During his speech at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, the Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras, described clearly, already from the first lines, Greece's new strategic dogma.
As Tsipras noted:
“Many of you may be wondering why I am here today and not in Brussels negotiating. However, I am here, exactly because I think that a country that wants to examine and explore possibilities for succeeding, must have a multidimensional policy and engage with countries that are currently playing a key role in global economic developments. [...] While fully respecting our commitments as such, we will also actively seek to become a bridge of cooperation both in our region and beyond, with our traditional friends such as Russia, but also with new global and regional organizations. Of course, as you are all undoubtedly aware, we are currently in the middle of a storm. But we are a seafaring people, well-versed in weathering storms and unafraid of sailing in large seas, in new seas, in order to reach new and more secure ports.”
Tsipras sent a clear message to Brussels that Greece has other alternatives and actually announced Greece's new strategic dogma, which is now quite common in the multipolar world. Actually Greece delayed significantly to adopt this new dogma.
According to this dogma, most countries appear to put their interests in top priority rather than staying absolutely faithful to traditional alliances. A latest, characteristic example, is the fact that most of the Western countries, even those in the hard core of the Western neoliberal bloc, rushed to join the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), an institution under Chinese influence.
“The economic circumstances that resulted from the global crisis’ eruption in 2008 have led to a very different world. In Europe, we had long been under the illusion that we were the center of the world, taking into consideration only those developments occurring just beyond the borders of our neighborhood to the other side of the Atlantic. The world’s economic center of gravity, however, has shifted. New emerging powers are playing an increasingly important role–economically and geopolitically. International relations are acquiring an increasingly multipolar nature. Moreover, the Eurasian Union–this relatively new project for regional economic integration–is potentially another source of new wealth production and economic power.”
Tsipras shows that he is fully aware of the dramatic geopolitical and economical shift globally. He also referred to the Eurasian Union. Apparently, this was another warning message to Brussels, concerning Greece's alternatives against the brutal neoliberal transformation of Brussels-Berlin axis.
We've already mentioned that a possible request by Greece to join Eurasian Union too should not be considered "out of question", especially under current circumstances in Europe: “As part of 1st April jokes, some websites in Greece had circulated the false information that Tsipras is about to request the participation of Greece in the Eurasian Economic Union! However, such a perspective should not surprise us eventually! The Greek government may choose to show that there is no point to stay in the eurozone under such catastrophic conditions imposed by the lenders. There is no rule that forbids Greece to be part of the EU (not eurozone), while at the same time participate in other country formations, anyway.” (fa.ev/increasing-probability-for-big-european.html)
“However, these changes do not, in and of themselves, lead to a more peaceful or a stable world. The existing significant social challenges remain, including poverty, unemployment and social marginalization, while regional conflicts, crises and tensions are intensifying. In the Middle East, Africa, the Black Sea region. And in this sense, the great challenge of this new era is whether the shift in the global economic center of gravity will generate new possibilities for addressing these global social challenges and inequalities, or whether it will accelerate the uncontrolled course of the global economy–aptly described as a 'casino-economy' by the former President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, shortly before the resounding economic collapse in 2008.”
The message here is also quite clear. If the new emerging powers, especially BRICS, will chose to play the game with the terms of catastrophic financial capitalism, it would be disastrous for the global economy and stability. BRICS should promote a different way of economical progress, based on the real economy, the wisely managed growth, sustainability, respect for the physical environment. Financial capitalism and the neoliberal doctrine should be considered dangerous destructive forces for the global stability, and therefore should be abandoned.
“For the old financial center, particularly for Europe and the Western world, the challenge will be whether it chooses to react positively to new challenges by building bridges of cooperation with the emerging world, or whether it will remain committed to old doctrines, raising new walls of geopolitical conflicts. The crisis in Ukraine, for example, opened a new wound of destabilization in the heart of Europe, a bad omen for international developments. Instead of greater economic and political cooperation in the region, there is a revival of an obsolete Cold War. Which leads to a vicious cycle of aggressive rhetoric, militarization and trade sanctions. This vicious cycle must come to an end as quickly as possible; diplomatic initiatives, such as implementing the Minsk Agreement, are valuable and should be supported.”
