The furor in Greece looks like what a British prime minister once called “a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.”

That prime minister was Neville Chamberlain, and the far-away country was Czechoslovakia. The quarrel was with Adolf Hitler over Germany’s claim to the Sudetenland. A year later, Hitler, unappeased despite Chamberlain’s efforts, invaded Poland. Twenty-seven months later, the United States entered World War II.

Moral: Quarrels in far-away countries, particularly European countries, are worth paying attention to.

The European Union was supposed to end Europe’s historic fractiousness, tying historic rivals into one big happy economic unit. How can you go to war with a country where you take your holiday? It worked pretty well as economies expanded, but the world financial crisis of 2008 exposed a significant flaw: There was a common currency but no central bank. So while the sovereign debt of any member nation remained that nation’s problem, the economies of all the member nations were so intertwined that the problems wouldn’t stay confined.

So last weekend, President Barack Obama hosted the leaders of the G-8 nations at Camp David with the unofficial agenda of leaning on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back the issuance of “euro bonds” to offset the worst effects of austerity and recession by stimulating spending.

Odd that the president would have more success preaching stimulus to Europeans than he does to Republicans. Like the British under Prime Minister David Cameron and the French under the recently deposed President Nicolas Sarkozy, the GOP is convinced that pure austerity is the way to growth. It’s not likely to work here any better than it’s working there.