That Greece somehow survived severe storms in the past relatively intact has created the false impression to many of its inhabitants that "Greece never dies" but, rather, marches eternally on. That, in turn, has contributed to a widespread sense of "happy resignation" concerning the inevitability of troubles but, also, the eventual finding of an exit route, which is mostly based on manipulation and "smarts" (read: cheating).
The false feeling of well-being that dominated the period up to the Athens 2004 Olympics, for example, emanating from expanding credit to sustain consumer spending and bogus "growth" figures, based in most part on crushingly expensive Olympic infrastructure construction and the widespread employment of black labor, only reinforced the collective tendency to ignore the darker signs and the politicians' well-rehearsed practice of building a "strong Greece" on lies, mismanagement, outright theft of public monies, and crippling corruption at all levels.
This beautiful but brittle edifice is now crumbling rapidly.
The sheer size of Greece's debt, and its unsustainable position in the international markets, leave no doubt that the "Country of Gods" is about to move closer to them. The "best case" scenario right now is that Hellas faces the type of violent economic contraction that will solidify long-term unemployment for increasing majorities of its population, shrinking disposable incomes, devaluation of personal assets, like inflated housing, and, possibly, endemic political instability.
Under the circumstance, few have any faith in the current crop of Greek politicians to pilot the country through the straits without major, even irrecoverable, losses.
Greece is in the unenviable position of being caught in its worst crisis since WW2 with a political "leadership" group whose members are tainted deeply by their critical personal contributions to the corruption that eventually brought the country to its current predicament -- but, who, nevertheless, remain demonstrably unrepentant and consciously oblivious to the damage they have caused.
Furthermore, this "leadership" group -- fat from illicit feasting, without much of a guiding political and economic philosophy, ever mindful of the politics of patronage and nepotism, and pretending to play "crisis management" -- has the bad luck of being caught in a widening European crisis of politics and nationalism reminiscent of the good old days of hoisting banners, waving the flag, and pointing fingers upon "lesser" countries that need to be taught lessons. Rapidly, the crisis is thus growing beyond these local catastrophic amateurs, and imposes dynamics that cannot be countered with cheap bravado for domestic consumption and the usual antics that have buttressed three-plus decades of bamboozling and "democratic politics" at the expense of the viability and survivability of this country.
The question of essence that arises at this point is how can such "leadership" lead reform that is necessary in order to set the country straight and attempt a recovery. The answer is disappointingly simple. Greece, thanks to its deeply-rooted bureaucracy, political attitudes, social tendencies, and the practices of its political parties, has been often called the "last Soviet republic" in Europe. The current Greek "leadership" bind can therefore be seen as the case of assigning the old Soviet communist party the task of pulling the USSR out of its "socialist" existence and into the modern world. The thought, even as a joking intellectual exercise, is ridiculous, to say the least.
Some Greek commentators have been calling for the incumbent party and government to "exceed themselves" and begin the necessary changes because otherwise, they warn, all might be lost.
Our question to these honest commentators is how can we expect such selfless dedication on the part of political cadres who have carved political careers and substantial personal wealth out of being their persistent corrupt selves to move now in a direction that, by definition, calls for the abolition of the exact type of "government" that these very same cadres imposed, nurtured, protected, and fed as means of partisan aggrandizement and continued exploitation of power?
This proposition is thus simply untenable.
Which leaves us with very little, if anything, in terms of who's going to do the dirty work.
And which brings back to mind that, historically, and under conditions such as those of today's Greece, only a catastrophic dissolution of the system fulfilled the dirty work and sowed the seeds of a genuine new era (not a pleasant thought).