John Cassidy: Greece’s surrender: a return to 1919, or to 1905?

“For all of their U-turns and failures, Tspiras, Varoufakis, and their colleagues did succeed in highlighting the illogic of endless austerity policies, and they also succeeded in putting debt restructuring on the table. (On Thursday, Mario Draghi, the chairman of the European Central Bank, became the latest expert to say that debt relief is necessary.) For those who viewed the last five months as not just a dispute about the finances of a small country but as part of a much larger battle about the future of Europe, these are important developments. And they will affect not only Greece but other other heavily indebted countries, such as Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and France.

From this perspective, this week’s agreement with the creditors isn’t the end: it is the beginning of a movement to wrench Europe away from technocracy, debt deflation, and Teutonic fiscal orthodoxy. This was the vision that Varoufakis spoke about in a speech he gave in Berlin last month, when he called for an end to the vicious cycle of austerity and depression and for a new Europe. And it is the vision that motivates Tsipras and other members of Syriza. […] ‘“These are political mechanisms that, in the end, disenfranchise whole nations, and you can’t change them all within four months.’”


Sidelining Varoufakis won’t solve Greece’s real problem

“The bailout ‘was about protecting German banks, but especially the French banks, from debt write-offs.’ (That wasn’t Varoufakis speaking: it was Karl Otto Pöhl, a former president of the German central bank.) […] The bailout caused a depression inside Greece.”