Germany. Hitler 1933-1945 Greece. Papandreou 2009-
Hitler (a psychopath) mesmerized the Germans with his rhetoric. Papandreou (a ? ) ascended to the throne (that’s his self perception) on the strength of his name and his inbred talent for deceit.
The Germans, say what you will about them, are a -justifiably- proud nation. They, like the mythical bird Phoenix, can be reborn from their ashes. Hitler gave to a humiliated nation a sense of sorely needed pride and a sense of purpose … get up and go … and the nation did, regrettably to the wrong direction. God, however was kind to the Germans and put an end to their post war suffering by blessing them with strong, inspiring, enlightened Governments, which helped heal the wounds of war and led the German reconstruction and surge forward to prosperity. Much is due to its brilliant leaders K. Adenauer, who put Germany up on its feet again and H. Kohl, who led its reunification. Brilliant leaders of a sensible, disciplined, efficiently organized nation united to a cause.
The Greeks came out of the war in bad shape and divided. They fought each other and deprived themselves the gifts of prosperity through peace, for some years, thus starting to reconstruct Greece as late as 1950. Politics has always played a catalytic role to the Greek misfortunes and there have been several in the last 120 or so years.
The Greeks are smart, (too smart for their own good?) industrious, enterprising people. In an environment of orderly conduct they flourish, hence their brilliant success in Shipping and in the countries to which they emigrate. Unfortunately, unlike the Germans, they were not blessed with good Governments which could lead them to the great accomplishments they are capable of and who is to blame for that but the Greek character, which has few similarities to the German character. Is orderly thinking common in Greece? There are people who prefer to become poor so as to preserve their national pride which, they feel, is humiliated by the presence of the Eurozone technocrats in Greek ministries and organizations! Is discipline a part of the Greek character? Lawlessness is rampant. Rules are to be adhered by “others”. Do the Greeks have a sense of unity? The syndicates know full well the situation, yet they persist with their demands, in their good old fashioned ways. Do Greek Politicians have a sense of responsibility? Do they own up to their mistakes? Nobody expects Papandreou to commit “hara-kiri”, for the shame and the menacing conditions he brought to his country, but his thoughtless, arrogant, near contemptuous conduct portrays his indifference to responsibility and his lack of any feeling of deference to the Greek people. His attitude clearly shows the difference in the nature of the German political titans and this political clown.
Somehow the Greeks managed to become an integral part of the EU and a founding member of the Eurozone, but now they seem to be nearing catastrophy, led to it by their elected leader … Papandreou, who simply ignored his commitments to do what should have been done long ago by the Governments of which he was a member and by the governments of the “opposition”.
It is indeed ironic that the Eurozone partners of Greece, led by Germany, offered their help to Greece conditional upon the country doing what is to its own great benefit, but Papandreou presented it as a necessary evil, because it was un-socialistic. He did nothing to ensure implementation of the agreements and so he was forced to sign a new agreement which imposes even more strain on the Greeks because the country now has to cover the ground lost from Papandreou’s refusal to come to terms with reality (and himself ). To top it all, five- a short five- days after he commits to a program calling for a 50% reduction of the debt Greece must pay and the advent of about 150 Erozone technocrats, who will assist in the implementation of the final agreement which will not only relieve Greece financially but will also help it change to an economically potent country, Papandreou declares that he will make the agreement the subject of a referendum asking the Greeks to take their destiny in their own hands. No wonder the French Press headlines put the question : Paranoiac or brilliant?
He does not give a damn for the fact that the Eurozone leaders put their political status and future at risk, to help the Greek lazy bums (as the press in their countries present the Greeks), in order to save Greece from defaulting and, thus, also save his political future.
He does not (can not?) take in to account the fact that the people of Greece are in a state of despair. How do desperate people think? Pragmatically? How can they answer questions like “Yes or No to the agreement? Do you want to be in Europe? Do you want to stay in the Euro?”
A poll showing the Greek reaction to the agreement showed that the agreement creates feelings ranging from uneasiness, to pessimism/fear, to sadness, to rage, in 61.5% of the people, 51.1% view the supervision of the implementation of the program by Eurozone technocrats with a positive attitude (they are fully aware of the inadequacy of the Greek public sector) and if there is a referendum to decide Yes or No to the agreement only 35.2% of the people would vote Yes. At the same time only 19.5% of the people want a return to the Drachma. These answers show the confusion in the Greek mind. Greece by far wants to stay in the Euro, 77.5% according to the poll, but is not willing to pay the price for it, because the path to recovery is partly wrong (austerity with no provision for development) and the austerity measures are of the wrong kind. This government of amateurs has not searched for other, equally effective, but less painful to the entire society, austerity measures, because, as always the primary consideration was not the country but the party. Even so, does Papandreou feel obliged to explain to the people that you can not eat your pie and have it too? Does he seek alternatives to the harsh austerity he imposed? It is simply not his style. He hates “governing” his idea of premiership is to go around the world and talk, no sense of duty. He takes his cohorts aback and then lies to the Greeks saying he had advised them about his decision to hold a referendum. He wreaks havoc to the global exchanges with his announcement which brings Greece close to the possibility of exodus from the Euro and default on its entire debt. So what? To him that’s trivia. Assuming the Greeks had answered NO to the agreement, NO to being in Europe, YES to staying in the Eurozone, then what? Too hard a question for him to answer. After all he is only the prime minister.
Papandreou tells his “subjects” to move forward to a re-birth of the country, naturally under his leadership. He apparently has no contact with reality. Maybe he has an inkling of that which explains why he wants to be surrounded by all sorts of advisers, which raises the question: Who planted the idea of a referendum in his mind? Then again his mind is, evidently, in a convoluted state and he was forced to do some thinking lately, which allows for the possibility that he thought about it himself, or that one of his family suggested it to him. Whatever the case, the capital question is: Is this individual fit to be a political leader, let alone prime minister? Is he mentally fit for the job? Psychologically stable? Had his entourage never seen any sign of mental disturbance in him? Was this the first m a n i f e s t a t i o n ? What followed is what was to be expected from him. It may all be history now that the referendum and Papandreou are “dead”, but the damage to Greece is comparable to the damage Hitler brought to Germany. Greece is the laughing stock of the world, which was shaken by Papandreou’s announcement. Additionally, many resent the fact that Greece, which has been nothing but trouble and concern to the Eurozone, became a threat to its very existence . . . “their cup runneth over”. Greece has been thrown to a position of great disadvantage, but there is one slim hope it will go forward because the Eurozone technocrats will stay in Greece for the duration of the program and will take maters in their hands, so the program will bring the purported results, to the benefit of the people of Greece. Who knows this may even inject some of the “advanced world” spirit to the Greek public sector. As for the Greek politicians, of all parties, hopefully the next elections will be a “tsunami” which will extinguish them politically and bring with it a new political generation of honest, capable, people intent on serving the country.