Summer policymaking

Prime Minister George Papandreou is on holiday on Paros, where he will be reflecting on the future of the country. Over the next few days, he will be meeting with his ministers, some of whom have already left for the island and others of whom are expecting a telephone call confirming that they still belong to the premier’s inner circle and, more importantly, feeding their vanity. Yet these meetings will not amount to much, as there is very little thinking that needs to be done when policy is already clearly being dictated by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund; all the government has to do is obey the rules of the memorandum. It seems that after a fruitless, 180-year quest for self-determination, Greek politicians – including Papandreou and his associates – have finally come to terms with the fact that it is Greece’s role to simply follow directives. Becoming part of the West is obviously something that can only be forced upon us, as it is the only way for the country’s political class to rid itself of any guilt. A succession of Greek governments have followed this pattern. Incapable of successfully resolving their bilateral differences with Turkey, for example, they seek a solution at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. This way, the Greek political system has a perfect alibi for any concessions prescribed by the ICJ ruling. Unfortunately for our modern-day politicians, Ankara does not acknowledge the process and insists on bilateral talks, obviously because it feels that it is in a position of dominance and because it has taken itself out of the sphere of influence of the European powers. Tractable by nature and perennially torn between East and West, Greeks have found some kind of balance by adapting; at least this is what Papandreou believes. But, this time around, maybe the Greeks have been taken by surprise by the dynamic entrance of the so-called «troika» into their lives here. Or maybe they believe that the government will revert to the arbitrary and primal machinations that PASOK is known for. Yes, Papandreou is on Paros reflecting. Yes, there will be meetings. But the topic will not be the economy, because others have already defined what needs to be done, when and to what extent. The only topic up for discussion is how to manage the people, the masses who are most affected by these violent changes. This is how low Greek politics has come.