Yves here. It became clear in June that the mood among the creditors had hardened and that they had decided the current Greek government had to go. I e-mailed something to that effect to some colleagues in mid-June, but with the benefit of hindsight, the commitment among the Europeans probably took place at the so-called “mini summit” of June 1. We’ll never know whether the Tsipras Le Monde op-ed, which appeared just before that confab took place, played into that dynamic. The Administration clearly backed the lenders against Greece in its G-7 remarks a week later.
Even so, Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew have been far more quiet than you’d expect given their attentiveness to the needs of the investing classes and the threat that protracted wrangling with Greece might pose to that. Of course, they might believe that Draghi’s bazooka is more effective than Hank Paulson’s proved to be in the runup to the final phase of the financial crisis. But John Helmer indicates below that the Greek referendum has intensified the Administration’s interest in regime change in Greece. He confirms what we’d noticed, that Putin has been quite pointedly avoided being seen as meddling in Greece now; he can always pick up any pieces later. Also note that the anti-Greek government interests have connections to Hillary Clinton.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
A putsch in Athens to save allied Greece from enemy Russia is in preparation by the US and Germany, with backing from the non-taxpayers of Greece – the Greek oligarchs, Anglo-Greek shipowners, and the Greek Church. At the highest and lowest level of Greek government, and from Thessaloniki to Milvorni, all Greeks understand what is happening. Yesterday they voted overwhelmingly to resist. According to a high political figure in Athens, a 40-year veteran, “what is actually happening is a slow process of regime change.”
Until Sunday afternoon it was a close-run thing. The Yes and No votes were equally balanced, and the margin between them razor thin. At the start of the morning, Rupert Murdoch’s London Times claimed “Greek security forces have drawn up a secret plan to deploy the army alongside special riot police to contain possible civil unrest after today’s referendum on the country’s future in Europe. Codenamed Nemesis, it makes provision for troops to patrol large cities if there is widespread and prolonged public disorder. Details of the plan emerged as polls showed the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps neck and neck.” Greek officers don’t speak to the Murdoch press; British and US government agents do.
“It was neck to neck until 3 pm,” reports the political veteran in Athens, “then the young started voting. “
Can the outcome — the 61% to 39% referendum vote, with a 22% margin for Οχι (No) which the New York Times calls “shocking” and a “victory [that] settled little” – defeat Operation Nemesis? Will the new Axis – the Americans and the Germans – attack again, as the Germans did after the first Greek Οχι of October 28, 1940, defeated the Italian invasion?
The Kremlin understands too. So when the State Department’s Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman; lead image, right) visited Athens to issue an ultimatum against breaking the anti-Russian sanctions regime, and the Anglo-American think-tanks followed with warnings the Russian Navy is about to sail into Piraeus, the object of the game has been clear. The line for Operation Nemesis has been that Greece must be saved, not from itself or from its creditors, but from the enemy in Moscow. The Russian line has been to do nothing to give credence to that propaganda; to wait and to watch.
As the head of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian affairs, Nuland is the official in charge of warmaking in Europe. Her record in the Ukraine has been documented here. Almost unnoticed, she was in Athens on March 17 to deliver two ultimatums. The communique released by the US Embassy in Athens was headlined, “we want to see prosperity and growth in Greece.”
What Nuland (above, left) was doing with her hands is in the small print of the release. She told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) not to break ranks with the NATO allies against Russia. “Because of the increasing rounds of aggression in eastern Ukraine” she reportedly said the US is “very gratified that we’ve had solidarity between the EU and the U.S., and that Greece has played its role in helping to build consensus.”
Nuland also warned Tsipras not to default on its debts to Germany, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tsipras was told “to make a good deal with the institutions”. The referendum Tsipras called on June 27 was a surprise for Nuland. The nemesis in Operation Nemesis is the retribution planned for that display of Greek hubris.
Having thundered for a year on the illegitimacy of the March 2014 referendum in Crimea, saying yes to accession to Russia, the State Department ignored the Greek referendum for forty-eight hours. On June 29, asked what the US government was thinking of doing if the outcome “is a no vote”, Nuland’s spokesman, Mark Toner, said the US would ignore it. “We’re focused on, frankly, the opposite, which is finding a path forward that allows Greece to continue to make reforms, return to growth, and remain in the Eurozone.”
The only other official Washington reference to the Greek referendum came on June 30 when the question at the State Department daily briefing was: “what are you doing within the International Monetary Fund, of which the U.S. is the largest shareholder, to try to also press from that side for more leniency with the Greeks?” The official reply: “we’re carefully monitoring the situation…we continue to believe that it’s important that all sides work together to get back to a path that’s going to allow Greece to resume reforms and to return to growth within the Eurozone. But again, we’re monitoring this very closely.”
The last concerted attempt the US government made to overthrow an elected Greek government was against Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou between 1987 and 1989. With his son and successor George Papandreou, there was no such necessity – George and his mother Margarita Papandreou were already under Washington’s control. But against Andreas serious counter-measures were required. Military ones, of the type which ruled Greece between 1967 and 1974, had been unpopular domestically and internationally. They were demonstrably costly; they also discredited the US and NATO military which stood behind the Athens junta.
