“Though this be madness, yet there is method in it.”
The last few months, since the election of the left-wing Syriza party and the right-wing ANEL party (i.e. the independent Greeks), the European Union has witnessed a schizophrenic Greek government. So schizophrenic, as a matter of fact, that it would put Harvey Two-Face, the supervillain from the "Batman" movie series, to shame.
At one moment, the country is teasing, provoking and screaming (at) the troika, the Eurozone and the whole European Union. Also it is spinning and bending the truth, as a genuine adolescent child would do.
The next moment the country is soft-soaping the Euro-zone leadership and meekly obeying all the rules and demands that “master” Dijsselbloem and “mistress” Merkel lay upon the country, in order to get the financial aid money that the country so desperately needs; also as an adolescent kid would do.
“Will you follow the troika’s lead to get your next installment of financial aid?!””Yes, mistress Angela!” “And will you not speak about a minimum wage-raise for your empoverished middle and lower class?!” “No, master Jeroen!”
In its seeming erraticness and (even) self-destructiveness the Greek behaviour, as well as the response of the Euro-group to this very behaviour, is akin to an infamous US phenomenon: “suicide by cop”.
Suicide-by-cop: A suspect, armed with some kind of weapon, threatens to hurt his family, friends or even total strangers, for a reason that few people understand. In the minutes after the police arrive, there is a sinister negotiation game going on between the suspect and the police; a deal of give and take, in which the suspect demands something and the policemen try to contain the situation and protect the innocent victims of this (mostly) male suspect.
Too often, this situation leads to a bloody climax, in which the suspect threatens to pull the trigger against his hostages and the policemen subsequently terminate the suspect in a hailstorm of bullets. Final result: the suspect is dead and the police feel miserable for shooting a living person, with possibly a brighter future before him.
The understandable, but nevertheless pitiful reason for this erratic Greek behaviour is that the Greek government, represented by PM Alex Tsipras and Yanis “Stinkefinger” Varoufakis, are truly with their backs against the wall.
First and for all, the parties within the current Greek government had been chosen as a result of their promises to change the response of Greece to the troika of IMF, ECB and Euro-zone: from meek, obedient and contrite to powerful, self-confident and unafraid. This should lift the Greek mood and self-confidence to a higher level, after seven extremely difficult years.
In the proces the chosen parties should also change the way in which the troika is treating Greece: as an equal partner, instead of a boxing ball for the Northern European countries. Greece meant business against the troika and demanded the other Euro-zone countries to listen to them.
The Greek lower and middle classes, which were already knocked down by the enduring, economic crisis in their country, could not stand another round of austerity, in order to meet the demands of the troika. They were already sick and tired of their poor and hopeless situation, with the massive amounts of unemployed and empoverished people. They simply demanded a better future for them and their children from their new government.
The rich Greeks, on the other hand, had been stashing their billions or millions in Euros away; out of sight for the Greek internal revenue service or the new Greek government. When asked, they acted if the current situation of Greece had nothing to do with their past and present locust behaviour and structural embezzlement of tax money.
“It wasn’t me, who evaded taxes all the time, so further please shut up and go away!” And even when everybody in Greece would spontaneously start to pay his taxes (which they obviously didn't), that would probably still not yield enough money to rescue the faltering economy.
For Tsipras and Varoufakis, there was the ungrateful and nearly hopeless task to convince the Euro-zone that Greece couldn’t stretch further and could not stand new rounds of austerity, in order to meet the demands from the troika. So they tried to talk some sense into the Euro-zone and show it that "enough was enough" as far as the austerity measures concerned, alternatingly using their good boy / bad boy approach.
However, this only flabbergasted the other members of the Euro-group and left them in an utter state of confusion, about what the heck was going on with Greece.
And so it happened that, instead of trying to find a solution that could ease down the situation and give both parties some air to breathe, both parties (i.e. Greece vs the rest) continued their strategy of (deliberately) misunderstanding their "adversaries"and persisting to their own righteousness, which led to an escalation of the situation.
Merkel and Dijsselbloem have not been giving one centimeter of leeway to Greece and stood firmly behind their ultra-dogmatic mantra, that Greece had to fullfil the demands from the troika to the last syllable and return all borrowed Euro-zone money until the last penny.
Even Greece’s “natural partners”, the other PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy) and the former Eastern Block countries, which all suffered severely from the European austerity measures themselves, would not let Greece off the hook a little. “We have suffered heavily for meeting the demands from the Euro-zone and so will you. There will be no easy way out for you”.
This brings us to the main problem of the suicide-by-cop conundrum, both in real life in the United States, as virtually within the Euro-zone:
the situation will only get really out of hand, when both the suspect and the cop continue their improductive behaviour against each other and thus lead each other to the inevitable climax of violence, suffering and death. Both parties often have their reasons to persist in their behaviour, but fail to understand that persisting it, will inevitably lead to the most undesired outcome of the situation.
And so the 'deadly' role-play of Europe and Greece, as the respective policeman and the hoodlum, is continuing until this very day.
Greece is excelling in its role of suicidal suspect, who keeps the whole Euro-zone as a hostage and currently threatens to blow up the very euro.
Merkel, Dijsselbloem and even François Hollande play the trigger-happy cops, who have their guns firmly in their hand. They are seemingly ready for making the kill, even if this cost them both their own economic lives and the euro, as the common European currency.
And when signs do not betray, the moment for the final kill comes closer and closer.