Posts Tagged ‘Foreign Policy’

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before…

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

Greece’s leftwing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants more negotiations. Because, you know, Europe just hasn’t had enough of those over Greek debt.

Mr. Tsipras said Greece was “prepared to accept” a deal set out publicly over the weekend by the creditors, with small modifications to some of the central points of contention: pension cuts and tax increases.

In other words: Groundhog Day on the Aegean. Yet again.

More Greek crisis links:

  • “Socialism is a one-way ticket to misery and failure.” Also: “The Greeks are simply the vanguard in a long line of nations who have buried themselves under mountains of unpayable debt.”
  • Greece: “We’re suffering so hard!” Poorer countries in Europe: “Suck it up, you proliferate spendthrifts!”
  • Possible post-referendum timelines in Greece. I hope you like flow charts…
  • Greece Officially Defaults on IMF Payment

    Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

    And verily it came to pass.

    Greece lost its financial lifelines Tuesday, as the country missed a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund amid growing questions about whether it would be able to remain in the euro zone.

    Greek leaders had made a last-ditch attempt to come up with the necessary cash, asking European countries for a new bailout hours before its last ones were set to expire, but E.U. finance ministers rejected the request as unrealistic. The missed payment, confirmed by the IMF, was a landmark moment in Europe’s five-year battle to preserve its common currency.

    A few more Greek tidbits:

  • Greek banks are about to enjoy some ECB-mandated haircuts. He who pays the piper calls the tune…
  • Dear PIIGS citizens: Don’t blame austerity, blame your corrupt politicians.
  • Europe’s Democracy Deficit:

    The bureaucrats in Brussels and their counterparts in Europe’s national governments are furious with the Greeks for daring to consult their own people. Daniel Hannan, a British member of the European parliament, sarcastically tweeted, “Calling a referendum is, to Eurocrats, the most offensive thing a politician can do.” Stripped of their veneer, Eucrocrats’ arguments against all referendums amount to saying that referendums are a bad idea because they shift power from small cliques of unelected but wise rulers to an unsophisticated, nationalistic mob that might fall prey to populism

  • Via the People’s Cube: Greece declares victory.
  • Greece Slides Toward Default

    Monday, June 29th, 2015

    Looks like that optimism over Greece caving in to reality was a bit premature, since Alexis Tsipras is back to his old tricks again, proclaiming loudly that he won’t be “blackmailed.” Because we all know that agreeing to cuts in your bloated welfare state to pay for the loans you already agreed to is “blackmail.”

    He’s called for a national referendum on bailout agreement terms. The problem is, that vote is July 5 while $1.7 billion payment Greece owes the IMF is due June 30, and the IMF can’t offer extensions, and Greece is too broke to make its debt payment.

    Greek banks are closed until July 7, and the “European Central Bank (ECB) said it was not increasing emergency funding to Greek banks.” ATMs are running dry and withdrawals are bveing limited to 60 euros.”

    Stocks in Europe and China are in freefall, with bank stocks in Europe particularly hard hit. Greek stocks are off 17% despite their stock market being closed.

    A few more Greek crisis tidbits:

  • Holy fark: 70% of Greek mortgages are in default.
  • Nothing says “vibrant economy” like adults forced to live with their parents.
  • “The strange thing is that neither Tsipras nor a large majority of the Greek people want to leave the euro (more than 70 per cent support keeping euro polls show). But despite the country being united on this, the government is still unwilling to make the compromises that would keep Greece in the euro zone.”
  • The bill for Greece’s profligate spending and fake austerity was always going to come due sooner or later. Tsipras’s disasterous term in office merely ensured that it would come sooner and with a maximum of economic pain for the Greek people…

    Bank Runs Start in Greece

    Saturday, June 20th, 2015

    The bank runs have started in Greece. Why the Greek peeople would even keep their money in banks, having the example of Cyprus’s bank “bail-ins” before them, would keep any but the most minimal amout of cash in a Greek bank is a mystery.

    Given that Greek banks are insolvent without the European Central Bank’s backstop, one wonders why Greek PM Alexis Tsipras thinks he can continue to bluff the EU caving on reform demands. It’s tough to bluff when you have no hole cards…

    There’s talk of a “new” Greek proposal, which could mean Tsipras and Syriza are finally coming to their senses and giving in to EU demands, or it could be just another smokescreen. I mean, we’ve only seen about a dozen “new” Greek proposals this year that didn’t offer meaningful reform. What’s one more?

    Stay tuned…

    Greece’s Final, Final, Final Deadline…Finally?

