World View: Greece Returns to Full-Scale Crisis; New Elections Loom

World View: Greece Returns to Full-Scale Crisis; New Elections Loom

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Kofi Annan says Syria is on brink of civil war, and only his plan can prevent it
  • New elections looming for Greece
  • Greece faces major new financial crisis and may leave eurozone
  • Greece and the ‘Kick the Can Theory’
  • Nationalistic China increasingly threatens Philippines militarily

Kofi Annan says Syria is on brink of civil war, and only his plan can prevent it

As the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad continues to treat his own Arab population as cockroaches to be exterminated, former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan continues to tout his six-point plan, which has theoretically been in place for several weeks now. On Tuesday, Annan told the U.N. Security Council that his peace plan may be the “last chance” to avoid full-scale civil war in Syria.

“The level of violence and abuses are unacceptable. …

I am sure I am not telling you any secret when I tell you that there is profound concern that the country could otherwise descend into full civil war and the implications of that are quite frightening. We cannot allow that to happen.”

Annan appears to have abandoned his willingness to blame both the al-Assad regime and the opposition, and is now saying that al-Assad bears the “primary responsibility” for ending the violence. He said that tortue, mass arrests and other human rights violations are “intensifying.” AFP

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, there is absolutely no chance whatsoever that Syria will “descend into full civil war.” Syria is in a generational Awakening era, and a full scale crisis civil war is impossible in any country in an Awakening era, or if a civil war begins during an Awakening era, then it fizzles within a few months. (“Basics of Generational Dynamics”) So I don’t expect the violence in Syria to get much worse than it is now, and probably will start to decrease. At some point, Annan will declare that he personally brought peace to Syria.

New elections looming for Greece

With the first place winner of Sunday’s elections, Antonis Samaras of the conservative New Democracy, having failed to form a government, the leader of Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) Alexis Tsipras, is now trying to do the same:

“The expression of the public’s will has made the memorandum null and void and has chosen as its first alternative a left-wing government that will cancel the loan agreements.”

The “memorandum” refes to the austerity agreement that Greece committed to following in return for receiving two large bailouts. Tsipras is trying to form an “anti-austerity” coalition that will reject the austerity commitments. However, it’s considered unlikely that he will succeed. If he fails, then the PASOK party will take a shot, and if they fail, then Greece will have new elections in June. Kathimerini

Greece faces major new financial crisis and may leave eurozone

It was widely believed on Tuesday that Greece is on the verge of a major new financial crisis. According to Tsipras, Greece has overwhelmingly voted to end the austerity commitment:

“The bailout parties no longer have a majority in parliament to vote for measures that plunder the country. There will be no 11 billion euros ($14 billion) of additional austerity measures; 150,000 jobs will not be cut.”

However, a European Central Bank (ECB) executive said:

“Greece has to be aware that there is no alternative to the agreed consolidation program if it wants to remain a member of the euro zone.”

There is absolutely no desire among the Germans to provide new bailout payments to Greece if Greece wants to use the money to continue excessive spending, which is what would happen if Greece abandoned its austerity commitments. Thus many analysts are saying that there’s a major confrontation between Greece and the EU in play, and that it can only end in Greece leaving the eurozone, after the country goes bankrupt at the end of June. Bloomberg

Greece and the ‘Kick the Can Theory’

Last year, in the midst of numerous European financial crises, I proposed the “Kick the Can Theory”: European leaders will take the absolute minimum steps necessary to “kick the can down the road” — that is, postpone the problem a little longer. Assuming that the Kick the Can Theory is true, what does it say about what will happen in the current Greece crisis?

One BBC analyst I heard on Tuesday said that the Greek public are having an “Omigod! What have we done??” moment. He said that when new elections are held in June, the Greek voters will return to the major parties that forged the austerity agreement. Then, on the EU side, the austerity demands will be reduced slightly, so that everyone can save face. The EU will provide the next bailout payment, the Greeks will try and fail to implement the austerity commitments, and the can will be kicked down the road for a few more months.

It’s worth repeating, as I’ve been saying for years, that there IS NO solution to this problem. There was a huge real estate and credit bubble that lasted more than 12 years, and it will take more than 12 years for it to deflate. There is no way around that. Since no solution exists, politicians will continue to blame each other for the failure to find a solution.

One analogy that I’ve come across lately is what you do when you have toothache. If you go to the dentist right away, then you can have the cavity filled, and be on your way. But suppose instead of going to the dentist, you just take an aspirin or Tylenol to dull the pain. As the tooth worsens, you take stronger and stronger pain medications, finally working your way up to Codeine or Oxycodone or Morphine. By that time, your entire mouth is rotted out.

Nationalistic China increasingly threatens Philippines militarily

The incident that began last month between China and the Philippines is continuing to simmer. Scarborough Shoal (called Huangyan Island by the Chinese), is just off the coast of Manila, and is very far away from any Chinese territory, but China is claiming it nonetheless as its sovereign territory, along with huge amounts of other countries’ territory in the South China Sea and in central Asia, in a demand reminiscent of Hitler’s demand for “Lebensraum.” Last month, Chinese and Filipino military almost came to blows over fishing rights around Scarborough Shoal, and the confrontation is continuing. Filipino legislators are threatening to enact a boycott of Chinese goods, many local businesses are opposed, saying that they would lose more than the Chinese would. “We have to be realistic that we can’t win it economically or militarily if we go head-to-head with China,” according to one legislator.

Chinese media, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly extreme in expressing their contempt for Filipinos. China’s state-run Global Times suggested that China “should select the most arrogant provocateur, conduct comprehensive strikes, and exert pressure economically, politically and militarily.” A state-owned web site called for “decisive action” and said that China shouldn’t abandon the idea of “war at all cost.” Asia Times and VOA