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

Yet Another Deal

So, Tsirpas has agreed on a deal. It includes 50 billion in collateral to be managed by a fund controlled by Juncker.

We’ll see if the Greek parliament will pass it.

I have yet to see a single indication that Syriza ever made the necessary moves to allow for an orderly Grexit, though the EU has. They went into this fight relying on the good will of, yes, their enemies. (That they did not realize they were negotiating with their enemies was their first mistake.)

This is yet another step necessary for the end of the neo-liberal era. A tragedy, cruel beyond any justification, but that’s rather the point. Westerners, not just the rest of the world, need to understand who they are ruled by, and that no one is immune to their cruelty.

The EU’s leaders, however, have most likely done what is in their personal self-interest. They are either the people who inflicted austerity, or the politicians who accepted it. Under no circumstances could it be shown that there was another choice with better outcomes. If so, they would be fools or criminals, having inflicted unnecessary pain.

I am particularly amused by the Finnish government’s ferocity towards Greece, since Finland, now that Nokia is dying and lumber prices are down, needs to devalue its currency. Being in the Euro, it cannot, and must instead suffer.

In time, everything the Finns value about their country’s social network will be sacrificed to stay in the Euro.

I don’t believe in people getting what they “deserve,” because we’d all be fools to want that. So let’s just say that the Gods enjoy using our most fervent desires to destroy us.

I’ll keep covering Greece as necessary, but the topic is beginning to become tedious. Horrible people doing horrible things to incompetent fools who refuse to resist, but simply lie there taking kick after kick to the nads while saying, “But we love you, we want to be one of you, do anything to us, so we can prove our devotion.”

I no longer have much preference for how this turns out. It is clear that, while Grexit would be preferable in principle, Tsipras and Syriza could not so much as manage a lemonade stand, let alone handle something as difficult as leaving the Euro under hostile fire and then rebuilding prosperity with Europe opposing them every step.

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Greek Talks Continue


Syriza Wins in Greece: What It Must Do


  1. V. Arnold

    There two quotes would seem appros;

    Don’t believe them, don’t fear them, don’t ask anything of them.
    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.
    Frederick Douglass

    Like wise, I’m at burnout…

  2. markfromireland

    It’s only an agreement on bridging. There’s more and worse to come.


  3. Peter

    Everybody loves “plucky” little Greece, land of light, sea, classicism and bouzouki. Nobody loves grey, frugal, humourless, high-handed Germany. But this appalling resolution has shown that, for all their irredentist pride and appeals to their ancient legacy, there is one thing Greeks distrust and fear more than Germany–other Greeks.

    And always keep a-hold of Nurse
    For fear of finding something worse.

    Culture counts.

  4. Lisa

    MFI: So true. So very true.

  5. Ghostwheel

    The Troika makes me think of any number of gangster movies I’ve seen.

    “Where’s my money? Give me my money or I’m going to break something.”

    You know the old joke about public speaking? Imagine them in their underwear?

    Well, if I had to negotiate with the Troika I’d imagine them as Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro from GoodFellas.

    Just to, you know, keep in mind who I’m really talking to.

  6. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Former Monster from the Id here. I got tired of that monicker. (Also, it has the same initials as Mark from Ireland.) :mrgreen:

    “And always keep a-hold of Nurse/For fear of finding something worse”

    Indeed. The gulag masters of Communism were the unwitting best friends of plutocracy.

    By offering an alternative which was, at worst, terrifying and lethal, and at best, dull and cheerless (except to nitwits like the unintentionally amusing Andre Vltchek), Communism made plutocracy look relatively good.

    The real color of Communism, once it is established, is not brilliant scarlet but dishwater gray.

    I expect a majority of the Greeks see leaving “Europe” as being rather like leaving rainbow Oz for monochrome Kansas, and they’ll take any abuse not to have to go back to “Kansas”.

    That’s what the advertising industry is for, after all–to make people think they need more things than they really need, to the point that their lives seem empty without those frivolities.

  7. Greg T

    This whole ordeal has been exhausting. Syriza is toast. Tsipras will cobble together enough votes to pass the necessary legislation because the Eurozone has a gun to Greece’s head. After that, once the austerity kicks in, Tsipras and his party will scatter to the wind.

    the left in Greece is entirely prostrate. Unwilling to fight, unable to offer a viable alternative to neoliberal domination, and unprepared to take steps necessary toward independence.

