On the Euro Summit’s Statement on Greece: First thoughts

In the next hours and days, I shall be sitting in Parliament to assess the legislation that is part of the recent Euro Summit agreement on Greece. I am also looking forward to hearing in person from my comrades, Alexis Tsipras and Euclid Tsakalotos, who have been through so much over the past few days. Till then, I shall reserve judgment regarding the legislation before us. Meanwhile, here are some first, impressionistic thoughts stirred up by the Euro Summit’s Statement.

  • A New Versailles Treaty is haunting Europe – I used that expression back in the Spring of 2010 to describe the first Greek ‘bailout’ that was being prepared at that time. If that allegory was pertinent then it is, sadly, all too germane now.
  • Never before has the European Union made a decision that undermines so fundamentally the project of European Integration. Europe’s leaders, in treating Alexis Tsipras and our government the way they did, dealt a decisive blow against the European project.
  • The project of European integration has, indeed, been fatally wounded over the past few days. And as Paul Krugman rightly says, whatever you think of Syriza, or Greece, it wasn’t the Greeks or Syriza who killed off the dream of a democratic, united Europe.
  • Back in 1971 Nick Kaldor, the noted Cambridge economist, had warned that forging monetary union before a political union was possible would lead not only to a failed monetary union but also to the deconstruction of the European political project. Later on, in 1999, German-British sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf also warned that economic and monetary union would split rather than unite Europe. All these years I hoped that they were wrong. Now, the powers that be in Brussels, in Berlin and in Frankfurt have conspired to prove them right.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning reads like a document committing to paper Greece’s Terms of Surrender. It is meant as a statement confirming that Greece acquiesces to becoming a vassal of the Eurogroup.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning has nothing to do with economics, nor with any concern for the type of reform agenda capable of lifting Greece out of its mire. It is purely and simply a manifestation of the politics of humiliation in action. Even if one loathes our government one must see that the Eurogroup’s list of demands represents a major departure from decency and reason.
  • The Euro Summit statement of yesterday morning signalled a complete annulment of national sovereignty, without putting in its place a supra-national, pan-European, sovereign body politic. Europeans, even those who give not a damn for Greece, ought to beware.
  • Much energy is expended by the media on whether the Terms of Surrender will pass through Greek Parliament, and in particular on whether MPs like myself will toe the line and vote in favour of the relevant legislation. I do not think this is the most interesting of questions. The crucial question is: Does the Greek economy stand any chance of recovery under these terms? This is the question that will preoccupy me during the Parliamentary sessions that follow in the next hours and days. The greatest worry is that even a complete surrender on our part would lead to a deepening of the never-ending crisis.
  • The recent Euro Summit is indeed nothing short of the culmination of a coup. In 1967 it was the tanks that foreign powers used to end Greek democracy. In my interview with Philip Adams, on ABC Radio National’s LNL, I claimed that in 2015 another coup was staged by foreign powers using, instead of tanks, Greece’s banks. Perhaps the main economic difference is that, whereas in 1967 Greece’s public property was not targeted, in 2015 the powers behind the coup demanded the handing over of all remaining public assets, so that they would be put into the servicing of our un-payble, unsustainable debt.

[Watch this space for detailed comments on the economics of the proposed legislation…]

103 thoughts on “On the Euro Summit’s Statement on Greece: First thoughts

  1. Talking of Russian media, interview to Panagiotis Sotiris from the University of the Aegean (not sure who he is but some of his comments are interesting) at Russia Today: http://www.rt.com/op-edge/310024-greece-bailout-syriza-rallies/

    There is going to be unrest in the near future because the Greek government has capitulated to the demands of our EU creditors and has introduced yet another bailout packet that is filled with austerity, and it will also lead to more recession and more unemployment. So I think that in the near future we will see much more protests, and I don’t mean just the kind of ritualistic protests by anarchists such as the one we witnessed [on Wednesday], I mean a confrontation with society. In a certain way the Greek government is turning against the very segments of the population that supported it, brought it to power and also massively voted in favor of the ‘No’ vote in the referendum. So this is the main aspect of [Wednesday] – the rupture of Syriza with its own electorate, with those segments of society that had placed hope upon Syriza.

    (…)

    What we are seeing is the limit of the thinking of the leadership of Syriza, because obviously the only other alternative could have been a rupture with the EU, an exit from the eurozone. They were not ready either to prepare for it, or even accept it as a possible solution. So if you are not ready for the rupture then you are going to capitulate. This was also the lesson from Cyprus and Syriza didn’t take it and the lesson was: If you do not accept austerity the (first pack they offer you?) and you are not ready for a rupture, you are not ready for an exit from the eurozone, then you will have to accept the second deal, and the second deal is always worse than the first.

    (…)

    I think that this is just the beginning of a new phase. This deal is not going to be so easily implemented, both in terms of its social consequences, but also in its economic aspects. In a certain way it is an unsustainable deal and I think that at least Greek society is much more ready today to discuss radical alternatives, including the exit from the eurozone.

    • >> What we are seeing is the limit of the thinking of the leadership of Syriza, because obviously the only other alternative could >> have been a rupture with the EU, an exit from the eurozone. They were not ready either to prepare for it, or even accept it as a >> possible solution. So if you are not ready for the rupture then you are going to capitulate. This was also the lesson from Cyprus >> and Syriza didn’t take it and the lesson was: If you do not accept austerity the (first pack they offer you?) and you are not ready >> for a rupture, you are not ready for an exit from the eurozone, then you will have to accept the second deal, and the second deal >> is always worse than the first.

      That’s why Tsipras got rid of our host Yani and instead appointed Tsakalotos. It was Tsipras who magically transformed a NO vote into a YES vote. He was completely unprepared and unwilling to handle a plan b so he gave into the extortions of Dr. Schäuble and Angela Merkel.

  2. This crisis is showing the difference in attitude between two main groups – the ‘German group’ and the ‘French group’. While it is all too much known that the ‘French group’ is in it for an political, monetary and fiscal union and tries to do everything they can to make it so unless the cost is too great (which is a relative term thus it can be redefined easily), it seems the ‘German group’ is in it for the politics and defining the European political landscape.
    None too surprising is of course that the current Spanish government is part of the German group (since they face rising opposition from the left-wing Podomos movement, and they want to crush Syriza and it’s ideals to make an example of it as a preventive measure against Podomos), as is the Netherlands (despite several groups warning the Dutch government the current course can only lead to disaster, and not only for Greece), as well as the smaller Eastern-Europe governments and Poland.

    The problem is that the group-Germany has way too much influence currently and is willingly ignoring both the direct consequences for actions and non-actions of it, as well as the possible long-term consequences. And it is unlikely they’ll change in the imminent future, nor it is likely they’ll lose track unless something really inhumane happens as a consequence of their actions/decisions (tbh, what happened in Greece past weeks is in my opinion already inhumane where especially the group-Germany is to blame – but the mass media consider it otherwise…).

    • Well, rather than just “politics”, I’d think that the German group is about geopolitics and particularly about changing the nature of the EU in the “post-modern IV Reich” direction that Yanis has suggested or that I would define as neo-colonialist. Barring the Netherlands (and Denmark?) all its members are recent additions to the EU (since 1995) and most do not even use the euro (something not predicted by the treaties but tolerated). Also most of them are first of all aligned with Washington (Reagan’s “New Europe” or what I call “Baltica”) and only then with Berlin and follow policies often opposed to Germany’s best interest in Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Russia) but that Washington does favor.

    • @Maju,

      Don’t forget that it was Germany who dragged NATO and the US into the war with Yugoslavia!
      Not the other way around.

      It was Germany that rushed to recognize Slovenia’s and Croatia’s indepence and hence ignited the war in Yugoslavia.

      Do you see any parallels to the situation in Ukraine? What was the role of Germany in the Maidan and whose plan was it to connect Unkraine with the EU?

    • The Yugoslavian war was mostly an internal affair that began with the post-Titoist power-grabbing by Serbian nationalists and the eruption of the conflict in Kosovo. The Slovene an Croatian and then Bosnian, etc. separation from the federation was largely (but not only) a reaction to the new Serbian centralism of Milosevic, founded on Tito’s error of not recognizing Kosovo as a republic with full rights. I know a bit about the Yugoslavian conflict, in fact I was researching it the only time in my life I’ve traveled to Greece (and enjoyed that visit a lot, learning to love it).

      I always recall some liberal political leader of the Republic of Macedonia (I’ve forgotten his name though) who told us a first person experience from a conversation with a CIA agent friend of him, a few months before the wars erupted. This spy told him that Yugoslavia, after the collapse of the Soviet bloc, had become “strategically irrelevant”, the politician then said: “I’m glad to hear it” and the spy ominously replied: “I would not be so glad if my country would become strategically irrelevant”. Basically what the agent was implying was that nobody would care much if Yugoslavia collapsed and/or that the country (then the most advanced Mediterranean country and an example of socialist and non-alignment success) was ripe for the looting.

