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The Perils of Europe’s Navel Gazing

MADRID – While the world anxiously awaits the climax of the eurozone drama, its leaders’ behavior resembles the political equivalent of what physicists call “Brownian motion,” with officials bouncing randomly from one crucial bilateral consultation and vital European summit to the next. The impact of make-or-break declarations that are supposed to solve the monetary union’s problems dissipates almost as soon as they are issued.

Meanwhile, a plethora of diagnoses and prescriptions are competing for attention – and in their gloominess. But their overwhelming focus on the economics of the euro crisis is itself part of the problem because the crisis is, above all, a reflection of deep-seated weaknesses in European institutions and the fabric of European society. Otherwise, what began as a marginal debt crisis, aggravated by political indecisiveness in Greece and in the European Union as a whole, would not have grown into an existential watershed moment for the European project.