How did the German stock market do under Hitler?

Who knows? Who cares? I doubt that Hitler did, at least not to the point that stock prices affected his foreign and military policy. And if ordinary Germans cared, it didn’t matter.

The Obama administration touts a recent drop in the Russian stock market (which, by the way, began before the U.S. imposed sanctions). For example, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken notes that Russia’s financial markets are down 22 percent since the first of the year. In addition, he argues that the annexation of Crimea will be a dead weight on Russia because it will need to pour billions of dollars into its new acquisition.

Team Obama fails to grasp the power of nationalism and the importance of national pride. The oversight is understandable since the modern American liberal is long on interest in stock markets and short on a sense of nationalism and, in many cases, national pride.

But we should not impute American leftist priorities to ordinary Russians. And if my example of Nazi Germany seems too extreme, consider a more modern German example.

The reunification of Germany was a huge drag on the German economy. Blinken may be right to view Crimea as dead weight for Russia, but compared to East Germany it is a feather.

Yet Germany proceeded with reunification undeterred by concerns about its economic impact. Why would we expect Putin to proceed differently?

To the extent that Russia is paying an economic price for its aggression, I am happy. And the more of an economic price it pays, the happier I will be.

But if we want to deal Putin a setback that will mean something to him, we will have to deal him a military or a serious geopolitical setback, not just an economic one. Syria strikes me as a good candidate.

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