The American Interest

The Eurozone: Time for a Divorce

The events of recent months present the eurozone as a dysfunctional bourgeois family, the latter-day Buddenbrooks morphing into Karamazovs.  At the plot’s core is the loveless marriage of two incompatible, increasingly embittered partners.  Teutonius is a rich yet parsimonious workaholic who abhors mortgages and long holidays.  His much younger spouse, Meridiana, has inherited all the stereotypical traits of her Greek, Iberian, Italian, and Irish ancestors.  He accuses her of marrying him only for money, of maxing out their credit cards and depleting her 401(k), all of which is true.  She retorts that he knew full well what he was getting into but did it all the same because he is a control freak who had always wanted to dominate her, and has finally succeeded in doing so by luring her into the matrimonial trap.  She may be right, too.

There is an array of minor relatives.  A few side with the paterfamilias, while the rest try to stay out of his way by sticking to the servants’ quarters.  Then there is Aunt Marianne, well past her prime but pretending otherwise.  Her heart is with Meridiana, but she fears Teutonius and feigns being his reliable partner.  Outside the household there is Uncle Albion, who has seen better days but is nevertheless thankful to his lucky stars for deciding not to move in with the rest of the family while the going was still good.

A dispassionate marriage...

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