Greece: out of the mouth of “Foreign Affairs” comes the truth, by Bruno Adrie

In an article by Mark Blyth titled “A Pain in the Athens: Why Greece Isn’t to Blame for the Crisis” and published on July 7th 2015 in the magazine Foreign Affairs, one discovers surprising statements, which are all the more surprising when one knows that this magazine is published by the Council on Foreign Relations that gathers the American élite, the New-Yorker banking élite being there for the most part (about this subject, see: Laurence H. Shoup and William Minter, Imperial Braintrust: The Council on Foreign Relations and United States Foreign Policy, 1977).

According to the author, “Greece has very little to do with the crisis that bears its name”. And, to make us understand this, he invites us to “follow the money—and those who bank it”. According to him, the origins of the crisis are not to be looked for in Greece but “in the architecture of European banking”. Indeed, during the first decade of the euro, European banks, attracted by easy money, granted massive loans in what the author calls “the European periphery”, and, in 2010, in the middle of the financial crisis, banks had accumulated impaired periphery assets corresponding to 465 billion euros for French banks and 493 billion euros for German banks. “Only a small part of those impaired assets were Greek”, but the problem is that, in 2010, Greece published a revised budget equivalent to 15% of the GDP. Nothing to be afraid of actually since it only represented 0.3% of the Eurozone’s GDPs put together. But, because of their periphery assets and above all a leverage rate* twice as high—that is to say twice as risky—as the American banks’, European banks feared that a Greek default would make them collapse. This is what really happened. The banks’ insatiable voracity led them, as always, to act carelessly, and, as they did not accept their failure, as always, they made sure that others would foot the bill. Nothing new under the golden sky of the Banking Industry, unless, this time, it went a bit further than usual.

These banks set up the Troïka program in order to “stop the bond market bank run”. And no matter if it increased unemployment by 25% and destroyed the third of the country’s GDP. It doesn’t make much difference to the bankers. This is what the rescue plans have been used for. Apparently aimed at Greece, they were created by and for the major European banks. Today, given that the Greeks can no longer pay French and German banks, even the European taxpayers are solicited.

Greece was only a pipe through which French and German banks, for the most part, saved themselves. On the total amount of 203 billion euros that represents the two rescue plans (2010-2013 and 2012-2014), 65% went right to the banks’ vaults. Some people even go so far as to say that 90% of the loans did not pass through Greece. This approach, expressed in the columns of Foreign Affairs, cannot be seen as heterodox. It is even confirmed by the ex-director of the Bundesbank, Karl Otto Pöhl, who acknowledged that the rescue plan was meant to save the banks, and especially the French banks, from their rotten debts.

Therefore, despite the fact that Germany defaulted on his debts four times in the XXth century, he will go on insisting that Greece pay, with France supporting him. However little some people like it, like the ignorant and wordy French philosopher whose décolletage every one knows but whom no one wishes to hear anymore, François Hollande hasn’t been generous to Greece. It is quite the contrary that happened, it is Greece that has been generous, and forced to be, to the French banks, before these very banks call on French taxpayers, when they were celebrating their revolution, their heads full of a firework of prejudices.

Mark Blyth finishes his article by saying what Frédéric Lordon developed in his article (in French) “Le crépuscule d’une époque”, namely that the European Central Bank does not play the role of a central bank and does not act like a politically independent bank.

According to him, we never understood Greece because we refused to see this crisis as what it is actually: the continuation of the private banks rescue plan that started in 2008.

One wonders how the French, who are so clever and so ready to give their opinions since they know everything about everything, can go on supporting the insane vociferations of the know-it-all from this little Parisian journalistic world, which is described by the excellent Pierre Rimbert in his article (in French) “Syriza delenda est” in the Monde Diplomatique, July 2015. Rather than burying Greece, we’d better off get rid of the proud and twisted faces of Demorand, Elkabbach, Giesbert, Baverez, Barbier, Aphatie, and others, by sending them carp in the desert in the middle of traitorous scorpions and venomous snakes which are their respectable and mute brothers.

Bruno Adrie (translated by Clara Piraud)

see from Mark Blyth aand Matthias Matthijs, The Future of the Euro, Oxford University Press, 2015