Foreign Policy Blogs

How hope and fear define Americans & Europeans

Is Europe suffering from a hope-defict? Dominique Moisi a visiting professor at Harvard thinks so and he outlines (in the Brussels beltway premier Newspaper the European Voice) that this may delay Europe’s revovery from economic crisis. Citizens of the US, on the other hand, he believes suffer from an excess of individual fear of how the crisis will affect them (unemployment without benefits, sickness without healthcare). And he makes the point that we can each learn from each other. Europe can rouse ourselves from our “collective morosis” and learn  from the hope, optomism and sense of personal destiny of Americans. The US, on the other hand can learn from the social protections of Europe which enable a fairer society and a reduction of fear in citizens, the US must not maintain “a people armed to the teeth with guns yet entirely disarmed in the face of illness”.

It is a very thought-provoking Article and the author concludes that Europe will have a harder job of inculcating hope in its citizens than the US will in lessening its citizen’s fear. However, this, I belive underestimates the level of resistance within the political system. It’s often said that the US decentralised and fragmented political system comes up with the most innovative and often the best solutions to political problems, which it then resists like hell due to that same fragmented system, then often leaving Europe to steal and lead on these ideas. Will European politics now follow America’s lead and sew hope in its citizens? And will the US politcal system resist Obama’s healthcare proposals to death? In any case, it reminds us how much the US and Europe still have to learn from each other.

geoHope needs to go to Europe! (with thanks to image from



David Garrahy

David Garrahy works in Brussels monitoring European Union activites. He is originally from Ireland and studied a Degree in Law & European Studies at the University of Limerick before earning a Masters in Globalisation at Dublin City Universty. Previously he has worked in the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission and as a Legislative Aide for an Irish Senator. His involvement in the EU has included working for the Irish Forum on Europe and campaigning in Referenda in favour of the Nice & Lisbon Treaties.

Area of Focus
Europe; Globalisation; European Comission.


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