It is tempting and superficially agreeable for Americans to gloat about Europe’s troubles. After all, every time something goes wrong in American domestic or economic policy, European elites and journalists are quick to gloat and find fault. After listening to two years of stern and self righteous lectures about the ‘failure’ of the American capitalist model, many Americans who deal with the Europeans are quietly enjoying the spectacle of the smug Europeans writhing in helpless indecision and pain over the continent’s self-inflicted wounds.
But bad news for the EU is bad news for us too. Irritating as a strong EU can be, a weak and divided Europe is much worse. A peaceful, prosperous and geopolitically boring continent that exports tedious platitudes about global governance is a far better place than any other Europe we have seen in modern times and American national interests are in no way enhanced by economic and political instability in the Mediterranean -- to say nothing of Ukraine and Turkey.
Europe’s problems end up in the American in-box. The Napoleonic Wars convulsed American politics through the War of 1812. From World War One through the Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s, no great European crisis left us untouched.
It’s too soon to say where this latest euro-crisis is heading, but serious economic or political disturbances in Europe will soon affect us over here -- and not in a good way.