    Those who doubted Syriza from the outset have been proven correct.

    The only challenge will come from the right. The right is the only force with the stones to break down the European edifice. Meanwhile, Greeks will continue to suffer. Hopefully Podemos learns from this.

  8. This is not the last. basically, the European nations have taken over the electrical grid and the boat surface, which is, frankly, nothing. this means it is only an internal play setting up another ballot to be run at another point in the future, about one year hence.

  9. It is clear that while Grexit would be preferable in principle, that Tsipras and Syriza could not so much as manage a lemonade stand, let alone handle something as difficult as leaving the Euro under hostile fire and then rebuilding prosperity with Europe opposing them every step.

    Grexit would be preferable in principle…if it were possible for a neophyte party composed of and driven by political idealists with little governmental experience who came to power by an engineered political “accident” (I no longer exclude the possibility that Merkel toppled Samaras on purpose) and faced a mostly non-functioning state, well, if it were possible for such a party to organize an exit in five months.

    Anyway, here’s a very interesting interview from Varoufakis:

    He basically says that he advocated for a sort of Grexit-lite (an “energetic response”) especially after the No vote, but Tsipras decided that it wouldn’t work (probably), for some reason, and decided to fold. Lots of other interesting stuff in there. Particularly this:

    [But] Schäuble was consistent throughout. His view was “I’m not discussing the programme – this was accepted by the previous government and we can’t possibly allow an election to change anything. Because we have elections all the time, there are 19 of us, if every time there was an election and something changed, the contracts between us wouldn’t mean anything.”

    So at that point I had to get up and say “Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries”, and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is “Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult to do. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.”

    He’s supposed to have an essay on Thursday in Die Zeit asking whether Europeans really want Schäuble’s overall plan for Europe.

    In any case, Syriza will likely maintain power for the time being, and their real test isn’t the Grand Drama of whether or not they would catalyse history immediately, but rather whether they can use whatever freedom they do have to build a state that can handle a Grexit, which I think is very likely anyway.

    In the meantime, German media has noticed the #ThisIsACoup hashtag and is being petulant about it. (How can someone begging for money set the conditions anyway? is the attitude.)

  10. Since a drachma euro deal was on offer, someone was making calculations. But it is obvious that only the euro side of this was calculating what they could get out of them.

  11. linda amick

    The best overall assessment of where we are as a global citizenry is Chris Hedge’s “We are all Greeks Now” from July 12.

    Once upon a time I was speaking with my son about my puzzlement regarding why filthy rich people seem to always need more and he told me that the filthy rich view your nickel as theirs. You have THEIR nickel and you have to give it back.
    These people must be a species unto themselves.

  12. Meanwhile, while some German media commentators are evidencing misgivings about this and the future of the Eurozone, mostly Schäuble is seen as a hero for having finally subdued the would-be blackmailer from Athens. As I was saying in the other thread, the German media has consistently touted it as an unbreakable promise made to the German people that the Euro would not become a transfer union, but would instead resolve imbalances by forcing weaker members to be more competitive on German terms. In fact, Spiegel (which carries incidentally the pro-Athens Münchau and Augstein) is trying to highlight that Germany made concessions too…and the difficulty of getting those concessions passed in the Bundestag.

    Again, that’s why Eurocrats avoid national parliaments at all costs. The result is that the most prejudiced attitudes in the Bundestag get to rule Greece, not that some kind of honourable and cooperate agreement of democratic peoples takes place.

  13. V. Arnold

    These people must be a species unto themselves.


  14. Article in the FAZ entitled “Greece did not capitulate”:

    Irland, Spanien, Portugal, Estland, Island: Jedes Land zeigt unter seinen Bedingungen, dass Staaten Krisen überwinden können. Nach schwierigen Zeiten kommt der Aufschwung. Je beherzter man anpackt, je schneller man sich verändert, desto schneller kommt das gute Gefühl, dass es wieder aufwärts geht. Doch Veränderungen gibt es in der Griechenland-Frage nicht.

    “Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Estonia, Iceland: Every country shows that under the right conditions, states can overcome their crises. After difficult times, growth resumes. The more enthusiastically one goes to work, the faster one changes oneself, the faster the good feeling comes that it’s finally getting better. But there are no such changes in the matter of Greece.”

    ie, it is considered obvious that austerity has worked in Spain and Portugal — absolutely no dispute — and austerity-driven growth is obviously proven to be a real phenomenon.

