To Hope or Not to Hope

In back to back editorials today the New York Times seems conflicted. In the first, "Greece on the Brink," the editors state:

It is late but, we hope, not too late to avert a full meltdown. Europes leaders need to renegotiate the pending Greek bailout deal to emphasize reform and growth over unremitting austerity and offer other bailout applicants the same approach. If they want any of the money lent to Greece paid back, Athens needs room to grow and earn.

In the second, "Whistling in Cannes," they turn more pessimistic:

The European debt crisis is not the only threat to the global economy, which is already slowing perilously. When leaders of the worlds 20 big emerging economies meet in Cannes, France, on Thursday and Friday, they should agree on an agenda to boost growth. We dont hold out much hope.

Their quandary reflects the mood captured in a related (and I think helpful) article on Italy in the same paper:

At home and abroad, there is a growing feeling that a tidal wave is coming and that Italian politicians are squabbling over sand castles.

The article quotes the view of the editor of Italy's most respected newspaper:

A country adrift. This is the impression that we give to Europe and to the markets that continue to punish us, wrote Ferruccio de Bortoli, editor in chief of Corriere della Sera, in a front-page editorial on Wednesday that took both the government and the opposition to task for putting internal political calculations ahead of the national good.

"A Country Adrift:" sounds like it would make a good title for a book.

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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