Now I don't pretend to know the detailed political intricacies of the European Union, but one thing is fairly clear to me: there political affiliation with one another is tenuous at best. The current economic downturn has long-since moved global, and things in the U.S. aren't as bad as in many eastern European countries. Unfortunately, there isn't an overriding governmental authority like here in the United States that can effectively moderate military and fiscal operations, so when Romania, Latvia, and Hungary come looking for Western Europe bailout money, caustic relations that have existed quietly suddenly boil forth, and the IMF can only do what it can with the money it is given by the Western European nations that fund it. Anyway, seriously, I am not an expert on European politics. But the infighting is noticeable and we should take the hint.
Earlier last month I argued that states' rights, mostly in regards to the Tenth Amendment, are no longer being recognized at the Federal level; but perhaps I should take a moment to recognize that the Federal Government does in fact have a purpose: it provides an overriding and unifying authority that can act on the behalf of the country in general without regard for one states' animosity for another. Mostly, what I mean is that the Federal government effectively runs the countries' interests, at home and abroad, more effectively than could be done if all 50 state governors met monthly or bi-monthly and decided things that way. Or all 50 state Treasurers. For example, if after Hurricane Katrina trashed Louisiana and Mississippi, the governors had met and the governors from the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states had said "well wah, wah, we have tornadoes all the time, or blizzards, solve your own problems, we're tired of sending our state national guards to bail water out of your flooded towns" things might have gone worse than they did (insert your own sarcastic comment here about Bush and FEMA mishandling Katrina to the point that Bush's tarnished legacy may be defined by this).
Now I am not saying the Tenth Amendment is crap, nor am I waffling on my opinion that the government, by and large, would be better served at the state level and the Federal government cannot possibly govern 300+ million people effectively anymore, but the desperate situation of Eastern Europe, coupled with Western Europe tending toward refusal to help, shows how a group of states can be best served when the will of the Union can override the individual states for the survival of all the states.
The problem the EU faces now is one of a stack of dominoes. If Hungary and Romania collapse, their homeless and unemployed will flood into Bulgaria, Greece, Slovakia, and Slovenia...which will collapse under the added weight, which will then flood migrants into Austria, Italy, Poland, and the Czech Republic. And if those collapse, well, then pretty quickly you'd have 50 million people looking to Western Europe for help.
I don't mean to frighten anyone, but things in Europe seem to be basically how they are here, with a 1.5X multiplier. In Japan, a 2.5X multiplier. In 2 years, the world is going to be a very different place than it is today.