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Another Desperate Summer?

2:19 PM, May 22, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Could we be slipping into another one of those summers of Europe riding down the rails to catastrophe? A disaster that all can see coming but that none seems to have the tools or the will to prevent.

obama, afghanistan

It will not be as bad this time since Europe is not armed to the teeth and emotionally ready to fight to the death. Merely up to its eyeballs in debt – most of it anyway – with millions of its young unemployed and angry about it. (Never a good thing.) And, of course, with Germany ascendant. Whatever happens, it will be because of actions the Germans undertake. Or not.

It seems, however, increasingly unlikely that Germany will – or can – do what is necessary, or do enough, to avert financial chaos.  That, anyway, is the message coming from voices that were once confident in the durability of the Euro and the European Union. Now, not so much.

Meanwhile, we have conferences – summits, if you must – that are exercises in futility and fatuity.  The leaders of the G-8 meet at Camp David and issue a statement endorsing economic growth as the solution to Europe’s problems.

They needed to get together in Maryland to arrive at that?  They couldn’t have accomplished the same using Constant Contact and afterwards, issuing an e-release to all important press outlets?

More growth?  Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

And, then, on to Chicago for the NATO summit at which it was decided that everyone has had enough of Afghanistan and making it safe for little girls to go to school there and that it is time to end the exercise as cleanly as possible.

Again, this couldn’t have been accomplished on a conference call?

The excessive pomp surrounding these two events ratchets up a world-wide cynicism about the ability of current leadership and institutions to accomplish what they were elected and designed to do.  All the experts from the world’s exchequers cannot arrive at a solution to the problem of … Greece?  And the mightiest military coalition in history finds itself stalemated in … Afghanistan?  

Next time, please spare us the flags and photo ops. 

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