Almost exactly two years ago this letter was printed in Le Monde.
'Dear Nicolas, very briefly and respectfully,
1) I am by your side to serve you and serve your plans for France.
2) I tried my best and might have failed occasionally. I implore your forgiveness.
3) I have no personal political ambitions and I have no desire to
become a servile status seeker, like many of the people around you
whose loyalty is recent and short-lived.
4) Use me for as long as it suits you and suits your plans and casting call.
5) If you decide to use me, I need you as a guide and a
supporter: without a guide, I may be ineffective and without your
support I may lack credibility.
With my great admiration, Christine L.' *
This, by the woman who called Tsipris and Varoufakis children and demanded that decisions on Greece be taken by grown-ups? Further: the repeated recognition by the IMF (the latest published a couple of days ago) that Greek debt is unsustainable and that entirely incorrect policies have been pursued by the IMF (as well as the ECB and the EU); the loading of 32 billion euros of debt onto Greece by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (when he was head of the IMF); the billions and billions of Greek bonds bought by Jean-Claude Trichet when President of the ECB - and all this passed via the Greek banks (with various skimmings en route) to pay off the exposure of French and German banks. The socialisation of debt onto the Greek people. How much more of 'Greek' debt has less well-known sources and uses, none of which are to do with the Greek economy, or with any improper consumption by Greeks of an 'unearned' welfare state.
At the time of his 32 billion euro payment Strauss-Kahn had the presidency of France to gain; how much of a driver behind the actions of an IMF head is once again the seeking of office? At least he didn't call others children and consider writing cringe-worthy begging letters to be grown up. Others' insistences on forcing cuts to public expenditures rather than cutting the deficit by raising and collecting taxes are motivated by political forces within Greek society and by a general ideological desire to enforce a particularly hyper-liberal economic view emanating from their backers within the EU.
The barely-legal, if that, show-of-force and thus self-revelation displayed in the treatment of Greece by the EU is notable. To some extent it is happening by default [sorry, ed.] insofar as Greek elites and hyper-liberal EU ideologists have been needled into exposing their self interest by the democratic weight and the democratic consistency of support for the current Greek government. Evaluations of the various means of, and prospects for regime change must be taking place. The standard, antidemocratic usages of swamping electoral choice and its representatives with laws, regulation and procedures governed by courts and treaties rather than by parliaments and elected governments, are failing. And the spectacle, as they are repeatedly and fruitlessly applied to Greek debt negotiation, is undermining the EU as currently constituted. The EU is extraordinarily old-fashioned, steeped in 20th century power relations and their expression, in a repellent social-democratic, progressive Shirley Williamsy dress.
As Greece considers its (surprisingly many and bright) options in the face of intransigence from past time, much of what held true even at the beginning of this crisis no longer holds. There are new and re-emerging geopolitical areas of pressure and common interest. There are the SCO, the BRICS bank, China, Orthodoxy. The biblical scale of Balkan and Mediterranean migration from Asia and Africa is altering demands from the European receiving countries on the EU and its currency zone, and its moulding by the 'Institutions'.
Greek 'debt' and EU membership status-change is no longer the greatest threat to Greece and its economy and people (indeed to the Balkans in general): once an economy freezes - when normal economic activity ceases - to start it up again takes, bluntly, central planning, particularly where there is under-development (whatever the cause). Greece will be, perhaps already is, in a sort of transition economy condition. Think Poland in the 1990s. And the low level economic and fiscal bullying of the Balkan states (post outright war-making under Blair and progressive Labour) of both Balkan EU members and Balkan applicants is part of the creation of an arc of unnecessary underdevelopment in Europe.
Transition central economic planning is, of its very appropriateness and modern recently-developed competence and technical skills, an extremely attractive option for poor Europe, with its fairly standard problems and requirements. Objections about the role of the state, authoritarianism, the abandonment of the benefits of (hyper-liberal) capitalism are answered by the EU display of authoritarianism and ideological rigidity resulting in economic underachievement, collapse, and social failure. A serious case can be made for the use of central planning and delivery to produce economic growth and acceptable social consumption levels in such countries. With its behaviour towards Greece and the Balkans the EU and the IMF is making it powerfully.
"1) Je suis à tes côtés pour te servir et servir tes projets pour la France.
2) J'ai fait de mon mieux et j'ai pu échouer périodiquement. Je t'en demande pardon.
3) Je n'ai pas d'ambitions politiques personnelles et je n'ai pas
le désir de devenir une ambitieuse servile comme nombre de ceux qui
t'entourent dont la loyauté est parfois récente et parfois peu durable.
4) Utilise-moi pendant le temps qui te convient et convient à ton action et à ton casting.
5) Si tu m'utilises, j'ai besoin de toi comme guide et comme
soutien : sans guide, je risque d'être inefficace, sans soutien je
risque d'être peu crédible. Avec mon immense admiration. Christine L. "