Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mr. Tsipras goes to America!

This article in the German language 'Griechenland Blog' summarizes an interview which Mr. Tsipras gave on the eve of a trip to the US where, according to the article, he will give speeches at the Brooking Institute and at President Obama's alma mater Columbia University. Below are some of Tsipras' quotes. If he makes his speeches in passable English and if he comes across as the 'great conciliator' whom he has presented quite well during his recent visit to Germany, he might get quite a bit of attention from Americans.

"The real problem is that at this point, under the responsibility of the Troika and our coalition government, the Greek economy is being destroyed" - Americans, by nature, are not great believers in austerity and they have seen media reports which have shown the dramatic decline of the Greek economy. Quite possible that Tsipras will catch their ears on this.

"We will negotiate a plan to exit the crisis which - contrary to the Troika-measures - will be realistic and which will avoid the country's bankruptcy. Obviously, no one wants to admit before the German elections that the Greek program has failed but Greeks does not have any more time to lose" - There is probably not a single person who does not know that Germany's decisions have been and are being taken with a view towards the upcoming election. Even Americans will have heard of that. Against that background, it is quite possible that Tsipras will catch their ears on this.

"Austerity and uncontrolled recession have made the debt problem even greater. It requires totally different measures domestically and internationally to avoid the risk of a break-down of the Eurozone" - Given that Americans have heard for 4 years now that a reduction in deficit spending would lead to economic chaos, it is quite possible that Tsipras will catch their ears on this.

"A monetary union is not possible without a fiscal union, without a mechanism to recycle suprluses, without an active Central Bank" - It is quite possible that Tispras will catch the ears of Americans on this. They might even say 'we have told the Europeans that for years!'

"Regarding the Lagarde list, the available evidence suggests that the political establishment will do everything possible to cover this issue up and to pursue only those who have meanwhile left politics" - It is very probable that Tsipras will catch the ears of Americans on this. After all, that's what they have been reading in their papers for quite some time now.

In summary, I believe that Alexis Tsipras has a fair fighting chance to get favorable press in America. It would only take the decision by Prof. Krugman to join Tsipras on the dais and this could become a real party! And if the right kind of media attention is attracted, even Americans may begin to ask the question which was recently posed: Can the Left save Greece?


  1. He is so clever to take all the possibilities as long as possible to go around the world as long the country, Greece, pays and enough feathers can be taken away from the already bold chickens the Greeks are.
    There is something like
    Skype , Alex. Used by also professionals. It is without costs. Excellent. Easy.
    It saves money that you are not even allowed to spend, it is without ethos, unless you pay it from your own pocket. But I do not believe so.
    You should be ashamed Tsipras. You are not the Prime Minister, not the President, not even in the government, and.... you have nothing to say, nothing to add, so what are you doing there. The Americans are not interested in Europe unless you want to create another military base in Greece, on Crete for instance.
    Don't sell Greece to USA, Tsipras.
    Don't expect intelligence there, Tsipras.
    USA does not know itself how to do it good for the Americans.
    Will they have solutions for you?
    You make me cynical. Again.

  2. In the CNN interview that Christiane Amanpour did with Tsipras in May 2012 he answered in English.

    In the Al Jazeera interview Barnaby Phillips did with Tsipras in Dec 2012, the interviewer asked his questions in English and Tsipras answered in Greek. Might have been because the questions were 'harder' than Amanpour's were.

    If Tsipras says the things you suggest he may well catch the ears of many Americans, but will they be Americans who would invest their money in Greece.

    I suggest Tsipiras try to get Nicholas Economides, rather than the smug, overbearing & patronizing * Paul Krugman.


    *from a tweet posted by the President of Estonia in response to a Krugman "know all" comment on Estonia.

  3. Hmm. has a selection of wikileaks cables from Greece. This one (on military cooperation)

    has some lovely quotes:

    "The Greeks currently tend to overstate both their contributions and their importance to the United States, and there is no need to accept the Greek hyperbole."

    "Getting the Greek3 to "yes" on difficult issues generally requires a good argument coupled with cajoling and schmoozing. The Greeks are susceptible to flattery and quick to be offended by a perceived slight."

    And I suspect the fact that Syriza has in its 40 point plan

    "40. Closure of all foreign bases in Greece and withdrawal from NATO."

    will limit US receptiveness to Tsipras, generally.

    1. "Getting the Greek3 to "yes" on difficult issues generally requires a good argument coupled with cajoling and schmoozing. The Greeks are susceptible to flattery and quick to be offended by a perceived slight."

      What a quote! I have had innumerable experiences with that. It's not really an impessive or mature attitude. On the other hand, it's an attitude which has charme and which can make people smile and/or even fall in love...

