In the November/December 2004 issue of Foreign Policy, Ulrich Beck reviews Frank Schirrmacher’s “Das Methusalem-Komplott” (The Methuselah Conspiracy). He begins his review saying, “Germany, it must be said, no longer exists. Nor does France, Spain, Italy, or even Britain. After 50 years of Europeanization, of interfusing and intertwining, no corner of Europe is untouched by Brussels, and no return to the nation-state is possible.”

If this is true, it may point a way out of 1,500 years of ethnic-national violence in Europe. I do not know. It may not. But even so, when I read it, it made me a bit sad. What made Europe so exciting to me as an American was its compartmentalization. Our trip this summer introduced us to a changed Europe. Seeing it again was like meeting an old girlfriend. “Man,” you think later, “Time was not kind to her” and you look over at your wife with relief.

That was my gut-reaction. I hope that this “new Europe” is an opportunity, although I found it hard to see Europe as a union.