      Of course German imperialism played a role in that collapse, as did US-Russia rivalry later on in the belated Kosovo resolution. But I am positive that treating the conflict in mere terms of imperialism, as so many do, is wrong: the seeds of the conflict and most of its developments were purely internal.

      “The US fears a breakup of Europe so Grexit and Brexit are anathema to them.”

      Grexit and Brexit are two very different issues. In fact in the original EU design, Britain was willingly out. It incorporated only in a time of conflicts with the USA in fact. Brexit is probably no big deal because it does not substantially alter the European cohesion, whose main articulation is not so much the EU as is NATO (including the “Gladio” deep state networks inherited from the Cold War), and will never ally with Russia most likely. Grexit, Frexit or the last fad Schaublexit (i.e. the exit of Germany, for which some are already gathering signatures) would be much more problematic because any of these countries may decide to lean on Russia for support.

      “The US doesn’t want a hegemonic Germany in Europe”.

      Well, it’s not like Germany is playing well its own cards for that either: its “leadership” of the Union is destructive and hence terribly unstable. Anyhow, I think the USA does accept German regional hegemony but only as subservient to its own goals and balances it primarily with France, Britain and Poland. Definitely the USA does not want a political union in Europe (that would mean the end of US hegemony) so sowing a bit of chaos now and then in the EU is not bad for Washington’s interests, as long as the conflicts do not spiral out of control. The Greek crisis may be one of such particular cases when Washington fears and decides to intervene more directly but in general they prefer to let Europeans manage our own affairs, as long as it is within the NATO frame.

    • @Maju: did I forget Denmark? My bad:/
      Also re politics vs geopolitics: normally I differ between them, but in this case they’re that entangled regarding the course of the European Union, I lump them together under ‘politics’.
      Interesting observations by the way, although I don’t completely agree with your conclusions (but don’t completely disagree either).

    • AIthough it is “un-PC” to say so, there is a cuIturaI fault Iine in Europe that runs between the ancient romanized Europe – i.e. where the the Roman empire extended [carrying Greek culture inside it] – and where the Romans failed to go. This is apparent physicaIIy too in the way the cities are buiIt, another topic. The Romanised Europe [“agin Europe”, including EngIand] carries a common culture even today vs the non-Roman, and once again it shows.

    • @elenits:

      >AIthough it is “un-PC” to say so, there is a cuIturaI fault Iine in Europe that runs between the ancient romanized Europe – i.e. >where the the Roman empire extended [carrying Greek culture inside it] – and where the Romans failed to go. This is apparent >physicaIIy too in the way the cities are buiIt, another topic. The Romanised Europe [“agin Europe”, including EngIand] carries a >common culture even today vs the non-Roman, and once again it shows.

      Very well said. The descendants of the Romans (keeping in mind that the Roman empire consisted not just of the Italian peninsula!)
      are the modern day PIGS for the descendants of the barbarians alias the Germanic tribes!

      Unfortunately our common historical memory (of the people of the south of Europe) has been methodically falsified and eradicated by our enemies over centuries. It happened first in Gaul and Spain and later in Italy and at the end also in Greece.

      Hence nowadays Charlemagne (a barbarian Germanic warlord) is considered the father of Europe (ie. the European Dis-Union)!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlemagne_Prize

    • IMO that is overly simplistic. Rome was just an episode of some 4-6 centuries and is not more important than some of its descendant states like the already mentioned Frankish Empire (which was in everything a neo-Roman state: the Catholic Church and Latin as lingua franca were essentially promoted by this state: Goths were Arian and imposed a legal apartheid, Berbers were also Arianists before massively converting to Islam, while other Germanic incipient states were simply Pagan). I reckon that there is a Roman legacy in two aspects: (1) a corrupt model of the state and society and society and (2) ius soli (vs. ius sanguinis predominant in Germany). But it’s not a clear cut divide in any case.

      However the most fundamental elements of what we consider characteristically “European” such as democracy and egalitarianism, must probably be dug into (a) pre-Indoeuropean substrate persisting through Bagauda class struggles, which allowed large segments of Western European farmers to remain free rather than becoming serfs and also tended to restore the dignity and equality of women in society and (b) Greek cultural and political legacy, particularly Athenian. These are much more important than anything “Roman” or “Germanic”. Then of course there are modern revolutionary processes reinforcing these tendencies since the Swiss Revolution to the Russian one going through the Dutch and French ones, which really created a new “republican”, secular and modern Europe, not without many uphill battles.

    • @Maju:

      > Rome was just an episode of some 4-6 centuries and is not more important than some of its descendant states like the already mentioned Frankish Empire (which was in everything a neo-Roman state: the Catholic Church and Latin as lingua franca were essentially promoted by this state

      Couldn’t disagree more with you on that:

      A. The Roman empire was one of the most adorable high civilizations of all times! It’s foundations consisted of

      1.Greek philosophy and science as well as Greek culture and enlightenment (originally also the Greek eligion of the Olympian gods)
      2. Roman law (Lex Romanorum) which guaranteed the rule of law
      3. Roman military power and as a consequence the Pax romana which guaranteed peaceful coexistance of different peoples in one Commonwealth
      4. Christian faith which helped to overcome pagan superstition and inhumanity and by that elevate the cultural superiority of the Roman empire to a new zenith

      Compare that with your so called “descendant states” of the barbarians:

      The Frankish Empire has none of the above mentioned four characteristics. No Greek culture, no lex romanorum, no pax romana and no Christian Orthodox faith! The Franks were simply speaking uncivilized belligerent German invadors and oppressors of the local Roman populations in the raided former Roman territories. The Franks were so much “Christian” that they killed anyone who didn’t capitulate to them. Research a bit more and you will not disagree about their infamous Christianity and their countless atrocities in the name of God!

      B. The Roman empire didn’t collapse after the sack of older Rome by the Goths. The Roman empire still continued to exist in the east for many centuries.

      > Goths were Arian and imposed a legal apartheid,

      Correct, but they imposed more than just legal apartheid they imposed full apartheid between Goths (they were Germanic people) and Romans!
      If you research more on that topic than you will find that apartheid between Germanic people and Romans was common everywhere in your so called “descendant states” of the barbarians. The Franks imposed apartheid, the Lombards had apartheid, the Anglo-Saxons had apartheid and so on. Just from that you can clearly see a severe RACIST hatred against anything Roman!

      >Berbers were also Arianists before massively converting to Islam,
      Berbers became Arianists after the Vandals invaded their land. They were not Arianists before the Vandals.

      >I reckon that there is a Roman legacy in two aspects: (1) a corrupt model of the state and society and society and (2) ius soli (vs. ius sanguinis predominant in Germany). But it’s not a clear cut divide in any case.

      There has been an orchestrated diffamation of the Roman state and society by German historians primarily . If you read more recent historians you will see that the Roman state and society was definitely much less corrupt and decadent than what Gibbons, Montesquieus at al have argued they were!

      >However the most fundamental elements of what we consider characteristically “European” such as democracy and >egalitarianism, must probably be dug into ….(b) Greek cultural and political legacy, particularly Athenian.

      I agree with you here but also keep in mind that Rome has copied nearly everything from Athens and so started as a republic and not as an empire!

      So I still see a lot of the old conflict between Romans and Germans in todays Éuropean crisis. It is so deeply ingrained that still today you find discriminatory words in the English language like for example the word “frankly” which means freely (ie the Franks are the free and the Romans are the serfs and also the word “villain” which means bad guy (ie the people who used to live in Villas=Romans are the villains whereas the Germanic people are the nice guys)

    • I disagree with a lot of what you say while I don’t have enough knowledge in some other details but in any case I do not wish to extend the historicist debate further, as I imagine we are testing the patience of our host already with such off-topic drift.

    • Maju, how, exactly, are German interests in eastern Europe being undermined by the United States? Germany doesn’t obviously have an interest in a militarized and irredentist Russia, for instance, nor does it have an interest in the conversion of Ukraine (or large parts thereof) into a Russian satellite state.

    • There is no such “Russian threat”. Everything was OK, with a neutral and stable Ukraine, until the USA, Poland, etc. imposed the fascist coup in Ukraine. And indeed Maidan was a coup (MPs were not allowed to vote, right-wing MPs voted for absent MPs) and it was fascist since day one, with armed gangs of Pravy Sector and Svoboda controlling the “protest”, which was rather like the March on Rome (or the recent bourgeois “riots” in Venezuela, which were pretty much synchronous but failed, or also the forging of a farcical but ultra-violent “Syrian opposition” made up mostly of foreign fanatics).

