Once you pay the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane, goes the saying. It’s appropriate that this European saying, originating in an ancient attempt to buy off (Danish) Vikings—which, of course, kept the Vikings coming—is being demonstrated today in Europe.
In the aftermath of the European Union’s massive bailout of the Greeks on the backs of European taxpayers and banks, EU leadership is going hat in hand to China asking for funding for the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF). China is insisting, though, on far more than just the usual concrete guarantees of a decent return that any investor will demand of a potential business partner who is unreliable. China is demanding a muzzle on European speech. If China agrees to participate, apparently, the EU must, in return, abjectly surrender its right to criticize Chinese manipulative monetary policy.
It remains to be seen whether the EU will knuckle under on this. However, their respect for free speech never has been strong. Just ask Geert Wilders, the Dutch Parliamentarian who was hailed into court over a four-year period for the heinous crime of criticizing Muslims, and in the height of irony, banned for several months from entry into Great Britain, his presence representing a “threat to one of the fundamental interests of [British] society.”
The Chinese are demonstrating yet another price, an unintended price, of bail outs. And what price will they demand next?