The title of today ‘s article is not original. It goes back to by John Reed’s famous book about the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution Ten Days That Shook the World.
But it is relevant, because these past five days have shaken not only us in America but especially the people of Greece. And they have brought us back to reality.
I hope they have taught us a lot. We have seen, for example, that it is practically and morally advantageous for us to guard our credibility with our lives.
They have taught us that there is no substitute for action and results – consequences cannot be hidden. Sooner or later they come to light.
When Antonis Samaras became Prime Minister, the credibility of Greece had literally hit rock bottom. It was the result of Greece cooking its books, the so-called Greek statistics, in order to get into Eurozone.
Greece’s credibility was also harmed by the fact that its leaders’ statements were not in line with the facts; they were not credible. It was an explosive combination, with well- known results.
It took time and effort on the part of Samaras to mitigate those impressions and gradually improve Greece’s image.
It was among Samaras’ achievements. He achieved it despite the fact that he was originally opposed to the memoranda, for political reasons.
It was a success that generated satisfaction that the Prime Minister did not conceal; indeed he refered to it constantly.
And helped him achieved a lot. Such as the support of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who finally found a reliable interlocutor in Greece.
But he then undertook a very risky political gamble, in order to prevent the rise of SYRIZA. The government invested its credibility in the project of gaining Greece’s early exit from the Memoranda. That became the coalition ’s banner.
It was achieved by other countries, such as Ireland and Spain. But Greece was not ready. And it is impossible for them not to have known it.
Thus a toxic combination of SYRIZA’s rise in the polls and the “new strategy” about an early exit from the Memoranda acted as a catalyst for the explosion that occurred in international markets.
And of course the weak country paid a huge price: Greece saw its borrowing rates on 10-year bonds soar to 9 percent.
The market had spoken. What it said dashed the dreams of an early exit. But the escapade also injured the government’s credibility with all the consequences this entails.
Under these conditions, both the government and opposition this week played the mute.
However, the government sent Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis into Parliament to mumble something somewhat reminiscent of the hapless George Papandreou’s attacks on the markets. But only somewhat.
The result – if we want to use the truth as a tool to avoid future problems – was that there was great damage done.
First, the credibility of the government was harmed. The precious commodity of credibility was injured.
And second, it will take time – after this this cold shower – before it can again attempt to get people excited about an early exit from the Memoranda.
And all this for what?