What has Alexis Tsipras achieved for the Greek people?
Monday morning, after 14 hours of talks among the euro area's finance ministers and an additional 17 hours among the group's leaders, the Greek prime minister came away with a much worse deal than the one he just persuaded Greek voters to reject. Now he must sell it to his parliament and people.
To be clear, for all the previous overheated talk of Greece's "humiliation" by the euro area countries that were bailing it out, this deal is indeed humiliating for Tsipras and Greece. The decision to set up a fund into which the country has to place 50 billion euros ($55 billion) worth of assets for privatization is the kind of thing that courts do to bankrupt companies ruled no longer competent to manage their own recovery.
The demand that Greece's parliament must, within three days, legislate for measures the government has in the past described as "criminal" and "terrorist" only underscores the degree to which Greece's economic sovereignty has been suspended.
No matter what the parliament decides and whether Greece ultimately stays in the euro or leaves, Europe will pay a price down the road for such a vengeful act. Many Greeks are enraged, and the prominent role played by Germany in driving such a harsh bargain has awakened old stereotypes, which the European Union and its common currency were designed to dispel forever.
Right now, however, it is Tsipras whom Greeks should blame. Consider where the country was a little more than a year ago, when his political party Syriza burst onto the scene by winning Greek elections to the European Parliament. The party argued that, were it not for the supine approach that the country's then center-right government was taking toward its creditors, Greece could end austerity measures, return to prosperity and keep the euro. That was not true, but it was attractive.
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