The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Consequences of the Greek OXI (No) Vote

A few points:

  1. This isn’t about soaking bankers. Bankers, with some exceptions, were paid off during the “bailouts.” Right now it is taxpayers who are on the hook. If you wanted this done right (lenders take their losses), it had to be done in 2010.
  2. The immediate question is if ECB will restore “lender of last resort” services. If it doesn’t (a shocking failure in a central bank), then Greece will be forced to issue its own currency. This may mean, initially, bills denominated as equal to Euros. They won’t sell on the market for equal to Euros, though.
  3. Many Greeks who voted “no” seem to think that the vote was a way of giving Syriza a better hand in negotiation (this is what Tsipras said, so it isn’t an irrational belief.) We’ll see whether or not the Troika and the EU are willing to re-start negotiations. If they aren’t, I wonder if Greeks will blame them or Tsipras.
  4. The IMF has called for debt reduction and admitted they got it all wrong. How much that matters, I’m uncertain, but it does give space for a deal. Such a deal would still involve some austerity measures, just not as many or as harsh.

In the short to medium term, this referendum matters more to Greece than Europe. Unless the monetary authorities are completely incompetent, they should be able to contain the shocks. Greece’s economy is small; the amount of debt involved is, actually, small as well.

One should not discount the possibility that the ECB and “Institutions” are incompetent and will screw it up, mind you. Their behaviour thus far hasn’t just been cruel, it has been stunningly stupid from a clean, technocratic POV. Mandos’s article about “How EUians see this” was important, but also necessary to understand that the actual austerity policies followed were delusional if the ECB (or anyone else) thought they would lead to a sustainable debt load for Greece. They could not and did not.

It’s rarely clear in such situations if the people making decisions believe their own propaganda: Did they think it was sustainable and wouldn’t lead to a crisis like this? Did they know it would lead to a crisis and think the Greeks would sit still and take it (not completely unreasonable, actually, given how much pain people have accepted from plutocratic policies in the past).

I don’t know, but I think it’s the winner’s curse: Neoliberalism (and austerity is part of the neoliberal project), has been winning for so long that those who came of age and rose to power during it (essentially all our central bankers, technocrats, and politicians) cannot imagine it would ever lose. The look of incredulity is that of the three hundred pound bully when a 90 pound weakling doesn’t buckle. (Again, this doesn’t mean that the technocrats don’t also think they’re doing the right thing morally.)

If I were them, and by that I mean “not me in their position, but actually them,” I would crush Greece flat and make an example of it. If Greece comes out of this like Iceland, with a healthy economy in three years, then other populist movements (left or right) will receive proof that their policies can work. Democracy, as opposed to technocratic rule, will gain legitimacy, and so on.

This is not a prediction; as Machiavelli observed hundreds of years ago, [people] are generally destroyed because they are unable to be either wholly good or wholly bad. Doing the right thing from day one would have been an excellent policy. Having done the wrong thing, these decision makers’ futures are intertwined with it: They will not keep their positions if Europe turns genuinely populist. Worse, that populism will almost inevitably turn against their masters, the oligarchs.

This is unacceptable. To oligarchs, Europe is one of the few places actually worth living. Yes there are a few American cities, maybe you might want a vacation home in one of the nice Australian or Canadian cities; but that’s about it. Tokyo’s great, but you don’t speak Japanese. Dubai, despite its beauty and being created exactly for oligarchs is too soulless and boring even for oligarchs. Russia or China, well, China’s polluted, and if Putin or the Chinese Communist party says jump you do it, or you get dead or in jail. Oligarchs don’t rule Russia or China, though they hope to in the future.

This is also a significant moment geopolitically. Putin said that he won’t help Greece monetarily as long as it is in the EMU (uses the Euro.)  That’s as good as saying he’s open to helping them if they aren’t. Greece is geographically important, can be used as a pipeline route (or terminus), and could offer Russia a warm water port. There are deals to be made. It’s for this reason that the US Treasury secretary keeps telling the Europeans to cut the debt and make a deal; the US doesn’t give a damn about Greek suffering, but it does care if Greece swings towards Russia.

