For a moment this summer, it appeared that Greece had cornered its creditors. In a hotly contested vote in which their European neighbors openly intervened, Greeks overwhelmingly voted to reject more austerity.
In a controversial turnaround, however, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras then submitted to the demands of eurozone leaders for more austerity measures in return for a bailout loan of 86 billion euros. Tsipras lamented that he’d had no choice — resistance would have meant a forcible exit from the eurozone.
Humiliated and vanquished, the Greek government returned to the negotiating table to accept the surrender terms. The spectacle resembled an ISIS-style execution of a whole country — in full view of a global audience.
The final details remain to be hammered out, but there’s no doubt that the deal imposed by the Eurozone on Greece will allow Athens neither to pay off its crushing debt nor to recover from the depression it’s in now. The deal is a triumph for finance capital, but it was exacted at a terrible cost — one that will eventually boomerang on the banks, the European Union, and its enforcer, Germany.
Diagnosing the Problem