The dramatic events of the last 36 hours in Europe may represent a historic turning point — or they may not. A couple of things seem clear: the latest agreement has neither saved the euro nor resolved the standoff between Germany and France, and British diplomacy seriously miscalculated the political mood among its partners.As for the euro question, we must give the markets a few days to sift through the agreements, and wait to see what the European Central Bank does to stave off what could still be a very dangerous financial panic in one or more of the weak economies. The downgrade of four leading French banks — despite the assurances from yet another suspect “stress test” that there was nothing to see here, folks, please move along quietly — suggests that the financial fireworks are not over yet.The debate between Germany and France will now move into a period of trench warfare as bureaucrats produce dueling drafts of the intergovernmental treaties that will, if all goes well, lay out the new financial governance of the EU minus Britain. It is much too soon to tell how this comes out; both sides still seem determined to build a European monetary system in their own image. Germany has the money; France has the political support and the possibility of an unstoppable financial meltdown could give Germany the alternatives of accepting a mass bailout or watching the eurozone collapse. We shall see.The commentariat will no doubt be gravely weighing in this weekend to explain what has happened. At VM, we are going to wait a few more days to let the dust settle. The new European system works the way the US health care law does: there’s really no way of knowing what is in this deal or what it means until the various levers and wheels get into motion and we can see how they interact. If the euro meltdown resumes and the ECB does not step in as the buyer of last resort for indebted countries, the entire agreement could fall apart and the new treaties might never be ratified or even written.That seems unlikely, but so many unlikely things have happened in Europe during the last two years that it is hard to predict just how its institutions and leaders will behave.Another possibility that will likely play out over a longer time: we need to remember that the austerity programs for the southern rim are unlikely to work very well in some or perhaps even all countries. It is not at all clear how long the consensus to stick with austerity can last — and not just in Greece. Opposition to the new order could manifest either in a refusal to ratify the new treaties or, even more likely, a passive refusal to enforce them when ratified. Many countries don’t observe European laws very zealously as it is; accounting is a marvelous and complex science and between national, provincial and local capital and expenditure budgets on the one hand, and national companies and autonomous quasi-statal enterprises on the other, there will likely be a lot of wiggle room in any treaty drafts that leave Brussels. Will Europe adopt (and enforce) standards for measuring unfunded pension liabilities and off the books state loans and contingent liabilities? Forcing Italy and Greece into Teutonic budgetary discipline will be a little bit like nailing jello to the wall. Via Meadia awaits the results with interest.As more details emerge, markets weigh their responses, and Europe’s leaders unveil their strategies for the next stage of negotiations, VM will do its best to figure out just what the Europeans have agreed to do, how likely they are to get it done, and how effective their efforts are likely to be.We will also be watching the fallout in Britain. Viewed from one angle, this is the biggest debacle in British foreign policy since Suez. The new Europe seems likely, if in fact it consolidates, to build a financial system that consigns London to the outer darkness, meaning that Cameron’s veto will have failed to protect the interests for whose sake he wielded it. But it is still a little too soon to pronounce on what all this means, and there may be additional points in the tortuous negotiations ahead where Britain can retrieve its position. But it is hard for now to avoid the impression that Britain has yet again failed diplomatically in Europe; a country that was once the master of European balance of power politics seems to have lost its touch.Over the next few days the picture will begin to clear, and as that happens, Via Meadia will share whatever light comes to us with our readers. For good and for ill, the fate of the American economy is closely tied to what happens across the Atlantic.