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The weird thing is though the Greeks pols may be at fault, they actually believed the troika and were suckered by them into the program.

Worse, they held themselves hostage to their European inadequacy complexes.

In Greece, Portugal and Spain we have countries which were part of The West but, on account of their authoritarian anticommunist regimes, were kept out of the European Communities. Accession to the European Communities was seen as a recognition that they had graduated to "deserving Europeans". For these countries, being a good European means grovelling to whatever the Franco-German axis or Brussels say. It never crossed Zapatero's mind that he should have opposed Merkel in the Spring of 2010 (when Spain still had economic leverage), as that would have been "uneuropean". It was possible for ZP's successor Rubalcaba to claim that the Spanish constitutional reform (debt brake and unconstitutionality of default) was "a pro-european reform" and for 40 million spaniard not only not to die laughing but be soothed by the incantation.

The Greek government has evidently agonised over whether pursuing their self-interest would be construed as "uneuropean" by the Brussels opinion-makers, whereas German actors just played hardball. Nobody dares question the "europeanness" of French or German actions, which is rather toxic when naked self-interest (it is even arguable whether it's German national interest here) is pursued. In other words, nobody in Greece wants to be tarred with the brush of destroyer of the Euro, whereas Merkel, Weber, Stark, Weidmann know they will not be, no matter what they do.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 05:00:06 PM EST
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