Yet Another Last-Minute Step Away From the Cliff in Europe

| Thu Feb. 9, 2012 10:59 AM EST

The financial situation in Europe keeps looking dodgier and dodgier, and yet I continue to persevere in my belief that, at the very last moment, European leaders will end up doing more or less the right thing. ("Right thing" being very broadly defined, mind you, to be anything that prevents collapse and a euro crackup.) That seems to have happened yet again today:

After days of dramatic talks, Greek political leaders reached a deal on Thursday to support a package of harsh austerity measures demanded by Greece’s financial backers in return for the country’s latest bailout.

The deal is expected to unlock the €130 billion, or $172 billion, in new loans and save Greece from a potentially disastrous default.

Not everything is coming up roses, of course. The deal still has to be approved by a variety of folks in Greece, and there's always a chance of some last-minute theatrics. It's also true that the austerity measures agreed to will make Greece's economy spiral ever downward, so while the final implosion of the euro area has been delayed, it hasn't necessarily been prevented. That's going to depend a lot on Angela Merkel, the patience of the German populace, and the future actions of the European Central Bank.

But for now, collapse has been averted at the last minute. As usual. Whatever happens in the future, I think we can expect that this is when collapse is always going to be averted.