The geopolitical dimensions of the developments in Greece
Article by Rudi Rinaldi (published in the weekly “Dromos”, issue Nr 117, 26 May 2012)
It is not only fears of the domino effect that might worry the various international centres and powerful countries. It is not simply a matter of economic turbulence or shocks that feeds world-wide interest. Our country has been at the epicentre of international rivalries and processes. It would therefore be a mistake to imagine that some autonomous process is driving the evolving situation, without considering the interference in terms of players' strategies, tactics, traps, rearrangements, new alliances, challenges and double games.
Objectively, the election result of May 6 has created a new environment. The failure of governance in Greece is a blow to the European political project under ‘Merkelism’. Greece is not Hungary (the geographic centre of Europe), but it is at the centre of the grid of the international system’s central contradictions. It is a meeting and coupling point of these contradictions. Controlling this situation is of particular importance for the manipulation of political developments. Greece is not just a guinea pig for policies that, after they have been tested on it, will be exported to other EU countries as well. It also has central importance as a site for the balancing of international relations. Thus, the role of governing in Greece is critical to the geostrategic plans made for both Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Popular force and political balances
The latest and new element (and perhaps unexpected by many) is the emergence of the ‘popular factor’ that, by selecting SYRIZA as its expression in the central political scene, has created a new situation and is forcing readjustments on all the already unstable scenarios. This being the case, it is useful to go behind the rhetoric to see what the real goals are. Does the U.S. want the strengthening of a ‘German’ Europe? What is the impact of the rearranged alliances (in the broader Middle East and south-eastern Mediterranean) on the policies of the United States, Russia, Israel and the European powers? To what extent are the "markets" (and their disproportionate effects) influenced by the strategic goals of various key players?
So, why are all these actors united against SYRIZA? And what does this new hostile coalition mean? What are their objectives in relation to Greece, and especially against the popular movement and the Left? Under what scenarios would they direct their efforts towards annihilation of the popular movement? They have many levers and mechanisms to support their policies, and not just economic blackmail. It would be naive to think that everything will hinge on the use of financial levers. The political element, the political control, including the neutralization of the Left and of a possible government of the Left, is part of the enemy’s plans and of the unfolding scenarios of the current psy-war. The coordinated barrage of attacks and pressures brought to bear on SYRIZA (seen as likely winner of the next election) is the prelude to the coming scenarios, which will unfold in the near future.
SYRIZA threatens the internal political balance of forces that had been achieved by the Western powers in Greece. For example, the tremors in the Eurozone, the political reorganization in Europe, the deepening of the crisis, the G8 gridlock, the unfolding US-German competition, and the ambitions of Russia and China, are all linked to the loss of political control in Greece at a critical moment. Halting SYRIZA at all costs is a key objective, as evidenced by the secretive traps, war-style propaganda, pressures and blackmail that have been employed. Their first goal is for SYRIZA not to win the elections, so they can regenerate the policies of the ‘memorandum’ with the IMF-EU-ECB troika. This would facilitate the continuation of the political balance that existed in the previous two years.
If this game plan does not play out, then pressure will be applied on SYRIZA to move within the boundaries of the Memorandum policy with some light touch corrections. And if this cannot be done, then they will detonate in the hands of a leftist government such "political bombs" as open bankruptcy, expulsion from the Eurozone, exit from the euro, etc. All is with the aim of the rapid removal of that government, and then the destruction of the Left in Greece.
Re-establishing political equilibrium in Greece and the acceptance of a new political set-up, will come via the sharp conflict between the pro-memorandum and anti-memorandum camps. A repositioning of international forces will be based on the outcome of this conflict and the shock it will cause in Europe (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans). At this juncture, romantic/naïve political considerations or rigid dogmatism are not constructive.
The actual power of the people’s anti-memorandum camp is found in the momentum and dynamic which it possesses. That is, the experience gained in two years of actual struggle in our country and its current transformation into a political centre of interest. This process is centred around SYRIZA as well as around the person of Alexis Tsipras.
At the same time, the pro-memorandum camp is finding itself fragmented and de-legitimized. Its supporters within the Greek bourgeoisie are divided and without serious political reserves. The dynamism of the people’s movement, the serious nature of current problems, and the upcoming election process, create a real possibility for the people’s movement to overcome in practice any weak preparation (through its dynamism), and any financial/economic weakness of the country (through an unevenly greater political power). To put this into practice, for the benefit of the people’s movement, the policy of ruptures (which are a necessary precondition and a vitalising source) should be based on an assessment of the political balance of forces rather than a simplistic voluntarism.
The gravity of the moment (and the stakes associated with the election result) demands an awareness of the international dimensions of this conflict. That is, understanding the great importance this carries and that the external forces will not simply “do nothing”. They will be directly involved – but certainly not alongside, or in support of the people’s movement.
Let us hear the message again
The Memorandum was a policy of conquest under a German styled Europe. However, the destruction of the Eurozone is now closer than ever. From here on, it is an open question what is to remain of that something known as "Europe" or even how many "Europes" we will have (the North, the South, etc.). There are all the signs of plans being prepared for these scenarios. Who will benefit from these developments, is also open to question. What political forces will be reinforced or emerge? The “Greek peculiarity” concerns first and foremost the emergence of a people’s movement that gets political characteristics: A movement that is connected with the Left and constitutes a Red Wedge in the "soft underbelly" of Europe. All policies and all practices should now lead to the strengthening, and maturing of this progressive people’s bloc. The slogan "For a different Greece - In a different Europe" must be given substance programmatically, politically, economically, and socially. Only in this way is it possible to provide a safe escape for Greece and its people.
A year after the Squares’ movement, let us hear their message: True democracy, national independence, social emancipation – Take your Memorandum and get out of here! The new day brings another perspective, and allows hopes to rise. To do justice to these hopes we need to look globally, be open in our thinking, and realistically asses the contradictions that are sweeping this corner of Europe now hated by the marketeers: A corner of Europe called Greece.