Mark Steyn‘s latest “Happy Warrior” column in National Review puts the current European economic crisis in historical perspective.

The European Union is, philosophically, a 1970s solution to a 1940s problem. Except that, in one of those jests the gods are fond of, it seems to be delivering the Continent into the very situation is was explicitly designed to prevent. The ‘tween-wars fascists sold themselves to their peoples by telling them that the world was run by a cabal of sinister foreign bankers. When the neo-nationalist Golden Dawn and the hard-left Syriza parties both reprised this line to such great effect in the recent Greek election, it had the additional merit, as Nixon liked to say, of being true. The euro has made the age-old conspiracy theories real: If you’re a Greek, your world is run by a cabal of sinister foreign bankers — the Germans and the other “northern Europeans” who control the European Central Bank, plus their chums at the IMF.

It requires a perverse genius to invent a mechanism designed to consign the horrors of the mid-20th century to the trash can of history that winds up delivering you to Mitteleuropa circa 1934. Sometimes the road forward leads you right back where you started. While Eurocrats still peddle the standard line about the EU acting as a restraint on the Teutonic urge to regional domination, the British defense secretary recently demanded that it was time for Germany, as the wealthiest nation on the Continent, to step up to its responsibilities and increase military spending.