Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

How times have changed

COMMENT

Being among the international elite is both significant and has a certain charm about it.

If someone were to have said that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was going to send a text message to Germany’s Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz urging him to ignore his left wing and cooperate with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, they would be called mad.

If they were to add that Tsipras would embrace Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, they would be sent to see a psychiatrist. All these things have taken place and they are making foreign observers very happy.

However, large parts of the Greek population are angry again.

We were all wondering what had happened to all that accumulated rage due to the country’s drastic impoverishment and the endless crisis. We wondered what magic wand Tsipras used to hypnotize the crowds.
It certainly helped that he was a young and unblemished politician who could easily blame any opponent for the sins of more than 40 years.

But the eruption suddenly occurred not due to the pension cuts and other bailout measures, but rather because of the name dispute with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

In America the metaphor of the “third rail” is used to describe an issue that no politician can survive if he or she touches it (in reference to the high-voltage third rail in some electric railway systems).

In the US, these issues include abortion – which has more to do with anger rather than logic – among others. Perhaps Tsipras has lost touch with Greek reality because he has been dazzled by the approval of the international elite.

He has forgotten the basic principle that stipulates a politician must definitely be exportable without forgetting that he or she must also be importable and palatable in his/her own country.

A certain dynamic has developed in recent days and no one can tell where it will lead. The most likely outcome is that a solution will be deferred indefinitely, with Tsipras explaining to his foreign interlocutors on the sidelines of a summit that “this is Greece... What can I say?”

The irony of history in all its glory.

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