    Thursday, June 18th, 2015

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Google News is once again filled with Greece on the Brink headlines and the Telegraph has started a live update page for the Greek debt crisis. Today’s Eurogroup meeting ended without any deal, Merkel says she won’t budge, and Greece admits they have no money to make their bundled payment to the IMF at the end of the month.

    And the IMF has said there will be no grace period if Greece misses their June 30 deadline.

    Also, tomorrow Greece owes €85 million to the European Central Bank. Since the ECB backstop is the only reason Greek banks aren’t already insolvent, I suspect Greece will find some way to make that payment, even if it means raiding the Emergency Transplants for Crippled Orphans fund.

    Other than that, things are going swimmingly.

    The sticking point, as always, is Greece’s insistence that the rest of Europe lend it more so as to allow Greece to continue spending insanely more money than it actually has on its bloated welfare state, and that it absolutely will not cut government pensions (the pensions it will be unable to pay without a loan anyway) at all. But “Greece still spends more than any other country in the European Union on pensions as a proportion to GDP – with the country shelling out a whopping 17.5 percent.”

    British tourists are warned to take cash if they’re vacationing in Greece, since cash machines and credit cards may not work due to capital controls.

    How much is Greece uncertainty weighing down stocks?

    Eh, not so much…

    Quick Pre-Default Greece Update

    Monday, June 15th, 2015

    It looks like the rest of Europe has finally wised up to the fact that Alexis Tsipras has been playing them for chumps. It should be obvious to everyone now that Tsipras and his far-left Syriza party have no intention of reforming Greece’s bloated welfare state, they just wanted to pretend to as long as the rest of Europe was willing to underwrite it in exchange for pretending to reform. But lately even the pretense of reform has become intolerable. They want debt forgiveness and Europe to continue paying their bills, and they’re not going to budge until they get it, or until they totally destroy the Greek economy. You know, whichever.

    Europe seems to finally have said “Enough!”

    Other Greek links:

  • Might the European Central Bank impose capital controls on Greece (ala Cyprus) to force a change in the Greek government? Since the Greek banking system only exists at the mercy of ECB-backstopping, this could very well be the easiest way out of the crisis for everyone (even, weirdly, Tsipras and Syriza, who will still be able to claim they never gave in to Troika demands…)
  • “The latest Greek negotiating strategy is to demand a ransom to desist threatening suicide. Such blackmail might work for a suicide bomber. But Greece is just holding a gun to its own head — and Europe does not need to care very much if it pulls the trigger.”
  • “For the creditors, the test of whether Mr. Tsipras really wants Greece to remain in the eurozone comes down to a simple question: Is Syriza willing or able to reform Greece’s public sector?” Syriza wants to reform Greece’s public sector the way O. J. Simpson wants to find the real killers.
  • Gameplanning Greek outcomes. (Warning: Autoplaying video. Up yours, Bloomberg.)
  • Greece to Receive It’s Final Final Final Final Final Final Final Offer

    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

    Looks like all of Greece’s creditors have finally decided it’s put up or shut up time for reform. “Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to face demands for tough reforms of Greece’s pension system, labor laws and other areas, as well as creditors’ insistence on painful budget measures to ensure that Greece runs a fiscal surplus before interest.”

    At this point Greece seems completely and utterly broke, unless there’s more upfront money in that still unsigned Russian pipeline deal than reports indicate (doubtful, given Russia’s own financial straits), or Tsipras finds yet another hidden money reserve to tap (“We can can pay pensions from the children’s bone marrow fund!”). So despite Tsipras’ insistence that they be allowed to keep spending other people’s money on their bankrupt welfare state, this time the jig may finally, finally, really, we mean it this time, for sure, be up.

    Here’s a piece that explains in terms of game theory why Tsipras overplayed his weak hand:

    Now, as long as the EU keeps Greece in the Eurozone then the Tsipras administration will find itself forced to either exit the Eurozone or apply the austerity it promised to end. Not only would such an outcome send a clear signal to other Eurozone nations that exiting was foolhardy, it would also indicate that radical, nationalist, anti-establishment and anti-austerity parties cannot deliver on their promises.

    The EU won’t force Greece to exit the Eurozone but it won’t offer anything to keep Syriza in power, either. The EU simply needs to keep negotiating without offering anything but strict compliance with what was already agreed upon, which is continued austerity in return for loans. In effect, to use a sports analogy, the EU just needs to “run out the clock.” In the end, it appears that Tsipras will either be forced out of office or forced to break up his coalition and form a new government with the mainstream parties, the outcome that EU and Germany have been angling for all along.

