Monday, 12 January 2015

Why Syriza Cannot Buckle - Part 2 of 7

If Syriza were to buckle, were it to form a coalition with other forces, on the pretext of needing to form a government, to save Greece, only then necessarily to find itself having to make compromises to stay in government, it would rapidly disintegrate. First, significant numbers of its MP's, who are drawn from a different mould than the usual career politicians, would withdraw their support from the Government, making it even more hostage to more right-wing parties, for its survival. But, almost immediately, the Greek masses would conclude that Syriza was no different, for all its rhetoric, to all the other parties, and would abandon it.

There is no alternative to Syriza to its left, and, the masses would be led to conclude that the only real alternative to these traditional parties is Golden Dawn, or as happened in Egypt, and as has happened numerous times in the past, they would decide that what is required is a strong leader to bring order to chaos. It would leave the door open to another Colonel's coup, as happened in the 1960's .

That in itself would pose severe problems for the EU, because such a regime would be incompatible with its rules. The EU would find itself having to try to expel Greece, for its lack of democracy, in a way that would leave it no room for manoeuvre, compared with the relatively easy matter of reconciling itself with an abandonment of failed and destructive policies of austerity. With conflict spreading throughout the Levant, and given the history of conflict between Greece and Turkey, the EU would not want to allow such a powder-keg to develop on its south-east border, at the same time that it has conflict on its eastern border to Ukraine, and continued potential for conflict in the Balkans, as well as fighting a growing Islamist insurgency within its own borders on the one hand, and a growing conservative backlash on the other.

All things considered, ensuring that the Greek people, and Syriza know, in advance, that when push comes to shove, the EU will write off Greece's debts, and meet Syriza's demands, is a very small price to pay, especially as everyone knows that ultimately those debts will have to be cancelled one way or another anyway. Having said that, conservatives in Europe have been very short-sighted over the last 5 years. They have themselves focussed narrowly on securing the votes of their own core constituency, as opposed to any longer term strategic view, based on the future of Europe. They have got away with it, because the forces of social democracy in Europe, having been cowed for the last 30 years, have themselves shown extreme timidity, as the experience of Hollande bears witness. Even compared with US social democracy, EU social democracy has been timid, and unbelievably inept, given interest rates at 300 year lows, that would have facilitated large scale, fiscal stimulus.

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