2. The “great powers” of Europe continue with their blinkered neo-Calvinist vendetta against the PIGGS at a cost that they will soon regret. Messages are mixed and confusing. While German politicians warn that not giving additional bailout assistance to Greece could trigger a major financial crisis, the new Bundesbank boss, Jens Weidemann, is wagging his finger at the Greeks and warning that there could be no more money if they don’t agree to self-immolation by austerity. In a similar vein, ECB boss Trichet has rejected an ECB role in Greece’s bailout yet again, further stirring the witches’ pot with the ladle of destruction and sending the euro tumbling with his hawkish mumbo jumbo. Similar behaviors across the Continent promise more confusion and disarray as the dis-Union of European “member states” discovers the gulf that always separated the happy family across national boundaries and mindsets.
3. Nobody really knows, or has the vision and political fire in the belly, to take the bull by the horns, let the Greeks go officially bankrupt, wipe their debt slate clean, and decide, finally, that the banks holding Greek junk, all of them key protagonists in triggering the economic deluge that has been whipping the world raw since 2008, are going to take the fall they deserve for being the unabashed gamblers with our money that they are (few really understand why the banks must always win and the rest of us always lose.)
4. Up until recently the darling of European creditors, embattled Papandreou -- “our man in Athens” according to the German Financial Times of August 12, 2010 -- is rapidly losing traction with his international handlers because he is blowing it in every way thought possible to boot: he inherited a sovereign debt at 115% of GDP in 2009 and has succeeded in sending it through the roof to 154% of GDP; by the end of this year, the debt is expected to hit a totally unsustainable 165% of GDP by the Greek government’s own estimates, marking the utter success of the Papandreou regime’s sound and well thought-out policies. Fixated on the deficit, Papandreou and his cohorts at the finance ministry are methodically destroying Greek society, not to speak of the economy, through punitive taxation.
5. Papandreou’s regime, comprising some of the most towering political midgets in the history of modern Greece, thus keeps flapping aimlessly, refuses to take the axe to Greece’s real cancer (its enormous ossified public sector with a gargantuan appetite for endless cash,) and sticks to a mentally retarded game of hide-and-seek with the “troika,” whose stuffed technocratic shirts demand more and more Greek blood so that they can saddle the country with more unbearable loans that will never be repaid, troika or no troika.
The situation in Greece is rapidly growing out of control. Papandreou’s true political reach extends perhaps two or three city blocks around his Athens downtown office. His own party, the “socialist” Pasok, is up in arms over the realization by its parliamentarians that the future of “socialism” in Greece is all but extinct (and that their own political existence has already been sealed). That Papandreou still survives in the prime minister’s seat is simply the result of too many brigands quarreling over the roof collapsing on their heads and not finding the time to push the “leader” out of the way -- something that they may soon decide to do, especially if the tens of angered thousands demonstrating daily outside parliament decide to take one step further and terminate the Papandreou regime by showing the way out to all fathers and mothers of the Nation at one fell swoop.
Greece’s reckless borrowing proceeded with the wholehearted approval of 3-piece suited lenders, who represent the now established “legitimate” loan sharking community in our “globalized” world which has imposed a global Rule by Rentiers, as Paul Krugman has recently and aptly put it, with the complete acquiescence of national governments. Now the Greeks face complete destruction because of their unsustainable debt fuelled by their own foolishness but, also, by exactly this rentiers’ voracity for fresh victims. The Greeks’ demise though won’t be an isolated implosion; it would certainly trigger the type of chain reaction President Obama was warning about during his recent meeting with the perennially ornery Angela Merkel, who seems to believe, wrongly, that Germany is almost immune or, at least, strong enough to withstand a global economic crash, triggered by a Greek default, that would make the 1929 US event look like a gathering of Sunday school teachers.
The Europeans, especially those who are stuck in a frame of mind akin to that of a boarding school headmaster with a cat o’nine tails kept in his cupboard, are again blundering into the sequence of unhinging ideologies and stubborn attachment to authoritarian “pain policies” that have incalculably cost the world twice in the course of the 20th century -- and, suddenly, our treasured “European integration” appears up in the air.
Heather Stewart, in a recent cogent leader, has literally wiped the floor with Europe’s demand that Greece commits seppuku by austerity so that “the catastrophic consequences of irresponsible lending,” and the true reasons for killing the Greeks, are pushed under the carpet by colluding EU officials and “central” European governments. The Greek crisis, contrary to what they will tell you inside the august temples of “private investment” and “wealth creation,” has now transcended the frontier of how the “markets” work (or don’t) and is advancing deeply into political territory. From now on, whatever initiatives materialize -- if they do -- must be political with the distinct flavor of wishing to save the “European Union” as a whole, and tackle the inherent disunity of its constituent parts in a way that will leave little room for behaviors that are now surfacing because of the divide between the “righteous and thrifty” and the “corrupt and dysfunctional.”
In the opposite case, please mark your calendars with the beginning of bye-byes for a multilateral experiment that got off on the wrong foot anyway and certainly seems to serve the interests of very narrow groups of privileged people at the expense of the “masses” -- an experiment which, if it continues as aforementioned, it should be put out of its misery sooner rather than later.