Hey, remember when the euro was going to bring Europe together?

Built from the ruins of war and expanded generously in the euphoria after the Soviet collapse, the European Union heralded itself as a model, radiating “soft power.” But now the model looks tarnished and flawed.

Leaders seem diminished; local politics trump solidarity. There is a new nationalism degrading the collective responsibility and shared sovereignty that defines the European Union. Euro-skepticism runs from far-right parties that simultaneously detest immigrants, globalism and Brussels to the governing parties of Europe’s most successful countries.

A European Union of 15 nations seemed coherent and manageable; the Europe of 27, soon to be 28, is almost ungovernable, even by a professional bureaucracy with little connection to voters and whose decisions cause increasing resentment, summarized in the “democratic deficit” that the European Union suffers.

The historical ironies are considerable.