So, the Reagan Administration decided Papandreou had to be overthrown by his own people, if possible at an election. The strategy was “to give Papandreou enough rope to hang himself”, said Robert Keeley the US Ambassador to Athens at the time. That too was an Operation Nemesis of sorts – the plan was for Papandreou’s hubris to be defeated in front of the Greek electorate, first in a military showdown in the Aegean with Turkey, then in an allegation of bribery of the prime minister by a Greek banker and football club owner.
Papandreou with Turgut Ozal, Turkey’s Prime Minister, in March 1987 – before the Greek victory and Ozal’s collapse.
Both were neutralized in surprise Greek moves US officials had not anticipated. The Turks retreated after a display of combined Greek and Bulgarian force, and the Turkish Prime Minister was medivaced to a Houston, Texas, cardiology clinic. George Koskotas, Papandreou’s accuser, was arrested in Boston and returned to a Greek jail. Hubris reversed, you might say. For more, read this.
On Sunday, had Greek voters divided evenly down the old Civil War lines, right versus left, blue versus red, the security forces would have been mobilized to confront demonstrators on Maidan, er Syntagma Square, and sharpshooters deployed from the roof of the Grande Bretagne Hotel to kick off Operation Nemesis. To prepare hearts and minds for that, however, the think-tank army has failed almost totally, firing blanks in every direction but Greece.
In London the US-funded Legatum Institute skipped the poll evidence and panel discussions, attacking Venezuela, China, Syria and Russia instead for using “phenomena previously associated with democracy—elections, the Internet, the press, the market—to undermine freedoms”, along with “the self-organising potential of society.” Legatum left Anne Applebaum by herself to announce the Greek government can be overthrown because it was “elected on a completely false premise”.
The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the thunderer against Russian info-warfare last month, has since roared on Tunisian and Nigerian democracy; this week it is preparing for a panel discussion on “the progress that Kyiv has made in increasing transparency and reforming key government institutions”. Chatham House has stayed silent on Greek democracy and the referendum.
In Washington, the International Republican Institute (IRI) – motto, “helps democracy become more effective where it is in danger” — has been issuing its State Department-funded democracy polls for months, but for Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe; not for Greece. At the same time, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been preoccupied with its democracy schemes in Georgia, Iraq, and Kosovo.
The Pew Research Centre in Washington tried anticipating the Greek referendum by surveying 2.5 million Twitter messages in Greece, and publishing the results on July 3. In the Greek language the tweets were 40% to 33% in favour of voting Yes. In the English language the Greek tweets ran 32% to 7% in favour of Yes. In the event, the social media results were contrived. If Pew hadn’t invented them, the large numbers of “neutral” tweets all turned into No votes on the day.
The Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute – both funded by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk to beat the anti-Russian drum in Ukraine — stopped short of forecasting the Greek referendum result, but condemned the government in Athens for offering it. On July 1, Carlo Bastasin, an Italian journalist on the Brookings stipend, claimed to have eyewitness evidence for “Greek leaders’ conduct as unscrupulous”, and for the Greek government’s “plans [as] more recessionary and austerity-driven than the European ones.” The reporter’s sources lacked names.
On the Peterson Institute’s executive committee Greek strategy is directed by Andreas Dracopoulos. He is a member of the family of the Greek shipowner Stavros Niarchos, whose foundation money Dracopoulos is in charge of awarding. When Dracopoulos has been asked what the Niarchos money is doing for the domestic crisis, he has mentioned food vouchers for the poor and beds for the homeless. He didn’t mention paying tax. Dracopoulos has been knighted by a previous Greek government as Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix; that was for the Niarchos Foundation’s philanthropy. Dracopoulos is pictured above with Archbishop Demetrios, primate of the American Diocese of the Greek Church, a traditional foe of governments in Athens the diocese considers left wing, or worse.
The Greek-American community has avoided a public statement on the referendum. Instead on July 1, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), as the national lobby group is known, announced: “We also call on the Obama Administration to step-up its engagement to ensure the parties achieve a proper solution.” If the Greek-Americans, Dracopoulos, and the Church meant Operation Nemesis, they weren’t saying no on July 5. Ahead of the vote, AHEPA issued its second announcement: “Regardless of the outcome of the referendum held in Greece on July 5, 2015, what is crucial to the Greek American community is that U.S.-Greece relations remain strong and certain and Greece’s geostrategic importance and contributions to the security interests of the U.S. and NATO is valued and appreciated.”
Political sources in Athens acknowledge that after taking power in January, Tsipras and his Syriza colleagues quietly took precautions against a putsch by the security forces. “The leadership [of the military and intelligence services] was changed,” the sources say, “but not radically. The defence minister [Panos Kammenos] is rightist so there are no ‘radicals’ in command.”
