The average European leader probably lacks the number of brain cells required to process the sheer amount of bad news he or she currently receives on a daily basis.
This is not because they are stupid, but because there is so much dire news to digest. In the past two weeks, over 1,000 migrants have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean; there has been fresh fighting in Ukraine; and the Greek government has careened toward total bankruptcy. The European Union has responded to this torrent of crises with a mixture of big talk, half-measures and fraying tempers.
At a summit on the humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean convened last Thursday, the EU agreed to boost its naval efforts and consider military operations against people-smugglers based in Libya. But most analysts agree that, at best, these gestures will mitigate the symptoms of Libya’s endemic chaos. Only a large-scale security operation could restore a sufficient level of order in Libya to entirely halt the traffickers, who could use other routes to transport migrants toward Europe in any case.