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.