February 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
Imagine a damsel in distress imprisoned in a castle and her champion rushing to her aid.
The hero saves the day but the damsel is still in peril.
Each and every time after her hero’s interventions the castle’s walls grow thicker around her and the danger of suffocation is even greater than before.
Eventually the hero rushes to save her one last time and the damsel slaps him in the face shouting at him: Enough already, I don’t wish to be saved any more. To hell with you.
Now replace the damsel with ages old Greece, the castle with an everaccumulating pile of debt and the Hero with EU and IMF and you ll get a pretty good idea of what is happening to Greece.
Greece –once the cradle of democracy and now the cradle of debtocracy- is fed up with her saviors. And for good reasons.
Greece has finally figured out that operation “Save Greece” has been actually a money laundering scheme all along: of the hundreds of billions lent, only a dozen were actually directed towards the Greek State’s essential needs. The rest were used to service debt. In other words: Greece has been accumulating debt in order to repay debt.
The consequences of this vile cycle have been dire: while cruel policies were enforced to deal with the debt, the dept actually grew bigger and bigger over time.
Debt/GDP ratio grew dramatically: In 2009 the ratio was 120%. In 2015 the ratio grew as high as 180%, a ratio second only to Japan’s.
Unemployment rates grew to 28%. One out of two youths is jobless. Salaries and pension were mutilated. Irrational taxes shrunk average income even more. Suicides rates soared high. A new wave of immigration stripped Greece of talent and innovation. If it can be told that countries can die, then Greece is by now a dying country. To make matters even worse, the EU forced bankrupt Greece by exception to incorporate the high recapitalization cost of its banks to its bebt.
Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of deposits fled from the crisis stricken countries and surged into the German banks. It would not be totally unfair to suggest that Germany profiteered from the crisis.
And the gains were not only financial: Europe, once a collective of equals was forced to come to terms with the idea of Europe degenerating into a German hegemony.
The Germans claims that they are playing by the book: they are clearly not: The Greek crisis could have been solved in a matter of weeks but the Germans preferred to turn the spark into a fire: they knew all too well that a European crisis would allow them to become Europe’s top dog.
So, with a Nerorian glee, they stood and watched the fire spread, envisioning the rebuilding of a German Europe over the asses of the former EU.
One of the fundamental problems with the German leadership is that it likes to consider itself as unfaultable and thus unquestionable.
Such an attitude leads to serious errors of judgment. Historically, even when they are trying to do the right thing they are doing it the wrong way and more often they are doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons.
And the early 21st century Germany is no exception.
Chancellor Merkel succumbed to Washington’s will and supported the Ukrainian coup d’ etat. Now there is a civil war in Ukraine and the Germans know all too well that the situation can get easily out of hand and threaten the rest of the EU. They should have known better.
And the Ukrainian civil war is not the only existential problem EU will have to face:
Germany has been hammering the Greek people with ruthless austerity for so long, that it already managed to turn one of the most proEU countries into an ardent EU separatist, a county with a kamikaze attitude willing to sacrifice the little it is left with simply to save its dignity.
Germany, an export based economy, has already lost the Russian market. They will lose Greece as well and if the Greeks can survive the financial shock others countries will follow Greece’s heroic exodus.
The German economy will crumble eventually.
Germany had its chance to make a good example out of its leadership. But it failed miserably. Having abandoned the geopolitical view of things since its crushing defeat in WWII, Germany has lost an ideal opportunity to turn the Mediterranean into a European vital space and a provider of energy for the energy hungry EU during the Cyprus crisis. Instead, Germany handed Cyprus over to Israel and to private companies.
Germany’s obsession with numbers and rules is as bad as any other obsession it suffered from in the past.
Germany argues and dictates: Follow the rules.
But when the rules don’t work, the logical thing to do is to change them.
Germany argues that states should honor their international commitments: But the primary commitment of any state is to first honor its obligations towards its own people.
They previous Greek governments obviously did not do so. Partly because they were deeply corrupted: German companies like Siemens illegally funded the formerly dominant Greek Parties. Their main concern were to keep EU loans running so they that they could keep on embezzling and charge their criminal deeds to the Greek budget and the already terribly burdened average Greek taxpayers shoulders. .
The previous Greek governments broke all rules and still they were heavily supported by Germany:
They used Goldman Sachs to hide debt so that they could enter the European Monetary Europe. Again and again they lied to and deceived the electorate: Former P.M’s G.W.Papandreou electoral campaign promised more money: instead he delivered crushing austerity, teas gas, police brutality and the introduction of Troika. After his demise he gave ignorant US students lectures on how to reconstruct Europe! His successor, a once upon time roommate and fellow student, Antonis Samaras, accused his predecessor of committing crimes and promised that he would renegotiate the memorandum in terms favorable to the humiliated Greek society. Yet, he simply continued the antisocial policies exhausting Greeks ever more.
These were not fine examples of representative democracy. These were examples of no democracy at all. And the majority of the Greek people do not recognize the former governments as legal. It is a public demand that the Greek financial and political oligarchies be jailed.
Despite the Germans being perfectly aware of all the aforementioned, they insist on their claim of binding commitments, regardless of political or historical changes. And while the new greek government, elected with a clear public dictate to end the suffering and to restore democracy and dignity, never refused to honor Greek obligations, Germany rejects its historic obligations towards the Greek Democracy as absolute nonsense.
But none should call nonsense the forced loan the Nazis imposed on the occupied and starving Greece, a loan that adjusted to present figures is worth an estimated 11 billion euro, no interest added. Because, even if the slightest interest is added, the Occupation Loan far exceeds the overall current Greek debt.
Greeks have authorized and empowered the current government to do what ever it takes and stand again German totalitarianism, even slap it in the face if necessary, regardless of the consequences. Greeks don’t fight simply to save their selves. After all, they know they are doomed. They are fighting to save democracy all over Europe, and they will defend it at all costs.
The German leadership has once again proven to be dogmatic and thus unfit in a time of historical changes. The leaders of Europe should have a paneuropean vision coupled with respect for the national entity. The Germans are trying to create an EU after their own image. Their previous two efforts resulted in the destruction of Europe. Why should their final effort turn out any better?
Petros Arguriou, 16/2/2015