It all seems never-ending, but we're now supposedly at the end game.
There are many ways to analyze this ongoing Greek drama. Who is to blame? What will happen? Will Greece be better off in or out of the Eurozone?
Just three of a countless number of questions. To start with the first -- who is to blame -- I think you have to go back and look at the bigger picture.
Greece was the birthplace of democracy and, for this reason, everyone rightly assumes that because of its unrivaled history, it has always been a glorious civilization. What people do forget, though, is that the modern Greek state came into existence more recently that when the United States gained its independence. In that short time, after over 400 years of Ottoman Rule, Greece has been through two world wars, a particularly brutal civil war, a military dictatorship and the abolition of the monarchy. And the abolition of the monarchy, I believe, was the catalyst of where the country finds itself today. I don't say that because I am pro or anti-monarchy -- I say it because it began a phase of successive, corrupt governments which continued until the financial crisis hit. The country yo-yoed between PASOK and New Democracy -- the two dominant parties (up until recently). The latter, New Democracy, was the better option, but they were as bad as each other -- making promises they knew they couldn't and wouldn't keep.
Of course, as is normally the case, the people are paying the price for the corrupt politicians. If Greece had followed Iceland's example and made the politicians pay for their actions, I believe they would have accepted the unfair measures they were faced with. But they got off.
In 2012, Antonis Samaras was elected as Prime Minister. Whatever his past with New Democracy might be, I think he was the only Prime Minister who deserves credit. He had no choice but to accept the EU's tough measures which were imposed. And that is where the EU comes into the equation. They should have given Samaras more leeway and, if he had not been forced into implementing the austerity measures so quickly, he would still be Prime Minister. The people would not have felt the force so intensely. But, because they did, they voted a radical left-wing party into power. Alexis Tsipras has put himself and Syriza before the country, and the consequences are that Greece now has a bunch of amateurish, radical clowns who think they can take on the EU. Only now have the smirks started to disappear from this thuggish mob.
This brings me to the questions of what will happen and would Greece be better off in or out of the Eurozone.
Greece joined the EU in 1981. We know now -- and it was probably known then -- that they shouldn't have been. Nevertheless, it is a member of the Union and I believe any other alternative is unthinkable. I do not agree with another bailout -- loan after loan and the debt mountain only gets bigger. But what's the alternative? If we go back to the Drachma, the Syriza mob will be free to implement their radical left-wing ideology and will take the country back 50 years. At least in the Eurozone, they have to abide by EU law -- especially if they come to an agreement, which is what I believe will ultimately happen. And if we do actually comply with the conditions, the economy will return to growth just like Ireland's has. In fact, it's worth mentioning that the economy had returned to growth at the start of the year for the first time since the crisis began - before Syriza destroyed the good progress.
The EU was formed in the aftermath of the second world war with the idea of bringing Europe together so that the horrors of Nazi Germany will never happen again. A vision everyone agrees with. But over the decades it has become more of a bloated organization with a bunch of unelected bureaucrats telling countries what they can or cannot do. Europe is a continent of multiple countries and cultures and each country should be allowed to implement their own laws without Brussels meddling in their affairs. The single currency was never going to work; how can an economy like Greece's compete with Germany?
The EU needs major reforms. But, despite all the above, Greece is still better of inside the Eurozone. There is, in my opinion, no other option.
I am of Greek heritage and love this country. I may have so far sounded unpatriotic, but I believe I'm just saying it as it is. Greece is a country with an extraordinary history and and an unrivaled heritage all over the world. It has been through countless hardships and overcome them. And the Greeks will overcome this one.
As Winston Churchill said: "Hence we will not say that Greeks fight like heroes, but that heroes fight like Greeks."