In a recent article on the Greek crisis, I argued that a much bigger game was being played out in Europe over Greece – and the name of that game was deterrence. In plain English, make the terms of any deal with any rebellious, indebted, government in Europe so tough – almost unacceptable – that nobody in their right mind would ever dare challenge the status quo ever again. And while one is at it, make sure that everybody else understands that the terms of the agreement – like the one recently foisted on the Greeks – is seen for what it is: unconditional surrender.
For that is what the Greek Prime Minister recently did. Surrender. But all this, I would insist, has a purpose. As another commentator recently pointed out, the current agreement might be very hard on the Greeks. But as Jacob Wittgenstein of the Peterson Institute in Washington went on to point out, it will “ultimately result in it being harder for Syriza-like parties to be electable” in any other European country. In the longer term, “the political spill-over from Greece” will be “pro-centrist”. Spain and Italy may have been saved from the left.