A turn toward responsibility

Whatever is meant to happen with regard to the new government’s negotiations with the country’s partners and creditors will happen swiftly as political correctness and established diplomatic courtesy is currently running out on both sides. No one should nurture any illusions. Anyone who does so will not differ from politicians meeting with Andreas Papandreou in the 1980s, when the PASOK founder managed to appease them with his well-known mantra “I can understand exactly what you’re saying,” before firing them as soon as they were out of the door.

Acting as messengers now will be the usual suspects: French President Francois Hollande and European Parliament President Martin Schulz, among others, based on the logic that a socialist can use softer language when talking to a newly elected Greek prime minister. Nevertheless, the message from the command center is bound to sound the same: “Conclude the evaluation, honor the agreements and then we can talk about the rest.”

Those in the know believe that a deal could be reached if the evaluation hurdle can be overcome. Alexis Tsipras could implement certain reforms with which he disagrees entirely, the troika could accept a portion of SYRIZA’s so-called Thessaloniki program, a few substantial steps could be taken with regard to battling tax evasion and corruption, while a formula for the relaxation of targets regarding the surpluses and debt could also be found. It may sound sensible and easy, but it will be very difficult to realize in practical terms.

Tsipras could take a deep breath, finish the evaluation and then benefit from the rest. All of this should take place within a month. The real economy would grind into action, markets would declare the new Greek premier as a type of Lula as opposed to a Chavez, and things would go back to normal.

Certain moves, including the abolition of some reforms or a change of staff in key positions, would shock Europeans.

Tsipras will get his chance to take a turn toward responsibility. A worsening of the real economy and the risk of a bank crisis could provide him with a good argument. The responsible parties now in the opposition, along with any reasonable person, would have to support this turn. Everyone, locally and abroad, would have to assist him in order for a fresh disaster to be averted.

The other road would involve Greece breaking its ties with Europe’s powerful nations, a move which could extend to geopolitical issues as well. That could prove a rough road, one for which the Greek people are totally unprepared, considering that this is one issue that was not touched upon during the pre-election period.