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Re: <nettime> "Greece Brought a Latte to a Gunfight"
Frederic Janssens on Mon, 13 Jul 2015 21:23:11 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> "Greece Brought a Latte to a Gunfight"


   On 13 July 2015 at 19:47, t byfield <tbyfield {AT} panix.com> wrote:

     I suppose Tsipras and Varoufakis can be criticized for the divide
     between their words and their actions -- in particular, for playing
     chicken with a Grexit but without preparing. But how exactly could
     they have prepared?

   how it happened is told by Yanis Varoufakis in the interview linked to by
   sebastian {AT} rolux.org
   in his post "A very inhospitable place for decent people"
   http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2015/07/exclusive-yanis-varoufakis-opens-about-his-five-month-battle-save-greece

   :
   HL: You must have been thinking about a Grexit from day one...
   YV: Yes, absolutely.
   HL: ...have preparations been made?
   YV: The answer is yes and no. We had a small group, a ???war cabinet'
   within the ministry, of about five people that were doing this: so we
   worked out in theory, on paper, everything that had to be done [to
   prepare for/in the event of a Grexit]. But it's one thing to do that at
   the level of 4-5 people, it's quite another to prepare the country for
   it. To prepare the country an executive decision had to be taken, and
   that decision was never taken.
   HL: And in the past week, was that a decision you felt you were leaning
   towards [preparing for Grexit]?
   YV: My view was, we should be very careful not to activate it. I didn't
   want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn't want this to
   be like Nietzsche's famous dictum that if you stare into the abyss long
   enough, the abyss will stare back at you. But I also believed that at
   the moment the Eurogroup shut out banks down, we should energise this
   process.
   HL: Right. So there were two options as far as I can see - an immediate
   Grexit, or printing IOUs and taking bank control of the Bank of Greece
   [potentially but not necessarily precipitating a Grexit]?
   YV: Sure, sure. I never believed we should go straight to a new
   currency. My view was - and I put this to the government - that if they
   dared shut our banks down, which I considered to be an aggressive move
   of incredible potency, we should respond aggressively but without
   crossing the point of no return.
   We should issue our own IOUs, or even at least announce that we're
   going to issue our own euro-denominated liquidity; we should haircut
   the Greek 2012 bonds that the ECB held, or announce we were going to do
   it; and we should take control of the Bank of Greece. This was the
   triptych, the three things, which I thought we should respond with if
   the ECB shut down our banks.
   ... I was warning the Cabinet this was going to happen [the ECB shut
   our banks] for a month, in order to drag us into a humiliating
   agreement. When it happened - and many of my colleagues couldn't
   believe it happened - my recommendation for responding "energetically",
   let's say, was voted down.
   HL: And how close was it to happening?
   YV: Well let me say that out of six people we were in a minority of
   two. ... Once it didn't happen I got my orders to close down the banks
   consensually with the ECB and the Bank of Greece, which I was against,
   but I did because I'm a team player, I believe in collective
   responsibility.
   And then the referendum happened, and the referendum gave us an amazing
   boost, one that would have justified this type of energetic response
   [his plan] against the ECB, but then that very night the government
   decided that the will of the people, this resounding ???No', should not
   be what energised the energetic approach [his plan].
   Instead it should lead to major concessions to the other side: the
   meeting of the council of political leaders, with our Prime Minister
   accepting the premise that whatever happens, whatever the other side
   does, we will never respond in any way that challenges them. And
   essentially that means folding. ... You cease to negotiate.
   --
   Frederic


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