      The coup was imposed for two reasons: (1) press Russia hard (because of its closeness to China and Iran mostly, its veto of intervention in Syria) and (2) force Ukraine to pay its massive debt (and in this sense it can well be compared with Greece). One of the first things that happened after the Maidan coup was that the gold reserves were secretly and hurriedly transported to the USA, but even the famous super-fertile black soil of Ukraine has been removed in some locations, while all the Eastern regions were placed under oligarchic “proconsuls” who are the ones financing the fascist troops largely, troops on which the putschist regime in Kiev (supported by a mere 17% of the electorate, per the only, unfair election that has taken place since then) relies not so much to fight but to spread terror among civilians and among its own demoralized regular recruits.

      Anyhow, focusing, Germany and the USA or Poland have been at odds for some time, with Germany being until post-Maidan developments at least, very closely cooperating with Russia and investing in it. Historically Germany has also been a heavy investor in Iran. Germany and Russia even invested in an underwater gasoduct to skip Poland, whom neither trusted. Germany has snubbed Washington in the interventions in Libya and Syria also, it has tried to bring back home its own gold reserves in the USA (unsuccessfully), also Germany globally leads investment in renewable energies what threatens the powerful US oil lobby and oil-focused global control policies and feels threatened by the German mega-exporter strategy, not so much directly but because of the instability it causes in Europe (hence US politicians have criticized it in various ways). The USA has snubbed Germany particularly on the issue of spying, not just spying German politicians and business (and using such information to favor US companies) but particularly by denying Germany a “privileged ally” status as part of the five-eyes Anglosaxon-only network.

      This last minute IMF’s board of directors, sidelining Lagarde, meddling in European affairs is just another episode of the growing USA-Germany frictions. In practical terms the USA relies primarily on Britain in Europe and then all other powers (save Russia, which is too independent and powerful in military terms) are played against each other in a “splendid isolation” style but without the isolation part (as Europe and Germany particularly is pretty much occupied by the USA). However the USA also relies heavily on Europe because any look at the global geostrategical map shows that, beyond North America, Europe makes up for the bulk of the “American Empire”. If Europe spirals into chaos, it means that the USA is in dire straits as global super-power.

    • @Maju:

      > If Europe spirals into chaos, it means that the USA is in dire straits as global super-power.

      The US is indeed concerned about Germany’s strategy. If you closely follow American and British articles about Schoible and Germany over the last few days you can clearly see a confrontation Happening between the US and Germany.

    • “but even the famous super-fertile black soil of Ukraine has been removed in some locations”

      Cite, please.

      So, in other words, you like the fascism of others if it is politically convenient to you. Good to know.

    • I’m sure to have read the claim but cannot find the source now, so feel free to disregard it.

      “So, in other words, you like the fascism of others if it is politically convenient to you”.

      Nope. Why would you say that? Please explain yourself because that’s a major accusation.

    • Because it is true. You do not care about Russian fascism, even when it leads to annexations and invasions, even. Why? Well, the far left is morally and ideologically bankrupt, so opposed to our current world it and its supporters are willing to sell out others to try to make a difference.

      (Syriza is pro-Russian, right?)

      Meanwhile, back to your original claim, you know Ukraine has quite a lot of topsoil, right? Cites, please.

    • You are very wrong: I’ve been an outspoken critic of Putin and never been naive about what he and his regime implies. Also I have always supported legitimate separatisms, very particularly that of Ishkeria/Chechnya before they went idiotically Islamist and lost all sense of national struggle. I have also actively defended the right of independence of Kosova/Kosovo since decades ago and actively attacked pan-Serbian nationalism. However I similarly support the independence of Abkhazhia or any other country like Kurdistan or my own (Basque Country) if that is what the People wants. That is what I call democracy, which means people’s power.

      In the case of Crimea it was very clear that they made a democratic choice and that way Crimea was saved from fascist terrorism. Of course joining Russia, particularly Putin’s Russia, is not ideal but I can’t see any other reasonable option for the Crimean People and in any case I respect their right to decide. That’s democracy.

      Democracy is not unquestionable borders established manu military or by poor choices of the past (in the Crimean case it was a personal decision of Nikita Khrushchev, who incidentally was Ukrainian, much like the unnatural borders of Georgia were defined by Georgian Josip Broz, alias Stalin). Democracy is the will of the people.

      In any case compared with the terror regime in Ukraine, Putin appears almost as a a paladin of human rights. Also regarding the latest very reactionary involution in the West, Putin now appears as a not-so-evil-after-all, and a clear example is the persecution of whistleblowers like Julian Assange or Edward Snowden or the humiliation that France, Italy and Spain imposed on Bolivian President Evo Morales on US orders (Germany and Austria curiously did not).

      Also, we like it or not, Putin enjoys the support of the vast majority of the People of Russia and is not more antidemocratic internally than many Western countries.

      “Syriza is pro-Russian, right?”

      No. Syriza is or pretends to be a Neo-Communist or Socialist party of Greece. It has no particular links to Russia other than desperation, regional isolation. That’s a problem we all have in Europe and the Mediterranean today: the geopolitics of the region has been locked in a quite monolithic and growingly authoritarian US-led imperial scheme. Objectively speaking only Russia acts as balance and very weakly so anyhow. Europe (and West Asia, North Africa) is too far from China to lean on Beijing (as Iraq for example is doing), while the other BRICS are too weak and distant as well.

      This is geopolitics: if the USA and allies (Germany, France, Britain) don’t like you and what you do, where do you look for support? In our region right now the only realistic option is Russia. Cases like Spain or Portugal, whenever change begins, if it does, may prefer to look to Latin America (Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina) but Greece is much further to the East, without direct access to the Atlantic and lacks the historical connection.

      But, objectively speaking, the German right or the French far right are much closer to Putin than anything any leftist party of Europe or the Mediterranean region will ever be. Putin knows that and you only have to read Russian media to see how they hype right-wing anti-europeanism such as Le Pen’s, UKIP’s or even Golden Dawn’s, while they relatively pay much less attention to Leftist dissidence like that of Syriza or Podemos.

      In the case of East Ukraine or Novorossiya, Putin has also played carefully in order to weaken the leftist tendencies (let’s not forget that’s Makhno’s country and where the communist parties were strongest in Ukraine) and favor the oligarchic ones. There is humanitarian aid from Russia and some mild diplomatic support but mostly East Ukrainians are fighting on their own means, what makes them relatively weak (although they have high moral and have inflicted major defeats to the demoralized Ukrainian army, taking their weapons). Putin definitely does not want the separation of Novorossiya but rather to use it as pawn to regain at least some influence on all Ukraine. What Putin definitely doesn’t want is that NATO deploys missiles and troops so close to Moscow and central Russia – and nobody can curse him for that: it’d be pretty much as Russia deploying troops in Ontario or the historical missile crisis of Cuba.

  3. Those involved in any kind of negotiations, must always have at least two options. Greece has not prepared a plan B in these fsix years of this crisis. Of course I am not naive to think that is would be possible to develop a plan B within 5 months. When I try to grasp the complexity of such a project – introduction of an alternative financial exchange media – I am always overwhelmed.

    So I would suggest that Mr Varoufakis and many more of your kind, should form a working team proposing and preparing methods to move on with a feasible and detailed plan B. People of Greece – and some other countries – would be very interested in such a well supported and designed plan.

    Enough with the accusations and easy evaluations of things to come based on the current bad management.

    Thank you.

    • The problem here is that not only creating such a plan would take some time, but especially the implementation will take quite a bit of time.
      In the meanwhile, when it becomes public that there’s a plan-B and when it’s being partially implemented so the basics are there when needed, it’ll be highly unlikely that the members of the Eurozone will be willing to help Greece that much with financing. Perhaps the group-France will be willing to alleviate some funds, but I highly doubt Germany and it’s followers will be willing to finance an interregnum (so to say).

  4. I’m wondering about IMF that NOW is speaking about Greece debt haircut. Where they in holidays when you were talking of the same thing ?

    • The IMF is speaking only for itself. As far as the Eurozone is concerned,

      As for the mirage of debt-relief within the Eurozone, the wording of the final European Council Statement — signed by Greece — rules it out forever:

      “The Euro Summit stresses that nominal haircuts on the debt cannot be undertaken.

      “The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and in a timely manner

      http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/anatomy-greek-crisis-and-angela-merkels-disastrous-part-it/ri8723

    • As I understand it: the US delegation in the board of directors of the IMF, which controls it, has recently decided to sideline Lagarde (even the traditional choosing of an European for the post is being questioned now). The USA is very worried that Europe (its main imperial pillar) may spiral into chaos and this is not the only way it is clashing with Germany: Ukranian policy and Russian sanctions have been imposed on Germany by the USA.

