Athens’ ISIS strategy

suicide bomber

It is becoming clear after the breakdown of negotiations with creditors that Athens has planned its strategy taking a page off Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s book. The strategy it seems is to blackmail the Europeans by threatening to blow up the Euro. This is less ‘Kougki’ (blowing oneself up, rather than capitulate) and more ISIS, blowing oneself up and everyone around you. The problem is that there is no happy ever after, rivers of milk and virgins for Greece if this type of grandstanding results in a disorderly default and Grexit.

Varoufakis stated “Σήμερα είναι μια καλή μέρα γιατί είναι πιο κρυστάλλινα τα πράγματα” meaning today is a good day because things are more crystal clear. What is exactly clear Prof Varoufakis? Oliver Blanchard spells it out in his post (see here). Any better deal for Greece means corresponding costs for the lenders that they have to assimilate. A much better deal for Greece (lower primary surpluses AND no cuts in pensions or wages now) means costs AND debt reduction. This is why the IMF walked away, because the deal Greece wants requires the Europeans to accept debt relief and they do not want to do this. Also, let me remind everyone that while Tsipras is trying to save pensions, the economy has been nose-diving since the start of the year. While we are all partying to celebrate re-opening ERT, lets spare a thought for the private sector dying on the side of the road.

I have become blue in the face (or in the fingers, since I am typing) saying that Varoufakis is right to complain that the ‘programme’ is wrong and recessionary. Nonetheless, he is right in his analysis but wrong in his approach. This is not an all or nothing game, a deal now allows improvement in the future. All this kougki nonsense has to stop. Unless of course Varoufakis has come to Lapavitsas side and wants Grexit.

Let me say this clearly for all those who complain that I have shifted my position from a government supporter to a “lender lackey”: The likes of Lapavitsas have not presented a detailed plan on how to deal with Grexit. If this is what the proud resistance is leading to, they need to tell the Greek people that Grexit does not lead to Nirvana, but to a harsh adjustment, way worse than anything austerity has inflicted on Greece. PLUS, and this is crucial, not Syriza, not anyone has the capacity to guide the country through this adjustment. This is why I changed my view in 2010, from thinking that Grexit would be better, to thinking that we need to work with the Europeans. The Greek political establishment is not competent to handle default and Grexit. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded, or devious and/or has a cushy job abroad to return to.

Europe is not Syria and Tsipras is not al-Baghdadi. Enough with the rhetoric. One does not blow up a country to make a point!




5 thoughts on “Athens’ ISIS strategy

  1. Bill says:

    Dear Mr. Glivanos,

    I have been following your views and points for quite some time. Although i find you to be a level headed individual with no party ties, I also see “fear” in all of your articles and comments on other bloggers pages.

    I have been myself been following this issue for quite some time living at ground zero. I have flip flopped from side to side and weighed many times options personally and socially. I have seen my loved country brought to ruins (responsibility weighed on many but no more than ourselves). I have followed many articles, theorists, speculators and even the propaganistic mass media. Being a true patriot as although i can live anywhere in the world at a moments notice, i choose to stay in my beloved but scorched country. Because my country is indeed one of the last becons of a democratical and logical society. In this greek Madness? Well yes. “…madness, a man needs alittle madness…. otherwise he never dares cut the rope and be free….”

    In continuance, with so much data out there whether be good information or misinformation, i have concluded that the only deal which is optimal for myself and my countrymen and our children is force a no deal. Or the instritutions (or legalized murderers or thieves as i like to call them) go back on what they say to logical suggestions as to improve the country truely. I doubt the institutions will back down and i am hopeful our government has the hair on their B**** to not sign to anything. Because if we sign to something that is as destructive as the previous plans, in 2 years time our society will be a non society where 2 generations of new children will immigrate elsewhere. Meanwhile scavengers will come in to eat up the “carcuses.” Varoufakis and company although pompus at times and to literate at times, is requesting the “just” solution. He himself has even gone back on many things he professed pre politicians but his new suggestions still remain to be intutitively constructive. If they only let him do his job he would make “papades.”

