The unrest buffeting France the past three weeks has further undermined the already weakened presidency of Jacques Chirac, but he is far from alone on a continent with pressing problems and few strong leaders to tackle them.

Britain, Germany and Italy also have troubled governments, leaving the European Union in limbo as U.S. President George Bush’s administration increasingly shows interest in a cohesive Europe to help with difficult diplomatic tasks in the Middle East and elsewhere.

“The whole Western world lacks leadership at the moment,” said Guillaume Parmentier, director of the French Center on the United States. “I cannot see any leader who can seize the mantle of the EU and move it in this or that direction.”

I guess Europe is the sick man of Europe, now. This is actually a very bad thing, but I don’t see any quick remedy.