  4. Hello friends.
    Lets make clear something .
    Tsipras is not going to usa or in European countries to bye or to sell
    He is voted by 1.5 million Greeks to make clear to everyone abroad that today situation in Greece must stop . The austerity measures make Greece and Greek people to die day by day .
    We can not effort this politic situation in Greece if you like or not.
    We want our country back . The trilateral Government has already sell the country.
    We have lost our dignity as people the situation is dramatic .
    Please no more . All we are Greeks . No more games with Greece.


  5. Hello friends ,

    I send you exact what Mr. Tsipras said in USA before few days in an open meeting.
    Hope that you ll enjoy .

    Thanks for hospitality in your page which found looking around.
    There is a problem in Europe people must look .
    Crisis is a European problem . Certainly press in Germany manipulate very nice a propaganda ….That Greeks are lazy people they like to go to the beaches and drink ouzo etc etc , Greeks don’t like to work but like very much to dance zorba etc etc
    That was a part of propaganda of yellow press in Germany and Austria I think.
    Greeks according the Eurostatistic meters were a very hard working people before crisis . Certainly now there are not works , unemployment is very high.
    Soon I think we will find our dignity by ourselves and will take back our country
    From Neoliberal International Economic Mafia.
    Certainly there are Economic scandals in Greece a lot fe. SIEMENS etc etc
    But ordinary people had not any mixe with these .
    Politicians yes were involved . We will clear this part of the problem.
    Scandal of SIEMENS. In Germany the courts have the papers .
    Which Greek politicians took money under the table from SIEMENS ?
    We will never know because papers are closed in Germany.
    Know I remember something else.
    Germany has to pay the 2nd world reparations to Greece.
    We don’t forget this. This is an open page. Greece I hope will run to International courts against Germany .
    There is an open loan and there are reparations from the world 2 .
    Germany must pay for these .







    Greek Opposition Leader Seeks Conference on Debt
    Published: January 25, 2013

    The 38-year-old leftist opposition leader in Greece who could become its next prime minister on a wave of simmering popular fury over the government’s austerity measures, called on Friday for a European summit meeting to ease the crushing debts that threaten not only his country but all of Europe.
    The opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, whose criticism of international bailouts propelled his party, Syriza, to win the second biggest bloc of parliamentary seats in the June 2012 elections, also said he did not believe Greece would be forced to withdraw from the group of 17 countries that use the euro currency. Greece’s heavy indebtedness has raised fears that the country could leave or be expelled from the euro zone, a possibility that many economists regard as a threat to the euro’s survival.
    “They say I am the most dangerous man in Europe,” Mr. Tsipras said in an interview with the editorial board of The New York Times. “What I feel is dangerous is the policy of austerity in Europe. The Greek people have paid a heavy price.”
    Mr. Tsipras was in New York as part of a trip to the United States that has included meetings in Washington with the International Monetary Fund and the Treasury Department. The trip is part of a campaign intended to bolster his credibility as a politician and to counter what his aides call the fictional portrayals of him as a financial bomb-thrower in Greece’s mainstream news media, controlled by the so-called oligarch families of privilege in the country who fear Syriza’s ascent to power.
    Given the fragility of the conservative-led coalition that took over after the June elections, any no-confidence vote in Parliament could lead to new elections that give Mr. Tsipras the latitude to form a government. Recent polls put Syriza’s popularity at nearly 30 percent, about the same as the current coalition leader, the conservative New Democracy party.
    This month Mr. Tsipras also visited Germany, Europe’s most powerful economy, which has been the driving force behind the insistence that Greece must endure sacrifices and impose fiscal discipline in exchange for help on its debt burden. Mr. Tsipras has argued that the strategy has not only been an expensive failure but has also increased Greece’s indebtedness relative to the size of its economy, where joblessness and cuts in wages and benefits have stoked widespread anger.
    After six years of recession in Greece, he said, “we are witnessing a humanitarian crisis.”
    The symptoms were on display this week in Athens, where striking subway workers, outraged over pay cuts, paralyzed a transit system that carries one million riders a day. The government on Friday used an emergency decree to halt the strike.
    Mr. Tsipras said he would like to see a summit meeting that would result in an end to the austerity approach, which he said is needed to restart growth and avert a deeper economic malaise.
    “We are suggesting an overall plan for a European solution,” he said. “A European conference on debt that would include all of the countries of the region facing a significant debt issue.”
    He drew an analogy to the London Debt Agreement of 1953, in which postwar Germany’s debt was cut by 50 percent and the repayment spread over 30 years.
    Mr. Tsipras said the German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, has held the possibility of expulsion from the euro zone over Greece as leverage for enforcing its austerity solution, but that in his view neither Germany nor its supporters want to see Greece exit the euro.
    “The constant threats, that they will kick us out of the euro zone, is a strategy with no foundation,” he said. “It’s just a way to blackmail us.”



  8. Here is a summary about Alexis Tsipras' trip to America from the Brookings Institute.

  9. Here is an article of

    The wall street journal