Monday, February 13, 2012

Europe: Progress Continues. A Lesson for Us?

The Lehmann Letter (SM)

Today’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal carried stories on Europe’s attempt to resolve the Greek debt crisis and save the euro:

Summary: Solid progress, but difficulties remain.

This letter has been optimistic on Europe’s prospects and eventual success in resolving these issues: Europe will emerge stronger and more closely knit.

Why? Because Europe has made a concerted effort since WWII to strike out on a new path: One that puts the old divisions behind it and faces the future as a unified continent, economy and society. Progress has been halting and discontinuous when viewed in the time frame of a human life. But progress has proceeded with breath-taking speed when viewed in historical time. After centuries of war and strife, Europe established a common market and a currency union and is now establishing a common economic policy. Eventually Europe will have a common foreign policy, a common military, a common system of justice and many other accoutrements of sovereignty. A United States of Europe? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we’re finding agreement more elusive and difficult. In the 20th century a Great Depression forced an ideological shift. In the 19th century a Civil War settled the slavery issue. Why is it so difficult for us to find common ground?

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© 2012 Michael B. Lehmann

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