Jul 132015
 July 13, 2015  Posted by at 2:26 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , ,

Esther Bubley Watching parade to recruit civilian defense volunteers, Washington DC 1943

Personally, like most of you, I always thought Germany, besides all its other talents, good or bad, was a nation of solid calculus and accounting. Gründlichkeit. And that they knew a thing or two about psychology. But I stand corrected.

The Germans just made their biggest mistake in a long time (how about some 75 years) over the weekend. Now, when all you have to bring to a conversation slash negotiation is bullying and strong arming and brute force, that should perhaps not be overly surprising. But it’s a behemoth failure all by itself regardless.

First though, I want to switch to what Yanis Varoufakis told the New Statesman in an interview published today, because it’s crucial to what happened this weekend. Varoufakis talks about how he was pushing for a plan to introduce an alternative currency in Greece rather than giving in to the Troika. But Tsipras refused. And Yanis understands why:

“Varoufakis could not guarantee that a Grexit would work …

…[he] knows Tsipras has an obligation to “not let this country become a failed state”.

What this means is that Tsipras was told by the Troika behind closed doors, to put it crudely: “we’re going to kill your people”. He was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. And Tsipras could never take that upon himself, even though the deals now proposed will perhaps be worse in the medium to long term, even though it may cost him his career.

Criticism of the man is easy, but it all comes from people never put in that position. Varoufakis understands, and sort of hints he might have had second thoughts too if he were ever put in that position.

There’s not much that separates Schäuble and the EU from the five families that rule (used to rule?!) New York City. If you need proof of that, come to Athens and check out the devastated parts of the city. Germany and the Troika are as ruthless as the mob. Or, rather, they’re worse.

My point is, their attitude and antics will backfire. You can’t run a political and/or monetary union that way. And only fools would try.

The structure of the EU itself guarantees that Germany will always come out on top. But they can only stay on top by being lenient and above all fair, by letting the other countries share some of the loot.

To know how this works, watch Marlon Brando, as Don Corleone, talk to the heads of the five families in the Godfather. You need to know what to do to, as he puts it, “keep the peace”. He’s accepted as the top leader precisely because the other capos understand he knows how.

The Germans have shown that they don’t know this. And therefore, here comes a prediction, it’ll be all downhill from here for them. Germany’s period of -relative- economic strength effectively ended this weekend. The flaws in its economy will now be exposed, and the cracks will begin to show. If you want to be the godfather, the very first requirement is you need to be seen as fair. Or you will have no trust. And without trust you have nothing. It is not difficult.

Germany will never get a deal like the EU has been for them, again. It was the best deal ever. And now they blew it, and they have no-one to blame but themselves. And really, the Godfather metaphor is a very apt one, in more ways than one. Schäuble could never be the capo di tutti capi, no-one would ever trust him in that role. Because he’s not a fair man. But he still tries to play the role. Big mistake.

The people here in Greece are being forced to pay for years for something they were never a part of, and that they never profited from. The profits all went to a corrupt elite. And if there’s one thing Don Corleone could tell you, it’s that that’s a bad business model. Because it leads to war, to people being killed, to unrest, and all of that is bad for business.

I must admit, I thought the Germans were smarter than this. They’re not. That much is overly obvious now. No matter what happens next, deal or no deal on Greece, and that’s by no means a given yet, don’t let the headlines fool you, no matter what happens, Germany loses.

It’s not just about Greece, it’s about the whole EU. The Troika thinks that by scaring the living daylights out of the periphery, its power will increase. They even think it’ll work with France. Good luck with that. They’ll be facing Marine Le Pen soon, and Podemos, and M5S, and these antics will not work on them.

I guess the main thing here is that Don Corleone was not a psychopath or sociopath, and that’s more than you can say for Schäuble and Dijsselbloem and Juncker and their ilk. These people simply lack the social skills to lead any organization, because all they understand is power and force, and that is simply not enough. While brute force may look attractive and decisive and all, in the end it will be their undoing.

I’m sure the vast majority of them have seen the Godfather films, but they’ve just never understood what they depict; they don’t have the skillset for it.

Germany just killed its golden goose. And boy, is that ever stupid. They could have had -again, relative, we’re in a recession- peace and prosperity, and they’re blowing it all away.

Tsipras for obvious reasons cannot talk about the threats he’s been receiving, but he did give up some hints early this morning:

• “We took the responsibility for the decision to avert the most extreme plans by conservative circles in Europe..”

• “I promise you that as hard as we fought here, we will now fight at home, to finish the oligarchy which brought us to this state.”

• “We resisted demands for the transfer of state assets abroad and averted a banking collapse which had been meticulously planned.”

• “… decision to avert the most extreme plans by most extreme circles in Europe”

The Italians and Spanish and French have noted every word of this, and more. Europe as it is, is already over. Everything from here on in is a mere death rattle.

Home Forums The Troika And The Five Families

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    Esther Bubley Watching parade to recruit civilian defense volunteers, Washington DC 1943 Personally, like most of you, I always thought Germany, besid
    [See the full post at: The Troika And The Five Families]

    Ceteris Paribus

    Amen, but the unravelling will be unpleasant. I hope it will be quick rather than slow, and we can salvage something from the wreck. And don’t think only the Southern members’ populations will be disaffected. Germans, Austrians etc. also have reason to be angry about this mess – the working population everywhere is being screwed for the benefit of ruthless bankers/politicians, not to forget the utterly corrupt mainstream media.