In Moscow there has been scepticism from the start that Tsipras could or would withstand the American and German pressure. For more, read this. In April, and then again in June, Kammenos sidestepped the issue of what fresh military cooperation with Russia is contemplated by the Greek side. Discussion of the details has been postponed until the two governments hold a joint ministerial commission meeting later this month.
Kammenos meets Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow on April 15, 2015.
Russian military analysts expect Cyprus to arrange increased military cooperation, including the Russian Navy and naval support aircraft. They do not expect Greece will ask for, nor the Kremlin agree to comparable Greek cooperation. That story can be read here.
So where did Robert Kaplan (lead image, rear) get the idea that the US and the European Union (EU) should act “to keep Russian warships away from Greek ports”? Kaplan, from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington, reported to Wall Street Journal readers on June 30 that the Kremlin plot is to use Syriza as its stalking horse to drive Greece out of the EU, and dismantle US alliance positions along the Mediterranean shore and in the Balkans. Russia, according to Kaplan, “may [sic] be helping to inflame Syriza’s internal divisions in the hope that Greece’s ruling party cannot make the difficult concessions necessary to stay in the eurozone.” Combined “with the dismemberment and weakening of Ukraine, [Greece’s no vote] will seriously weaken Europe’s geopolitical position vis-à-vis Russia.”
Kaplan’s think-tank in Washington reports that its funding comes from well-known military equipment suppliers, US oil companies, the governments of Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore; NATO; the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force; plus George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. Chief executive of CNAS is Michele Flournoy, a founder of the think-tank which is serving as her platform to run for the next Secretary of Defense, if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election next year. Flournoy is one of the drafters of a recent plan for the US to escalate arms and troop reinforcements in Ukraine and along the Russian frontier with the Baltic states. Here’s her plan for “What the United States and NATO Must Do” . For more on Flournoy, read this.
Until Kaplan’s report last week, the only notice CNAS has taken of Greece was a report last January explaining “Why Putin Is the Big Winner in Greece’s Election”. The think-tank expert for that one was an ex-US Treasury official with a training in Arabic and no record on Europe, let alone Greece. Kaplan, an Israeli soldier as well as a Pentagon employee and lecturer to US intelligence agencies, explains his expertise on Greece comes “from living in Athens during that decade [1980s].” If he wasn’t on an extended holiday, Kaplan may mean he was under cover.
For warfighting in Greece now, all you need to know is who the Greeks must be saved from. If the Greeks have voted more demonstratively than the Ukrainians against sacrificing themselves to this idea, the experts are confident that’s not democracy, as the Axis understands it, but hubris, for which there’s Operation Nemesis. Natch!
If Nuland slithered into Greece, it couldn’t have been for anything good.
“Having thundered for a year on the illegitimacy of the March 2014 referendum in Crimea, saying yes to accession to Russia
Effing idiots. The UKRAINIAN constitution written in 1992 gave Crimea the legal and constitutional right to determine its own future. Russian expert Matthew Crosston explains at the link:
So Nuland is lying to us, and the Europeans.
BTW, kudos galore–again–to John Helmer for excellent investigative reporting.
Could it be that we are back to the 1970’with the military in control
Funny how things run.
In the end all Economics is about people and their reactions to a set of circumstances
It’s a real contest to decide who is the lowest form of slithering reptile in this deal, there are lots of candidates for the top spot. Niarchos, of course, but you can only expect him to be talking his book. Rupert’s supporting the global fascist murderers as usual, par for the course. Brookings and Petersen, OK so we get there’s money to be made. The slime all over Robert Kaplan is in plain view as usual. To me the top honors for VFSOM (Vile Fascist Snake of the Month) however goes to Obama via his Obergruppenfuhrer Victoria Nuland. They’re right up front about it: they will “ignore” the vote of the Greek people. Maybe they can locate some lovely goose-steppers and snipers like they did in Kiev to do the messy part. And what a surprise that Hilary The First has a hand in the deal, as always deployed on whatever side is directly opposite the actual people and their best interests.
Our state dept is a looney bin.
Imagine being Tsipras and someone tells you your biggest concern is, “What Nuland (above, left) was doing with her hands is in the small print of the release. She told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (right) not to break ranks with the NATO allies against Russia.”
Then getting this helpful advice, which never crossed your mind, but off to negotiations you go with a newfound goal in mind!
“Nuland also warned Tsipras not to default on its debts to Germany, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Tsipras was told “to make a good deal with the institutions”.
Then Kaplan’s “think-tank” in Washington should be referred to as a paranoia tank. Or maybe “The McCarthy Studies Institute”. The assumption here is that Putin wants to spend some significant portion of $350B helping Greece with their debt in return for a navel base so Putin can park what’s left of the Soviet fleet within easy shooting range of a few thousand western cruise missiles.
Then if the EU population is so deathly afraid of Russia and believe that support of the current Ukraine regime is of vital interest , they own probably half the Greek debt and can write it off – therefore no more reason for Putin to spend $175B on a graveyard for the Russian fleet.