So the game continues, and it is actually important. Greece is a small country, but it’s not a country whose population is smaller than most cities, like Iceland. Its success or failure at standing up to austerity, neoliberalism and technocratic EUian ideology could make a large difference in whether other, even larger countries, decide to do so. And by “other, even larger countries,” we mean essentially the entire south of the EU: Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Ireland might consider it. Finland should consider it and after a few more years of pain in the Euro straitjacket, may well do so.

These countries subsidize the north, and especially Germany, by keeping the Euro cheaper than it would otherwise be (let alone the value of a reborn German Mark). If they go, Germany’s economy is suddenly going to look a lot less efficient and sell a lot less goods (but, wait, isn’t every advantage the Germans have because they are good people?).

Interesting times, my friends. This is power politics, with huge amounts of real power and massive amounts of money in play– not today, but as consequences of what happens today. The fate of Greece matters, not so much in itself (except to Greeks and kind-hearted souls) but for what it will mean for Europe, NATO, Russia, and every country in Europe. It could be one of the dominoes which leads to the end of the neoliberal era.

You’re watching history: While remaining sympathetic to those being ground to pulp by its wheels (or in between your own screams while caught in said wheels), let me suggest that you enjoy the view.

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Greek Referendum Day


Meanwhile, in China, There’s a Huge Stock Market Crash


  1. Z

    “Oligarchs don’t rule Russia or China, though they hope to in the future.”

    I don’t believe that the oligarchs have any hope whatsoever of ruling China. ZERO. They hope to contain it. They hope to weaken it. But they harbor no hopes of ruling it.

    The fallout over Greece is going to be interesting. Who knows what danger lurks in the entangled debt markets? All we know is that the central banks will do their best to paper it over. I can definitely see the Greeks jumping over to Team BRICs … that’s where the ECB is pushing them.


  2. VietnamVet

    If you looked rationally at Greece, the costs of righting its economy is so small compared the costs of the Euro breakup it is a no brainer; plus, it is the right thing to do. But this old fart has been transported to an upside down Bizzaro World where the ruling ideology kneecaps the poor to keep the rental monies flowing. Or, Russia, a nuclear power, is roundly accused of aggression in Ukraine while my old unit, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, is deployed to Kiev.

    This is not going to turn out well.

  3. Charles

    I laughed when you wrote “to oligarchs Europe is one of the few places actually worth living.” What do you mean by that?

    I think I know what you mean, and don’t disagree, but can you clarify? As an American, I feel like my country is full of oligarchs. We have a bigger wealth gap than Europe and more millionaires and billionaires.

    Do oligarchs prefer Europe, and if so, why?

  4. Lisa

    No the game is really ‘afoot’, up to now we have just had shadow boxing.

    The real battle starts now.

    The EU (and German) elites now have 2 options:
    (1) Cut a reasonable deal, which they won’t.
    (2) Arrange a coup. I fully suspect there has been a lot of work behind the scenes on this to date, with significant US help.

    Their preferred option will a Pinchet type of military leader, prepared to do the mass killing to hold power while accepting orders from EU technocrats.

    And this is another part of the problem. With Greece not caving, the EU (etc) have to escalate, because it is not now (or really ever was) about economics, it is about political power.

    Now the EU (etc) will have to take off the (tattered) velvet glove and show its true colours as a super national dictatorship (ran mostly behind the scenes by the Germans and the US).

    If a coup is attempted and fails then they will be in real trouble, because naturally they will have to publically support such an effort. At that point will they escalate further and send in the tanks?

    This is the end of democracy if they win, no (except Germany) EU country will be safe from that. Because if they succeed at a coup in Greece, then the temptation to do it elsewhere (where they may be even a chance of such rebellion) will be irresistible to them. Technocratic elites will be quickly be put in charge of most countries, backed by hard power.

