Tsipras and his date with history
Christos LOUTRADIS*If someone chooses Greece as a tourist destination, she will arrive to a surprise. Athens and the Greek Islands seem to have traveled back in time, as the restaurants, coffee shops, clubs and stores are packed with tourists and locals enjoying the hot weather. In addition, the beach suburbs in Athens are packed with Athenians who enjoy a good swim and the organized and expensive beaches of the Athenian Riviera.
However, this is only a superficial approach toward a nation that is suffering from the immaturity and the incompetence of a political party and a leader that had the illusion that they could change not only the bailout package that was agreed between the previous government and its international lenders, but the European’s Union bureaucratic structure that has dominated the continent for decades and has imposed a certain way of thinking and acting.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made the Greek economy pay a high toll for his lack of strategy and political maturity. Some 50 billion euros was the cost to Tsipras and former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis for the direct attack on the institutions that keep the Greek economy alive.
It is interesting that despite the fact that the Syriza government and Tsipras were the only ones responsible for the disaster that took place during the negotiations and despite the fact that they were the only ones that were responsible for the closure of banks and the imposition of capital controls, the Greek public seems ready to forgive Tsipras for his political immaturity. The act of forgiveness of the Greek public toward the Greek prime minister is not the act of political masochism of a people deprived by austerity measures. It is an act of panic from a society trapped between a divided ruling party and the opposition parties, PASOK and New Democracy, who represent the reasons that the Greek economy collapsed and failed to catch up with the rest of the economies of the European Union.
One of the problems that Greek society suffers from is the addiction with a simplified approach to reality. However, the upcoming months will signal the death of myths for Greeks and their prime minister. Tsipras will have to take measures that his predecessors failed to implement and forced Greece into investment destruction for decades. Moreover, the Greeks will understand that the blame game with the European Union and particularly with Germany is a dead-end game that has only one loser: Greece.
This is Tsipras’ biggest bet of his political career. If he succeeds in becoming the first prime minister to transform Greece into a European state, he will be the leader of the next decade.
If not, he will be a small intermission before the extremists take their revenge. In both ways, his name will go into history. The important point is how he wants to go down in history.