Then if the EU population is so deathly afraid of Russia and believe that support of the current Ukraine regime is of vital interest
I don’t hear, from relatives, the Europeans are frightened of Russia.
They are frightened of WW III, and those stoking the war fires, who appear to be well the the left of Europe (on maps centered on the Greenwich meridian).
If major powerful European governments like France, Germany, Italy etc. don’t like the drift and direction of American desires for Europe, they can always quit NATO and break up that alliance.
No more NATO? No more American power in Europe. Middle America would be happy to bring back home all the American soldiers there.
The European powers could set up their own defensive alliance. They could call it NEATO, for
North East Atlantic Treaty Organization.
It is worth revisiting Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s article from April, which reads like a thinly-veiled warning to Syriza (while also castigating the bumbling eurozone leaders).
The article ends on this note:
For Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and “Syriza’s increasingly exasperated friends in the White House”, there is a new Cold War and Syriza better not stray to the wrong side.
– 1570s, Nemesis, “Greek goddess of vengeance, personification of divine wrath,” from Greek nemesis “just indignation, righteous anger,” literally “distribution” (of what is due), related to nemein “distribute, allot, apportion one’s due,” from PIE root *nem- “to divide, distribute, allot, to take”
[Online Etymology Dictionary]
The lack of involvement by the USG leading up to the referendum in Greece looks suspiciously like the USG could not decide whether or not it was better to weaken Germany by letting the referendum commence or better to intervene earlier to disallow a democratic vote.
It looks to me like weakening Germany won out.
The collateral damage of the NO vote will be interesting.
A coup in Greece may aid the elites in the short term but will definitely wake up more of the global citizenry.
We are on an unsustainable course. You can only push the masses so far before they erupt.
Resources. What could the U.S. offer Greece or Germany? There is talk of a new fiscal cliff, but can you imagine the howling if Obama proposed a symbolic pittance for Greek “retraining”? Americans for the most part have only been exposed to propaganda about Greek pensions. Republicans won’t approve cash for Greece, and Democrats won’t want to along under any circumstances. The Washington establishment can only lose by being too involved.
“We are on an unsustainable course. You can only push the masses so far before they erupt.”
Agree and I think some of the more rational (no less imperial but more rational) factions in our US govt know this and they will be pressuring the Germans like all getout to create a deal for the Greeks. I think they’re in opposition to the ECB and hardliners in German govt. right now and that’s why the IMF document was released last week and why US media is not crucifying Greece as much as they could or did in the past.
Last week or the week before I commented here and I was in the extreme minority, saying that geopolitics would trump finance. There’s no way the US will let Greece slip out of the EU orbit and into or closer to the BRICS orbit for a number of reasons but primarily because of their location at the entrance to the Black Sea and the tip of the peninsula, because of their abundance of prime locations for ports and naval bases, and because Israel intends to terminate a gas pipeline to the EU on their coast. Maybe this will be a test of US influence in the world in the 21st century, or maybe it’s a no brainer, I don’t know. But there’s no way the US will just watch Greece slip out of the EU and into the BRICS orbit. Again, I don’t know if they can stop it, or if the BRICS will risk it, but it’s not going to happen easily.
I also think the more rational factions in the US (who knows if they prevail, clear they often don’t) think it’s not going to be so easy to just create regime change in Greece so I think they’ll adopt a longer term policy of undermining Syriza instead.
In my comment above I referenced the more rational factions in the US govt. Now let’s look at the less rational ones who are in the midst of provoking a war with Russia on more than one front. If they prevail, presumably a Grexit could be another trigger point they could use to further their goals.
I’m reminded of an economic hit man when I see Nuland sitting there.
The colored revolutions have an easier time in Ukraine and north of Greece.
As this ‘extreme extraction’ moves into more ‘popular’ areas it is getting some strong pushback.
Another reason I will not be voting for “lesser evil” Hillary Clinton in 2016.
And let us all remember Libya.
Macedonia is an area I’m not very familiar with but recently I’ve read people saying there was a “color revolution” style overthrow attempt that failed.
Reuters just posted an article on NATO’s “strategy rethink”:
Damn ridiculous. There will be no war in Europe, not with Russia, UNLESS NATO starts it. Russia isn’t threatening anyone or anything. Crimea is NOT aggression, it is a fully rational and obvious move in response to a US-driven coup in Kyiv that not only intended to lead to the US acquisition (corporate acquisition) of all Ukraine’s premium farmland (for GMOs), it’s eastern gas fields for US frackers, but also intended to drive the Russian military off its own base in Crimea. Oops. They didn’t play along and totally fucked the plans of the neoliberalcons in DC. Boo hoo.
