What lies ahead

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

It would be quite use­ful for ev­ery­one to re­al­ize where the coun­try stands and where it could find it­self in the com­ing months. This is cru­cial for us cit­i­zens strug­gling be­tween rea­son, anger and despair. It’s also nec­es­sary for those who wish to gov­ern or carry on gov­ern­ing the coun­try. For a num­ber of years now Greece has been walk­ing along the edge of the cliff. It came close to fall­ing sev­eral times but each time man­aged to step back at the last minute. We came near a eu­ro­zone exit and declar­ing bank­ruptcy, we flirted with civil strife and po­lit­i­cal chaos. While an in­vis­i­ble hand tena­ciously pushed us to­ward the cliff, our sur­vival in­stinct kept us from fall­ing. There are those who be­lieve the dan­ger of col­lapse is be­hind us. This is why they ap­pear ready to take the risk of pro­longed an­ar­chy or a new gov­ern­ment which will at­tempt a tough tug of war with Europe and the mar­kets. Some in­sist that it is only through cre­ative chaos that the old will be swept away and the new, which we all long for, will be born. It’s not that sim­ple, though. Who­ever thinks they can play the tough guy with Berlin, Brussels and the mar­kets is fool­ing them­selves. Europe is now more ready to leave us to our own de­vices than back in 2010. The mood in Europe is heavy and there is very lit­tle room left for com­pro­mise. We’re un­der the il­lu­sion that Italy and France are on our side, but they are the first to point to Greece to push the spot­light away from them­selves. We are count­ing on the US and China. But there’s lit­tle rea­son to ex­pect they would ever con­vince Berlin to make moves that would go against Ger­many’s own in­ter­ests. We need to be ready for the day after a gov­ern­ment plays the tough guy game and re­turns empty-handed or at least with much less than it had promised. That will be the mo­ment of truth which will de­mand com­po­sure, rea­son and de­ter­mi­na­tion. When the money runs out and some­one has to de­cide who gets paid or not it will be se­ri­ous dilemma time. But we’re not liv­ing in a nor­mal coun­try or a nor­mal re­gion. Our re­la­tions with Turkey will go through a tough pe­riod, if not a cri­sis. It’s an ac­com­plish­ment that the sit­u­a­tion over Cyprus’s EEZ did not turn in- to par­ti­san con­fronta­tion and that SYRIZA’s Alexis Tsipras has been cau­tious in his com­ments. Who­ever is gov­ern­ing Greece in a few months’ time might find them­selves in an emer­gency be­fore even re­al­iz­ing it. What would this en­tail? In Tsipras’s case, plenty of prep work, al­liances and net­work­ing with those who mat­ter, as op­posed to at­tend­ing protest fes­ti­vals across Europe. Un­for­tu­nately, he has burned sev­eral bridges with decision mak­ers on the con­ti­nent. As for Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, I imag­ine the weight of what may lie ahead will lead him to reach out to the other side, no mat­ter how hard that is. What lies ahead could de­mand the kind of moves and de­ci­sions that those in­volved never imag­ined they would have to take.

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