September 14th, 2011
09:07 PM ET

Zakaria: Only China can save Europe

I've written a column in The Washington Post about Europe's debt crisis where I argue that the true scale of the crisis is so large that neither Germany nor all of Europe can handle it on their own. A more drastic solution is necessary. Here's an excerpt:

Today, $10 trillion of foreign exchange reserves are sitting around across the globe. That is the only pile of money large enough from which a bazooka could be fashioned. The International Monetary Fund could go to the leading holders of such reserves — China, Japan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia — and ask for a $750 billion line of credit. The IMF would then extend that credit to Italy and Spain but insist on closely monitoring economic reforms, granting funds only as restructuring occurs. That credit line would more than cover the borrowing costs of both countries for two years. The IMF terms would ensure that Italy and Spain remained under pressure to reform and set up conditions for growth....

The time has come for China to adopt a broader concept of its interests and become a “responsible stakeholder” in the global system. The European crisis will quickly morph into a global one, possibly a second global recession. And a second recession would be worse because governments no longer have any monetary or fiscal tools. China would lose greatly in such a scenario because its consumers in Europe and America would stop spending.

Of course, China would have to get something in return for its generosity. This could be the spur to giving China a much larger say at the IMF. In fact, it might be necessary to make clear that Christine Lagarde would be the last non-Chinese head of the organization.

Read the rest of the op-ed over in The Washington Post.

Post by:
Topics: China • Debt Crisis • Economy • Emerging Powers • Europe • From Fareed

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