. In both countries, that leadership was worn out. Roosevelt had been President since 1933, living in a constant state of crisis for almost twelve years without respite, confronted very day by fearful dilemmas, by decisions almost beyond mortal capacity to make. He was like a soldier who has been in battle continuously for months without relief. At last he had reached the point where he simply trusted to a sort of native virtuosity to get him through from day to day, from hour to hour.
Those who saw President Roosevelt in the last year knew that he was near death. He could no longer comprehend the vast scene of action over which he presided. He could no longer read the papers that were put before him. The last time he addressed Congress he was no longer able to stand his feet for the occasion but addressed it sitting down. All the flesh had gone out of his face, and he looked so ghastly that the press-photographers had to be kept at a distance. Then a blood-vessel burst in his brain, and he was dead.
... [Churchill], too, was reduced to the point where he put his name to documents that he had read without understanding, and that he did not believe in. 
 For example, both Roosevelt and Churchill, at the Quebec Conference of September 1944, approved the so-called "Morgenthau Plan" for the postwar dismemberment of Germany and its conversion "into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." When Roosevelt returned to Washington, Secretary of War Stimson read out loud to him some of the sentences in the document that he and the Prime Minister had initialed. The President, Stimson later wrote in his diary, "was frankly staggered by this and said he had no idea how he could have initialed this...." (Stimson and Bundy, p. 581.)
At the end of World War II, Germany nominally owed almost 40% of its 1938 GDP in short-term clearing debt to Europe. Not entirely unlike the ECB's Target-2 clearing mechanism, this system had been set up at Germany's central bank, the Reichsbank, as a mere clearing device. But during World War II, almost all of Germany's trade deficits with Europe were financed through this system, just as most of Southern Europe's payments deficits towards Germany since 2008 have been financed through Target-2. Incidentally, the amount now is the same, fast approaching 40% of German GDP. Just the signs are reversed. Bad karma, that, isn't it....
What happened to this debt after World War II? Here is where the Marshall Plan comes in. Recipients of Marshall Aid were (politely) asked to sign a waiver that made U.S. Marshall Aid a first charge on Germany. No claims against Germany could be brought unless the Germans had fully repaid Marshall Aid. This meant that by 1947, all foreign claims on Germany were blocked, including the 90% of 1938 GDP in wartime clearing debt.
Currency reform in 1948—the U.S. Army put an occupation currency into circulation, and gave it the neutral name of Deutsche Mark, as no emitting authority existed yet—wiped out domestic public debt, the largest part of the 300% of 1938 GDP mentioned above.
But given that Germany's debt was blocked, the countries of Europe would not trade with post-war Germany except on a barter basis. Also to mitigate this, Europe was temporarily taken out of the Bretton Woods currency system and put together in a multilateral trade and clearing agreement dubbed the European Payments Union. Trade credit within this clearing system was underwritten by, again, the Marshall Plan.
In 1953, the London Agreement on German Debt perpetuated these arrangements, and thus waterproofed them for the days when Marshall Aid would be repaid and the European Payments Union would be dissolved. German pre-1933 debt was to be repaid at much reduced interest rates, while settlement of post-1933 debts was postponed to a reparations conference to be held after a future German unification. No such conference has been held after the reunification of 1990. The German position is that these debts have ceased to exist.
Europe tended to be somewhat different. War tended to be short-term bloodier for the elites--more decisive and more costly battles, as stressed by Victor Davis Hanson in his absolutely superb The Western Way of War. And decisive defeat tended to be much more likely to be catastrophic not just for military-political elites but for the agrarian and mercantile populations they ruled.
'Neoconservative' is a misnomer. They have nothing in common with those striving to guarantee the established order. They reject just about all the attributes of political conservatism as it is understood in Europe. One of them, Francis Fukuyama, who became famous from his book on The End of History, insists: "In no way do the neoconservatives want to defend the order of things such as they are, i.e. founded on hierarchy, tradition and a pessimistic view of human nature" (Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2002).
ennui.bz: [N]ot only is there a WESTERN way of way of war but that it derives from the grand source of WESTERN civilization, the ancient greeks.
[N]ot only is there a WESTERN way of way of war but that it derives from the grand source of WESTERN civilization, the ancient greeks.
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