Fear is running amok yet again that the cash-strapped Greek government will default on its loans to its European partners and the International Monetary Fund. While its fate is still unknown, one thing has become clear this week: Greeks are scrambling to find assistance from wherever they can find it—its own government’s coffers, and even with overtures to Washington and Moscow.
A signal of how dire the situation is: The far-left government passed an edict Monday requiring public agencies to turn over idle reserves to the Greek central bank to help plug fiscal gaps. In addition, come Friday, the euro zone’s finance ministers are likely to throw a tantrum once again when they meet in Riga, as Greece has yet to come up with a list of acceptable economic reforms.
Athens and Moscow teaming up could spell geopolitical disaster for Europe.
The ushering of Alexis Tsipras into the office of Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic in late January 2015 represents a major change in Europe’s geopolitics. Tsipras and his left-wing Syriza party rode to power on a wave of acute voter dissatisfaction caused by the country’s severe economic downturn starting in 2009. Many Greeks believe this situation was rooted in austerity and reforms imposed by Brussels’ unelected bureaucrats taking orders from Berlin. There is now a new geopolitics of debt that encompasses relations within the European Union (EU), Europe’s relations with Russia and to a lesser extent, China. For the United States, the new geopolitical terrain only complicates an already complicated Eurasian political arena.
The bailout was engineered under the auspices of the Troika, which is the EU, European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund. The massive injection of loans kept Greece from defaulting on its debt and helped Greece remain in the Eurozone. It also helped stabilize acute financial-market turmoil that threatened to spread to Spain, Italy and France. Continue reading