The votes are counted, the results are in, and Syriza has won the Greek elections in a landslide. The left wing Syriza captured 149 seats in the parliament, and as of writing appears to be entering a governing coalition with the right wing fringe party the Independent Greeks, with whom they mostly only share strong anti-austerity views.The overall situation is a combination of a classical tragedy and Sartre’s vision of Huis Clos (No Exit). In a classical tragedy, the protagonist, who is in many ways heroic and noble, is destroyed by his own fatal flaw. And in Huis Clos, a group of people locked into a room turn what could be a very tolerable situation into a literal hell because of the interaction of their personalities.Both Club Med and Germany are genuinely heroic characters in some ways, but both have deep flaws. The Germans have done wonders in building a new and prosperous democratic society on the basis of the rule of law and a rigorous program of social and monetary discipline. In their view, in 1990 they generously offered to extend this monetary system, and the extremely low interest rates that it offered, to the rest of the EU by merging the glorious Deutschmark with such lesser currencies as the lira and the drachma.This brought interest rates down in the Club Med countries—and revealed Club Med’s fatal flaw. These countries basked in the lower interest rates and the boom that came with it, but they did nothing to carry out the reforms that would enable them to survive tough competition in a currency union in which they no longer had the option of devaluing their currencies when life got too tough. So their flaw was, as Germans very accurately point out, a deeply foolhardy failure to reform. In that sense they are like the grasshopper in Aesop’s fable who fiddled and danced while the weather was good, but was starving and cold when winter came.But here is Germany’s fatal flaw: German banks and bank regulators knew, or should have known, that the Club Med countries were spending their euro windfall like drunken sailors on shore leave, and that a big bust was sure to come. The crazy housing bubbles in Ireland and Spain, the mounting evidence that Greece consciously cheated and lied its way into the euro and then was failing to reform: those should have set the alarm bells ringing in the bank offices, the central banks and the regulators in the North.But they didn’t. Northern banks (very much including the French) were too lazy, too greedy, and/or too stupid to realize the folly of their ways. So both sides embraced Hubris, stage one of classical tragedy: We can build a common European currency despite our differences. Both sides then go to stage two: Ate or blind folly. Grasshoppers sing and dance; ants foolishly lend.Then comes the classical third stage, Nemesis, and now both are trapped in the ruins of their own bad decisions.The Germans are acting moralistic about evil debtors while failing to recognize the complicity of their own incompetent bankers and regulators, and are forcing the south to bear the full costs of the disaster. This is both a grave moral evil and a serious political blunder, and Germany’s own (mostly positive) characteristic of near-fanatical love of order and law is causing it to make decisions that undermine the foundations of both order and law across Europe.The Greeks meanwhile are hellbent on fighting necessary reforms and have fatally confused that unrealistic and destructive choice with the correct and morally just element of their position: that the creditors must share more of the pain. And the French for their part are straddling both sides of the fence: their banks are horribly exposed to Club Med debt and they are fighting the necessary reforms to continue in a monetary union with Germany.It’s still possible to see a path to some kind of constructive compromise (though the Germans would have been infinitely smarter to do this before Syriza won the election—it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot to stabilize things in Greece last year, avoiding the need for a special election). Germany gives some carefully organized debt relief, Greece proceeds more seriously with a modified reform program, and all parties begin to think seriously about whether it makes sense to gradually unravel the euro with as little damage as possible—or else figure out a compromise path for the euro, if such a thing can be found, in which the bed of Procrustes that the union currently has become is a little less confining for some and a little less stretching for others.However it seems that the national characters of the countries involved mean that they are going to keep on creating a hell for each other like the characters in Huis Clos. The Germans can’t be flexible enough, the Greeks can’t be serious enough, the French can’t stop trying to play both sides of the field, and the others are all playing equally unconstructive parts as the fourth act of the play rolls on. Because Europeans made so many sensible decisions after 1945, most people today have forgotten just how pigheaded and self-destructive the European state system is capable of becoming. In 1914 and again in the 1930s Europe went from peace and prosperity to madness and war—though there was nothing necessary about the historical development either time.We are still a long ways from that kind of disaster, thanks above all to the achievements of the great generation between 1945 and 1990, but Europe increasingly looks like a prodigal spendthrift burning through a large trust fund.And just as in both 1914 and the 1930s, the U.S. was AWOL at critical points and failed to add its balancing diplomacy to the European mix, so today the U.S. has made itself largely irrelevant even as developments unfold in Europe that have profound consequences for U.S. interests, world order and world peace.