This is from the current issue of The Economist and although I am not sure what brought it on it claims that the French are not only having political and economic problems, but are in the middle of a self-esteem crisis. Given the little I know about the French, this does not surprise me. But note the military cooperation the US is getting from the French on the Island of Djibouti, France’s largest overseas base. And note this equally pessimistic article about Germany. Schroeder’s government is off to a terrible start, and his support has taken a nosedive since his re-election. Robert Samuelson thinks that the German economy is in such bad shape that he calls Germany "the sick man of Europe;" that appelation used to be reserved for Turkey. Maybe such matters are worth considering when Dubya finds himself in the middle of Europe next week. It is being reported that he will not have a private meeting with Schroeder .