Your recent editorial on European elections states that "the real lesson to be drawn from the rise ofFrance's Francois Hollande and others is that many in Europe are fed up with austerity measures" ("Rejecting austerity," May 9).
Contrary to that assertion, the real lesson to be drawn from the European debt crisis is that a country cannot afford to be so deeply in debt that its prospective creditors are in a position to demand onerous loan covenants that are politically untenable. It remains to be seen which side (the creditor nations, e.g. Germany, or the debtor nations, e.g. Greece, Italy or Spain) blinks first. Americans may, indeed, be "perfectly capable of mustering a substantial anti-austerity reaction," but if the Chinese and Saudis demand austerity to continue to finance our ever-expanding debt, will the United States be in a position to say, "We don't need your stinkin' money"?