Keep your allies close

The new government could have had more allies standing by its side in the extremely difficult negotiations that essentially get under way today with Greece’s international creditors over the bailout agreement and a lightening of the country’s massive debt load.

There was a time not so long ago when political forces that oppose the kind of dogmatic austerity that has driven the programs for Greece and other eurozone countries, as well as a significant part of the European center-left, represented potential allies for the newly elected leftist government and had voiced their agreement with its announced policy. But the way the administration has handled things in its first few days in office has shaken their confidence or compelled them to change position.

There is a way to bring partners and creditors around by using solid arguments and convincing diplomacy. The government, and by extension Greece itself, should be very careful that it doesn’t end up alienating its potential champions and allies.