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The Courage to Lie

They say a diplomat is someone sent abroad to lie for his country. While that is not always the case, it certainly matches the job description for the Greek finance minister this weekend. In the Washington Post:

Greece’s commitment to the euro is “firm and irrevocable,” the country’s finance minister said Sunday as euro-zone officials tried to press their case that the currency union will stick together.

Addressing an audience of international bankers and finance officials, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who is also deputy prime minister, said recent steps such as the furloughing of 30,000 government employees will allow the nation to meet its budget targets for 2011.

No one really believes this but everyone wants to hear it.  Each day more people accept that Greece is insolvent and must repudiate much of its debt; the rules of the game mandate that the Greek government keep its chin up and prophesy success even as the vultures edge closer.

Everyone pretends that a solution will be worked out, but nobody really believes it. Until then, poor Venizelos must lie through his teeth, but he has no choice. If he said anything else, the world would explode and instead of an orderly Greek liquidation, we would have a bank run and a financial crisis.

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  • Ken Moore

    Oddly, this story re-emerges after a two month hiatus. Is this because of Turkey which has a militarily active border with Syria?

  • Jim.

    So Greece’s default is inevitable. What do we do in the time that these lies buy us?

  • nb

    Your post contains a non sequitur: Greece could repudiate part of its debt and still remain part of the euro. That may well be the government’s strategy. You probably owe the ambassador an apology for the insinuation that he was lying.

  • Ken Moore

    Apologies for comment #1 which is an observation for the previous story, “An Army of Defectors”.

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