Is Tsipras going to be a real leader?

Keith Hudson

Everybody, except the Greeks, knows that the only way forward for Greece now is to detach itself from the Eurozone and re-establish the drachma.  Presumably, the Greek printer that used to print drachmas before 2001 now . . . prints the Greeks’ euro needs, so all it has to do for the time being is to overprint them with a “D”.  Well-off Greeks who’ve sent their euros abroad would now bring them back to be over-printed.  Greek bonds would be bought even by the creditors who’ve already lost money by lending to Greece.  All Tsipras needs to say in order to get these loans is: “I’m going to do what I should have done already — reform our taxation system and stop all the fantastic tax evasion that’s been going on for years.”

Is Alexis Tsipras tough enough to do this?  He’s going to have to be if he wants to stay in politics.  The Eurozone — or at least, Germany — don’t want Greece any longer — at least not on Tsipras’s terms. That was very clear when the European foreign ministers reneged on their Monday’s agreement and chose Plan B instead.  They’re prepared to risk the smaller humiliation of seeing Greece leave the Eurozone rather than the greater humiliation of this relatively new political leader with a new party winning more concessions. — which, of course, would continue indefinitely.

Tsipras is now in an impossible position otherwise.  If he goes back to Athens and has to tell his supporters “You can stay in the EU so long as you let me cross all my — and your — red lines”, then he’ll either have to announce an immediate referendum (or a new general election) or simply await being sacked with the added danger that some sort of chaos or coup d’etat would take place.

The European foreign ministers are still covering themselves by saying that negotations can continue over the week-end.  But what negotations could possibly continue?  They’ve chosen Plan B, after all.  What they’re really doing is waiting to see just what Tsipras will decide or what will happen in the country to-day and over the week-end.  Or does the Eurozone think that they can simply sack Alexis Tsipras in the same way that they did with George Papandreou when he announced a referendum in 2011?  It won’t be so easy a second time.

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