Greece has taken a very passive stance in trying to obtain rescue funding from its backstopping lenders and especially with the can-kicking Europeans. The government has to show real leadership and be vociferously more pre-emptive by even to go as far as threaten to sink the whole European project to secure its vital interests.
Over the last 24 hours the Greek government’s basic position has been “we did everything that was asked of us, now it’s time that our partners keep their promises.” Excuse me but all this seems more like a monologue of a betrayed lover than a national negotiation strategy. By begging and proffering cheap emotional pleas we won’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. We will just keep kidding ourselves.
If conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and socialist party Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos that effectively head up the coalition government believe that with the argument “we did everything” the Germans will all of a sudden become “generous,” or as the Greek say show “filotimo” (ethically compelled to help friends), then they are the very least naive. Not only does that Greek word “filotimo” not exist in the German vocabulary but also German history has shown that when they talk about “final solutions” they usually mean extermination.
Reading between the lines, when the German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged from the Eurogroup and stated in a forthright manner we are moving “step by step” and “a final solution on Greek debt will be decided later,” in reality what she is saying that there will be a “final solution” for the Greek economy when it has ended up in the morgue.
If the current Greek government wants to do more than simply whine like a kindergarten child when surrounded by other school children teasing and chiding them, then at the current two day European Union Leaders Summit they have a last chance to show the country has solid leadership.
The implicit duty of political leadership is to protect the national interest and the nation’s self-respect, exhausting all the available means. It is not a self-defined duty or goal of true leadership that we get the bailout tranche in several installments.
Prime Minister Samaras has to explain in simple terms to his European counterparts that if on Monday there is no realistic solution for Greece at the Eurogroup meeting, the Greek government will no longer be complicit in accounting alchemies that in the next few years will lay waste to anything still left standing in the country. That means that the PM must seek a durable recipe for the Greek debt crisis, so in plain words a very razor blade deep haircut, or write-off, on Greek debt. The debt haircut must not spare much and should be as sharp and as close as those sported “skin head” style American Marines.
Samaras must demand that this issue be resolved and definitively answered by the end of the EU Leaders Summit because 11 million European citizens, who are also Greek, are waiting.
If that is not possible that the Greek Prime Minister should make the following statement of intent to the international media:
1. From now on Greece will veto any and all decisions in European institutions.
2. Greece will recall to Athens all its ambassadors that serve in countries without special strategic interest to our foreign policy and appoint them to all European committees and organs so every prospective decision can be vetoed. Every single decision should be absolutely vetoed at all levels, from processes of EU expansion to subsidies for radishes.
3. Greece belongs to winning powers of WWII and is therefore is entitled to have a say and a role in the modern European architecture. The Greek government should start a dialogue in Athens with internationally reputed and respected participants of the high caliber to reexamine anew just what kind of Europe we should and must have for the 21-st century.
If today we don’t send the message that Greece is ready to say “We will sink Europe!” we won’t be heard.
PS. Antoni, you have a few more hours. We are even translating our message in English to help you make the decision.