If NATO starts an actual war, it will end with the complete annihilation of Europe at the very least. It is as true today as it was during the Cold War, if you get into a big West v East hot war, the missiles WILL fly and Europe WILL become a sheet of glass. Wont be pretty in the continental US either, of course, but you CANNOT fight a purely conventional war against a nuclear power. Cannot be done. The nukes WILL be used if at any point either power sees itself facing an actual defeat. Best not to even play that way. It is also NOT a valid economic driver to create a new threatening enemy so the west can fire up the “defense” spending again. That whole “Big Scary Terrorist” play just hasn’t panned out so the defense industry and its fellators are trying the old tried-and-true Cold War (2.0) instead. Assholes.
Ah, nostalgia for the cold war MAD principle (that’s Mutual Assured Destruction for you young uns) The MIC longs for the resurrection of the cold war. It was very a profitable time for them.
Apparently neocon factions now believe we can actually win a nuclear war. That’s the absolutely terrifying aspect of this. And they see Russia (in collaboration with Germany and/or China) as an existential threat not to our existence but to our dominance. This is no secret. It’s been hidden in plain sight in writings for the past two decades. It’s also insane. But it’s clear that NATO is now looking for reasons to place “missile defense” in Eastern Europe along Russia’s border under the fake premise that Russia has aggressive intentions. There are numerous analysts who believe that the missiles aren’t for defensive purposes at all but are instead to be used during a first strike.
Yeah but Nash and McNamara modeled it and the models said go for it….!!!!!!
Victoria Nuland has been a singularly destructive force in the State Department. A disgrace as a supposed diplomat who is actually an intolerant imperialist.
She’s a symptom of a larger disease. If Kerry had any decency, he would have made purging* State of Nuland’s ilk a condition of taking the job. Nuland’s behavior is considered to be at worst acceptable in DC. Bernie Sanders is wacky. Hillary Clinton is serious.
Obviously, it’s the VA, but Shinseki did nothing for five years and whined about being betrayed by his staff. After Walter Reed, the relevant veterans committees should have been holding their meetings in VA hospitals, but they only acted when the disaster was being exposed. All along people complained, and they didn’t act.
Short of outright buffoonery and gross embarrassment,** Versailles doesn’t care what anyone does in the pursuit of personal greed or on behalf of oligarchs no matter how much they undermine the security and prosperity of the 99%.
*I’m sure there is a rumored tribe in the Amazon in need of an ambassador. If Nuland doesn’t want the assignment, she can quit.
**Yes, I know John McCain.
Yes, I hold Secretary Clinton and Secretary Kerry responsible for unleashing Nuland.
Yes, Clinton & Kerry are responsible, but let’s not forget to assign BLAME on Obama for the unleashing of this horrid specimen in Europe, etc. It’s Obama’s Admin, after all.
I’m sure Clinton & Kerry were told to let the Kaganate of Nuland proceed as she has. What. An. Awful. Disgrace. to. Humanity. ptoui!
Agree. The fact that Obama kept Nuland in a position of power given Nuland’s ties to the neocon faction and her past role as Dick Cheney’s foreign policy advisor, then ambassador to NATO and CoS for Strobe Talbott under the Clinton admin (and Talbott seems to still have a hand in foreign policy in the region somehow) is really telling. If you listen to the weekly radio segment with John Batchelor and Stephen Cohen, they used to believe Obama was not in favor of this warmongering policy toward Russia but they no longer believe that because of a recent event with John Kerry.
Kerry went to Sochi in recent weeks and met with Lavrov and Putin. Kerry told them the US strongly supported the Minsk agreement, which maintains a ceasefire (mostly) between the Ukraine govt and the separatists in East Ukraine. He told them the US would like to be part of future Minsk talks, etc. At the same time Ukraine president Poroshenko was warmongering in Kiev, talking about resuming full on war and attacking the separatists. Kerry made a public, kind of scolding statement directed at Poroshenko (who is a US puppet) that it would be very unwise to do that. At this point in time it looked like the Obama admin. was changing course on Ukraine and Russia and pulling back from the brink. Given that Kerry is Obama’s Sec of State everyone thought Kerry was acting on Obama’s behalf.
But almost immediately, Nuland, from Kiev, publicly stepped all over Kerry’s statements and reversed them (to everyone’s surprise because he is supposedly her superior). Then Obama did the same. It was a massive embarrassment for Kerry and it makes no sense because there’s no way Kerry would go to Sochi without Obama’s blessing. There was talk that Kerry might step down as a result of it. But his bicycyle accident happened right after that and he was out of the picture for awhile, and then presumably he assumed his tasks with the Iran negotiations. I don’t know if he’s said anything about Ukraine or Russia since.
You do realise she was a left-over tool of the Bush ZRegime?
The resignation of Yanis Varoufakis signals Greece’s capitulation to troika. The US need not complicate matters by putting their foot in it. The taps are quickly turning off for Greece through sheer momentum at this point, the question is, will there be contagion, or is Greece sufficiently isolated?
One positive benefit, Oil has fallen another $5 this month, each dollar reduces Russia’s foreign reserves by another $5 billion.
