A estratégia negocial da Grécia

Um dos melhores textos sobre a situação grega. Greece is playing to loose, por Anatole Kaletsky.

Had Varoufakis adopted an equivalent strategy for Greece, he would have stuck doggedly to his demand for debt cancellation until the last moment, then backed down on this “principle” in exchange for major concessions on austerity and structural reforms. Or he could have adopted a less aggressive strategy: Concede from the start the German principle that debts are sacrosanct and then show that austerity could be eased without any reduction in the face value of Greek debt. But, instead of consistently pursuing either strategy, Varoufakis veered between defiance and conciliation, losing credibility both ways.

Greece started the negotiation by insisting on debt reduction as its red line. But, instead of sticking to this position and turning a debate over debt forgiveness into a Draghi-style diversionary tactic, Greece abandoned this demand within days. Then came the pointless provocation of refusing talks with the troika, despite the fact that the three institutions are all much more sympathetic to Greek demands than the German government.

Finally, Varoufakis rejected any extension of the troika program. This created an unnecessary new deadline of February 28 for the withdrawal of ECB funding and consequent collapse of the Greek banking system.

Greece’s idealistic new leaders seem to believe that they can overpower bureaucratic opposition without the usual compromises and obfuscations, simply by brandishing their democratic mandate. But the primacy of bureaucracy over democracy is a core principle that EU institutions will never compromise.

The upshot is that Greece is back where it started in the poker contest with Germany and Europe. The new government has shown its best cards too early and has no credibility left if it wants to try bluffing.

So what will happen next? The most likely outcome is that Syriza will soon admit defeat, like every other eurozone government supposedly elected on a reform mandate, and revert to a troika-style program, sweetened only by dropping the name “troika.” Another possibility, while Greek banks are still open for business, might be for the government to unilaterally implement some of its radical plans on wages and public spending, defying protests from Brussels, Frankfurt, and Berlin.

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