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The greatest mob movie of all time was Get Shorty. (Please, don’t argue.) The whole movie revolved around this exchange:
Ronnie Wingate: Excuse me bro’, but who the fuck are you?
Chili Palmer: I’m the one tellin’ you how it is…
Last Sunday, Greece was Chili Palmer. A few days later, Angela Merkel is.
Funny how things change.
You probably heard that Greece’s Prime Minister called for a referendum on the troika’s terms. And the PM encouraged Greeks to vote no. And the Greeks did—by a whopping 61-39 laugher.
Turns out, though, Prime Minister Tsipras was sort of bluffing. He expected Greeks to vote Yes no matter what he told them. In other words, he doubted his own mandate.
He hoped Greek voters would accept the Troika’s terms, reject his leadership, and make the whole thing somebody else’s problem.
When Greece followed Tsipras’s advice and rejected the offer, Tsipras fired the mastermind of the strategy, Marxist game theorist Yanis Varoufakis. Varoufakis rode is motorcycle into the sunset.
As last Monday morning dragged on, Tsipras turned his blinking eye toward Germany and . . . and needed to change his pants. In the North stood Europe’s Chili Palmer who goes by the name Angela Merkel—pronounced, like her policies, with a hard “G.”
Tsipras offered to accept the Troika’s terms—the ones his people had just overwhelmingly rejected. Merkel spake “nein!”
Now, Germany, Finland, and other Eurozone members are laying out terms Greek can’t accept. The alternative is a five-year leave of absense from the Eurozone—a term Greece has little choice but to take. As the Wall Street Journal puts it:
Sunday’s statement on Greece by eurozone finance ministers will go down as one of the most brutal diplomatic démarches in the history of the European Union, a bloc built to foster peace and harmony that is now publicly threatening one of its own with ruination unless it surrenders.
Greece’s new best friend, Vladimir Putin, waits in the wings with oil and gas and gold on ships ready to dock in Greece’s warm-water ports.
The Eurozone isn’t an economic venture: it’s a loan-sharking racket. Europe happily fed Greece’s voracious appetite for debt for over a decade, knowing full well Greece would never make good on the loans.
Why? Exports. The same reason our own establishment freaks out over the Export Import Bank.
Since the creation of the Euro, Germany has pressured European banks to make risky loans to Greece, Italy, Portugal, and other countries. The loans allowed the southern countries to buy German goods. The scheme worked remarkably while while it lasted:
Now, Europe owns Greece and doesn’t want it.
What happens next? Who knows. But everyone has learned never to borrow money from Germany or the European Central Bank. Or the IMF, for that matter. Never. Any alternative is better.
I can’t imagine this ends well for Greece, Europe, or the world.
Chili Palmer: Look at me. What I’m thinking is, ‘You’re mine. I fuckin’ own you.’ But what I’m not doing is feeling anything about it one way or the other. You understand? You’re not a person to me, you’re a name in my collection book, a guy who owes me money, that’s all.
I wonder if John Travolta will play Merkel in the movie.