Alexis Tsipras, the Greek PM, is in Moscow today having decided to snub the EU leaders meeting in Brussels today “to decide Greece’s fate”. This is Tsipras’s second visit to Moscow since taking office 5 months ago.
In Moscow back in April, the visit was headlined this way: ‘Greek PM’s Moscow visit defies neo-colonial EU approach’. Having returned from Moscow, the Greek PM and his government continued the torturous negotiations with the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank (Germany).
Put bluntly, Greece’s debt mountain is 180% of its GDP. Greece is bankrupt – it simple has no money to repay even the interest on the loan. The IMF and EU imposed the so-called “austerity” programme – i.e. taking food out of the mouths of the Greek people so that the IMF debt interest could be repaid (the debt itself cannot be re-paid: IMF debt is meant to be owed by a country forever – if you don’t pay interest you will be overthrown and if you find money from somewhere to pay off the whole debt and be free you will also be overthrown!).
Tsipras and his government were elected on the pledge that the “austerity programme” which has reduced Greek citizens to Third World beggar-status must go. For the IMF and EU the “austerity programme” is the only viable method of ensuring that funds continue to flow from poverty stricken Greece to the rich coffers of Brussels, London, Paris and Washington.
So it is deadlock: the Greeks say the “austerity programme” must go and the IMF/ECB/EU say the “austerity programme” must stay.
Now, normally, the IMF would win without question – and most governments around the world know just too well during the last 50 years not to mess with the IMF. The IMF and EU know this too and have called the Greek Government “clownish” and “childish”!
Then enter that Cold-War “renegade” Vladimir Putin – armed with enough nuclear weapons to obliterate not just Europe but the entire Planet Earth! He has offered Greece billions (5 billion to be paid in advance!) if Russia can build South Stream Gas Pipeline through Greece to supply its European markets.
Behind Putin is China, replete with trillions to invest and nowhere to invest it. So China has set up an International Infrastructure Investment Bank to rival the IMF – which key countries, including the UK, have joined inspite of the USA trying to prevent them from doing so.
The Greek government can clearly see that China’s funds could rescue the country – but it is important first for the IMF to declare Greece bankrupt: then Greece could turn to Moscow and China as an act of “desperation” – not as an act of rejection of the West. This way Greece could turn to Moscow and China for economic survival while remaining a member of NATO and the EU (which Moscow and China would want their new friend to remain so as to have an influence through Greece on NATO and EU policy).
Militarily, Greece, like Cuba in a previous generation, could become of strategic importance to Russia and China. The confrontation between Russia and NATO over Ukraine has been mitigated by the fact that some NATO members such as Greece, Italy and Hungary have been “sympathetic” to Russia’s position. Of course these NATO members have veto-powers if a war by NATO is ever contemplated. Greece could also become a vital military base in the centre of the strategic Mediterranean Sea. Recently China and Russia held their first ever joint military exercises there.
China is also militarily threatened by the USA in the South China Sea – and Russia is providing China with advanced military aircraft and other defence technology.
It is clear that the “clownish” and “childish” Greeks are infact holding some ace-cards and are playing their hands deftly – as befits descendants of Aristotle and Socrates on whose philosophy is based the whole of Western Civilisation. The Chinese, descendants of the equally famous Confucian Civilisation, are playing their cards deftly too – and letting that Cold-War “renegade” Putin take the lead in enticing Greece away from the IMF …
But that Black African in the White House understands the game too (unlike the “clownish” Germans) and he will be working the phones feverishly during the next 10 days – to try and ensure that the IMF and the Europeans give the “childish” Greeks what they want.
The Greeks may become the first sovereign government ever to beat the IMF! In Moscow today, June 19th, the Greek PM made a speech at Putin’s International Show and said: “The World No Longer Revolves Around Europe”!!
If memory serves me right, the Great Frantz Fanon said something similar 60 years ago.
Dida Jallow-Halake, London, UK.