Just a few more observations on Greek politics so please bear with me,
1. France’s Socialist Finance Minister has warned Greece that if Greece’s government goes back on its agreements to its European lenders, then Greece is looking at expulsion from the Eurozone. This is a big deal and I don’t know why it isn’t getting more play. When the French elected Socialist Francois Hollande as President, there was this idea that this might mean easier terms for Greece. Maybe it will at the margins if Greece sticks to the basics of the bailout agreement. But that isn’t what the Greek far left (and many desperate Greek voters) heard. The message they heard was that socialist, anti-austerity policies in France meant lots of free money for Greece. France’s Finance Minster has given that idea Le Boot.
The strategy of Alexis Tsipras (the leader of Greece’s far-left SYRIZA party) is a combination of international solidarity rhetoric and doomsday threats. He talks about “SYRIZA, and of course the Greek people, fight for our dignity, but we also fight for all the Europeans” That is just eyewash. The really important part is where Tsipras says “I have the sense that Greece is in a Cold war-like state with its debtors, meaning that both sides can push a button and destroy everything, knowing that there will be no winners after that.” Tsipras’ real message is: Let us out of paying our debts, let us out of the labor markets reforms we promised, and give us your money to fund our program for increased social spending or we will take you down with us.
One part of Tsipras’ strategy was vilifying German Chancellor Angela Merkel and hoping he could bring international pressure on Merkel to buckle and give Tsipras a lot of EU (mostly German) money. The French government just told the Greek electorate that if the Greeks elect SYRIZA and SYRIZA abandons Greece’s loan commitments, France plans to stand with Germany in letting Greece go into default and out of the Eurozone. I hope the Greek voters are listening.
2 To get some idea of Greece’s troubles, try to make sense of this report about a one day national strike by Greece’s journalists. Then try to make sense of the phrase “one day national strike by Greece’s journalists.”