Well it looks like déjà vu all over again for Greeks now that Prime Minister Alexis “Che” Tsipras has been backed into a corner by the county’s creditors, who want him to have a contingency plan for another 3.6 billion euros ($4.14 billion) in austerity measures.
That’s on top of the 5.4 billion euros ($6.21 billion) to which he agreed – after saying he never would – in July of 2015 after reneging on his own anti-austerity referendum he called, and in which Greeks told him to stand up to the lenders, only to see him lie down like a whipped puppy.
Tsipras is indeed caught between Scylla and Charybdis, with a Hobson’s Choice – he has to choose the horse nearest the door, in this case more austerity – or none at all, which would mean Greece doesn’t get the 86 billion euros ($98.83 billion) in a third rescue package he vowed never to seek nor accept but did both.
Get the picture? This guy would eat his own tail if he could reach it and could make himself rich posing for a weathervane. After all his tough talk before being elected for the first time in January of 2015, suckering Greeks into believing him, he folded like a cheap tent as soon as the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) read him the riot act and the Rules of Capitalism.
Tsipras’s Looney Left SYRIZA, and his partner, the feeble pro-austerity, far-right, nationalist Dependent Greeks of Panos Kammenos have been playing for time since last summer with the Premier desperately trying to find some way to fend off more pension cuts and other reforms.
The Quartet, instead of giving him – and Greeks – some hope of debt relief, have piled on the weight with the new contingency measures demand. Tsipras has been tap dancing all over the place trying to find a way out of this one but he won’t.
He has tried to counter the Quartet by proposing more of the tax hikes he also swore to reject but they’re not buying a plan that would kill any chance the country has of attracting Foreign Direct Investment and growing its way out of the crisis instead of the government sticking band-aids on machine gun wounds.
LOOKING FOR THE EXIT
Even his right-hand man, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a Marxist economist, has had enough of being a lap dog for the banks and Capitalists and Conservatives the SYRIZANs hate like poison but are being forced to deal with.
Tsakalotos is making noises like he’ll quit rather than sign another humiliating surrender to the Left’s mortal enemies, who are trying to crush the Left in Europe by killing off its poster boy in Greece and quash any sense of the kind of anti-austerity revolution Tsipras promised before turning into The Pretender who now knows all his hopes and dreams begin and end here.
Tsipras used the so-called Grexit Card, the threat of Greece leaving the Eurozone last year to persuade the Quartet to back but they didn’t bite or believe him, leaving him nowhere to go on that little tactic.
So what can he do? There’s talk in the air that he will call another referendum, and if Greeks fall for that they really deserve what they get because if they told him to reject austerity he’d cave in again.
He could call snap elections but New Democracy’s new leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has taken the Conservatives to a 5.5 percent lead in recent polls that show even some hard-core SYRIZANs have grown weary of The Great Betrayer.
The contingency austerity would go into effect at some point because Greece can’t meet the insane self-defeating fiscal targets the Quartet has set – a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2018- and with six years of cutbacks leading to lesser-than-expected tax revenues, debt still around 174 percent of Gross Domestic Product and no hope – none, tipota, zilch, nanu nanu – that the country can pay the 326 billion euros ($374.62) it owes for three bailouts.
After two wins in elections and a referendum (on which Tsipras promptly defaulted) SYRIZA should be in the Catbird’s Seat but instead is in a re-run of the Summer of 2015 and caught in a trap of its own making: Tsipras issuing promises he knew could never be met hoping to just keep bamboozling Greeks.
Against the Quartet, veteran political killers, Tsipras looks like Jersey Joe Walcott, who hit Rocky Marciano with a punch that could have killed a horse only to find Rocky didn’t blink and was still swinging, leaving Walcott to look for the door.
“The renewed bickering about whether Greece is keeping to its end of the bargain, complete with threats of a snap election if its creditors don’t give more ground, has the air of a duff sequel,” wrote The Economist in one many similar analytical laments that Greece and SYRIZA are running in place and spinning their wheels with no progress or hope.
The government is raiding state agencies, utilities and everything except kid’s cookie jars to pay salaries and pensions, hoping to reach a deal before July 20, when it must pay two billion euros ($2.3 billion) in previous loans.
Both sides will likely reach a failed compromise at the 11th hour again, but too late to help Greece.