The U.S. Has Lagarde's Back

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

If the image of Europe is blurred from a European perspective, the picture is clear for the rest of the world, which easily recognizes Europe’s uniqueness. In my travels around the world—my past experience as chairman of Baker & McKenzie offered me, in this respect, more occasions than I would have wanted—I have always been struck by the fact that European countries and people are naturally perceived as having this something in common that sets them apart and makes them different from other parts of the world. Ask an American, a Chinese, or an African what is Europe and their response will certainly be more clear-cut than if you ask a Spanish, British, or French citizen. They will mention human rights, the welfare state, freedom of expression and culture, civilization, and probably history.

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