Monday 23 October 2017

Do not pass by Greece's tragedy

Ashoka Mody of the IMF
Ashoka Mody of the IMF
Editorial

Editorial

It will come as a source of relief to all across Europe that Greece has secured a four-month stay of execution. But a stay of execution is just that and the economic hangman is still waiting for that unfortunate country. And whilst Europe may have secured a temporary ceasefire, the issues of a Greek exit, Europe's democratic deficit, the survival of the euro and contagion will remain on the political agenda during this period. They are issues which pose our Government with serious political and ethical dilemmas.

Politicians as diverse as Woodrow Wilson and Tony Blair have learnt the hard way that the benefits of a 'moral foreign policy' are few. Of course, small countries, in particular, rarely have the luxury of grandiose policy objectives. But they can sometimes make a difference in times of crisis. That certainly is not the objective of a Coalition which has made it abundantly clear it had absolutely no intention of engaging in any diplomatic adventuring. However, whilst its pragmatic positioning was understandable, there was something less than edifying about the enthusiasm with which Ireland played the role of a German satellite on the Greek front.

Ireland is a small nation that has experienced great oppression over many centuries. One would think, therefore, that we would have some empathy with Greece. Like the Czech Republic in 1938, Greece is a small inconvenient state, on the point of being cast adrift by the self-interested big powers, whose fate matters little to Ireland. But, in a European Union which now resembles a German economic colony rather than a genuine league of nations, small states, if they are to resist the German hegemonic impulse, should support each other. This, however, is not merely a matter of self interest. Greece may have constructed its own economic Trojan horse. But, something profoundly amoral surrounds the wrecking of a country and its people at the altar of German-driven austerity.

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