OPINION

What lies ahead

It would be quite useful for everyone to realize where the country stands and where it could find itself in the coming months. This is crucial for us citizens struggling between reason, anger and despair. It’s also necessary for those who wish to govern or carry on governing the country.

For a number of years now Greece has been walking along the edge of the cliff. It came close to falling several times but each time managed to step back at the last minute. We came near a eurozone exit and declaring bankruptcy, we flirted with civil strife and political chaos. While an invisible hand tenaciously pushed us toward the cliff, our survival instinct kept us from falling.

There are those who believe the danger of collapse is behind us. This is why they appear ready to take the risk of prolonged anarchy or a new government which will attempt a tough tug of war with Europe and the markets. Some insist that it is only through creative chaos that the old will be swept away and the new, which we all long for, will be born.

It’s not that simple, though. Whoever thinks they can play the tough guy with Berlin, Brussels and the markets is fooling themselves. Europe is now more ready to leave us to our own devices than back in 2010. The mood in Europe is heavy and there is very little room left for compromise. We’re under the illusion that Italy and France are on our side, but they are the first to point to Greece to push the spotlight away from themselves. We are counting on the US and China. But there’s little reason to expect they would ever convince Berlin to make moves that would go against Germany’s own interests.

We need to be ready for the day after a government plays the tough guy game and returns empty-handed or at least with much less than it had promised. That will be the moment of truth which will demand composure, reason and determination. When the money runs out and someone has to decide who gets paid or not it will be serious dilemma time. But we’re not living in a normal country or a normal region. Our relations with Turkey will go through a tough period, if not a crisis. It’s an accomplishment that the situation over Cyprus’s EEZ did not turn into partisan confrontation and that SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras has been cautious in his comments. Whoever is governing Greece in a few months’ time might find themselves in an emergency before even realizing it. What would this entail? In Tsipras’s case, plenty of prep work, alliances and networking with those who matter, as opposed to attending protest festivals across Europe. Unfortunately, he has burned several bridges with decision makers on the continent. As for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, I imagine the weight of what may lie ahead will lead him to reach out to the other side, no matter how hard that is. What lies ahead could demand the kind of moves and decisions that those involved never imagined they would have to take.