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Apocalypse now

By Nikos Konstandaras

There are two ways to see our situation: Either the whole international community -- and its Greek lackeys -- has conspired to throw us into the bottomless pit of debt, or we are closing our eyes to reality and taking a flying leap into the void.

If the first is true, soon we can break out the champagne, as the mixed bag of political forces that are against the loan deal and reform program have come out strongly after the May 6 election. Soon they will call our creditors’ bluff and cancel the austerity program, roll back every reform and take us back to 2009, when the deficit came to 24 billion euros that was easily borrowed. The memorandum’s enemies will then be able to renew, with greater pomposity, their talk of traitors and gallows at Syntagma -- while spreading the wealth the traitors were hiding.

If, however, reality is different, if our partners aren’t bluffing and they suspend our loan, if our tax revenues can’t cover salaries, pensions and other obligations, Greece will go bankrupt and we will be condemned to poverty and ridicule because of an ill-thought bet. We will live with this result for years, when these fevered days will be long forgotten.

As they bask in the glory of the popular vote, the loan agreement’s enemies, the enemies of reform forget that the spectacular rise of their influence is not necessarily in recognition of their conflicting policies but stems also from the collapse of the two main parties (blamed for the country’s failure and the painful effort to revive it) and from the success of the message that the policies of the past two years were nothing but a vast conspiracy aimed at robbing the people.

What SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has done is both clever and risky: In calling for a debt audit, he raises further questions as to how onerous and unnecessary it may be; with his outright rejection of the memorandum, he takes upon himself the responsibility for anything that happens to the economy.

Tsipras rolled the dice in a throw that will either uncover the conspiracy against Greece or push it to catastrophe. Whether we agree with him or not, we can only hope, for the good of the country, that he is right and all will be well. He does not need to become premier to dictate events: His ideas have triumphed and this will be most evident if we have new polls soon.

It is inconceivable Greece’s fate will be determined not only by the criminal incompetence of previous governments but also by a naive bluff. The only good to come out of these days is that maybe some politician with a sense of responsibility may feel the need to clash with the dominant mentality -- even if this opens him up to the arrows of childish demagogues.

ekathimerini.com , Friday May 11, 2012 (16:15)  
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