Euro crisis on hold - till after US election
Waiting for the climax: part of the human condition or just politics? Sir Ian McKellen (left) as Estragon with Roger Rees as Vladimir in Waiting
“Let’s go. Yes, let’s go. (They do not move).”
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Beckett’s 1953 play captures this moment in euro area history: a build-up to a dramatic conclusion, perhaps even the entry of the Almighty, then ... nothing happens. (we were told in May that Grexit was imminent in July the latest) Many of us expected September 2012 to be the critical moment of the euro crisis. But no. The stage set isn’t ready, the audience hasn’t finished taking its seats, and, not least, the box office hasn’t yet brought in
enough cash to pay the cast.
An interesting plot twist has been written in at the last minute, though. US election politics have entered into the calculations of the eurocracy and the political leadership. Over the summer, the White House became fixed on the notion that the most important risk to the president’s re-election would be a euro area crisis leading to a Lehman-like crash. I wouldn’t have agreed with this, had anyone asked me; not only would it be too ridiculous for the Republicans to blame Barack Obama for monetary union’s shortcomings, but the lead time between euro-crash and a palpable effect on the US economy would have stretched out beyond the November election date.
Still, on Pennsylvania Avenue, that is what they believed. So the administration’s emissaries, formal and informal, went across the pond and let it be known that the White House would be appreciative, and show its appreciation at a later date, if Europe could put off any crisis until after the beginning of November.
Thanks for the info and for the laugh, FT!