I don’t think so, at least if you’re suggesting that Syriza will accept the Troika’s dictates without major debt restructuring. If the Troika presents the same stone wall to the new man that they did to Varoufakis it will demonstrate once and for all that the lack agreement was all the former FM’s fault. This will especially be the case if the faces on the Troika side are unchanged. I tend to agree with Ilargi’s post this morning that Yanis’s resignation is a signal to the Troika that it needs to change faces as well.
And the troika knows what after the signal that it did not know before? Assuming they are even equipped to receive it?
Wow. The resignation of a staunch supporter of the EZ signals capitulation to the Troika?! To paraphrase Turd Blossom, “Reality is what we say it is.”
Varoufakis “was starting to harbour ‘dangerous‘ thoughts.”
Personally I couldn’t care less about russia’s foreign reserves and the triumphalism implied in this comment is comical. I think capitulation would have been a yes vote, which I wrongly expected,Capital controls, i.e. the turning off of the taps, happened last week, before the resignation or the vote. I did not hear any reasonable argument that had the greeks voted yes, that the aforementioned taps would have been turned on, have you? if so please clarify. The us, finally, doesn’t have to stick their feet in it, we know they want to cut social security, we know they want socialism and no taxes for the rich, and a hair shirt for the rest of us, why would they not let the troika do the dirty work?
her mother in law founded the institute for the study of war
her father said he was cured of his mental problems by electroshock therapy…
“you vill oh bey…”
and americans get to pay so germany can keep only 150 tanks(need them for parades) and keep losing american jobs while germany gets to manipulate the euro…
yakoff…what is it you say
ameirkkka, vat a concept…
mind you germany has killed tens of thousands of americans in the last century…
how many russians have killed americans directly in that time…
when push comes to shove, turn russians to dust if we have to…but explain to me what value the us has gotten from protecting germany these last 70 years ?
Porches, Mercedes, BMWs.
Americans are not protecting Germany out of any largesse, they are protecting their commercial interests and keeping their own sorry asses a safe distance from any actual fighting.
germany is on what front lines of fighting ???
and unless you mean opal brand, what commercial interests are in germany…???
and which troops in europe have done any real fighting in last 70 years…
except french and brits messing up ikes october surprise in ’56…by invading egypt…
i must live in some parallel world where american troops stay home and european troops are on the front lines…
and where clowns who have the capacity of mr. magoo are dressed up as bad guys from a woody allen film
Which sorry asses? The sorry asses on NATO bases? The only Americans who would object to the European powers cancelling NATO and inviting the American soldiers to go home would be the bicoastal elitists and their feltrav symps elsewhere in the country. Middle America would be happy to bring its people back home.
It will be a while before Europe gets the idea, and when they do get the idea the smart ones will be referring to him as the wiley Varoufakis.
The biggest mistake made by the EU politicians was the assumption that Varoufakis wanted what they wanted – political office, and the opportunity to remain in power.
Based on that false assumption they believed that the worst thing that they could do was refuse to talk to him and to drive him out of office. He even encouraged them in that belief by declaring that a yes vote on the referendum would lead to his resignation. He said that a no vote would improve his ability to negotiate.
After he got the no vote that he said he wanted, the European politicians were not going to have an opportunity to kick him while he was down, but kick they must.
Suddenly they were no longer dealing with the wiley Varoufakis (a nickname I stole from Homer – as in ‘the wiley Odysseus’.) Varoufakis transformed himself into the roadrunner while the European politicians found themselves transformed into Wiley Coyote
They found themselves with a cloud of dust and a resounding meep-meep as the target of their rage disappears in the distance.
Stretching the metaphor just a little further, the EU politicians have run off the edge of the cliff – and it’s a long way down. They are left with their prefabricated takeover plan from ACME finance
I think we could use a lot more Odysseus and a lot less Achilles. I’m just not convinced that Varoufakis is Odysseus. See for example the story of Odysseus and Nausicaa, the Odyssey, Book 6 (sorry this is prose):
When Odysseus needed to supplicate, he supplicated. And with the best of ’em!
Adding: It would be nice if the left had the cunning of Odysseus and the courage of Achilles. Generally, I’m seeing precious little of the former and much more of the latter. Not a recipe for success.
Unfortunately, I have to agree. I was hopeful it was all a clever plan on YV’s part to lead the EUrocrats over the cliff.
My plan to loan Donald Trump to Greece (as minister of ambiguity) disappeared from the comments section of the Wager Cooler.
Those unwashed upstarts in Athens will not be allowed to get above themselves, eh?
Well, that was long.
I have long argued that this is a matter that starts in Murmansk and ends in Teheran, or Beijing, if you want.
With all the fireworks in Ukraine, and with the Baltics heating up, the solution is as simple as obvious; pay substantical Greek debt relief (paper money) and stop being idiots.
I hope this comment will not disappear.
Other, even more obvious and relevant solutions to the problems you mention: stop cooking up color revolutions, stop raising tensions and then using them as an excuse to preposition troops, tanks, and war materiel closer to Russia’s borders. Just sayin’.
What the heck is the, “The State Department’s Victoria Nuland (nee Nudelman; lead image, right),” bit?
