Monday, January 26, 2015

Another Act in a Greek Tragedy

This will not end well; not for the Greeks, not for Europe, and not for us.
Punching the air, Tsipras arrived at a little after 11pm strutting up the steel stairs to the stage like a rock star.

“The hard work begins tomorrow,” he boomed.

“Today, the Greek people have written history. Hope has written history. Greece is turning a page. It is leaving behind the austerity of catastrophe.

“There are no winners and losers. Those who have been defeated are the elite and oligarchs, the vested interests that destroyed our country.”
Son, hope ain't a plan.

Let's not forget how Greece found herself here. For decades they spent more than they produced, digging a deeper and deeper hole until they could not pull themselves out - slathering herself with corruption and poor leadership.

When they realized that there would be a cost to their immature ignoring of reality, they revolted against reality ... and now have started digging again.

To understand how doomed Greece is - and it will get worse until someone else comes in to fix them, goodness knows what that will be - you need to see who has taken power. As you read the below, ask yourself, "When has this ever worked?"
SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) entered a new stage in its life and action as a single party after its first (Founding) Congress (10-14 July 2013).
The Founding Congress of the new party defined itself as a party of the democratic and radical Left, which has its roots in popular struggles for Greek independence, democracy and labour and anti-fascist movements in Greece. The party comprises many different ideological currents and left cultures, building its identity on a synthesis of the values of the labour movement with those of the ecological, feminist and other new social movements. This is why there are three flags on the SYRIZA logo: red, green and purple.
There you go. Here's something for you national security types;
Together with the European Left Party, of which it is a very active member, SYRIZA is fighting for the re-foundation of Europe away from artificial divisions and cold-war alliance such as NATO. As for the E.U., SYRIZA denounces the dominant extreme neoliberal and euro-atlantic policies and believes that they must and can be transformed radically in the direction of a democratic, social, peaceful, ecological and feminist Europe, open to a socialist and democratic future. This is why SYRIZA is in favour of cooperation and coordinated action of left forces and social movements on a pan-European scale. However, it does not hold euro-centric views and rejects the idea of an insulate "fortress Europe".
The capitulation of our foreign policy to the desires of the U.S. and the powerful states of the European Union endangers the country's independence, peace, and security. We propose:

-- A multi-dimensional and peace-seeking foreign policy.
-- Disengagement from NATO and closure of foreign military bases on Greek soil.
-- Termination of military cooperation with Israel.
-- Aiding the Cypriot people in the reunification of the island.
That last link has a good executive summary of the party platform, you should read it all.

At this point, especially from the German perspective, I do not see how Greece will stay in with the Euro. She never should have been allowed to join the Eurozone to begin with - and now the sooner she can leave, the better.

In the party platform, you can also see the seed for a policy that will further promote division and conflict in Greece and the rest of Europe. Unchecked immigration in to the EU is a great destabilizer, and ... well ...
-- Immigration reforms:

-- Speeding up the asylum process
-- Abolition of Dublin II regulations and granting of travel papers to immigrants
-- Social inclusion of immigrants and equal rights protection
Yes, the worse, the better. They know their Lenin well - or they are delusional.
Mondal, 23, was among a crowd of hundreds who turned out to cheer Tsipras as he arrived at Syriza party headquarters in Athens late Sunday after his election victory. He said he hopes a Tsipras-led government will make it easier for him to acquire Greek citizenship. At the moment, he has a card that lets him reside in Greece only and not elsewhere in the European Union.

I believe I’ll get the passport,” Mondal said as he mingled with a handful of other Bangladeshis who rushed forward as Tsipras appeared. “Then I can think about Italy, Germany, Spain.”
A huge youth unemployment problem does not get better with wave after wave of young, uneducated, and unskilled workers from the south and east - but that isn't the point.

The center will not hold.
Greece is headed into a new era of anti-austerity as the radical leftist Syriza successfully formed a government with the Independent Greeks party after falling agonisingly short of an outright majority in Sunday’s landmark elections.

“I want to say, simply, that from this moment, there is a government,” the Independent Greeks leader, Panos Kammenos, told reporters after emerging from a meeting at Syriza’s headquarters.
The center, left and right, have no one to blame for themselves. They stamped themselves, correctly, with the taint of corruption and cronyism. 

This new party "right wing?" Notsomuch in an economic sense.
Both Syriza and Independent Greeks agree on the need to end austerity. And both hold strident views on the especially sensitive issue of Greek national sovereignty having been denuded as a result of six years of stewardship under Athens’ hated “troika” of creditors. Anel, like Syriza, says foreign lenders have turned the debt-crippled country into a “debt colony”.

In opposition, the two political forces collaborated to block the election of a new head of state, which ultimately triggered Sunday’s snap polls. With Syriza and Anel outright rejecting the commitments the previous government signed up to with creditors – outlined in the onerous bailout accords that Athens agreed with the EU, ECB and IMF – they will make an extremely tough negotiating team when stalled talks resume this month.

Kammenos’s appointment will not be welcome news to Berlin, which has provided the biggest share of the €240bn (£180bn) in rescue funds to Athens.
They are only further to the right when it comes to religion and national security which, it is fair to say, in Greek politics is hard not to be to the right than Syriza.

Looking through their platform, there is nothing here that looks to moderate what Syriza will do to what is left of the Greek economy and her people, but I do see the seeds of future conflict.

As much as I love to slap the hard left around (not the American center-left - I'm actually in mild alignment with some of their issues, and they are well meaning silly folks more than off their rocker). It would be a mistake to see what happened in Greece as just a leftist problem. As a matter of fact, in the context of an American discussing what his happening in Europe, the "left" and "right" shorthand is becoming less useful than ever.

In a way it always has been imperfect. As Jonah Goldberg put in his book Liberal Fascism, and I have tried to convince with less success here - what the communists and socialist sympathetic left has tried to do to avoid hard truths, is to separate themselves from their statist leftist brothers the fascists by calling them "right." 

No, when you boil it down, they are all born in the same nest, and it doesn't matter what the color of the boot is that is kicking you in the face, it feels the same and has the same effect.

Is this a sign of a larger European collapse? No, but it is the canary. Without question, Greece is the weakest sister as the graph below shows.

Update: Nice overview by Tom Rogan;
This isn’t just about questions of finance and debt — it’s about the nature of society and the underlying role of personal responsibility. The undeniable, proven-by-history truth — a truth that the far Left in Europe and America ignores — is that socialism is a cause of economic suffering, not its solution. Greece’s economic difficulties (25 percent unemployment) aren’t caused by capitalism; rather, the blame lies squarely on the Greek governing class that for many years constructed an inefficient and ever more bloated state, with no one to pay for it. Instead of admitting this truth, Greek voters have taken two easier options: Blame Germany, and pretend things will get better.

But things will only get worse. As I wrote last year, when discussing France’s economic collapse, socialism’s failure is inherent to its ideology. When President Hollande tried to soak France’s high earners, they simply left the country or stopped investing. Hollande chose to completely ignore the movability of 21st-century capital, and his country is paying the price. Reality is hard, but as the U.K.’s successful “austerity” program attests — the U.K.’s 2014 third-quarter growth was 2.6 percent, compared with France’s 0.4 percent growth — spending cuts are necessary for investor confidence. These investors encourage private-sector growth and productivity.

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