    The author’s complaint is that the reform document is just like all the other, older reform documents in terms of actual measures and content, and by implication, that the creditors should have taken the opportunity to impose an even harsher document, so that austerity-driven growth will work finally. (And once it works, Greeks wouldn’t view it as an occupation but come to embrace it.)

  15. Peter

    The more enthusiastically one goes to work, the faster one changes oneself


    Mandos, granted Grexit seems to be the only logical long term escape from servitude, but do you detect a certain romantic naiveté about Grexit and the drachma that has been developing in the commentariat? Six months ago it was seen as a draconian Hobbesian choice that would bring years of even harsher poverty before a very slow rebound would start, and then only after Greece rectified its endemic corruption and cronyism. Today, it’s as if after a year or so of belt-tightening Greece would emerge as an export powerhouse. I suspect one reason many Greeks will quietly acquiesce in this deal is that, despite their much-ballyhooed national pride, they simply don’t believe that the curing of endemic corruption and cronyism Greece needs whatever path it takes will happen without foreign compulsion.

  16. Special Guest Star

    Reminds me of this:

  17. anonymouscoward

    Germany is relaunching the country of Greece as a concentration camp.

    How long will the rest of the world sit by and watch this atrocity?

  18. markfromireland

    anonymouscoward July 13, 2015

    Just as a matter of interest have you ever visited a concentration camp site?


  19. anonymouscoward

    Dear Friend: if you want me to apologize for calling the German elite a bunch of sadistic camp guards, descended from a long line of sadistic camp guards, I’m not going to do it. What’s being done to the people of Greece – principally by the Germans- making them pay for the crimes of bankster elites of northern Europe and the sins of their local oligarchs, saddling them with unpayable debts as an instrument of subjugation and as an excuse for looting their country shows a callous disregard for human life.
    After the Eurozone’s collapse, I hope their leaders are put on trial for their “we were just following the rules” savagery.

    Have a nice day.

  20. markfromireland

    No friend of mine which is irrelevant. What is relevant is that your cheapjack hyperbole which has been on display here repeatedly for the last few days, makes it clear that you’re no friend of those who died in those camps. Nor are you a friend of those who survived them. Or of those descended from those survivors.


  21. anonymouscoward

    The usual spiral of tit-for-tat would serve no purpose. For my part, I have no reason to dislike you, or reason to seek your enmity. If we are not friends, can we not at least be peaceful internet neighbors?

  22. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Oh, would you two just get a room already? 😈

  23. EmilianoZ

    About Finland:

    Cependant, l’attitude restrictive de la Finlande n’est pas du goût de tout le monde dans le pays. Carl Haglund, le président du Parti populaire suédois (qui défend les intérêts de la minorité suédophone), estime ainsi que la ligne finlandaise est trop dure, et que « la Finlande ne devrait pas se mettre dans une impasse car elle appartient elle-même aux pays qui pour l’instant ne respectent pas les règles européennes communes, avec un déficit trop important ». De fait, si on a l’habitude de citer l’Italie, Chypre ou le Portugal comme des pays qui pourraient suivre la voie grecque, certains signalent que la Finlande, en récession depuis 2012, n’est pas en position de donner des leçons et pourrait bien se retrouver sur la liste. La semaine dernière, Microsoft a annoncé 2 300 licenciements dans le pays, alors que le taux de chômage est déjà proche de 12 %.

    Google translate (with small corrections):

    However, the restrictive attitude of Finland is not to the liking of everyone in the country. Carl Haglund , President of the Swedish People’s Party ( representing the interests of the Swedish-speaking minority) , believes that the Finnish line is too hard, and that ” Finland should not put itself in a bind because it belongs itself to countries which currently do not meet the common EU rules, with an excessive deficit. ” In fact, if it is common to cite Italy, Cyprus and Portugal as countries that might follow the Greek path , some report that Finland, in recession since 2012 , is not in a position to give lessons and could well be on the list. Last week , Microsoft announced 2,300 layoffs in the country, while the unemployment rate is already close to 12%.

  24. Lisa

    Lovely turn of phrase, wish I had thought of it.

    By David Llewellyn-Smith, founding publisher and former editor-in-chief of The Diplomat magazine, now the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics website. Originally posted at MacroBusiness

    “Greece Brought a Latte to a Gunfight”
    “Greece has not even been negotiating with an armed latte.”

