OPINION

Reaching crunch time

Several cabinet ministers and MPs are no longer hiding it: They either openly admit that they are promoting the drachma or they murmur things like, “Why not the drachma?” Some go even further and refer to an eurozone exit as the “final strategic solution.” If we are to go back to the drachma, this should happen following an honest, open discussion and based on a plan. It would be tragic, if not criminal, for certain people to lead us there by blaming the “bad foreigners.”

We are reaching crunch time. We added the figures up to see how much we could get from Russia, China and the US. We used our sensitive geopolitical position as a bargaining chip but that still failed to bring us any Russian or American money.

The Germans played the game well, positioning themselves behind all the major Western players so as to avoid sticking their neck out on their own. The southern alliance never came together. Washington offered backing until the point when it got angry. We are all alone at the Eurogroup. Along the way we lost friends, burnt bridges and brought people who had fought for Greece over the last five years to the end of their tether.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must have come to realize by now that eurozone participation is not a case of a la carte. Changes in primary surplus targets and the political mix are acceptable. The core of the eurozone, however, clashes directly with the core of SYRIZA’s beliefs. The eurozone does not appear ready to change, despite expectations nurtured by Yanis Varoufakis. At the end of the day, could SYRIZA, and especially Tsipras, take the necessary decisions required for the country to remain in the euro?

The drachma lobby is bound to put up a final, particularly tough battle in order for the country to hit the rocks. Don’t get me wrong, this lobby comprises all sorts of people. There are those who wish to see their own domestic debts written off in a situation of total collapse and then pay next to nothing with the money they keep abroad. There are also idealists who believe that a regime change and leftist policies don’t go hand in hand with the euro. Finally, there are those extremist nationalist populists dreaming of a North Korean and profoundly Balkan kind of regime. All three categories are sufficiently represented, and, most of all, go unrecognized on today’s political scene. They don’t face any serious opposition.

Who could stop them? Tsipras and his political capital? But this would take nerves of steel and guts, and, above all, putting aside personal experience, ideals and decades-old friendships. These are deeply personal dilemmas which happen to concern the future of an entire country.