    It gave me a bitter amusement to see how the latter had to turn on a dime when the relentless anti-Greek propaganda was countermanded from Washington at the eleventh hour. A few people are waking up in consequence of all these contradictions, but there is a lot of learned helplessness, not only in Greece.


    Many Greeks would be killed if Greece leaves the EU/Euro now. Many more will be killed and there will be much more interim suffering when they opt to leave later. Why should they want to continue playing the masochist role in the EU S&M drama?
    Apparently the pain index is not high enough YET. Words like moral and fair are oxymoronic when dealing with the neoliberal crowd. They are taken as a sign of weakness and only result in a further tightening of the screws.


    “The people here in Greece are being forced to pay for years for something they were never a part of, and that they never profited from. The profits all went to a corrupt elite.”
    Intuitively, this feels to me this is correct. Is there a comprehensive record of the details, events and activities, when and to whom?
    Thank you


    So, the Prince of Greece is found out to be just another corrupt politician. And to remember how so many went gaga over his election. As usual, the voters were only congratulating themselves for winning another ill-informed election. But, of course, after the fact, they point blame at their choice rather than at themselves for choosing.


    And yet they continue to consent to the institutions of government for solutions to all of their earthly problems by insisting that another election will fix everything.

    You know the schtick, installing an alchemist in Athens who promises to turn water to wine,,,Nobel Peace Prize winning populists droning ME wedding parties and assassinating folks he doesn’t like, half way around the globe, sans the hassle of due process, yada,,,

    Brings back thoughts of an old talk show host in San Francisco who used to answer callers who were under election season hypnotic trances with “Never fall in love with a politician, they’ll break your heart every time.” Lee Rogers

    Sage Eurasian

    Sad how Raúl Ilargi Meijer, among last of the believers, remains obsessively desperate to make excuses for Syriza proven fake ‘hard left’ criminal frauds Tsipras & Varoufakis.

    NOTHING the Troika did or threatened was new or unexpected, as statements by Varoufakis / Tsipras going back several years make clear. Varoufakis & Tsipras stole millions from hospital & health care funds & pension funds to pay banksters … Varoufakis & Tsipras spent € 500 billion on new armaments for Greek military while Greek citizens die from lack of medical care and go hungry … whilst Varoufakis & Tsipras knew years ago that Greece needed to ‘go Iceland’, default & leave the euro … something they blocked in loyalty to their oligarch paymasters, George Soros etc..

    Tsipras & Varoufakis & the Troika ran a con game together … to continue to hide the bankruptcy of the ECB with its dodgy debt holdings, to hide from German & EU taxpayers that they will get hit big … the only ‘negotiation’ was what image each player is allowed in this drama … with Varoufakis now being set up as ‘alternative’ as Tsipras takes the heat for the Greek betrayal.


    excellent article once again

    John Day

    It seems that there is a lack of understanding of what you stated so clearly about the trade offs between immediate harm and permanent slavery among the commentariat, Ilargi.
    It is being given the choice between prostituting your daughter or seeing your wife face death this week from a curable infection.
    One reason the elites hate Varoufakis so much is (as his dad says) “he is competent”. He is competent at playing at the highest level of risk for millions of people, about which he cares, against sociopaths, who constantly seek out the weakness of what their prey cares most about. Tsipras, a seemingly regular-guy is vulnerable when playing with sociopaths, and they know it well. It’s their game against Tsipras, isn’t it?
    Their game may have been disrupted enough to weaken their position a lot.
    The collapse of their system is inevitable. They expect it to happen their way.
    It probably won’t.


    I mentioned that I had wishfully hoped that YV and Tsipras would leave the Euro and EU – he responded with this: (let us get your eye-witness report,largi).

    “So I am wishful too. I wish that the 24-hour general strike the Greek public sector federation has called for tomorrow will be massively successful and signal a rising tide of resistance that will be taken up across Europe and smash this brutal third memorandum and those behind it. “

    Ken Barrows

    I think we get the nonsense we get because Syriza sees leaving the Euro as “game over” and the Germans see forgiving debt as the same. So the saga drags on.


    Trolls out in force here. Unusual.

    The offer they couldn’t refuse is the one every government now faces when there is a liquidity crisis. Without credit to pay this weeks and months bills there soon is no government. Acceding to the demands of the banks and their political agents is an existential necessity for governments. It’s all well and good to want to put up ones hand and say “enough” with the current system but there is no practical alternative system. Only anarchy or something akin to it.


    There is an extraordinary opportunity here now for Europe – if the other member Nations were to stand with the underdog…..Greece.

    Because if they don’t unite to nip German arrogance in the bud…..then what happens when it’s someone else’s turn? More back-turning?

    A clear message needs to be sent…..NOW !!!

    I do so hope this doesn’t stay a dream…….


    Politicians from every Western Nation have for decades bought the ‘popular vote’ with taxpayer funded bribes such as over generous pensions, unemployment benefits, highly exploitable healthcare etc. Perhaps Syriza will come to be known as the first party to look the voters in the eye and tell them it is all unsustainable. Most western govts need to do this. Unfortunately we cant blame our politicians because any politician who tries to lead a nation away from these social freebies is voted out. We have ourselves to blame.

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