    “Germany has not changed its position recently, if at all throughout the four year crisis. For Germany the euro is a simple national interest weapon. It allows it to dominate Europe and global trade by artificially suppressing its real exchange rate. For it to sustain that position it cannot allow peripheral nations to successfully drop out of the currency. They’d flood out and the more that left the higher the euro would rise as the German weighting in the currency increased. Anyone staying must adhere to German rules and anyone leaving must be destroyed to deter others from doing do. The euro and Europe are irrelevant to German real politik. They are in it for the Germans.”

  25. Lisa

    “I’ve seen nothing in the media reports or the Twittersphere (I have not had the time to check it extensively) that suggests that the ECB is going to let up on the Greek banks today. It’s not clear how they limp through till Thursday if they are utterly drained of cash. Do they simply freeze all operations? In the meantime, suppliers will remain unable to bring anything in, which means intensifying shortages of drugs, particularly insulin, and the start of food shortages.”

    My take on this is that they will give Greece a real good kicking (and killing lots of people, their death rate is gong to skyrocket) just to make a point (and because it will be fun for those sociopaths).
    They won’t even throw them a bone, they will rub their noses in it and crow all over them and make them grovel and crawl for every Euro.

    A 1990s Russian style collapse in health and life span (nearly 20 years) seems to be on the cards.

    “If this take is correct, it means Greek pensions are about to be cut to close to nothing. The 1% of GDP reduction in pensions that Syriza rejected would be a paper cut compared to the wholesale gutting that we fear is in the offing. ”

    “I’m taking the liberty of quoting Wolfgang Munchau’s new article at some length, since it articulates what a horrorshow this deal is for Greece and for Europe (hat tip Swedish Lex):

    A few things that many of us took for granted, and that some of us believed in, ended in a single weekend. By forcing Alexis Tsipras into a humiliating defeat, Greece’s creditors have done a lot more than bring about regime change in Greece or endanger its relations with the eurozone. They destroyed the eurozone as we know it. They demolished the idea of a monetary union as a step towards a democratic political union and reverted to the nationalist European power struggles of the 19th and early 20th century. They demoted the eurozone into a toxic fixed exchange-rate system, with a shared single currency, run in the interests of Germany, held together by the threat of absolute destitution for those who challenge the prevailing order. The best thing that can be said of the weekend is the brutal honesty of those perpetrating this regime change.”

    “Needless to say, as Munchau stressed, this puts all of the Eurozone on a blood and claw footing, with the strongest making it clear they will inflict their will on the weaker. How can Italy, who Munchau points out has lost considerably by joining the Eurozone, continue to participate in what is now clearly a Greater German Co-Propserity Sphere? The Eurozone’s days are numbered. While this plan to occupy Greece economically might, by virtue of sheer brute force,”

    Typical Germans, tactically brilliant, strategically hopeless. I suspect this ‘Fourth Reich” will have as short a lifespan as the previous ones.

  26. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    For the love of Haruhi-kami-sama, just how brutally must the German elite be beaten to purge it of its towering arrogance once and for all? I would have thought WW2 would have taught them something.

  27. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Of course, I could say the same thing about the elite of my own Southland. They suffered what one would think was a shattering defeat in our Civil War, but they managed to restore something very much like slavery by the 1880s.

  28. Kurt

    Greece may yet have the last laugh in this tale. From a technical view, U.S. and European stock indices are at a potential top this month. A decisive move by Greece to kill the agreement would likely result in an equally decisive downward move in the indices that could lock in a market top.

  29. madaha

    IBW: yeah, I really don’t like that line. That’s not how human psychology works – you don’t beat the arrogance out of anyone. The only people who will become more meek after a beating are those who are already subservient. And it’s the same attitude the germans are imposing on the greeks right now “teach them a lesson”. I’m an educator, and believe me, you don’t teach by force. You teach by persuasion and engaging interest.

    Unfortunately Germans buy into your theme big time. When I was living there, I mentioned to a German colleague that I disagreed with aerial bombing, in any circumstance. (talking about the desecration of eastern Germany by the Allies) But he said “we were too strong, that’s the only way we could be stopped”. There’s quite a bit of arrogance in that, still, no?

    But shows of force are only temporary. There’s shock and awe, but then you deal with the backlash of the trauma. No one learns anything that way. There is always another way.

