MELBOURNE – If the broad post-World War II prosperity that has endured for six decades comes to an end, both the United States and Europe will be responsible. With rare exceptions, politics has become a discredited profession throughout the West. Tomorrow is always treated as more important than next week, and next week prevails over next year, with no one seeking to secure the long-term future. Now the West is paying the price.
President Barack Obama’s instincts may be an exception here, but he is fighting powerful hidebound forces in the United States, as well as a demagogic populism, in the form of the Tea Party, that is far worse – and that might defeat him in 2012, seriously damaging America in the process.