      Russian media reported yesterday that the USA has deployed even more troops in Germany (a de facto occupied country) this week. It is not clear to me which is their intent but it is possible that Washington is feeling the need to put Berlin in line and lower its expectations a bit. Others have speculated other reasons (Ukraine, Syria, even Greece!) but then why in Germany of all places?

    • > The USA is very worried that Europe (its main imperial pillar) may spiral into chaos

      I fully agree with you.
      > Ukranian policy and Russian sanctions have been imposed on Germany by the USA.

      I disagree with you on that. It was Germany’s plan to connect Unkraine with the EU and not the plan of the US.
      Just remember also what Germanys contribution to the war in Yugoslavia was.

    • Maju,

      Here’s the US’s response to the deal:

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is welcoming the agreement between Greece and its European creditors as “an important step forward.”

      In a statement Monday, Lew said: “The agreement provides a basis for restoring trust among the parties and creates the conditions for a path forward for Greece within the eurozone.”

      Keeping Greece among the nations using the euro, Lew said, was in the best interests of Greece, Europe and the global economy.

      He noted Greece’s “commitment to make deep and difficult fiscal and structural reforms” and a commitment by its creditors to “create a path for Greece to return to growth” and make Greece’s debt burden more manageable.

      As Yves Smith said months ago, and I quote, “Obama has already thrown Greece under the bus.”

      With friends like that . . . .

      h/t — Tom Hickey over at http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.ca/

    • I wholly agree that the USA is not any real “friend” of Greece: it’s just looking for its own imperial interests.

    • @Maju:

      > I wholly agree that the USA is not any real “friend” of Greece: it’s just looking for its own imperial interests.

      “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests” Henry Kissinger

      OK, that’s called “Realpolitik”

      Possible common interests of the US and Greece:

      The US fears a breakup of Europe so Grexit and Brexit are anathema to them.
      The US doesn’t like the idea of a German Europe instead of a European Germany.
      The US doesn’t want a hegemonic Germany in Europe.
      The US doesn’t want a German controlled “Mitteleuropa”

      And another lever for Greece could be that the US doesn’t want Greece to get in the sphere of influence of Russia.

    • And the roots of that strategy: to what extent is it ideological blindness and to what extent is it pure ignorance? What is confusing to many is that you have a government composed of a large number of intellectuals, people who spent their whole lives studying contemporary capitalist political economy, both in the abstract and the concrete, people who are political activists.

      How can one explain what seems to be naïveté about their political opponents? Is it thoroughly rooted ideology or was it just a lack of experience with “high politics”?

      I think we have to distinguish two elements within the government. The first is the rightist wing of the government led by two of the main economists, essentially Dragasakis but also Giorgos Stathakis. And then the core leadership, Tsipras and the people around him.

      The first group had a consistent line from the outset — there was absolutely no naïveté on their part. They knew very well that the Europeans would never accept a break with the memorandum.

      This is why Dragasakis from the outset did everything he could not to change the logic of the overall approach. He clearly sabotaged all the attempts for Syriza to have a proper economic program, even one within the framework that had been approved by the majority of the party. He thought that the only thing you could get was an improved version of the memorandum framework. He wanted his hands completely free to negotiate the deal with the Europeans, without himself appearing too much at the stage, he succeeded in controlling the negotiation team, especially once Varoufakis had been sidelined.

      In summer 2013, he gave a very interesting interview that created a lot of buzz at the time. What he was proposing was not even a softer version of Syriza’s program, but in reality a different program that was a slight improvement of the existing agreement that New Democracy signed.

      And then you have the other approach, that of Tsipras, which was indeed rooted in the ideology of left-Europeanism. I think the best illustration of that is Euclid Tsakalotos, a person who considers himself a staunch Marxist, someone who comes from the Eurocommunist tradition, we were in the same organization for years. The most typical statement from him which captures both his ideology and the outlook given to the government by the presence of all those academics is what he said in an interview to the French website Mediapart in April.

      When asked what had struck him most since he was in government, he replied by saying that he was an academic, his job was to teach economics at a university, so when he went to Brussels he had prepared himself very seriously, he had prepared a whole set of arguments and was expecting exactly elaborated counter-arguments to be presented. But, instead of that, he just had to face people who were endlessly reciting rules and procedures and so on.

      Tsakalotos said he was very disappointed by the low level of the discussion. In the interview to the New Statesman, Varoufakis says very similar things about his own experience, although his style is clearly more confrontational than Tsakalotos’s.

      From this it is quite clear that these people were expecting the confrontation with the EU to happen along the lines of an academic conference when you go with a nice paper and you expect a kind of nice counter-paper to be presented.

      I think this is telling about what the Left is about today. The Left is filled with lots of people who are well-meaning, but who are totally impotent on the field of real politics. But it’s also telling about the kind of mental devastation wrought by the almost religious belief in Europeanism. This meant that, until the very end, those people believed that they could get something from the troika, they thought that between “partners” they would find some sort of compromise, that they shared some core values like respect for the democratic mandate, or the possibility of a rational discussion based on economic arguments.

      The whole approach of Varoufakis’s more confrontational stance amounted actually to the same thing, but wrapped in the language of game theory. What he was saying was that we have to play the game until the very, very, very end and then they would retreat, because supposedly the damage that they would endure had they not retreated was too great for them to accept.

      But what actually happened was akin to a fight between two people, where one person risks the pain and damage of losing a toe and the other their two legs.

      So it is true that there was a lack of elementary realism and that this was directly connected with the major problem that the Left has to face today — namely, our own impotence.

  5. Yanis hello,

    As a fan of your Most Reasonable (your are simply too modest) Proposal, which is guided by the desire to defend the dignity of human beings, regardless of their economic rank or position in society*, I want to thank you for the effort to defend the dignity of Greece. History will look upon you kindly, I feel, for your political enemies do not have any future.

    Having followed your arguments closely, what became clear to me was that any system that was conceived thus far to serve society, needs to have checks and balances, and cannot be governed by blind dogmatism and ideology. At some point down the line, systems obtain a level of irrational autonomy, betraying the purpose they were conceived. Just as in the case of historical materialism and existential socialism, which through the absence of self-monitoring mechanisms, and being replete with blind dogmatism, utterly failed in the previous century, so in our present time, capitalism has been left to run amok, and instead of improving lives, it is sacrificing real human beings to the altar of free-market ideology, which is to say, irrational individual greed. The impersonal investor has no means to monitor the impact to the earth or to society. The success or failure of an investment is measured only by the yield of profit and profit sustainability. This is when the creature, the conception, designed to serve the master, turns on to devour its creator. Your minotaur metaphor serves the same purpose I suppose, but I think any system is prone to fail without watchfulness and the appropriate monitoring mechanisms.

    To get back to the present crisis, as you have probably already noticed since the referendum, the fight for Greece has been transposed to the fight for your survival both politically, and may I dare say, existentially. The political underworld that has ruled Greece the past 40 years, and their breed are out there like sharks on a feeding frenzy, on your scent, and yearning for your blood. The same, I think, can be logically assumed of your political enemies abroad. If I was one of your closest of friends, I would urge you to get out while you still can. I would urge you (if I was one of your closest friend), to go back to teaching and writing your very insightful books and articles, give lectures, and enlighten those willing to look beyond their nose, being the true teacher that you are. I deeply regret how things turned out after 5 months of laborious negotiations, which were clearly fixed to fail. The Mass Media of Greece and beyond are as disgraceful as they are deceitful, making personal assassination their daily bread. You must now realize that the political game has not changed much since the ancient times. It is just as barbaric, base and animal as it ever was, and running on ones own spear or taking the proverbial hemlock (figuratively of course), meaning resignation, seems to be the only way out.

    Finally, what I have learned is that the Europe envisioned was nothing more than a sell, and the key to success of selling is the ability to sell an idea. This Europe, where each state has equal say, is nothing more than a Platonic fantasy. Having said this, I do believe that you will always have something useful to contribute, and regardless what you decide, please stay safe, and do not stop writing. I for one will most certainly keep reading.

    Respectfully,
    NP

    __________
    * The only thing I would disagree with is how you sign your -given- name, which I insist, should be spelled Ioannis or Yannis😉, for we own nothing really, not even our own names, but we can live up to them.

    • I would urge you to do the opposite; do not retire to academia but make the last stand for the Greek people against a terrible settlement into long term degradation. There is a solution, requiring a wider view of a blended European electronic currency which can bring together all 28 EU (and the non-EU) countries into a single trading format – but where those in the euro can continue in their never/ never world, while the rest have independence of budget and exchange rate management.

      You can lead the opposition to this criminal grab for Greek assets by the EuroGroup and its banks; this must be stopped, before they sell off the ground under your feet to repay their ludicrously inflated ‘investment’.

