Saturday, 4 July 2015

Beware Europeans Bearing Gifts

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. "


Nick Drew said...

do you suppose that when these high-status moral defectives watched Gordon Brown et al embark on QE back in '09, they said to themselves, hmmm, wonder what percentage they are on? - ?

Nick Drew said...

and yeah, Lagarade is indeed a feeble candidate for being one of the adults, that's for sure

hatfield girl said...

I should think anyone would have conjectures on who and what was on the receiving end of those avalanches of money.

I never thought of Brown as anything other than one of those (E Miliband is another) tenacious twerps who cling onto a fairly easy to access but key position and are then ferociously used by those with unspeakable (literally) objectives - a bit of ego-grooming and first class and five-stars and they're the 'democratic' front for almost anything.

It's some time since Brown was being so irritatingly in the forefront of political consciousness but there is room for a look at how much damage, on various levels, he did. Not the obvious that was well-written up at the time, and afterwards, but the damage of a half-baked understanding of economic theory and practice, and the false claim deriving from this (indeed at times the attribution of having 'really') saved the world when he was used as a social democratic (itself a tenacious twerpy political stance) cover for the biggest rip-off ever, of most of us, which is ongoing.

Christine is as odd as she looks.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

And yet it seems today that the Greek political class has caved in, and that further - endless - "austerity" is to be the lot of the Greek people.

One has to admire their forbearance.

If this is a deliberate test by the EU to see how far modern people can be pushed before they turn in anger and slay their tormentors, the results must be astonishing to the experimenters.

A few more years, or months, apparently.

hatfield girl said...

Yacht, I have a dilettante interest in German politics so writing anything there is unnerving. Would you agree that this is abut Merkel's position and security of tenure in office rather than Greek or even EU politics at all? She's been there for three terms and is profoundly irritating to the progressive, specifically SDP, received politics of northern Europe. The decline of social democracy is tied in with their steady defeat in Germany since, more or less, achieving unification. European social democratic movements must be desperate to replace her.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

I don't entirely agree.

Merkel's position is certainly a part of this, but imho the real driving factor is the absolute determination of all concerned to maintain the momentum of "The Project".

This determination trumps everything, regardless of cost whether human or financial.

Even the Greek political class, it seems, would rather prostrate themselves (perhaps prostitute would be a better word to use) and ruin their country and their people, rather than admit that the experiment has failed.

In truth no recovery is possible until they leave the Euro, but that is the one thing they will not do.

More clearly than ever one sees that there cannot be any future for Britain in this madhouse.