"Gloom across Europe as crisis shadow intensifies" Financial Times
"Zeal and angst: Germany torn over role in Europe" Wall Street Journal
"AMB. JOHN BOLTON: We shouldn't rescue Europe" FOXNews.com
Thanks, Ambassador Bolton. Glad you weren't around during World War II. And I don't think the Europeans have actually asked the US to rescue them this time.
No, you wouldn't know that today really should be a day of celebration. 65 years of peace across a continent ravaged by two world wars last century. VE Day - Victory in Europe - never was much celebrated in the United States, which preferred to lump its commemoration of its dead of all wars in May's Memorial Day.
But on this side of the Atlantic, as the BBC On This Day website reminds us, Britons lost no time in celebrating the end of hostilities in Europe on May 8, 1945. They cheered PM Winston Churchill, "for he's a jolly good fellow." Didn't keep them, two months later, from voting him out of office. Gordon Brown shouldn't feel so bad.
VE Day on May 8 is a public holiday in many European countries, though at places like NATO HQ, where some of the losing countries of the war are now major players, it doesn't do to mention the war. So we have instead the celebration of the postwar peace, embodied in Europe Day, May 9, celebrating 60 years since Robert Schuman sketched out what has since become the European Union.
If only the general mood matched the upbeat Euro-phoria of the Europe Day poster gallery. It's hard to find committed Europhiles, especially in places like the British Conservative Party, which just may be poised to take over the helm of what is already a Euro-sceptic nation.
Even on the continent, the angst and gloom is general: in Greece, the epicenter of the latest financial-fiscal crisis, it has erupted into violence. Here in Brussels, a city whose name is synonymous with the EU, not even Europe can appear to help a country seemingly bent on endless separatism in a slow "death of a thousand cuts."
Too bad Europeans don't see the BIG PICTURE. Which is, 65 years of peace, the product of an alphabet soup of interlocking institutions: NATO, EU, COE, OSCE, OECD. These "supranational European bodies" might bore you to death with their endless diplo-speak of collective security, single currency, subsidiarity... but these weighty words keep the swords from being rattled. If you can't make out the Euler diagram (click on image below) of these overlapping institutions, check out this excellent Wikipedia graph.
"Jaw-jaw is better than war-war," Winston Churchill is reputed to have said. The European Union does talk to excess, at times, but 65 years of jaw-jaw is better than 6 months of war-war. Europe, count your blessings, do the necessary, and keep that stiff upper lip in the face of a little currency crisis. It's important, but seen in perspective, pales when the alternatives to collective security are considered.