By Anastasios Retzios
The “game” of the “institutions” is now absolutely clear, as it is also clear that the Greek Government has been caught in a trap that it cannot possibly escape from. It is evident that from the onset, the “institutions” never had any intention to enter in any negotiations with this government. One can try to guess their motives for such a stance; it could either be the fear that any negotiations with Greece would lead, in a domino-like effect, to re-negotiations with other countries in difficulties or it could be simply that Berlin and Brussels have decided to “extinguish” a rebellion against their policies, or a combination of the two.
The strategy to eviscerate the newly installed Greek government is very clear and remarkably effective. The “institutions” pretended that the re-negotiations were a financial matter and they were delegated to various financial committees of experts or finance ministers of the Eurozone. The issue, of course, was never financial; it was political from the onset. The EU has had little difficulty advancing 11 billion Euros to the government in Kiev from which it does not expect to retrieve a cent; after months of “technical discussion”, it cannot find its way to advancing Greece 7.2 billion Euros for all kinds of “technical” reasons.
In the meantime, the Greek government continues to serve the debt, exhausting its reserves; not only the reserves of the central government, but also those of the regional governments and municipalities have been tapped and depleted in an ill-advised attempt to continue the “negotiations” with the “institutions”. Thus, the Greek government finds itself absolutely trapped and devoid of any resources in a potential “confrontation” with the “institutions”. The “institutions” knew quite well that they had only to wait out this government, before it folded, as it surely will, like a cheap suit. Thus, in an attempt to secure that 7.2 billion Euros, the government has now decided to sell the Port of Piraeus (to Chinese interests?) and 14 regional airports (these would be going to a German company!!). It would be superfluous for me to point out that the sale of these assets would secure a miniscule amount of the value of these properties. In fact, even in the medium term, the government stands to lose far more income from these properties than it would ever collect from the sale.
But this is hardly the only concession the government is offering; it has signaled its intention to “reform” the pensions and to increase taxation, very much against its own proclamations only three months ago. It is in a headlong retreat. Daily it claims that there are “red lines” that cannot be crossed and daily, these “red lines” disappear. But for all its elastic “backbone”, the “institutions” are unlikely to provide the funds to this government. They would push it to default and proceed to trap it within the Eurozone after it has defaulted.
But why is all of this happening? Why is there no effective answer to this very transparent game played by Berlin and Brussels? There is only one answer to this. FEAR. The Greeks are so terribly afraid of exiting the Eurozone (and the EU, if need be), that the “institutions” can get away with the clear demand (and it is a demand) to take control of the Greek state. They demand that their functionaries are allowed to take control of key Greek ministries and to vet all Greek legislation. They know that the population is just too afraid to escape the “Euro” prison. Terribly, terribly afraid. SYRIZA, having failed to indict the “Euro” prison the country was in, is now caught in its own contradictions and the fears itself help create. Greece is simply paralyzed by fear. While the exit from the “debt prison”, the subjugation, the turning of the country into a colony is visible to all, virtually everybody is absolutely scared sh*tless to walk throught the exit door!!! This, of course, allows Schaeuble and “friends” to dictate the terms of surrender.
Dr. Negreponte-Delivani has put together some excellent suggestions. But for any of them to be implemented, one would need some modicum of courage. I would be surprised if any such amount of courage is found. This government would fold and surrender; it would soon fragment and some of its remnants would join a government of “national salvation”, another term for the return to power of the pro-memorandum parties. It is a safe bet that after this debacle, defeatism would prevail totally and Greece would lapse to the subservient and slavish behavior of the last five years, as it sails into poverty, destitution, hunger and deprivation.
“Victory belongs to the bold”; unfortunately, the bold are not to be found in Greece. Only fearful husks of men exist there, ready to take German orders to secure a few crumbs of bread.
Anastassios D. Retzios, PhD
San Ramon, California