Unfortunately, there is no sign that the Western elites would accept easily the change of the old dogma because this will put their sovereignty in danger. The support of neo-nazis in Ukraine shows that they are determined to use every mean in order to expand the neoliberal dogma globally. Color revolutions are only one of their dirty tricks for this purpose.
Recently, we saw in Greece pro-euro currency demonstrations in which many MPs of the neoliberal Right participated. These demonstrations emerged when the possibility of Grexit came on the table as an answer to pro-government demonstrations by people who support the end of austerity and ask from the Greek government not to retreat in creditors absurd demands.
Obviously, there is a dangerously polarized situation which starts to bring memories from the civil war, when Greece was divided in the Left-Right ideological basis. The US interference back then is well known to most of the Greeks today. Therefore, these demonstrations today have the smell of "color-revolutions" and the US interference again, as the US see the danger that Greece may escape from the Western sphere of influence.
Finally, Tsipras called for a change in the course of Europe, away from the dangerous, destructive policies and closed his speech warning again that the current dominant dogma cannot provide a stable future and should be changed:
“The EU, of which Greece is a member, must rediscover its true course by returning to its founding statutory principles and declarations: Solidarity, democracy, social justice. This will be impossible, though, if the EU persists with austerity policies and the disruption of social cohesion, which only serve to further the recession. Let us not fool ourselves: the so-called Greek problem is not a Greek problem. It is a European problem. The problem is not Greece. The problem is the Eurozone, and its very structure. And the question remains, whether the EU will allow room for growth, social cohesion and prosperity. Whether it will allow room for political solidarity instead of policies imposing dead ends and failed projects. [...] The emerging new multipolar world will truly be innovative and pioneering if it can free itself of the root problems fueling the global crisis. But this cannot occur–it has never occurred in history–without bold decisions. We cannot move forward in this new world while still carrying the burdens of our past mistakes. Otherwise, we will be doomed to repeat them and we will continue to fail–whereas the challenge for us is to change in order to succeed. To face new challenges and overcome them.”
If Greece believes the Euro is the root of its problems (and there are good reasons to think so) and wishes to exit the Euro, then it should do so without delay. There's nothing to stop it from leaving (except a spot of economic hardship for the coming 5-15 years).
In fact it was a mistake on Greece's part to join the Eurozone (as it did on the strength of falsified accounts, and a mistake on part of the Eurozone countries to accept Greece as a member).
As a Dutch citizen I am certainly not blind to the dangers and disadvantages of the Euro (e.g. how even one small member can threaten its stability and be a drain on its tax-payers), but I continue to believe that the Euro has a (modest) net benefit for its members. It certainly facilitates commerce, it encourages greater competition between suppliers, and it slowly provides EU firms with a "home" market that offers the same economies of scale as the US offers its own firms. So for the moment we'll keep the Euro and its concomitant (fairly strict) monetary policy, thanks.
As for Greece, it must choose. In (but then it implements economic reforms) or out (in which case it can set policy as it likes, and live with the consequences).
I would like to have been there to see the smiles as he unveiled the "seafaring people" analogy. Indeed, these are only stormy seas. Nothing the Greeks can't handle, if they will, if the leadership can do this right, and if the people will come aboard. I have great hope for them all.ReplyDelete
I have nothing by disgust for EU. And the Euro is nothing but a tool of oppression. Is there any European country that truly believes its fate lies more secure in the Euro now than in its own currency? I mean, assuming good leadership of course. Brussels is rotten corrupt, as bad as the US and UK, and equally irredeemable. Good job of emulating the US market, EU. Corruption enjoyed economies of scale. Sovereignty perished. Same as the US.