  30. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Once upon a time, I would have agreed with Madaha. Nowadays, I straddle the fence.

    I’ve read that, actually, the air raids against Germany in WW2 did not hurt the German war effort all that much. I suspect, though, that the air raids and the ground-force conquest of Germany made a psychological difference.

    WW1 ended with Germany defeated but unconquered. This made it possible for right-wing propagandists to manufacture the “Dolchstosslegende” (“stab-in-the-back legend”), which stated that Germany would have won WW1 if not for traitors within Germany. The Nazis, of course, profited greatly (in political terms) from that myth.

    After WW2, no German could doubt that Germany had been crushed from the outside, rather than betrayed from the inside.

    No Dolchstosslegende was possible after WW2.

    Similarly, since their horrific defeat in WW2, the Japanese have shown little desire to try to revive their old Empire.

    It seems that overwhelming force can break some people’s will to fight, whereas other people do indeed react the way Madaha seems to think all people react.

    I expect “my” way works sometimes, just often enough to create an illusion that it can always work.

    Sometimes this MP is true, sometimes false.

    Which raises the question–WHY does overwhelming brutality work sometimes, but not other times? Are, for example, the Vietnamese and the Afghans simply the bravest mofos on the planet, or are there more subtle reasons?

  31. madaha

    I would say subtle reasons. I never said all people would react the same way, I’m saying it would be war crimes to aerial bomb anyone, because: humanity.

    There are many many myriad, overdetermined reasons why people may react differently to trauma. Which is why imposing trauma on a person or a people is always wrong and ultimately mostly ineffective.

  32. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    Madaha seems to define “humanity” as a good thing. Apparently, s/he holds our species in higher esteem than I do.

    What meaning does “wrong” have, in the absence of a system which rewards “right” behavior, however that be defined, and punishes “wrong” behavior, however that be defined?

    Or did Madaha mean pragmatically wrong?

    Before anyone wonders, no, I DON’T like this hellworld. I simply do not see how it can be made less hellish.

  33. madaha

    I’m just talking about human rights, good god. Of course it’s not ok to bomb civilians and decimate societies. WTF.

  34. guest

    For the love of Haruhi-kami-sama, just how brutally must the German elite be beaten to purge it of its towering arrogance once and for all? I would have thought WW2 would have taught them something.
    Very few of the elite of any country would have been taught much by WW2. That’s one of the great things about being elite: other people suffer the consequences of your misdeeds.

  35. quax

    Sorry, to interrupt all the German bashing here for a moment.

    Just would like to point out that most Germans really didn’t want the Euro. Chancellor Kohl is on record stating that he had to force the Euro on Germany by fiat, as he could have never gotten a majority for it.

    Now please go back to pointing out how these arrogant Germans need to be taught a lesson.

  36. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    @Guest: Thanx; I had somehow overlooked the usual immunity of elites.

    In the specific case of Germany, both the Western Allies and the USSR coddled many high-ranking members of the German elite, in order to acquire as much useful 3rd Reich technical knowledge and military intelligence as possible. The Western Allies and the Soviets wanted those sets of knowledge to use against each other in the rapidly emerging Cold War. Hence, many members of the German elite walked away scot-free, despite having committed the same sorts of crimes that the Nuremburg defendants were hanged or imprisoned for perpetrating.

  37. anonymouscoward

    “Just would like to point out that most Germans really didn’t want the Euro.”

    While we’re having fun noting all the ironies latent in the moment, it’s worth remembering that the European Union was originally conceived of as a way of containing Germany and channeling its energies away from world domination and into playing nicely with others. To make a long story short, it didn’t work. If the EU was intended to be a kind of prison for Germany, the inmate has taken control of the jail and has turned its coercive powers on its former cellmates and keepers. Everyone is getting a bitter reminder of why they wanted Germany walled up in the first place.

    For the record, I’m not in favor of punitive measures to teach Germany a lesson. That was tried at the end of WWI and that didn’t work either.

    I don’t know what would work, but I think it’s clear that the European Project is a bust. Due to design flaws in the currency union, it has become a continental sized vehicle for domination and looting. Both inside the vestigial states of the Union and between the northern industrial-financial core and the periphery.

  38. Well yes, the idea of a currency as a form of political control of the most productive member of said currency was indeed a stupid idea.

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