Many people, especially conservatives, point to Germany as a shining example of austere success--but the country's present success is superficial.
Nouriel Roubini writes an article on the cost of delaying an inevitable Eurozone breakup; but what really caught my eye was a reader comment that I think describes Germany's situation very well:
Germany's strength is both intrinsic and extrinsic. The extrinsic part is a consequence of being able to export without currency appreciation. This is a consequence of the less industrially competitive components of the eurozone. It has allowed Germany and some others to increase their intrinsic strengths.
It is therefore fair to say that German unemployment is in Greece and Spain and burdens the exchequer of each of these 'peripherals'. An intelligent and fully integrated system would have balanced this better. Perhaps the example of Italy with it's 'Germanic' north and 'Greek' south is an unwelcome one.
If the euro is too break up, there is no bright future for Germany as the core of a northern fortress. That is the road to decline.