      Whatever the result in parliament today, resist any capitulation; the people will be with you when they get to hear the true depth of the disaster being presented. A new Greek economy, based on an electronic currency with lower or zero debt, can create the basis for a fair tax regime, a way to deal with the world in a structured manner – and a recovery of self-respect.

  6. The result of five months negotiations it was 0.
    Below zero…Yanis.
    You had (Tsipras and the negotiation team) a total failure.
    This is the naked truth.
    And I mean the consequences over shoulders of Greek people…

    And I am talking as a fan of your spirit and your mind’s intelligence…
    My opinion is that we had trapped…
    And Sunday came the disaster…so simple.

    Hoping for Europe’s rise…through Greece’s ruins…

    Good luck Yanis
    Thanks for the lost dignity you gave me back as Greek
    My best regards

    • @Dean Plassaras
      Wrong ? really ? I don’t think so my friend…

      And certainly.!!! We will not forget the 4th Raich…
      And what we did for that ? To accept the rules ?
      Just think…from the beggining date of negotiations…
      Greetings

  7. This is all true but misses the point completely; when Syriza stood for election in January on a ‘no more austerity’ ticket, vowing to face down Greek creditors and negotiate a better deal for the Greek people, you and Mr Tsipras KNEW this moment would come.

    You KNEW that the creditors were desperate to destroy all opposition to austerity under the ‘there is no alternative’ rubric; you KNEW that they would force Greece down the line and do everything they could to wreck Syriza’s platform and punish you for daring to stand up to them; you KNEW at some point that they would refuse to deal with you and Greece would be forced to default on its’ commitments.

    So why, when push came to shove and the inevitable point of conflict was reached, did Tsipras roll over, wave his paws in the air and whimper for Mr Schäuble like a little doggie? Why did you put the Greek people through 5 months of unnecessary suffering when you were going to surrender to the Germans all along? Do you think that the lives of the Greek people are some kind of fucking toy you can play intellectual games with until you get bored and it’s time to go back to university?

    Alex Tsipras’ partner famously said that if he betrayed Greece she would leave him; I hope her bags are packed…

    • While Tsipras should have known he couldn’t avoid at least a part of the measures, you’re way too harsh.
      The problem is especially the Eurozone politicians are willing to choke the life out of Greece in such a measure with such consequences, that noone reasonable could have predicted that they were that mad and willing to go that far. Yet especially the group under guidance of Germany (as opposed to the ‘French group’) have proven that they’re willing and wanting to let Greece suffer tremendously in case it doesn’t adhere to the obscene strict austerity measures Germany proposes.

    • @NLA&B:

      >The problem is especially the Eurozone politicians are willing to choke the life out of Greece in such a measure with such >consequences, that noone reasonable could have predicted that they were that mad and willing to go that far…..

      If Tsipras followed carefully German politics over the last five years he should have known the German plans for punishment of Greece!

      It was Yanis Varoufakis who also expected since quite a while that the ECB would choke the Greek Banks so Tsipras was warned from many sides. Nonetheless he acted as a romantic Pro-European political trainee!

  8. A desperate battle was fought last week. It pitted Germany and Greece against each other. Each country had everything at stake. Based on the deal that was agreed to, Germany forced a Greek capitulation. But it is far from clear that Greece can allow the agreement reached to be implemented, or that it has the national political will to do so. It is also not clear what its options are, especially given that the Greek people had backed Germany into a corner, where its only choice was to risk everything. It was not a good place for Greece to put the Germans. They struck back with vengeance.

    https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/empire-strikes-back-germany-and-greek-crisis

    • Πόσο ηλίθιοι είμαστε τελικά;

      Negotiating with the Devil without a plan b and a plan c in place?

      ΠΗΓΑΜΕ ΞΕΒΡΑΚΩΤΟΙ ΣΤΑ ΑΓΓΟΥΡΙΑ ΚΑΙ ΑΝΤΕ ΤΩΡΑ ΝΑ ΔΟΥΜΕ ΤΙ ΧΕΙΡΟΤΕΡΟ ΜΑΣ ΠΕΡΙΜΕΝΕΙ!

      Plan B should be Grexit from the Eurozone
      Plan C should be Grexit from the EU !!!

      I have spend most of my live in Germany and have a very deep understanding of the German psychology.

      You can’t negotiate with the Germans without knowing their psychogram!

      ΠΗΓΑΜΕ ΞΕΒΡΑΚΩΤΟΙ ΣΤΑ ΑΓΓΟΥΡΙΑ!

    • How else are you are going to learn? Do you think the average Greek has any idea what is going on?

      All Greeks do is to stay ignorant of the deep issues and wanting to calculate how much the new measures will cost them. What can you expect from idiots voting wallet issues?

    • BTW, Aristotelis we did not go into the negotiations without a Plan B or C.

      I had warned Yanis for the last 5 years that treating the Berlin vermin as civilized people was a major error. Yanis though he was European but obviously the notion of Europe is different based on the soil where you reside.

      But now I only have an obligation to support my existing Greek government. The “I told you so” narrative is useless and irrelevant at this point. It’s water under the bridge.

      The real issue now is to reject this pseudo-agreement.

    • @Dean and Yanis,

      It is not enough to just have in theory a plan b and c if you are not prepared to activate the plans if necessary.

      It was necessary to make it clear to our enemies and friends what we would do and what their prize would be if we activated our plan b and c!

      We never warned the Germans and their frentic satelite states what their prize would be if they pushed us to the edge. Instead we were even telling them, that we want to stay in their friken Eurozone and European Dis-Union. So we encouraged them openly to push us to the edge and humiliate us.

      We had from the very beginning to make it clear to all parties including to our friends in the US, Russia and China that we will not just exit the Eurozone but even the European Union. If we followed this negotiation strategy the outcome would have been a very different one because they can’t afford the EU to colapse like “a giant with feet of clay”!

      This is their real fear that the EU will disintegrate, they don’t care that much about our exit from the Eurozone.

      But nobody in the Syriza party had either the brain or the guts to do exactly that.

      Just imagine the history of Greece with Alexis Tsipras instead of Leonidas in the battle of Thermopylae. History wouldn’t be the same but Leonidas memory will last forever whereas Alexis Tsipras will be a minor footnote in the Greek history.

    • You are very right Aristotles but from mostly from a present day perspective, after 6 months of pseudo-negotiations and the critical episode of the “no” vote in the referendum. Back in January, if Syriza had run on a program of Eurozone exit as a possibility, Greeks would have not elected them most likely. They run on a mixed program of Eurozone + better deal + internal reforms.

      However they could indeed have focussed more on the internal reforms plan, be less naive about the better deal and also less slave of the Eurozone promise. IMO they should have put much more emphasis on internal reforms, some of which have not even begun while others are half-assed, letting the negotiations have a much less prominent place because they would had devised a plan B and even a plan C, D and E for all (or most) eventualities. They should have stopped making debt payments much earlier, they should have tested the waters of public opinion about how important was the Eurozone and EU-membership desires that no doubt are present.

      So yes, you are right, mostly right. And I blame particularly Tsipras for not being the intelligent and capable leader that we all wanted to believe he was. Or alternatively for having just stabbed his people and his party right in the heart, because I’m not sure any more what motivates Alexis Tsipras’ actions: why he did not use the referendum to dig the trenches?, why, if he was going to surrender anyhow didn’t do it in a less catastrophic manner without sowing so much confusion? Did he expect to deceive his party comrades? His voters? In the best case he has demonstrated to be a much worse statesman than we all hoped for, in the worst case he’s totally unworthy of trust.

    • Maju,

      And I blame particularly Tsipras for not being the intelligent and capable leader that we all wanted to believe he was,

      As Yves Smith from Naked Capitalism noted after Tsipras called the referendum, he should have called it before he stripped the Greek coffers bare to pay creditors the creditors the month before — because, you know, that billion euros or so in cash would have come in handy after a default 😦

    • I think that Yves Smith has taken since many months ago a not-so-good stand on the Greek crisis: often patronizing, also misinformed (she had clearly no idea on how the public opinion in Greece was), clearly too reformist as corresponds to her Liberal and not at all Marxist formation. She does not seem to understand the complexity of dialectics, let alone chaos science.

      I just got tired of her criticisms from the right and quit following her blog recently (after many years of following her). The last thing I read was a header saying “Syriza brought a latte to a battlefield” or something like that. Well, maybe but you were all the time saying that the Greek people wants the euro, that the Radical Left are good reformist boys, and so on.

      She is largely right now, it seems, but that was what she was not saying earlier: she was saying rather negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, like everyone else.

      I’d say that the referendum, even if in extremis, was probably the best decision of Tsipras: it helped Greeks (and others) to realize where the nation stood on all this matter beyond media manipulation. The problem was that, like Hannibal, he did not dare to capitalize his success at Cannae and march on Rome. That’s Maharbal scolded him: “you know how to win a battle but not how to exploit it”. According to Livy, that’s why Rome was saved and, later, Carthago destroyed.

