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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pauses as he testifies during a hearing before the Senate Banking Committe on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. - 

Steve Chiotakis: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner heads to Poland tomorrow. He's going to meet with European finance ministers, who are gathering to sort out the continent's debt crisis. But what does the U.S. bring to the table?

From Washington, here's Marketplace's David Gura.

David Gura: The U.S. can play at least two roles.

Alexei Monsarrat is with the Atlantic Council.

Alexei Monsarrat: One is to be supportive publicly of what it is Europe is doing, and the second is to work closely with them strategically so that both the U.S. and Europe are pulling in the same direction.

And the U.S. brings something else to the table: experience. After all, it's already been through a financial crisis.

Jacob Kirkegaard is a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. And he says the U.S. should be helpful, but it also needs to be careful.

Jacob Kirkegaard: In these situations, where essentially you're dealing with what, I would argue, is a domestic policy issue in Europe, it's very difficult for an outsider to be too lecturing.

Kirkegaard says Tim Geithner can play the role of the adult in the room.

Kirkegaard: ... that says, you know, now Europe, you really have to step up and do what is necessary.

Even if the U.S. is having trouble doing that, here at home.

In Washington, I'm David Gura, for Marketplace.

Follow David Gura at @davidgura