Night Thoughts on Europe

Europe’s problems go far beyond deflating currency and rising debt. It suffers from a lack of will, a crisis of confidence—and a serious identity problem. The once-great superpower has already fallen. Centuries of predominance slip away.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2011

IN 1849, the year of the “spring of nations,” a peace congress took place in Paris. The main address given by Victor Hugo, the most famous author of the time, announced that

A day will come when you, France—you, Russia—you, Italy—you, England—you, Germany—all of you, nations of the Continent, will, without losing your distinctive qualities and your glorious individuality, be blended into a superior unity, and constitute an European fraternity. . . . A day will come when bullets and bombshells will be replaced by votes, by the universal suffrage of nations, by the venerable arbitration of a great Sovereign Senate, which will be to Europe what the Parliament is to England, what the Diet is to Germany, what the Legislative Assembly is to France.

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