    In this life time you need to learn when to make a stand for what is right and although this government has made mistakes and taken stances which may look wrong in the mainstream, are actually for the good of the greek people. It is now more than ever we must not fear. In the face of oppression one must stand. As greeks we have proved this in our character in both ancient and modern times. And if it means that standing means you will be killed in the process, so be it. Once upon a time a great leader said to his men, “…..what you do in life, will follow you for an eternity…..” The eternity can be symbolized into so many aspects i will not go into detail and allow you to think for yourself.

    I pray everyday in my mind that Mr. Tsipras does not become our “efialtis.” But i am hopeful even if he is those who will be betrayed will rally us against the common bad.

    I understand your thoughts and positions and i patiently read them. It is not time for deal even if it means we will be worse off. I see it better to be worse off and unoppressed rather than to be tortured slowly. Most greeks inside know this feeling and know it has to come to this.

    Don;t let your fear of what you love, to destroy your true character. This extended stance of the government is a just cause. You know inside that you need to support it. A deal will by their standard will destroy us. You know this, the people know it, they know it and our politicians know it. It is time to stand next to those who want to make the example of themselves and stand with them. Stop dreaming that their solution will bring us to paridise and allow us to get a better deal later on. A better deal will never come and I/we can not continue to live like this.

    (PS: I am not syriza supporter, nor have i agreed with many issues they named, but i do support their stance on the economical and social future of our country which is not to be destroyed in one way or an other.)


    Finally a nice excurpt to pray to and live by.

    «Εσείς οι Σπαρτιάτες δεν φοβάστε ποτέ?»
    «Ποιος σου είπε πως δεν φοβόμαστε? Γιατί θαρρείς τιμούμε με τον Φόβο ως Θεό κι υψώσαμε ιερό του στη ακρόπολη?»
    «Και τότε γιατί παριστάνετε τους ατρόμητους?»
    «Κάνεις λάθος. Το πρώτο πράγμα που μας μαθαίνουν στην Σπάρτη είναι: «Φόβος γλιτώνει, φόβος σκοτώνει»»
    «Που σημαίνει»
    «Ότι ο φόβος είναι διπρόσωπος. Ευχή μαζί και κατάρα. Μοιάζει μαχαίρι δίκοπο. Πιάσε τον απ ‘τη λαβή και θα γίνει όπλο σου. Αν λαθέψεις, θα σε κατακόψει.»
    «Ωραία λόγια, που αποδεικνύουν πως δεν ξέρετε τι θα πει φοβάμαι. Η μήπως φοβάστε τον φόβο?»
    «Τρέμω τον φόβο που παραλύει τα γόνατα, ψάχνω τον φόβο που με ψυπνά και με κάνει πιο δυνατό…»


  2. Pancho says:

    Aren’t you the one with a “cushy job abroad to return to”?

    Seriously, while your images are funny, your blogposts are getting more and more ignorant and dreadful. Having served as poster-boy of some of the most anti-Greek German media outlets before, your narcissism still isn’t satisfied, so you need to shout louder and louder in order to punish the Greek negotiators for not listening to you. Embracing the German position and IMF’s Blanchard just to counterbalance your personal bugaboo Lapavitsas, you don’t even notice how you’re compromising your own academic work.

    Now it’s your decision. Keep on ranting if it eases your pain. But please don’t ever give Syriza your vote again. Give it to Samaras, Gennimata or Theodorakis. Syriza doesn’t need your vote nor your advice. Thanks.


  3. Sorry, the fact that lenders have to assimilate costs is of course nonsense.

    The ECB has invented the “free lunch” with quantitative easing. Were the ECB, though its QE programme, to buy the Euro 240 bn debt to IMF and European institutions, there would not be a cost at all to anybody.

    In fact the ECB could force its member banks in the Eurozone to assimilate that debt (split into tiny chunks for each bank) and keep it on their books at 0% interest at a repayment period of 1,000 years. Cost to the taxpayer: NIL.

    There is probably many more ways to help Greece, if they wanted to.

    That is what the Greeks should do. Say to the institutions, you look after your E240 bn we owe you. We run our economy within the Eurozone, and try to get out of the mess. (and pay back once unemployment is down or growth up!) No pension cuts and no VAT increases and no interest payments (ie, primary surplus) to pay interest on the institutions debts.

    Your panic, and fear of Grexit, is completely overdone.


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