    And this is how neo-liberals morph into neo-conservatives. I have always maintained they are just different sides of the same coin.

    The US will be critical to this, they own lock, stock and barrel all the various national security elites in each EU country plus most of the media. They totally own a lot of the militaries as well. So the EU getting the US to use their contacts/puppets/stooges/slaves/etc will be critical. And the US will do it, it just wants the EU to hold together as a force against Russia. Probably already started.

    Thinking big picture from the US’s point of view, then a brutal dictatorship in the EU, prepared to cut off gas supplies from Russa and sacrifice its economies and people is a big win for them. That will be the quid pro quo that the US will demand from the EU to ‘assist’ them, a totally anti-Russian stance.

    Barring a miracle, there is going to be a lot of blood flowing on many streets. If European people want to maintain their freedoms, then they are going to have to fight and die to achieve that in the near future.

    One question is, do the EU and German elites have the stomach for all that death, round ups, concentration camps and so on? I say yes, not straight away but they will morph into that quite quickly. It is only a very short step from starving (etc) a country to get them to comply, to mass killings. The EU (etc) has shown the stomach for the starvation….. they will quickly find it for the rest. Sociopaths quickly turn into psychopaths if they can get away with it.

    ““Without new money, salaries won’t be paid, the health system will stop functioning, the power network and public transport will break down and they won’t be able to import vital goods because nobody can pay” President of European Parliament Martin Schulz warned Greek voters one day before the crucial Referendum on Sunday.”

    “On Thursday, Schulz told German daily Handelsblatt that the elected Syriza government should be replaced by “technocrat” government until stability is restored.

    “We should appoint governments of technocrats,” Martin Schulz told Handelsblatt.

    Note the above…firstly he says “Governments”, he means far more than just the Greek one.
    Secondly ” until stability is restored.”…which will never happen….. it will be a permanent dictatorship.

    I would be sweating buckets if I was an Irish, Spanish, etc leader and looking very closely at my security people and armed forces, trying to work out who, if any, are loyal…… and wondering which one of them will put a bullet in my head if I step out of line.

  5. Z

    The EU (and German) elites now have 2 options:
    (1) Cut a reasonable deal, which they won’t.
    (2) Arrange a coup. I fully suspect there has been a lot of work behind the scenes on this to date, with significant US help.

    I think they got more than 2 options, mate. I also don’t believe that they are going to pursue a coup at this point. It’s too transparent and would only lead to more instability.

    IMO, their best option right now … and the one they will most likely pursue … is to paper over any financial contagion, wait out the Greek population’s suffering, and then exploit the inevitable fissures in Greek society to instill a government of the EU’s liking. And, at that point, welcome Greece back into the Euroworld. But I don’t think that is going to be a successful strategy.

    We’ll see though …


  6. jsn

    I stumbled on this at NC and thought it might interest you. It’s a former NATO commander pointing out the bankers are not competent to fix this (Paul Tioxon posted this in comments on todays YS Greece post):

    The back and forth is just this political impasse of trying to invoke the power of the state to intervene on behalf of a debt that can not be repaid. And who else sees this situation? Interestingly enough, the retired American admiral, formerly the head of NATO, who characterizes the bankers as not competent to handle this geo-political situation. James Stavridis says:

    “For one, this can’t be left to the central bankers. They are not politicians and aren’t paid to be sensitive to the geostrategic and political implications of a Greek default and departure from the eurozone. At the dark end of the spectrum, losing any nation from the EU or NATO is simply terra incognita and would shake both organizations in fundamental ways while deeply weakening the idea of the European project generally.

    As the Troika conducts further negotiations, it needs to consider the value that Greece brings by virtue of its membership in the EU and NATO. The Greek negotiators have been making these points, but many on the European side tend to ignore them and focus only on the economic side — a natural impulse, but not the kind of 360-degree view necessary to fully assess choices under stress and pressure.”

  7. Z

    then exploit the inevitable fissures in Greek society to instill a government of the EU’s liking.

