One wonders if Alexis Tsipras’ policy has been aimed at a Eurozone exit from the start, but in a manner acceptable to the Greek population.
Greece has gone down to the wire and beyond, but call me cynical – has this been Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ plan all along? Coming up with demands with which there is little likelihood of acceptance by the country’s creditors, and then exiting the Euro by being forced out by the wicked Germans and their allies, could be what he has been aiming for all along. But this may have been coupled with perhaps the tiny chance that the Eurozone would cave in which would make him a national hero, and this still remains a possibility given the Eurozone keeps on extending the final deadline for reaching some kind of satisfactory agreement.
Go back in time, and much of the left wing Syriza political party, now in government, took an anti-Euro stance. And its coalition partners, the right wing Independent Greeks party perhaps even more so. But with opinion amongst the Greek populace hugely pro remaining in the Euro, the pragmatic politician stance took over. Clearly Syriza with a break-from-Euro clause in its manifesto would almost certainly have been unelectable, so this policy disappeared and Syriza was elected, but now with a supposedly pro-Euro stance.
But the negotiations with its creditors – if they can be called negotiations with neither side prepared to give ground on the key demands – could have always been designed from the Greek standpoint to have the nation ejected from the Euro. Alexis Tsipras and his colleagues have supposedly been desperately trying to salvage Greece’s Eurozone membership without making any serious concessions – an untenable position. If Greece is forced out, which looks increasingly likely, he can say that ‘we did our best, but Angela Merkel et al were just intent in grinding Greek noses into the dust’. That is probably the only rationale which could see a Euro exit, but still keep the populace on Syriza’s side, with the undoubted hardships which would follow.
And there would be hardships. But then there are enormous hardships already afflicting the Greek people. Was it ever thus? Greece has a long history of the elite putting the country into serious debt and the poor having to survive with the consequences. This may be Syriza’s attempt to break the mould and really force the Greek wealthy elite to pay their way.
The problem perhaps with the Tsipras extended negotiating ploy is that the banks have already virtually run out of money. In gaining control of its own currency – presumably the drachma – Greece can print its way out of that problem but at the cost of hugely devaluing the new (old) currency. This will make imports prohibitively expensive, although would provide a massive boost to the hugely important tourist industry – the silver lining in the cloud?