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According to the German newspaper Bild, when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ team returned to the hotel after their meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, they cracked open two bottles of whiskey to celebrate.

Not because Merkel changed her “money for reforms” line, but because her attitude towards them shifted from negative to tolerant.

Merkel decided – after pressure from President Barack Obama – to try to determine to what extent she can the trust Tsipras – will he keep his word and follow through, or not?

Under normal circumstances these things would have been taken care of two months ago, had all those indescribable actions not occurred.

Meanwhile, two days before the Israeli elections, when polls indicated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would lose, he committed two serious errors: first, he promised that he would not recognize a Palestinian state, and second, he warned that Israeli Arabs would be voting in droves and so they must be offset by a high Jewish turnout.

Immediately after his re-election, Netanyahu began to back off, and he even apologized personally to the Israeli Arabs. But the damage had been done.

President Obama, who had suffered humiliation at Netanyahu’s hands, grabbed the opportunity to put him in his place.

The Wall Street Journal, in fact, just revealed that Israel spied on talks between the U.S. and Iran.

A connection between Tsipras and Netanyahu seems unlikely, but it is there. Big countries have many ways to “take care of” small ones, if they so decide. In Greece’s case it is obvious: when the state coffers are empty, at the very least you should try not to disturb unnecessarily those from whom you seek understanding.

Even in the case of Netanyahu, despite the power of Israel and the influence of Jewish-Americans – among whom Netanyahu has created divisions also– the United States is a superpower which, when it so chooses, has the means to punish him. And unfortunately these errors, through inexperience or arrogance, are paid for by the people.

President Theodore Roosevelt used to say “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Unfortunately, the Varoufakis-Tsipras duo speaks loudly and wields a small stick.

So in the end, it was inevitable that Tsipras would be grateful when Merkel received him warmly. Netanyahu, on the other hand, will be forced to make many apologies to win back some sympathy.

In the final analysis, seriousness, wisdom, and preparation count much more in negotiations than grandstanding, self-serving demagoguery.

Source: The National Herald
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