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Buyer's Remorse: the European Union and the Grexit
Ernest Hemingway once boasted that he could tell a story in six words: "For sale:baby shoes, never worn." Nonetheless, I'm not impressed; ask me to summarize somethingas vast as the global whole of the 20th Century, and I think I can do him four better:Europe fought. 100 years, eight Popes, and two world wars all boiled down to just05those words. Europe. Fought.Such a volatile connected history makes it all the more fascinating that the entiretyof the combative continent was able to redress its respective grievances, apply thesalve to decades-old festering wounds, shuck off fervent nationalism, and join togetherin marital bliss as a veritable European Union.10But the honeymoon—as honeymoons are wont to do—has ended. The initial endorphinrush of uniting toward a greater purpose has long passed, and all of Europe nowfinds itself in something very much like international relationship counseling. "He can'tmanage our finances," Germany bemoans as the reluctant breadwinner. "She refuses tohelp now that I need her most," Greece exclaims. "Listen to you two! You have no idea of15the sordid sort of things that we've seen!" the rest of the continent marvels, obliged toplay a role somewhere between character witness and neutral arbiter in this geopoliticallovers' quarrel. Yet, as the saying goes, "breaking up is hard to do." Now that all lowhangingfruit romantic metaphors have been exhausted, at that crossroads is where wenow find ourselves.20Tomorrow, Greece will go before its creditors to learn its fate: either the rest ofEurope (read: Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel) will extend a ￡1.5 billion loanto the Greeks so that they might pay off a previous International Monetary Fund float,or this idyllic Mediterranean Titan of yore will finally meet its end, defaulting on itsdebt and hopping the next train toward the ghost town called European Banishment.25Such an exit (dubbed Grexit by the media, in their eminent wit) might well be thefirst domino to fall in a series of developments that could destabilize the region andthreaten the validity and vitality of the E.U. henceforth.Consequential possibilities abound. For one, should Greece receive said fundingand be permitted to remain, at what point does Germany tire of paying child support?30The natural conclusion to that fatigue in Berlin would be a harried rummaging throughthe attic in search of leftover Deutsche marks, desperate to replace the Euro andnostalgic for the autonomy of yesteryear when currency was their own and not someperverted fiscal tragedy of the commons. Moreover, the precedent is set for furtherdisqualification with a Grexit perhaps Spain, Portugal, Ireland, or Italy might be the35next one left without a chair when the music stops, resigned to their fate as wallflowerson the outside looking in.Yet, perhaps the most troublesome possibility is that an isolated Greece would be animpressionable Greece—desperate both for allies and access to their coffers. CurrentGreek optimistic sentiment is that Russia might don its shining armor and rescue the40fledgling castaways with a godsend of a loan. But, given Putin's recent sleight of handin Crimea, any such lending may not be so much an act of charity as a Trojan Horse;Vladimir's Kremlin friends are a crafty bunch, and their endgame is opaque. Alas,such is the problem with deciphering ulterior motives: they often aren't clear until thehistory books go to print. The trillion dollar question is, when the ink dries, will the45E.U. be listed in the chapters of current events? Or, will it be relegated to the annals ofacademia, its skeleton but a diplomatic case study of oil and water, its ashes little morethan a Kennedy School lecture on the perils of collaboration between square pegs andround holes?
1. What is the overall point of the passage?
2. What is the purpose of paragraph 1 with respect to the passage as a whole?
3. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
4. In paragraph 3 (lines 10-19), what primary purpose does the personification of the countries serve?
5. As used in line 16, "arbiter" most nearly means
6. With which of these statements would the author most likely agree?
7. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
8. Lines 25-27 ("Such . . . henceforth.") primarily suggest that the author believes that a Greek exit from the European Union
9. As used in line 33, "perverted" most nearly means
10. Which of the following would most accurately paraphrase lines 44-48 ("The trillion . . . holes")?
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