Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Hartcher harps on the age-old theme of Western decline. The West is sinking into irrelevance and senescence sooner than expected, he argues. Meanwhile, across the ocean, John Bolton (U.S. ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush) says the West might be doing fine after all--and for the oddest of reasons.

While observers of international politics wring their hand over the Greek crisis and its potential to wreak havoc upon the European Union and the euro, John Bolton thinks European disarray is great news. Why? He insists EU strength weakens NATO, which he regards as the real structure of Western power. Thus, the weakening of the EU, while seemingly bad for Europe, will actually strengthen the West as a whole. A sample of his unapologetically America-centric but undeniably interesting reasoning:

For years, the EU's common foreign and security policy, and particularly the prospects of a robust EU military capability, have constituted a dagger aimed at NATO's heart ... the United States has no interest in seeing EU, weak or strong, grow militarily separate from NATO.

Thus, the collapse or at least the decline of intra-EU political cooperation, facilitated by the corrosion of trust inherent in the EU financial crisis, inevitably will affect the common foreign and security policy... If so, the United States and its European friends who believe in popular sovereignty, limited government and Atlanticism can only rejoice. The EU may be weaker, but the West as a whole will be stronger.