Noted for Your Afternoon Procrastination for December 11, 2014
Afternoon Must-Read: Jared Bernstein: My Version of the Progressive Agenda Fits on a Little Bag

Afternoon Must-Read: Martin Wolf: Europe’s Lonely and Reluctant Hegemon

Martin Wolf: Europe’s Lonely and Reluctant Hegemon: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness...

...and some have greatness thrust upon ’em. Germany is now experiencing the last in full measure. So how is it faring with this eminence? Quite well, but not well enough.... Remarkably, of Europe’s large countries Germany has arguably the most stable and adult democracy. It is free of the xenophobic populism that mars the others. In Angela Merkel, it possesses an exceptionally mature and responsible leader.

Despite these triumphs, all is not well. The eurozone economy is mired in stagnation and ultra-low inflation. Yet many German policy makers resist efforts to change this for the better.... Meanwhile, to the east a revanchist Russia has destabilised a hapless Ukraine and threatens to destabilise even more of its former empire. Again, just as is the case for the economy, this challenges postwar Germany’s reflexes.

It wishes to avoid a more assertive posture but can no longer do so. The difficulty Germany finds in playing its new roles is understandable. Germany did not seek the euro. On the contrary, it was a price others foolishly asked Germans to pay for unification...