      Like Hannibal, Tsipras (et al.) won a great victory with the “oxi” but instead of capitalizing on it to fight the battle, he insisted on negotiating rather than getting tough with IOUs, bank interventions and/or some other direct challenge to the Eurosystem as such, as allegedly Yanis and some other demanded (correctly in my opinion). It’s not a mere matter of treasuries because money is largely virtual and there are always ways, like the so much speculated deal with Russia about the gasoduct (another strong attack against the EU and NATO that was never used).

      What I see in Tsipras’ behavior is fear and doubts. And you don’t win wars with those, no matter how post-modern and financial they are. There is a time for negotiation and there is a time for struggle.

      The last thing I read is that Mr. Tsipras is that he will not call for elections until after the Spanish ones (which can well be in November) in vain hope that Podemos wins, altering the balance power in the EU. Well, if he really believes that, he’s extremely naive: Podemos has at best same expectations of vote as the two traditional major parties (but worse expectations of seats because the electoral system works against them) and they are alienating a lot of people with what I could call narcissistic control-freak attitudes (refusal to build a greater left coalition, imposition of lists from Madrid, excessive reliance on post-Marxist, Laclauan, ideology). Even in the best case they will be a mere coalition partner for the Socialist Party (the same one who signed debt before citizens into the Spanish constitution, who just voted in favor of the TTIP in the European Parliament: your typical PASOK Venizelos style), in the worst case the Socialists and Conservatives will form a great coalition government as in Germany or the Conservatives win again thanks to the new satellite pseudo-renovation party “Citizens”.

      So well… I still have better opinion of Hannibal than of Tsipras, really. I’m not even sure any more that Tsipras really intended to win the referendum. At least Hannibal did intend honestly to both win Cannae and defeat Rome.

      I remember that some six months ago I commented in a Basque Leftist blog that I was much more confident on Yanis than on Tsipras. I had been following and reading Yanis for a while and I realized that, in spite of coming from a more liberal or social-democrat background than I’m used to, he was bright and extremely honest. I never really got a clear idea of what was Tsipras about though, so he was in quarantine in my mind. Most people would think the opposite (if they did not just recite KKE slogans, very typical) but I had already formed an opinion of Yanis before his becoming politician and I had great trust on him (I don’t always agree with everything he says but overall I have great respect for his capacity of analysis and sincerity and to an extent at least I consider him example of the statesmen that we seem to be lacking in Southern Europe since too long ago). The events of these days seem to have proven both my trust on Yanis and my doubts about Tsipras correct. I hoped the latter were just caused by lack of knowledge, I hoped to be wrong, I hoped that Tsipras was a better leader, but seems not.

    • Aristoteles:

      This deal is not done yet. The IMF departure will force upon germany a much higher price than I ever imagined or hoped for. This is really bad for Berlin. Just watch and enjoy.

    • It was not Germany versus Greece. The whole combat was lost because Greece failed to consider that other Eurozone countries had their own interests at stake, that in many respects some other Eurozone states were more opposed to Greece.

      If one does not understand what happened, one can’t be expected to respond effectively. The rest of the Eurozone just is not reducible to Germany alone.

    • @Randy McDonald:
      >It was not Germany versus Greece. The whole combat was lost because Greece failed to consider that other Eurozone countries >had their own interests at stake, that in many respects some other Eurozone states were more opposed to Greece.
      >If one does not understand what happened, one can’t be expected to respond effectively. The rest of the Eurozone just is not >reducible to Germany alone.

      Based on your comments here, I would say that you are a German.

    • No, Canadian. My nationality is verifiable, FWIW.

      If you don’t understand what was going on elsewhere in the Eurozone, then you’re incapable of actually responding to it. Finland and post-Communist Eurozone countries had their interests in a settlement of the Greek affair, interests which had very little to do with Germany. If anything, Germany was more moderate than these. Meanwhile, southern European countries did not support Greece for their own reasons, reasons which had little to do with Germany.

      Blaming Germany serves a purpose if you are trying not to deal with Greece’s problems but rather to stir up demagogic nationalism. Greece does not need that, I thought.

    • Not sure if Greece benefits or not but the EU and very particularly the Eurozone would be much better without Germany. It’s all advantages for the German economy (and society) and disadvantages for the rest. And in the long term (and has been 15 years now since the euro was adopted) that is taking a major toll in most European economies and very particularly societies. I guess that’s why so many people in the EU is quickly adopting the #BoycottGermany and similar slogans, not just out of solidarity with Greece (that also) but largely out of the shameless ingratitude of the German nation as such, which, would have been for France or the Bolsheviks would have been just turned into a pleiad of agricultural micro-states after WWII, yet it was again attempted to be recycled into something cooperative, with pardoning of indeminities and war debts, the formation of EU itself, aided with its hurried reunification, etc. but is again playing the racist euro-colonial Reich role that is just unacceptable.

      Germany in the last 25 years has got the chance of showing how it can behave as European leader and it has done horribly, playing almost exclusively on its own selfish national interests. France was a much better leader to be honest: much more capable of balancing and holding Europe together. And in this it may well weight the “Roman heritage” or maybe just the liberal “free farmer” heritage from the Bagaudae and the French Revolution. Germany still has to go through a successful revolution, and that is a major handicap, only shared with the likes of Spain and Italy among the major European states.

    • @Maju:

      I completely agree with your comments just one minor correction :

      >Germany still has to go through a successful revolution, and that is a major handicap, only shared with the likes of Spain and Italy among the major European states.

      Italy had at least an unsuccessful revolution that of the Carbonari whereas the Germans have been deeply entrenched in nationalism and racism in the spirit of “Deutschland Deutschland Über Alles”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutschlandlied

    • Germany also had unsuccessful revolutions (the 1948 bourgeois one, the 1919 worker one). I was talking of successful revolutions which reached power and kept it for some time, shaping that way the nature of social relations in the country, for example via agrarian reform, destruction of the power base of previous oligarchies, new laws and customs that persist even after the revolution is “defeated”, etc.

    • I wrote this:

      >> whereas the Germans have been deeply entrenched in nationalism and racism in the spirit of “Deutschland Deutschland Über Alles”

      >> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutschlandlied

      You said:

      >> Germany also had unsuccessful revolutions (the 1948 bourgeois one, the 1919 worker one)…..

      In my comment above I was indeed referring to the 1848 revolution in Germany. The old national anthem of the 1848 revolution was this:

      Germany, Germany above all things,
      Above everything in the world,
      when, for protection and defense,
      it always stands brotherly together .
      From the Meuse to the Memel,
      From the Adige to the Belt,
      |: Germany, Germany above all things,
      Above everything in the world!😐

      German women, German loyalty,
      German wine and German song
      Shall retain in the world
      Their old beautiful chime
      And inspire us to noble deeds
      During all of our life.
      |: German women, German loyalty,
      German wine and German song!😐

      Unity and justice and freedom
      For the German fatherland!
      Let us all strive for this purpose
      Brotherly with heart and hand!
      Unity and justice and freedom
      Are the pledge of happiness;
      |: Bloom in the glow of happiness,
      Bloom, German fatherland!😐

    • @Randy:

      >If you don’t understand what was going on elsewhere in the Eurozone, then you’re incapable of actually responding to it. Finland >and post-Communist Eurozone countries had their interests in a settlement of the Greek affair, interests which had very little to do Ywith Germany. If anything, Germany was more moderate than these. Meanwhile, southern European countries did not support >Greece for their own reasons, reasons which had little to do with Germany.

      You are too remote to see through the clutter here. The Baltic states , Holland and Finland are like satellite states orbiting around Germany. They will never accept anything which isn’t approved by Germany. Germany is orchestrating a lousy horseplay here and tries to hide itself behind Slovakia, Finland and the tiny Baltic states. The problem is though that they are too fat to hide behind their tiny allies. They even tried to hide behind the IMF but the Americans debunked them.

      They are lousy buggers but it is clear to everyone in the EU and in the Eurozone who is really pulling the strings in the background.

    • I take it you are unfamiliar with how the Finnish coalition government depends on the support of the anti-bailout True Finns, this on top of a skeptical electorate? Mo Germans there.

      If you do not know what is happening , how can you offer informed commentary?

    • Finland is pretty much irrelevant: they can’t veto anything, it weights less than Greece. In any case I do not see how it can be justified that the fascists are allowed to enter government. Austria was not so long ago suspended from EU membership on that very reason. Of course the EU is not anymore what it used to be and pretenses on democracy and human rights are quickly becoming not worth the paper they are written on, but anyhow including the Finns Party in any coalition is not different from including the National Front in France and tantamount to what happened in Germany in 1933.