This appears to be in error, while her father changed his name from Nudelman when he entered medical school, but she was born Nuland.
I can see no reason to add this (incorrect) information except as a rhetorical attempt to reinforce to the reader that Nuland is Jewish, as if it subverts her credibility.
This does no service to the article, because, Nuland, along with her husband, Robert Kagan, have no credibility to begin with, and because it can be seized upon as evidence of a tinfoil hat.
I think that the analysis is spot on, but some of the language in the article undercuts its own credibility.
yeah, i have to second this. i really like john helmer’s analyses of russia and eastern europe but this is not the first time he has done that with nuland, yet i can’t remember him doing it with, say radek sikorski, né ?, who usurped the sikorski name to get admitted into the bullingdon club as his first known act as a sycophant and impostor. such a statement would at least have been relevant there.
Certainly, we can maintain the view that her Jewish background is irrelevant, that her PNAC architect pals from Feith to Wolfowitz are not informed by the desire to protect the interests of Israel, and that Israel does not exert undue influence on US policy that may not align with the best interests of the US. Or we could squirm a little and apply some critical thought to those subjects and their troubling implications. Certainly an actor with a Muslim background would enter the debate with very similar set of baggage, probably much worse. Or we can go all Sam Huntington and decide that a Christian background should also be noted and considered relevant, I recall some pretty substantial “Crusader” identification by the US military recently.
Perhaps Misters Saroff and Vidimi merely object to the cowardly skulking insinuendo involved
in pretending her real name was Nudelman before changing it to Nuland in a wink wink nudge nudge hint about her Jewish background coloring and guiding her thought and policy.
Perhaps they wouldn’t have seen a need to comment if the article they referrence had plainly said what you have plainly said . . . in open terms which can be openly replied to or accepted as peoples’ tastes dictate.
This is getting uglier by the day…
I swear we will have WW3 within a decade if this keeps going…
Much sooner than a decade. I’ll be relieved if we get through this summer before it starts.
I’ve toyed with the notion that it’s U.S. policy to set the Mediterranean and Black Sea littoral ablaze, along with Syraqistan. This post would seem to fit right in with that.
Sit back, watch competitors eliminate themselves, sell arms to both sides, generate a little blowback, ka-ching. I should go read Chalmers Johnston.
Thank you for this Helmer post. It clarifies all the curiosities, like the cryptic comment from Varoufakis a few months ago that there would be no war. His clever use of EU arrogance to trip them up; the EC must be the most clueless bunch of pompous bureaucrats in recent history. Making our congress look sharp by comparison. But if the goal is a war with Russia, the obvious prize is oil. In a world where oil is abundant and global warming is threatening civilization? Doesn’t make sense. Bremmer’s little graphic last year which showed the area of “conflict” with the “terrorists” – everything around the Black Sea and the Caspian to the north and all the oil fields to the south in Islamic control – the area containing all the oil in the Middle East. This isn’t about odious debts; it isn’t about democracy; it isn’t about the EU – it’s still about oil. And natgas. The foundation of our economy. (Which is crashing as we write because all the frackers and wildcatters are going bust.) Even tho’ using fossil fuels will kill us all. So the US logic is at least consistent. We will probably save Greece by destroying it. Unless those arrogant, pontificating idiots in the EU come to their senses.
While oil is certainly a major factor, one must always remember the Neo Con doctrine. “Mass spectrum dominace of all land, sea air and space.” They want not an inch of the earth to be out of their control.
It is also about the petrodollar. The fiat $ is under threat from a gold or silver backed currency from China and Rusia. Once America loses the $ as the worlds reserve currency Americas power in the world will decline. If fiat dies so does America ability to just print ever more debt. They will have to start paying for things in hard assets.
America will fight a nuclear war to defend the $. The consequence of losing fiat, will be the end of American dominance of the world. Americas policy can best be summed up as follows……” if we can’t run the world, we will blow the earth to shit, and no one else will be allowed too.” The elites really are that crazy. The only thing stopping total destruction is if Russia and then China back down.
Re Yves’ comment in the intro, it appears that Putin is tacitly avoiding playing into the neocons’ hands.
This from AP (through Yahoo) this morning:
“The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin received a phone call from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose government is racing against the clock to reach a bailout deal with creditors.
The two leaders discussed the results of Sunday’s referendum in Greece and “several questions about the further development of Russian-Greek cooperation,” the Kremlin said.
During Monday’s call, the Kremlin said Putin “expressed support for the Greek people in overcoming the difficulties facing their country.”
The head of VTB, Russia’s second-largest state bank, said over the weekend that Russia might be interested in buying Greek assets if they were to be privatized.
VTB head Andrei Kostin said Russia might be interested in ports, airports, railways or companies in the energy sector but that Russia would be unlikely to give Greece loans.”
… Hello, Xi?…
And You believe AP?
Greece Referendum: Syriza Didn’t Get The Message @ http://99getsmart.com/greece-referendum-syriza-didnt-get-the-message/
The scum also rises.
