PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE compares the United States and the European Union and suggests that Timothy Garton Ash is overstating the case for E.U. primacy. “If Ash were right, and the EU really were equal in power to the US, I would argue that that would be cause for great concern. I’m not convinced that the EU is a force for good within its own borders, let alone in the wider world, where appeasement and coddling of dictators seems to be the order of the day. The good news therefore is that the EU is not equal to the US in power. The even better news is that the trendlines are in our favor; not theirs.”

I’m concerned not about power balances as such, but about cultural issues. Even phenomena that some Americans like to make fun of — such as the sitzpinkler phenomenon — are unfortunate in themselves, and are likely to produce a rebound that is even less fortunate.