The first question about an Obama second term is whether he will be able to preserve U.S. interests in the continuing turmoil of the Middle East. But a second is whether his implicit calculation that the autocracies of Russia and China will remain stable for another five years will prove accurate.
It is tempting to say there will be no major change in Moscow’s foreign policy. However, each of the three previous four-year presidential terms – two of Putin and one Medvedev’s – has been marked by a different policy toward the West.
Chancellor Merkel knows perfectly well that possible EU reforms are profoundly important political issues, and hugely controversial. But she has decided that only with fundamental reforms can European monetary union survive.
Soviet disintegration was perceived as unthinkable in 1985 and declared to have been inevitable in 1995. This leap from the ‘unthinkable’ to the ‘inevitable’ makes it a useful footnote to the current discussions on the future of Europe.