European leaders are scrambling to keep national debt problems in a handful of countries from triggering a new financial crisis across Europe. And investors fear that rising deficits in Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain could trigger problems across the world, so stocks elsewhere have taken a beating. What does this mean for America? (Watch a report about Europe's declining economy)

It's bad news: Crisis in Europe would hurt our exports, "one of the few bright spots in a sluggish U.S. recovery," says Kevin G. Hall in The Seattle Times, but that's not all. It could "drain European governments of resources to stimulate their economies," and a slowdown in the rich euro zone" would hurt the global economy, "thus slowing our recovery further."
"If you think Europe's debt woes are all Greek to you, they're not"

Fasten your seat belts: Europe's troubles have made U.S. markets very volatile, say the editors of The New York Times, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly below the psychological barrier of 10,000 for the first time in three months. By undermining confidence in U.S. banks, Europe's crisis has made it clear that our own recovery is not a done deal.
"Dow Industrials close below 10,000"

In crisis, there's opportunity: Yes, "the outlook is grim," says Matthew Lynn in Bloomberg, but, as Rahm Emanuel says, every crisis is an opportunity to do things that were impossible before. If the European Central Bank refuses to bail out Greece and the others, organizes an orderly default on their debts, and offers bridge loans in exchange for emergency economic reforms, Europe and the global economy could emerge stronger than before.
"'PIGS' crisis is opportunity for Euro to stand up"