Jewish World Review June 21, 2012/ 1 Tamuz, 5772
Greece alone and broke --- again
By Victor Davis Hanson
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The recent indecisive Greek elections could be summed up by two general themes: Greeks want to stay in, and expect help from, the eurozone. But they still do not want to take the necessary medicine to stop borrowing billions of euros from northern Europeans, who want a radical Greek reform of the tax code, deregulation of labor laws, fiscal discipline, massive cuts in bureaucracy, and greater transparency -- all unlikely given Greek history and contemporary culture.
So what lies in the future for
In theory, with the ability to devalue the drachma and be freed of enormous debts, the Greeks could return to business as it was practiced in the 1970s. In those sleepy days before the massive transfers of northern European money, I lived in a
Yet the problem with returning to the nostalgia of a world long gone is just not the creeping return of Third World-like poverty, but rather the psychological shock of Greeks losing the European lifestyle that is now considered an accustomed birthright. For Greeks not to live like those in
Over the past three years, exasperated Greeks have rioted and blame-gamed rather than embraced self-critique and genuine efforts to open up and air out their fossilized economy. Greeks scapegoated the
So when the charade of the Greek euro ends and there are no more bogeymen to blame, expect even more political upheaval and furor, not calm introspection and reform. Do not rule out a return to some sort of autocracy, whether left-wing in the style of
The recriminations over the euro may also poison the notion of European citizenship itself. Even if
History was never kind to the loud and proud but vulnerable Greeks, who have suffered centuries of invasions, occupations, civil wars, coups and famines. The year 2012 may be terrible, but familiarly terrible in the sense of 1922, 1941, 1946 and 1967 -- or for that matter, 1460 or
Without much foreign exchange, the modern Greek military will die on the vine. Will cash-strapped Greeks prefer keeping up their stockpile of imported smart bombs at the cost of doing without Siemens CT scanners or Bayer's ciprofloxacin?
Take away the veneer of European membership, and
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Victor Davis Hanson, a classicist and military historian, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. Comment by clicking here.
© 2012, TMS