Archive for February 12th, 2015

Kill the Chicken …

… to scare the monkeys.

Andrew Lilico gets the game over Syriza exactly right.

In current discussions of what Greece might or might not get in the way of concessions from the Eurozone, there has so far been relatively little appreciation of one basic political reality: as far as the governments of Spain, Portugal, Ireland, probably Italy and perhaps even France are concerned, Syriza must fail and must be seen to fail. … […] And note: I haven’t even got on to the problem of how voters in Germany or Finland or the Netherlands would react to being told that Syriza had extracted concessions with its comic-book antics.

Unless Syriza-led Greece is hideously crucified, it wins — and what will be unfolding is an extremely brutal zero-sum game (in which Greece cannot be allowed to win). For the EU establishment, a Syriza success story would be a catastrophe of almost incomprehensible magnitude. It would bring with it an entire narrative of core institutional delegitimation, which in the case of the peripheral nations (as glossed by Lilico) runs: “… what we really should have done was to raise the minimum wage, hire back the public sector staff that had been fired, say we weren’t going to pay our debts to our eurozone partners, cosy up to the Russians and tell the Germans they didn’t feel nearly guilty enough about World War Two. Then everyone would have said we were ‘rock stars’ and and forgiven our debts.”

It’s unthinkable that Germany could let this story put down roots in the fertile manure of renewed growth. Instead, there will be war by other means. Crucially, the more calamitously things now turn out for Greece, the more the EU will be strengthened, if only for a while.

From the perspective of these eurozone governments, Syriza must fail. The best way for it to fail would be for it to capitulate utterly and crawl back to Greece with its tail between its legs and a few cosmetic patronising “concessions” such as renaming the “Troika” the “Consultative Committee” (or, if it makes them feel better, the “Symvouleftiki Epitropi”). If it won’t do that — and there’s a good chance that if it did try to do that then the Greek government would collapse, anyway — then things get a bit more complicated. Because if it’s bad and dangerous for Syriza to succeed inside the euro, it would be disastrous for it to succeed outside the euro.

It’s hard to see how this doesn’t get intense.

ADDED: The game (formalized)

February 12, 2015admin 11 Comments »
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