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Ideological Blinkers
Shocker: Greeks Present No New Plan

Well that didn’t go well:

Greece’s attempt to salvage its place in the eurozone got off a rocky start when its finance minister arrived at a meeting of counterparts without a fresh rescue proposal.

Athens has been given a final chance to present a new reform plan to its eurozone partners — even though their willingness to accommodate it has all but evaporated following Greece’s emphatic rejection of previous bailout terms in Sunday’s referendum.

But Greece’s new finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos turned up with no written proposal. Instead, he outlined verbally what a Greek official said was the same plan Athens submitted to its creditors on June 30.

The lack of a new plan shocked the assembled finance ministers and angered several, officials said. Their meeting was supposed to set the parameters of a make-or-break summit of eurozone leaders on Tuesday evening.

The real shocker isn’t that the Greeks didn’t have a new proposal, but rather that the assembled eurocrats were themselves surprised at this fact. Perhaps many of them were celebrating the departure of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis yesterday. If so, that was foolish: by all accounts, the new FM is a staunch Marxist who, while still sympathetic to the European project, is unlikely to represent some kind of huge break with his predecessor’s views.

Indeed, there’s more than a strong likelihood that an important group in Syriza really does want a break with Europe. There’s a familiar kind of leftist out there that sees “crisis” as a necessary element in the construction of socialism. A Greece that is cut off from world markets, united by nationalist passion, with its economy shattered and bitterness ruling its politics—that’s exactly the kind of situation you would want to create in order to start building your neo-communist project.

It’s impossible to judge from the outside how strong this faction actually is. But as the economic situation gets grimmer—many are now estimating that Greek banks will run out of money by the end of the week—the center of gravity in Syriza could well start to shift further towards the hardliners. Tsipras, Varoufakis, and now Tsakatolos could end up being Greek Kerenskys.

If that happens, expect more “shock” from Brussels officials (and from the MSM analysts). Their ideological blinkers often prevent them from even conceiving that there are people who see the world well outside the confines of their accepted ways.

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  • rheddles

    Tsipras, Varoufakis, and now Tsakatolos could end up being Greek Kerenskys.

    An extremely apt comparison. Greece is like the leaf of a hinge that swings toward power. The other leaf is Turkey and it swings likewise. The pin is the sea of Marmara. Neither is swinging west.

  • Fat_Man

    I kind of hope that Greece does go full communist. It could be very amusing, to foreigners that is.

  • Pete

    Dealing with duplicitous commies is such fun, isn’t it?

  • Boritz

    You remember when Dean Wormer put the Delta’s on “double secret probation”? It took them by surprise too, but they rebounded.

  • Andrew Allison

    Yes, one does have to wonder why the Eurogroup keeps meeting to discus Greece. I suspect it’s an effort to avoid being the bad guys in the inevitable divorce. No deal that would be acceptable to the Troika could pass in the Greek parliament (and Greece’s track demonstrates that even if it could, the reforms wouldn’t be fully implemented). It’s all just political theater.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Perhaps we are underestimating the history of WWII and the ultimate awkwardness of Germany at this time acting as any kind of bad guy in this. The recent votes in Greece may be reminding us of how the Greeks see an EU led economically by Germany. From the standpoint of ordinary Greeks, who would blame them for not just rolling over to demands?

      • Andrew Allison

        You will, no doubt, be unsurprised that I disagree [grin]. The German Central Bank is the largest holder of Greek debt, and the German people (along with those of several other members of the Eurogroup) are fed up with funding Greece’s delusional lifestyle. The Golden Rule of politics is to get re-elected, and the German government has no choice but to be the bad guy if it hopes to keep its collective job. The (meaningless) recent vote in Greece reflects a perfectly understandable desire to have one’s cake and eat it too, i.e., not to give up the unaffordable benefits which a succession Greek governments have granted them. An honest government (an oxymoron, I know) would have told the people that they’ve run out of OPM.

        • FriendlyGoat

          No, it’s never a surprise when we disagree (grin).

          But it’s not lost on all Greeks or maybe some other Europeans who may not want their union fracturing that Germany only occupies its present stature as the result of a lot of help in the past. I have a feeling Germany is not going to actually lead the slapping of a weaker country in this mess. I’m expecting a deal of some sort that the Greeks would not get by agreeing to more austerity. They apparently are too. We’ll see.

  • Alex K.

    “Tsipras, Varoufakis, and now Tsakatolos could end up being Greek Kerenskys.”

    Kerensky was overthrown by the Bolsheviks after a few months in office. The Bolshevik tactic, “the worse, the better,” is a recipe for undermining the incumbent government. Are Tsipras and his team suicidal?

    • Tom

      No, just clueless.

      • Alex K.

        Not Varoufakis though. I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s been doing. And that’s probably why he resigned after winning the referendum, leaving Tsipras to self-destruct.

  • CapitalHawk

    The Telegraph is reporting that the Greeks are now openly stating that they have the ability to print Euros and they may do so soon. See “Defiant Greeks Reject EU Demands and Syriza prepares IOU Currency” where a Syriza official is quoted as saying “We have to restore stability to the system, with or without the help of the ECB. We have the capacity to print €20 notes”.

    In any event, the whole election was designed to get Greece out of the Euro while blaming the rest of Europe for the exit.

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