    • “Finland is pretty much irrelevant: they can’t veto anything, it weights less than Greece”

      No one can veto anything. Yet Finland set the stage.

      Again: If you know nothing about critical things, how can your opinion be trusted?

    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voting_in_the_Council_of_the_European_Union

      Nice method:

      In terms of the current statistics, the pass condition translates into:

      At least 15 (or 18, if proposal was not made by the Commission) countries,
      At least 260 of the total 352 voting weights,
      At least 313.6 mil. people represented by the states that vote in favour.

      This means that veto can be done by the following means:
      · 13 states (not likely)
      · 91 voting rights (for example: Germany + Britain + Poland + Lithuania)
      · countries including >166.6 million people (about twice Germany’s, for example: Germany + Britain + Poland).

      Germany is the most likely to use the last clause because it favors its own demographics but still has to rally some allies.

      Since 2014, simplified provisions per the Treaty of Lisbon apply (but Nice voting methods can be used upon any member’s request until 2017):

      Majority of countries: 55%, comprising at least 15 of them, if acting on a proposal from the Commission or from the High Representative, or else 72%, and
      Majority of population: 65%.

      This suppresses the voting weights, what favors some countries and disfavors others, notably smaller ones. Germany is clearly favored. 35% of the EU’s population means less than 170 million people, again slightly above double than Germany’s and again allowing, for example a Germany + Britain + Poland veto but not for example a France + Italy + Spain one (would need of another small, but not too small, state, like Portugal or Greece, to work).

      While consensus is favored instead, the qualified voting method has been used more commonly than is usually understood, and very especially we must not lose them from sight, because it is as good (or rather as bad) as “popular representation” gets in the EU, with the Parliament playing only a courtesy role, and they may be used in case of growing internecine struggles that are easy to foresee. Ultimately the very control of key common institutions such as the ECB depend on these voting methods. Ironically non-Eurozone countries have voting rights on Eurozone issues, what is a clear imbalance against disadvantaged Eurozone members, particularly Mediterranean ones.

      “If you know nothing about critical things, how can your opinion be trusted?”

      Who is the one who doesn’t know, Canadian? I’m a European citizen with great interest on the matters of the Union, which affect my daily life. You instead are a “foreigner” from overseas. I appreciate all sensible opinions regardless of origin but you are just not being sensible at all, rather extremely belligerent and arrogant.

    • That doesn’t mean that I cannot commit errors of judgment or that my opinion is in any way better than others. It’s just my opinion, as yours is your own. You have every right to choose not to trust it, of course. I just don’t like your patronizing tone however.

    • @Randy McDonald:

      >> I take it you are unfamiliar with how the Finnish coalition government depends on the support of the anti-bailout True Finns, this >> on top of a skeptical electorate? Mo Germans there.

      OK Randy, You fully convinced me now🙂

      I completely missed the fact that it was Finnland (not Germany and Dr. Schäuble) which brought the Grexit plan to the last Eurogroup meeting and called for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone for a minimum of five years!

      I am just a bit surprised however that the whole international press is blaming Germany and not the real culprits which seem to be the Finns if I follow your stunning argumentation. I guess they just do not know what is really happening , so they can’t really offer informed commentary🙂

      Here is yet another uninformed article from a famous European philosopher who is stubbornly blaming Germany and not the real culprits. Funnily he is even German, that’s weird, isn’t it? He should be blaming the Finns and not Germany. Another one who doesn’t not know what is really happening

      http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/16/merkel-gambling-away-germanys-reputation-over-greece-says-habermas

    • [sarcasm mode] But you have to understand that Habermas is suspect of Marxism and that would never be tolerated by any true democracy such as Poroshenko’s Ukraine, McCarthy’s USA or South Korea. True democrats would send people like Habermas to Guantanamo… if they don’t is because they might escape to Cuba and all cells are already full with kids who dared to grow a beard [end of sarcasm mode].

      Seriously now: much of the merit is not Merkel’s but Varoufakis’. He’s made a lot to put Germany in evidence for what they really are. And the stand on Greece is just that tip of the iceberg anyhow.

      And these worries have not just been expressed by Habermas, Merkel’s precursor, Helmut Kohl has been punctually one of the fiercest critics of the current Chancellor: “Merkel is destroying my Europe” he said in 2011 in direct reference to her Eurozone policies. He considered Merkel “very dangerous”. He’s been proven true.

    • ” am just a bit surprised however that the whole international press is blaming Germany and not the real culprits which seem to be the Finns if I follow your stunning argumentation.”

      No, that isn’t actually what I said. (Should I be surprised you choose not to properly read things that contradict you? Of course not!)

  9. i think Tsipras and Varoufakis together should had a common sense about the planB in case Germans shut down the greek banks…but they hadn’t!!..they read the result of referendum in a diferent way and that diferent vew of each one of them was lead to the catastrofy….

  10. cwilliams897,

    If Greece gives up control of its ports to the Eurogroup, all is lost.

    public assets = Greece

    So … when does the process of partitioning the Greek nation’s patrimony to the banksters begin?

    Did anyone see Tsakalotos this Sunday? His face bore the look of defeated resignation.

  11. Yani, as you are assessing your colleagues deal, I have put together an assessment of your record in office. I do not think your achievements entitle you to pass judgement now, never mind to assume the mantle of anti-austerity. Your thoughts on my paper would be appreciated http://wp.me/p5zzQG-aA

    • This is what our Greek EFIALTIS is saying in his blog about Greece’s Situation:

      >Do I not have pride as a Greek? How can I say these things? Isn’t this is exactly what >the ‘expert’ Paul Mason means when he accuses people of being ‘nazi-collaborators’ >(historical surrealism aside)? Fine ok, lets do pride. Lets have Zoi Kostantopoulou as >PM, Lafazanis as Foreign Minister and Lapavitsas as Finance Minister. Let us envisage >>a future outside the Eurozone and the EU. Where we will have pride and dignity. >Where we will also have no money, a standard of living akin to the 70s, alliances with >unpleasant imperialist dictators. Is this your alternative? Or will Greece become a loving >commune where everyone is poorer but happier? I am thinking North Korea of the >Mediterranean is a more likely outcome of this option.

  12. Not bad Yanis, but you and Syriza had a chance, and you blew It. I was really hoping for you guys in the beginning. Not that there aren’t any other anti austerity political forces in Europe but Syriza had such a strong mandate, WTF happened? It is over now for Syriza, I hope you realise this. Too bad you were hoping that Kaldor was wrong. I just don’t understand what else you were hoping for? That creditors were paying the bills bailout after bailout, debt restructuring after restructuring? I don’t understand what were you hoping for.

  13. Consider the following points:

    * my understanding is that Greece’s debt was held predominantly domestically at time of EZ entry; today it is almost exclusively held by foreigners
    * Greece’s bank deposits were close to 250 BEUR at the outset of the crisis and are now down to, I understand, about 125 BEUR (still higher as at the time of EZ entry!)
    * the country has been totally decapitalized by nationals and the capital has been replenished by foreigners
    * Greek nationals were estimated to hold a 3-digit BEUR figure in foreign financial assets before the crisis; since then, that figure must have increased phenomenally (not to mention the cash under mattrasses)
    * translate this into a family situation: the parents incurred phenomenal debts to acquire assets which they wrote over to other family members who made sure that their own assets were protected. Not all family members benefited from that. Some didn’t get any assets but are still liable for the parents’ debt

    “We have met the enemy and the enemy is us” – one could say.

    Be that as it may, it is actually irrelevant today. The only thing which is relevant today is how Greece can establish a base from which to build something new and better.

    Yanis, I thought that we had once an agreement that what Greece needed was a long-term industrial development plan; a plan not for a few years but at least for one generation. I had proposed the McKinsey Plan but said that if you didn’t like that, make your own plan along similar conceptual lines. You said that this would be your top priority as Finance Minister.

    I thought that we had once agreement that what Greece needed was an EU Task Force for Greece renamed as the “Greek Task Force with EU support” and reporting to the PM. It’s job would be “to build a modern and prosperous Greece: a Greece characterised by economic opportunity and social equity, and served by an efficient administration with a strong public service ethos.” I thought we had once agreement that, in order for Greece to accomplish such accelerated modernization, it needed the support of the best what Europe could offer by way of advice. You agreed with that.

    I had made a handful of other recommendations to you, with which you agreed.

    Yanis, I haven’t seen anything coming from you on the issues which I once thought we had agreement on! I could cite the advice I had given you on how to handle the negotiations but your latest interview in The New Statesman shows me that you had a completely different agenda. Had I accepted your invitation to join your force, I would have quit within a week.

    Six months ago, I thought that Tsipras would be the ‘wild one” and you would be the one bringing him back to sensible behavior. It turned out differently. You became the ‘uncontrollable missile’ and Tsipras had to smoothen the waves. You went for confrontation where you should have gone for compromise.