    When I write “instill”, I don’t believe that the EU is going to forcefully go into Greece and put in place a government, but that they’ll work behind the scenes to try to get a government of their liking into power.


  8. gendjinn

    Saddling Ireland & Greece with crippling debt brought their sovereignty under control. Ireland kept voting no in EU referenda – several had to be re-run to get the desired result.

    Ireland was told by the Germans & French that they would burn the country to the ground if they did not nationalise the bad loans made to the Irish banks by the German/French banks/pension fund.

    I reckon they will do the same to Greece now otherwise you will see a dramatic swing to the populist parties advocating burning the bondholders.

  9. Ian Welsh

    Charles: Europe and the US have the majority of cities Oligarchs really want to live in. Outside of those two countries, there are a lot less places. You want a world city, lots of culture available, lots of services, safe and set up to be friendly to oligarchs.

    London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, maybe DC depending on your primary business probably a few other European cities (couldn’t say which ones, I don’t keep up with the lifestyles of the 50K/day crowd all that well, for obvious reasons).

    There are some other cities that are acceptable: Toronto in Canada, for example. Chicago. Hong Kong (but, under Chinese rule). But for one reason or another they aren’t /as/ good.

    And while the US is good for oligarchs, it’s not to every oligarch’s taste. In many respects, outside a few enclaves, much less… civilized… than most of Europe.

    Being filthy rich is great: but being able to buy what you want is important. Oligarchs want to be able to buy a life (or long stays) in places like London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam and so on.


    The reaction of @dsquareddigest, who is my touchstone for Eurocrat attitudes even though he isn’t one currently: “Yes, whatever this is, we have to hope that it isn’t a victory for democracy”.

  11. Tsigantes

    The fact that retired NATO commander Stavridis [ironically, of greek heritage] was authorized – requested, I should say – to make this statement in Foreign Policy is further underlined by the US insistence, within the board of the IMF, and without taking a vote, to publish the long withheld IMF report 3 days before the referendum.

    Stavridis comment is no personal point of view but reflects the absolute bottom line of US foreign policy and military security requirements. This is extremely important and the EU and northern European politicians are being asked to act on this. To put this in perspective, it should be kept in mind that the Marshall plan that restored Europe originated 3 years before in the Truman Doctrine, which was set up to secure and stabilize Greece and Turkey for western geo-strategic interests. Furthermore, 5 years earlier, at Yalta, Greece was placed – as first priority – into the western bloc. Again, within a few years of these decisions, in 1953, Greece and Turkey were the first non-founder countries brought into NATO. These 2 countries were in NATO decades before the majority of EU states.

    And in fact it might even cheer us to some degree that this establishment, the font of the western order, judges its bankers – and their complicit political puppets – incompetent. In the Greek/EU case they are actually endangering much more important priorities. In Stavridis article we hear “Stop. You’ve gone too far.”

    Ian with all due respect, and no doubt due to distance, you miss or underestimate the degree to which the stunning results of the Greek referendum is not an isolated Greek response but carries with it a much wider political message to the institutions and European leaders of their own fast failing legitimacy among Europe’s citizens. And this despite the massive propagandizing these powers have invested in – in fact, despite it and also because of it. At least half of Eurogroup’s ministers are close to being voted out. The political undercurrents here are enormous. And meanwhile, though the EU institutions are not answerable to Europeans, they ARE answerable to NATO and Washington.

  12. Ian Welsh

    Ha! I thought I did point out that this struck at the future (and thus legitimacy) of current EU leaders, etc… But perhaps not enough, eh? Well, that’s good news.

  13. Daize

    This is mainly just to indicate my agreement with Tsigantes.

    The European technocrats have been shooting themselves in the foot since 2010 and the people of at least southern Europe + Ireland are more and more aware of this. They are at the final crossroad with the Greek’s OXI; either they swallow their pride and come back to earth and deal with it or their wings of hubris shall be burned by the sun’s rays and all of Europe will suffer for it.

