OPINION

SYRIZA’s ambiguous haste

Why does SYRIZA rush toward conflict with such self-confidence? The new government is in a position to introduce many changes to our politics and society, having about it the air of a new force, but it risks this by choosing to fight battles on several fronts at the same time. From the still fruitless dispute with our creditors, to the permanent hiring of tens of thousands of civil servants, to the imposition of mediocrity in the education system, the government is acting as if it has no doubts as to the success of its choices. However much it believes that it should rush forward, it would do well to consider that politics and diplomacy demand planning and tactics. And there is always the danger, when you open so many fronts, that you do not pay attention to where you need to work fast – to prevent further damage to the economy, for example.

Obviously, SYRIZA’s people believe that they hold a monopoly on all that is just and good and progressive. Their hard core (not those who recently joined under its flag of convenience) always had the privilege of playing at politics far from the temptations and challenges of power. They never expected to govern, nor did they learn the difficult art of negotiation and compromise in the service of a superior end. Most of them specialized in making maximalistic demands and, when they lost the ensuing clash, they would split off into yet another small group.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras finds it difficult to deal with dissidents within his own government and party, and they, in power for the first time, are not yet attracted by the idea of a proud exodus from the government. At the same time, Tsipras does not hesitate to provoke not only the hardest of our creditors, but also the countries with which he dreamed of creating a “southern front” against austerity. In other words, he prefers to tread lightly with factions in SYRIZA which undermine the negotiations with our partners rather than clash with them and move toward alliances with other European countries which could help Greece achieve a relaxation of austerity. The result is that whereas some countries showed interest in Greece’s cause, our country is now alone.

Often, government officials appear unaware that whereas verbal violence is commonplace in Greek politics, today anything they say is immediately transferred, translated, commented upon and absorbed into the international discussion. This provokes strong reaction on the other side, inflaming tensions further and making a mutually acceptable solution even more difficult.

SYRIZA’s leadership does not know how to bring its pre-election promises in line with the need to govern the country. Rushing forward in every direction at the same time betrays weakness and desperation – as if they choose an impossible task as an excuse for failing where they could succeed.