America’s European moment

Published on 4 January 2013 at 12:43


“America turns European”, jokes The Economist on a cover featuring US President Barack Obama and the Republican House Speaker John Boehner dressed as a Frenchman and German respectively. “For the past three years America’s leaders have looked on Europe’s management of the euro crisis with barely disguised contempt,” observes the British weekly, comparing the 11th hour US deal to dodge the “fiscal cliff”, with Europe’s handling of the euro crisis.

Washington shows a “pattern of dysfunction [that] is disturbingly similar to the euro zone’s”, says The Economist. Both the US and EU seem unable to move beyond short term fixes usually negotiated well after midnight, it adds, and points to the oversized influence of some individuals or groups in negotiating the final deals. The newspapers also criticises the US and Europe for failing to be honest with voters, saying –

Just as Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande have avoided coming clean to the Germans and the French about what it will take to save the single currency, so neither Mr Obama nor the Republican leaders have been brave enough to tell Americans what it will really take to fix the fiscal mess. […] As it has failed to deal with the single currency, Europe’s standing has crumbled in the world. Why should developing countries trust American leadership, when it seems incapable of solving anything at home? And while the West’s foremost democracy stays paralysed, China is making decisions and forging ahead.

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