    Varoufakis resigning was a first step by Greece towards a real and true agreement and shows Syriza’s maturity and their understanding of the true situation. Will the rest of Europe’s leaders wake up? This will be the beginning of a more united and fair Europe, or it will be the end, and none of the leaders you see today will be around in a few years time anywhere in the whole of the Occident.

    As to a coup in Greece: Not happening, and the referendum headed off any possibility of that.

  14. Daize

    I should add that I do believe/hope that Europe’s leaders will end up making the right choice. History is of course full of the wrong choices being made, and our situation today often reminds me of 1914, but it is also full of the right choices having been made, they are just mentioned less often.

  15. Terry McKenna

    Even though the Greeks have no chips to bargain with, the austerity that has been instituted was never going to work. Unlike Ireland (which can collect taxes) Greece still cannot. So austerity has fallen on the working folks both in the reductions to pensions and public service wages, and in the increase in the taxes that can be collect (like VAT). If Europe does not offer something better, Greece will leave the Euro and will be a basket case again, like it was from at least the first 20 years post WW2.

  16. Peter

    Mandos: Can you foresee any scenario that you consider to be politically realistic that combines substantial relief for Greece with continued membership in the EuroGroup?

  17. Lisa prediction is up to bat today.

  18. Varoufakis resigned. I suspect that this move was long-planned. The creditors have hated him from the beginning, even though his likely successor (Tsakalotos, who replaced him during the negotiations) is actually even more hardline.

    Mandos: Can you foresee any scenario that you consider to be politically realistic that combines substantial relief for Greece with continued membership in the EuroGroup?

    That’s really complicated and depends on how much France really matters any more. European leaders talk down the risk of Grexit, but Grexit validates right-populists. So far, European leaders have detested left-populists more than right-populists, but the latter is a bigger danger in an important country like France. Marine Le Pen is salivating over the appearance of the Eurozone punitively throwing out a member, and French leaders are nervous.

    But even the Spanish government, which was a hardliner, is now talking about making a deal. That’s because they wanted to use Syriza to make a political example for potential Podemos-voters, but now that the Greek public has openly chosen the Syriza course, this doesn’t make as much sense as it used to. They’re trapped in a dilemma — so they have to appear in public like they aren’t attempting deliberate punishment of Greece, even if they may remain hardline in private. But a Grexit is more complicated for them, either way.

    That said, the problem is that the electorates of a few countries, Finnland and Germany included, have been rather too well-inoculated by stories of Greek laziness and the disgusting, presumably fecal practice of “fakelaki”. The “No” vote has basically confirmed the stereotypes of Greeks in their minds — lazy beach bums who happily vote themselves access to the pockets of productive, hardworking people.

    All-in-all, this situation is making it really clear that the immediate theories of the creators of the Eurozone were false. This generation of European politicians doesn’t fear the consequences of a political breakdown to the extent that their predecessors did, so the pressure to deepen the Union in response to crises isn’t there. Deepening the Union would mean that German taxpayers agree that holding weaker players inside the currency union is worth it, but they do not and German (and Finnish!) politicians certainly made no effort to make them. Unless this changes, the single currency is toast. Eventually.

  19. Peter

    Thanks. One last question:

    Deepening the Union would mean that German taxpayers agree that holding weaker players inside the currency union is worth it

    Do you believe German leaders should be trying to convince German taxpayers that it is?

  20. The answer is yes, narrowly interpreted. In the long run, with every departure of a weaker member, the value of the currency rises, and Germany’s export strategy becomes weaker. If Germany wishes to hold on to its export strategy — and voters have shown no inclination to punish politicians who do — then keeping the weaker members inside is worth it. This, however, requires acceptance of a economic logic that seems to be taboo to the German ego. I don’t know enough about e.g. Finnish politics to say much about countries like that, other than the threat of Russia in the Baltics.

