Unrepentant dreamers

Unrepentant dreamers

State Minister Alekos Flambouraris on Tuesday admitted that the SYRIZA-led government was wrong to expect that the Europeans would yield in the face of their leftist mandate – he was obviously referring to the outcome of the general election and the bailout referendum. He added that the government had also miscalculated the potential of the countries of the European South to resist.

Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis said on Monday that Greece was wrong to threaten its European partners with a euro exit. Dragasakis added that expectations global markets would panic at the prospect of a Grexit were also wrong.

On the same day, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that Athens had miscalculated the balance of power and so on. Of course, they and other SYRIZA officials admit that the memorandum signed by the government is a far cry from the legendary “Thessaloniki program,” the party’s anti-bailout pre-election manifesto.

All those concessions have been made in an unusually calm manner, which tends to generate well-meaning thoughts along the lines of: “Their intentions were good, but in the end it simply did not work. There’s nothing we can do now. Let’s just move on.”

But that is a mistake which must be avoided. Even talk about the popular will or the ability of the European South point to their persistent disconnect with reality.

Other European governments also rely on a popular mandate. There was never a question of creating a front made up of Southern European states. In addition, it is known that by virtue of joining the European Union, and especially by signing up to the Maastricht Treaty, all countries agree to give up part of their sovereignty for the sake of deeper European integration.

One key question that government officials need to answer is: Was there anything that they did right after all their predictions were proved wrong? For any unbiased observer, their dismal failure to come up with any sound prediction can only be explained in one of three ways.

Either they are inept, or they are liars, or both, for it is hard to believe that their predictions were so far off the mark given the tons of commentary and analysis that warned them against their actions.

On the other hand, it was their phony expectations that brought them to power. Unrepentant, they keep dreaming of the Thessaloniki program as if they deserved to receive some kind of vindication for their endless pledges or fantasies.

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