This a.m. Atrios highlights an op ed at the Financial Times by Wolfgang Münchau pointing out that Greece now faces the bitter choice of defaulting if it wants to preserve any pretense of democracy and national sovereignty.
That follows a week or more of intimidating and insulting comments by German financial minister Wolfgang Schäuble and others suggesting that it would be better for everyone if Greece just left, but if they insist on staying, they effectively have to surrender their fiscal sovereignty to the Troika representing outside creditors and even postpone elections to satisfy the Germans that a new government will honor the current government’s pledges.
All of these insults were happening while Angela Merkel and Troika officials were insisting that a Greek default and leaving the Euro were out of the question, while demanding more and more austerity concessions as a condition for providing the loan funds they promised months ago. The goalposts have been moving almost daily.
Everyone’s been playing bad cop/bullying cop, and there’s not a sensible voice among the entire Euro leadership. As one might expect, this has infuriated the Greek government and more importantly, the Greek people, who turned out in the hundreds of thousands to protest not only the strangling austerity measures but also the bulling and insults that came with them. And yet the government keeps promising to meet each set of new demands.
Today, as the Euro ministers are meeting supposedly to reach final agreement, we get yet more insults and bullying. From the FT’s live crisis blog at that meeting:
15.21: Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch finance minister, has roiled the markets with his latest comments outside the Brussels meeting. This via Reuters:
“Greece wants the money and so far we haven’t given them anything. We have said no over the past weeks. We can afford to say to no until Greece has met all the demands. It’s up to Greece and the troika (of the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission) to say whether this has been done and for us it is a no until Greece has done so. If Greece lives up to all its obligations, then the Netherlands will also do its part.
. . . it’s probably necessary that there is some kind of permanent presence of the troika in Athens not every three months but on a permanent basis.. . .“I am in favour of more control, more supervision … Money is the thing we can control Greece with.”
“Money is the thing we can control Greece with.” That pretty well sums up the bankster mentality, and they say this because they know it usually works.
Throughout the Euro/Greek crisis, the Euro leaders have focused on making sure future creditors were protected, even as current private creditors were getting a 70% haircut, never mind what the consequences were for the Greek economy or the Greek people. At no time has anyone every offered Greece a way out of its depression or a way to relieve the suffering of the Greek people while they reformed their economy.
So everything else — pensions, wages, assets, services, their future — had to be sacrificed to protect the new creditors, primarily northern Euro banks. And now the banksters’ governments are openly declaring that if you don’t protect the creditors, you can’t have democracy.