Despite being a news report, Erlanger comes across much more as an editorialist with a point of view that he wants to convey but for which he doesn't really have many facts to support. The second paragraph is a model of tentativeness and aversion to being held accountable for any possibly offensive facts or evidence. Emphasis added:
But with its handling of Greece’s bailout package, Germany is at risk of losing that trust, some European analysts say. By taking what sounded to many as an aggressive, punishing, contemptuous tone toward Greece, the German leadership may have undercut its moral authority, they say. And by floating the notion that Greece might be better off leaving the common currency, Germany displayed its national interest more nakedly than in the past and made it clear there are limits to its willingness to put European unity first.May, might, nameless sources, they say; what a load of waffling bilge.
The problem, it appears, is that Erlanger wants to make the editorial argument that most people regard Germany as being irresponsible for not letting the Greeks throw away money provided by hardworking Germans. More fundamentally, what the article is complaining about is that since the formation of the EU, German productivity has underwritten fanciful spending in many EU countries and they have now decided to quit being the patsy. Without someone else's money (Germany's) there are many EU leaders who all of sudden are going to have to govern within the financial limits of their country, a sad outcome which they are trying to avoid by shaming Germany to keep on funding everyone else's holiday from reality.
Erlanger is stymied because, while he can find a few bankrupt politicians who are making a lot of noise about Germany's stinginess, most everyone else with a brain and/or a moral compass understand Germany's predicament and reluctance to continue as Europe's banker for the spendthrift.
Germany was hardly alone. In its tough stance toward Greece, it had support from northern European countries like the Netherlands and Finland, and the newer countries of central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Even the French and Italians, who fought to keep Greece in the eurozone, were reluctant to push too hard, given the behavior of Syriza, Mr. Tsipras’s political party.Merkel has to mind the German store and make sure that its productivity and prosperity continue to grow while at the same time ensuring that the many other EU countries who do not share Germany's work ethic, self-discipline, and financial rectitude do not keep coming back to the Germans like an EU ATM.
All those committed to the socialist dream of unending prosperity without striving, self-discipline, oh-so regrettable trade-off decisions, and financial rectitude, are gravely frightened of this new Germany. Without German money, the dream comes to an end and the postmodernists may end up having to acknowledge the benefits of middle-class values and traditional Western values, and worse yet may have to begin making trade-off decisions from which they were shielded by that nice German money.
It is hard to work up much sympathy when the ne'er-do-well mugger begins to complain about their victims standing up for themselves.