    (Though make no mistake: that “primary surplus” was always illusory.)

    A few more Greek debt crisis links:

  • Now Greece is threatening not to pay this week’s debt payment to the IMF unless a deal is agreed on. Once again, Tsipras is playing chicken with a Yugo, while his opponents are driving a Tiger tank…
  • Tsipras needs to stop making empty promises and get a clue. “He cannot expect Germans to volunteer the money Greece needs, so he can spend it on the kind of leftist economic fantasy that was discredited all over Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Just ask Argentina where default followed by populist economics leads.”
  • Germany has good reason to stop subsidizing Greece, namely their own crashing demographics: “Germany’s birth rate has collapsed to the lowest level in the world and its workforce will start plunging at a faster rate than Japan’s by the early 2020s, seriously threatening the long-term viability of Europe’s leading economy.” (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • “A Greek exit is already priced into the euro.”
  • LinkSwarm for May 29, 2015

    Friday, May 29th, 2015

    I didn’t get flooded out, but for a while on Memorial Day, I finally had that defensive moat around my house I’d always dreamed of…

  • U.S. economy shrinks in first quarter. (Hat tip: Instapundit, who adds, of course, “unexpectedly!”)
  • Get ready for still more ObamaCare sticker shock.
  • Let he who has never created a shell company to skirt disclosure laws cast the first stone at the Clintons…
  • The Clinton Foundation took money from FIFA, the recently indicated world soccer organization.
  • “Does the Media Hold Anyone to a Lower Ethical Standard than the Clintons?” Save rock stars in the 1970s and Obama 2008—2013, I’d say no…
  • Speaking of rock stars from the 1970s, Ted Nugent has some realistic and pungent advice for the graduating class of 2015:
    1. Life is not fair. Get used to it.

    2. Social justice is a commie scam. Read the drivel of Saul Alinsky and fight it with all you’ve got.
    3. Nobody owes you jacksquat. You will either earn your own way, or feel like a helpless leech. There is no middle ground.

    And there’s more where that came from…

  • Why didn’t the Obama Administration order airstrikes against ISIS columns before they took Ramadi?
  • What Right Wing Nutjob said “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people” in December of 2011? That would be Barack Obama.
  • Why the left launched an attack on geek culture: “The group that expected to define taste and culture by virtue of their previous oppression found themselves instead being forced to make less money and cater to the tastes of a group that not only never sought out the bleeding edge of coolness, but never cared about the concept to begin with.”
  • Dutch tend American WWII graves. “Each grave has been adopted by a Dutch or, in some cases, Belgian or German family, as well as local schools, companies and military organizations. More than 100 people are on a waiting list to become caretakers.” Damn these rains, all this mold pollen is really doing a number on my eyes… (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Bernie Sanders, S&M fantasy pervert.
  • Woman comes to the sudden revelation that she’s being a shrew. “He’s a good man who does a lot for me, and doesn’t deserve to be harassed over little things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.” (Hat tip: Milo Yiannopoulos’ Twitter feed.)
  • Pictures from the Austin flood.
  • Pctures from the Houston flood.
  • Morsi Sentenced To Death in Egypt

    Sunday, May 17th, 2015

    Muslim Brotherhood leader and deposed President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death, along with more than 100 other people.

    Most of the time, sentencing a popularly elected President ousted from power by the military would be a bad thing. This is not one of those times. Morsi tried to undermine Egypt’s democratic constitutional strictures (however weak and imperfect they were) in the name of turning the country into a radical Islamist state, following the classic African strongman blueprint of “One Man, One Vote, Once.” He lost an existential power struggle with the military and, in the long-standing traditions of the Arab world, he’ll be paying for losing with his life.

    Both Egypt, and the world, will be better for his death, and the ruthless suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    UK Rioters: Nothing Says Classy Like Defacing a WWII Monument

    Sunday, May 10th, 2015

    Evidently the UK hard left is having a giant hissy fit in London over the fact they got their asses kicked by the Tories in this week’s election.

    Also, here’s a helpful hint: When you start throwing things at police, you’re no longer part of a “protest,” you’re part of a “riot.”

    And what says “Class” like defacing a World War II Monument?

    “Hey greatest generation: Screw all of you! Defeating Hitler means nothing unless we can keep increasing the size of the welfare state!”

    All the left’s temper tantrum will accomplish is reminding voters why they gave the Tories a clear majority in the first place.