OPINION

We can do better

It won’t be long before the relationship between Greece and the troika starts resembling that of the United States with Afghanistan. The efficient Americans entered that historical and complex country and tried to set up a modern state, an open economy etc. Not long after they started to realize that they were sinking in the same quagmire as the British and other superpowers had done before them, and decided to cling to every small victory they were able to score so they didn’t have to write off the entire operation as a failure.

But reality has refuted any claims they may have to success, because today it can be at best described as a semi-failed state. The Americans have resigned themselves to the belief that Afghanistan has come as far as it can, so they had best leave things as they are.

What does this have to do with the troika and Greece? The growing realization that some things are possible and others not, while at the same time rushing to assure the world that Greece is a success story. Our international lenders have their own prestige to protect because, at the end of the day, they have put a lot of money into Greece which they need to justify to their bureaucrats and electorates. But there are issues over which they have simply given up.

For example, the Greek Parliament passes a law liberalizing a particular sector and just a short while later a decision is made to revoke it. Another critical sector may open up to competition, but the head honchos of the profession swoop in like Taliban chieftains and close it back up. Dutch experts are dispatched to Athens to help the country improve its exports, and the deputy minister they are in talks with throws their proposals in the trash just so he can appoint five or six of his cronies to one committee or another.

Our foreign lenders look at us and see no plethora of capable people involved in the running of the country, nor a thirst for reform in society. And so they begin to explain away our inaction by evoking our political system, our mentality etc. And the success story starts looking all the more artificial.

But the thing is that it is ourselves we should be mad at. We have no shortage of capable people in the private and public sectors who run businesses and projects in an exemplary manner. The fact is that we are resisting change and we don’t have a leader to inspire us with a vision, so we have put our fates in the hands of the troika.

Shame on us!

We can do better, especially when we start rejecting corrupt politicians and backward unionists and take action instead. We have to become our own success stories and to honor our country without having to rely on the pitiful praise of others. Outsiders will only look down on us as long as we look down on ourselves.