    More broadly, the departure and further impoverishment of a Eurozone member from the Eurozone itself would represent an inflection point in European integration. Remember that one major purpose of the process of European integration was to prevent Europe from once again being a battleground/chessboard. With the return of a Cold War stance between the USA and Russia, this is in danger of happening again — right when Europeans are fighting over money. So I would judge it worth it, but it may be too late to do it now. Northern Europeans were basically promised that EMU would be established and secured by making southerners converge with what northerners see as sound economic practice.

    If it were made explicit that the “deal” would have to be shifted onto a Syriza/Podemos-compatible basis, this would be viewed as an act of betrayal. The only thing that can be sold as an unequivocal good to northern electorates is a course of forced economic reforms in the south, because that was precisely what they were promised.

  21. Sometimes, Mandos, I think you are oldman come to life.

  22. Z

    As Europe’s elites “teach” the Greeks a lesson, what they … and to a lesser extent the other oligarchs … should be fearing most is that their own populations begin to rally around the Greeks’ fight against Austerity and that anthem spreads beyond Greece to their own backyards and across Europe. There’s plenty of kindling for this to burn into something bigger that they lose control of. That’s the biggest risk they’re taking.

  23. Peter

    Thanks, Mandos. Perhaps we could get into this more elsewhere (he says hopefully). But two last thoughts to ponder:

    A) I get the export argument, but surely there are limits to it. Are you arguing as a general proposition that being responsible for supporting large, poorer, uncompetitive regions is a dependable path to prosperity as an export power?

    B) Given the fevered, highly insulting and over-the-top invective that has been thrown the way of Germans and their leaders in the past few months, based in part on a lot of Hellenic historical-cultural bumph, aren’t you expecting Germans to conform to their bloodless, technocratic cultural stereotype and make cold, rational decisions based on balance sheet bottom lines? The average German worker/taxpayer may be better off than his/her Greek counterpart, but they’re hardly all oligarchs. Why should he/her be any less expected to let his/her cultural pride and myths guide the debate?

  24. A) I get the export argument, but surely there are limits to it. Are you arguing as a general proposition that being responsible for supporting large, poorer, uncompetitive regions is a dependable path to prosperity as an export power?

    I think the goal of being an export power forever and ever is nuts. But if they want to do it within the context of the single currency, then they have to support the uncompetitive regions. It’s all a matter of ranking preferences here.

    B) Given the fevered, highly insulting and over-the-top invective that has been thrown the way of Germans and their leaders in the past few months, based in part on a lot of Hellenic historical-cultural bumph, aren’t you expecting Germans to conform to their bloodless, technocratic cultural stereotype and make cold, rational decisions based on balance sheet bottom lines? The average German worker/taxpayer may be better off than his/her Greek counterpart, but they’re hardly all oligarchs. Why should he/her be any less expected to let his/her cultural pride and myths guide the debate?

    I don’t expect the average German to be “better” than the average Greek. I don’t believe that Germans are oligarchs. The reason for the extent of this problem is that German taxpayers were made to hold the bag for the banks. If that crime hadn’t been committed, the sticker price for holding EMU together would be a lot lower.

  25. >I don’t expect the average German to be “better” than the average Greek.

    That is because you thinking like a member of the Linkspartei not the Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands.

  26. atcooper

    Much appreciation for all the comments here. This has been one of the better discussions here at Welsh’s net home.

  27. mike

    Agreed. Here’s a very good analysis over at Michael Hudson’s place to go along with the solid analysis here:

  28. S Brennan

    Tsigantes & Daize,

    Good points.

  29. The problem is, to put anything down in writing on the Greek debt requires it to go past the Bosbachs and Soders and so on of the German parliament, who are very quick to present every Euro of debt writedown as a theft directly from the pockets of the grandkids of “der deutsche Michel.” Not to mention all the other Parliaments. The only thing that will satisfy them is the sight of former, presumed-worthless ministerial cleaning ladies begging on Athens streets. Then Greece would be “serious” and maybe deserve a little writedown as reward.

