Counterproductive tension

The strongest delusion fostered by the Greek political establishment was that the partial collapse of the country?s economic system would have little if any effect on the political order. This delusion was dashed in a tragic manner in the May 6 general elections, when Greece?s two biggest parties, which had alternated in the seat of power for 38 years, lost around half their voter support.

Another delusion the establishment is fostering — and this is perhaps even worse — is that improvisation and histrionics are acceptable in the realm of politics and that Greece will not be ejected from the European and transatlantic institutions that have provided the country with a sense of security since the end of the 1946-49 Civil War.

Unfortunately, nothing appears to be obvious.

There is some comfort to be had from the fact that a significant majority in this country — so far at least — has expressed its desire to remain within the eurozone and the European Union, given that anti-German sentiment is beginning to grow at a worrying rate. Of course, the inherent political immaturity of the German political leadership is also at fault on this account as for the past two years it has intervened and argued with the positions of Greek political parties and social groups, among many others.

But, Greece?s ?heroic? struggle against Germany ended with the Second World War and any attempts to stir up bygone sentiments in the present circumstances are extremely dangerous. Moreover, Greece has no allies in a clash of interests with Germany, as on a European and an international level there may be disagreements with Berlin, but there is certainly no conflict.

Some in Greece like to think that Russia may become more involved in the Greek economy or that China will expand its presence in the country as an investor, and that stronger commercial ties will come with enough political support to counterbalance Greece?s possible alienation by Europe. What these people are overlooking is that both Russia and China want to strengthen their relationship with Germany and would not be willing to jeopardize their ties for the sake of Greece.

Greece has no other choice but to function within the European system and to find common ground with Germany, even if it does ultimately suffer a disorderly default. In this regard at least, the country?s political leadership ought to be speaking with one voice.

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