An Epic Failure
Washington failed in Europe. Big time.
Walter Russell Mead makes a lot of sense here:
More to the point, we need policy discussions more than we need political ones. This is not just about how big the deficit should be; it is about whether the international financial system will survive the next six months in the form we now know it. It is about whether the foundations of the postwar order are cracking in Europe. It is about whether a global financial crash will further destabilize the Middle East and, if so, what we and the Europeans are going to do about it. It is about whether the incipient signs of a bubble burst in China signal the start of an extended economic and perhaps even political crisis there. It is about whether the American middle class is about to be knocked off its feet once again and indeed whether the middle class as we’ve known it will survive. It is about whether sovereign governments can still underwrite economic performance and financial stability in the leading economies of the world.
What's been fascinating to me about the entire collapse of the Eurozone is how it has underscored both how important Europe remains to the U.S. in an economic sense and simultaneously how utterly impotent Washington is in addressing what is a clearly "vital" interest in European economic stability and growth. All the billions we have spent in establishing a military foothold in Europe and the great effort to sustain an enduring role in European security issues, and for what? Now at the moment of actual peril, of real threaten-the-well-being-of-ordinary-Americans type issues, and Washington has nothing to offer and doesn't even have a receptive ear to what solutions it can cough up.
Incidentally, if you want to track the depressing news of the budding European depression, check out our Eurozone page.