I have read the thunderous “NO” of the Germans. I heard their angry voices.
I read the brutal statement of the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to Greece: “We are not easy to blackmail.”
I read the statement of the spokesman of the German Finance Minister, who not only rejected the grand idea of the new Greek Finance Minister for an international conference on debt, but said with scorn: “debates about international conferences to reduce the debt are divorced from reality.”
Great. So where do we stand now?
It is more than clear that the first week of the new Greek government did not go well at all.
In a few days it managed to lose the confidence of the markets, open a new rift with Europe and the United States over Russia, and see their great ideas for the economy – their plans – tossed aside inelegantly.
Nicholas Burns, former U.S. Ambassador to Athens, wrote in the Boston Globe: “In just four days, the new Greek government, which includes former Communists and anarchists, seems determined to defy principles that are at the heart of what the EU and NATO stand for – play by the rules, keep your commitments, and defend democracy against aggression. They might relent, as neophyte isologues sometimes do when faced with the reality of governing. But if Tsipras continues to drive his government hard left, he risks undercutting his ties with Europe and the United States for years to come. That would not be a smart choice. But he and his party don’t seem inclined to back down just yet.”
Here it is, ladies and gentlemen. Leftists ideological choices are not “smart” for the country. Indeed, not.
But there is another side. The side of realism and the long-term interests of Greece and Europe. And that side says that it is practically impossible for Greece to repay 400 billion euros in debt. End of story.
To pay that kind of debt it would literally have to drive the people to starvation. And that is neither ethical nor feasible. Simply put: the people will not tolerate it.
So, the continuation of this policy leads nowhere.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman just said the following in his New York Times column: “Let Greece run smaller but still positive surpluses, which would relieve Greek suffering, and let the new government claim success, defusing the anti-democratic forces waiting in the wings.”
Not bad advice at all.