    You and I have had several exchanges about Bruno Kreisky. I once even suggested to you that SYRIZA should form a team to go to Vienna and to be lectured about “Kreiskyism”. In a nutshell: Kreiskyism meant “If we want to milk the cow, which is what we intend to do, we first have to make sure that the cow is and remains healthy”. Kreisky had a Finance Minister (Androsch) who led him the right way. Tsipras, I regret to say this openly, chose a Finance Minister who led him the wrong way. Kreisky was a true Social Demoract without being boggled down by ideologies or hidden agendas.

    I truly think that Tsipras now has the opportunity of a lifetime for Greece. He seems to have the support of his political opponents and he can afford to lose the support of his crazy party members without forfeiting his mission. What Tsirpras now needs is the advice and strong support of those who know how the cow can be made healthy and strong so that it can be milked for the benefit of Greek society. The definition of Greece’s problems is so easy. All it needs are the right solutions. Let me repeat: I think the McKinsey Plan offered a lot of right solutions. If you don’t like it, come up with a better plan but DO COME UP WITH A PLAN!

    The principles of finance have been turned upside down here. When in trouble, managements normally are asked to come up with a plan and lenders contemplate whether they are prepared to finance that pan. In Greece, all energies were spent on structuring the financing without having a plan. If Greece ever came up with a convincing long-term industrial development plan, lenders would undoubtedy look favoraby upon financing it.

    Every article you write and every interview you give explaining “who has done what to whom” is a complete waste of time. Please use your time for something constructive; for proposing alternative economic plans which the Greek government could pursue in order to return the country to prosperity.

    • “I truly think that Tsipras now has the opportunity of a lifetime for Greece”.

      To do what: repeat the errors of the past five years multiplied times 6 (judging on the size of the looting, aka “privatization”)?

      For this journey there was no need of saddlebacks, to use a Spanish expression. If that was the will of the Greek People, they would have ratified Mr. Samaras as Prime Minister and they would have voted “yes” in the referendum.

      … “he can afford to lose the support of his crazy party members”…

      Those “crazies” are probably the only ones who still retain some sanity. And nope: he can’t afford to lose them if he aims to call snap elections after Summer, as has been suggested, because, almost certainly, those “crazies” are going to be the ones getting the bulk of the vote for Syriza in January and for the “no” this month.

      Tsipras is not just dooming Greece to another, even worse, memorandum, but he’s also destroying his party and dumping the Greek popular mandate to the trash bin, i.e. destroying the national cohesion and the popular trust on the current government. Just as Venizelos did in 2010… or worse.

      “If Greece ever came up with a convincing long-term industrial development plan, lenders would undoubtedy look favoraby upon financing it”.

      Hah! No way! That would be promoting competence. That is precisely what they do not want at all: autonomous development of the economic potential in Greece or any other “peripheral” country. Some already developed smaller countries like Sweden or Finland are allowed (by the moment) to play an industrial exporter role but in general terms this role in the “post-modern IV Reich” is reserved to Germany. As bad as it sounds.

      As the late Eduardo Galeano wrote in the first paragraph of his masterpiece: “The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing”. In the German-dominated EU, alias IV Reich, peripheral Europe (and this is a very broad category) are expected to specialize in losing, losing everything, so the German übermenschen can live a bit better and imagine (wrongly) that it is because of their totally imaginary ethnic qualities such as being hardworking (when in fact Greeks work a lot more than Germans, the “laziest” ones of the OECD after the Dutch).

      But even the German übermenschen are exploited like anybody else in favor of a ever shrinking in numbers, ever growing in wealth, oligarchy. The lesser differences may be enough to sow the seeds of inter-ethnic squabble among workers but the harsh reality is that Germans themselves are losing everything just as Greeks are, maybe a bit more slowly but that’s about it.

      The metaphorical cow is owned by others and we, commoners, are not being allowed to milk it at all. That’s the problem.

    • Klaus of course you understand that you are an Austrian retired idiot with all the inferiority complexes and prejudices of old and failed monarchies of the disgusting part of Europe.

      Never again address the Greek people and I strongly recommend that vermin like you make a quick exit from these pages. And I mean beat it!

    • “Klaus of course you understand that you are an Austrian retired idiot ….

      If you disagree with what Mr. Kastner wrote, fine. There is no need to be rude and obnoxious about it. Especially in your sad case:

      This is a triumph for Tsipras.

      — Dean Plassaras, July 10, 2015 after Tsipras basically submitted the same proposal to the Troika the Greek people had overwhelmingly refused a few days before!

    • @ Klaus Kastner

      I may not be a financial expert, but one does not have to be an expert to realize that this is not about economics! You are making the same mistake as most of my german (and probably most of your austrian) countrymen by still believing that it’s all about finding the right recipe, the most elegant fiscal mechanism in order to bring Greece back on track, without ever giving a single thought about the fact that you are dealing with eleven million people who are beeing denied their right to democratic self-determination by their so-called partners.
      You can crunch all the numbers you want but that will not make those people feel more respected, or even taken seriously, after what was just done to them and to anybody in this so-called european ‘union’ who even gives a crap about democracy anymore.
      Your Kreiskyan cow is depressed and on the brink of suicide and she has been starved half to death, while you and your expert colleagues are still debating whether to make yogurt or cheese.
      And, sadly, you are also joining the blame game crowd by trying to pin this on one person, who was never even given a chance to start working on all these ‘agreements’ you speak of.
      And to top it off you even imitate our glorious european leaders by feeling personally offended, because your ideas were not adequately represented in the Greek bargaining strategy. This is exactly the kind of thinking that brought us into this mess. Can’t you see that? What is wrong with you people?

    • Hubert:

      So that you know the truth about this Klaus character.

      He is married to a Greek wife from a village outside Kavala, an area of extreme German collaborators during WWII. In fact if you dig deep enough you will find the precise record of collaboration which is in plain view.

      In addition, Klaus is a deep admirer of Eleni a book written with a profound Greek anti-communist sentiment and many of his comments exist on the Internet on such topic. He is also a supporter of the deposed Greek ex-king, typical of all austrogermanic element revering authority figures and the Kaiser-Ferdinand axis.

      Masking as a concerned and well meaning citizen he has been advocating that Greece emulates Chile which is the number #1 country on OCED’s list on income inequality.

      Since Syriza came to power he has been foaming at the mouth non-stop in his blog about how he knows Varoufakis and having a special relationship with Yanis while all along he is spewing non stop venom against this Greek government and its aims.

      You are speaking to him as a normal citizens wanting to strike a reasonable conversation and he is nothing more than a dedicated instrument of the worst type of political corruption imaginable.

      You can continue talking to him but beware of this low character pretending to be one among us when we all already know otherwise.

  14. I have to wonder Yanis if you would have settled for the deal made by your comrades, Alexis Tsipras and Euclid Tsakalotos. Clearly the Euro-Summit leaders thought that you would not.

    • Neither Tsipras or Tsakalotos ever made a deal. They were handed an ultimatum. And of course Yanis today will strike it down as a man of principle and a good Greek Parliamentarian that he is.

    • As a matter of fact Tsakalotos did not sign the deal and he seems to hold a position very similar to that of Varoufakis (for the good and for the bad): repugnance for this “agreement” or rather unconditional and pathetic surrender. Both can be accused of naivety but not of dishonesty.

      Tsipras on the other hand did sign and he is the one assuming all the responsibility, although he is not alone and notably Dragasakis has been now denounced as the main dark hand behind the worst of what Syriza’s government has done or has failed to do in these nightmarish six months (what does not remove the responsibility from Tsipras’ shoulders, of course, he’s the leader after all).

      On a side note I just read that the IMF (i.e. Washington) is throwing a last minute lifesaver to Tsipras and demanding a significant reduction of the debt burden, something that Schäuble has bitterly opposed.

  15. Totally agree. I find that conditions imposed are evidence that on the one hand ‘they’ want to deal only with those who make the tasks silently and on the other ‘they’ use Greece to set an example for other countries who might rebel. Best regards

  16. Much is being made of the US demands to withdraw the confederate flag as a symbol of slavery; in Europe it seems that slavery is not dead but EU policy! If Greece gives up control of its ports to the Eurogroup, all is lost. All of Greece, including the opposition parties, should be made to think about that as a single non-negotiable factor – and any responsible democratic politician in the rest of Europe should accept that. Servitude of the Greek nation is not acceptable.

    • “in Europe it seems that slavery is not dead but EU policy!”

      !

      I take it, then, then you think it entirely appropriate say that the steeped tea sold by Canadian chain Tim Horton’s is like rape?

  17. It is now obvious that what they wanted all along was Greece to become nothing more than the entertainment-cazino center for Europe …. and they even want to go as far as actual war to have this plan realized…..

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