The Scum of All Fears.
One hopes the Syrizaform leadership persons take the Greek people into their confidence, as it were; by explaining to them Syriza’s most detailed understanding of all the multi-level death-stakes chess games being played. Perhaps the Syrizans should begin encouraging discussions all over Greece about what a Greek economy and society would look like if placed under the kind of blockade America placed Cuba under for a time. Perhaps the Syrizans should encourage Greeks to discuss what a Cuba-style Special Period would look like in Greece, and how Greek people might be able to physically survive such a Special Period. Perhaps Greek Agronomists should begin studying Cuban Special Period agronomy and traditional pre-mechanization Greek agriculture/horticulture to find combinations of principles and methods which could be used to grow food in a Greece under Cuban Blockade. Perhaps the Greek Agronomic-expertise establishment should begin now to codify, weaponise and disseminate this knowledge to several million Greeks with access to workable land, however little a patch of it.
The substance behind the Russia is a threat or a New Cold War is upon us can only work with the de emphasis on the complete collapse and dissolution of the USSR. What is left of that, the Russian Federation or just Russia, has virtually no navy, not much of an air force, diminished industrial capacity and less than state of the art technology. Despite cyber war headlines, Russia has one air craft carrier that was built before the collapse of the USSR. I’m not clear if it is operational, but it is obsolete, half the size of any the 10 we have now. Mostly, there are great articles from the Moscow Times about plans,designs and proposals, but killer subs, super carriers etc are not going to be produced by the nation that suffered a geo-political stroke and fell back into the pieces of the former nations it absorbed over the 20th century. There was a reason for the USSR coming apart, and most of those problems were decades in the making and the current government shows little sign of being able to climb back into world wide super power status. The power decline of Russia is real in absolute terms and relative terms as well.
Simply summing up the non-threat of Russia by military spending, NATO nations spend annually over $1RILLION$, which is about half of the entire Russian GNP. It is not entirely clear to me how much Russia actually spends on the military, although there are great estimates you can google, but it seems that with the fall in the price of oil and the French not selling them real naval warships, that around $60Bil is somewhat close. Russian naval vessels and jets and bombers are for the most part vintage, old and obsolete USSR era weaponry and technology. There are probably more fighter jets on US Navy carriers than there are in all of Russia. That’s still a lot, but not enough to threaten NATO or much anyone else other than Ukraine. Russia’s activities with its small, less armed neighbors is not much different than the US wars which try to avoid real fights. The USA and the USSR at one time divided up the world between the two of them, and did not bother so much with the others territory. That’s why Hungary and Czechoslovakia could be invaded by the Red Army without us going to war.
But now, with Russia, it is in decline as a world power and will continue to go down that path, especially if it spends too much money trying to prove it can re-constitute itself as a world superpower. Like France or Spain, those days are over. So when the republicans worry about Russia, and Neuland and The WSJ try to gin up some sort of threat, remember, the Russia of today just does not have the military might or the industrial base to wage any long term battle for world supremacy. While trying to do that barely 2 decades ago, it collapsed from the effort. Selling a lot of natural gas and crude oil does not make you a super power. However, The Moscow Times and Pravda like to write about super weapons and military budget proposals, which are quickly repeated by the right wing sable rattling echo machine as proof that Ivan The Bear is waking up and is hungry to eat the world up again. China used to call America the paper tiger, Russia is the paper bear, literally, like vapor ware announcements during the dotcom era in Wired, Russian press reports of weapon plans and designs are just that, plans and designs. Imperial over reach is a much talked of consequence of disastrous spending on military and wars. The USSR is an actual example we got to see unfold before our eyes. They are just not the big bad threat the right wing would make them out to be. They really did collapse. And they really have not come back to the level they once achieved. Whatever trouble they can cause, world wide take over is no longer one of them. Being a royal pain in the ass is just not a casus belli.
The Western Bloc wants to destroy Russia, not because Russia poses any significant threat to their security, but because Russia, even in its decline, is still strong enough to pursue policies which differ in meaningful ways from those of the globalist liberal elite.
Always remember that globalist liberals can’t stand the notion of anyone having an actual sovereignty. Globalists hate the idea of anyone making laws that differ meaningfully from those favoured by globalist elites. Globalists are waging nonstop worldwide jihad against national sovereignty in all its forms.
Most of the Western Bloc countries have already more or less extinguished their own sovereignties in favour of permanent–and as Western elites hope, irreversible–integration in a globalist system.
Russia is still strong enough to hold out, which is wy Russia is going to be a target.
Ironically, Russia’s elite was perfectly happy to integrate in the globalist system, as long as a few of their conditions were met. But the arrogance of the Western Bloc elites would not condescend to meet those conditions.
A quarter of a century ago, Western elites had it made. The world was theirs. All they had to do was not let it all go to their heads, and then screw up and needlessly antagonize people. So what have Western elites done? They let it all go to their heads, they’ve needlessly antagonized people, and they’re going to screw up the whole world and themselves with it.