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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Towards a Protean Europe

Europe is super engrossing right now. The headlines are all about their faltering currency and banks, which some think will affect us in the States (it won't).

But they are doing something interesting. They are meeting frequently. Their political leaders are stepping outside of the moribund EU bureaucracy in Brussels and making decisions 'on the fly.'

Could this be the future of power politics? Speed? Surprise?

The EU is attacked constantly today by the Market, by investors, and so on for being too slow.

That may have been true initially but politics has now caught up with economics and surpassed them (take that Marx!). Surprise fixes coming out every month or so from Europe's Central banks (their Federal reserve). New treaties or treaty proposals often too. Arriving so fast now that the markets have been stunned into submission (Yields have been falling lately on the bonds of the PIIGS).

Sometimes Europe even provokes the Markets into falling and complaining by later reneging on their deals or agreements. Merkel loves to douse their high expectations. What a game!

This sort of protean politics is a new historical phenomenon. Yes, it has no substance. There is no institutional arrangement for it; no super Council of EU Presidents. And no final agreement has actually been penned. It is mostly just monthly statements made to a slavish press corps. But it works.

And they are getting better at it.

Such a continual 'politics of surprise' will be more nimble and agile than anything yet seen on political earth.  

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