  30. breed

    Freedom is an inseparable, inalienable, God given right.
    It is therefore our right and responsibility to search for that which is what we determine is the best. We have the freedom to pursue our own ideals.
    We have the right to pursue what we consider the best bodily conditions.
    We have the right to pursue what we consider the best mental clarity and / or state.
    We have the right to pursue good, loving, heartwarming and touching human relationships.
    We have the right to pursue the best we can imagine for our environment.
    We have the right to pursue that which delights and amazes us.
    We deserve to pursue these things, and it is our responsibility to utilize our freedom to pursue these things. Those that tell us no, you must think of others – please tell them to refer to the first point! Freedom is an inalienable right!

    The Greek people have a right to their freedom!

  31. EmilianoZ

    For sure, France doesn’t matter anymore. Francois Hollande is the weakest most despised president of the 5th Republique. For the French, a moment of realization came when Bolivia’s president’s plane was prevented from flying over French territory on suspicion of Snowden being on board. French people felt humiliated. Surely De Gaulle would never have behaved like such a poodle to the US.

    Emmanuel Todd calls France’s current stance “voluntary servitude” (to Germany). France has a large responsibility for the current situation. She built the euro as a pedestal for herself, not realizing she was building one for Germany. Now, having created a monster, she rolls over instead of fighting it.

    Francois Hollande can’t even play good cop to Merkel’s bad cop because she doesn’t care in what state she leaves the prisoner.

    A Grexit will benefit Marine Le Pen. The French economy is down the tubes. The French will want to leave on their own terms with some dignity before being bullied out.

  32. Lisa

    I promise you I had not read this before did my post yesterday (and I should have added the UK as part of any coup) : John Jelmer vs Naked Capitalism:

    “A putsch in Athens to save allied Greece from enemy Russia is in preparation by the US and Germany, with backing from the non-taxpayers of Greece – the Greek oligarchs, Anglo-Greek shipowners, and the Greek Church. At the highest and lowest level of Greek government, and from Thessaloniki to Milvorni, all Greeks understand what is happening. Yesterday they voted overwhelmingly to resist. According to a high political figure in Athens, a 40-year veteran, “what is actually happening is a slow process of regime change.””

    “Until Sunday afternoon it was a close-run thing. The Yes and No votes were equally balanced, and the margin between them razor thin. At the start of the morning, Rupert Murdoch’s London Times claimed “Greek security forces have drawn up a secret plan to deploy the army alongside special riot police to contain possible civil unrest after today’s referendum on the country’s future in Europe. Codenamed Nemesis, it makes provision for troops to patrol large cities if there is widespread and prolonged public disorder. Details of the plan emerged as polls showed the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps neck and neck.” Greek officers don’t speak to the Murdoch press; British and US government agents do.”

    “Can the outcome — the 61% to 39% referendum vote, with a 22% margin for Οχι (No) which the New York Times calls “shocking” and a “victory [that] settled little” – defeat Operation Nemesis?”

    “The Kremlin understands too. So when the State Department’s Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman; lead image, right) visited Athens to issue an ultimatum against breaking the anti-Russian sanctions regime, and the Anglo-American think-tanks followed with warnings the Russian Navy is about to sail into Piraeus, the object of the game has been clear. The line for Operation Nemesis has been that Greece must be saved, not from itself or from its creditors, but from the enemy in Moscow.”

  33. S Brennan

    Thomas Piketty calls the Germans out on their utter bullshit.

    “What hit me, is that, Germany, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. When Germans say that they strongly believe that debts must be repaid, I think; what a joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts.

    Germany has no standing to lecture other nations.

    However, Germany, does make other nations pay up, for example, after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it demanded massive reparations from France and received them. France suffered for decades under this debt.”

  34. Lisa

    S Brennan: it is not about debt, it is about political power and who rules EU countries. At stake is national sovereignty and freedom itself.

    Debt (etc) might have been an issue at the beginning of all this, but it has moved far on from that.

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