THE BLOG

Greece and Europe on the Edge

02/19/2015 10:27 am ET | Updated Apr 21, 2015

In the language of politics, I am neither a leftwing nor a rightwing. I am a liberal who treasures freedom, democratic virtues, and the natural world. I feel uncomfortable with the extremes of tyranny, religion and plutocracy.

I inherited this political tradition from Greece that also gave me life.

Right now, however, Greece is in trouble with Europe. This Europe is no longer the continent of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, two eras that brought to life the ancient Greek ideas of science, political theory and philosophy. Europe then was grateful to Greece for her science and civilization that made the modern world.

Now Europe rarely speaks kindly about Greece because Europe is an agglomeration of nations kept together not by Greek reason and democratic ideas but by selfishness and power. America's military alliance, otherwise known as NATO, defines Europe.

The second tie that binds Western Europe is a Wall Street-like economics of inequality. Plutocracy, the worst form of government, is behind the rising inequality in Europe. It is also at the core of the disagreement between Greece and Europe.

Greece is not innocent in this conflict. For the last thirty years or so, irresponsible Greek politicians borrowed heavily from European banks. Most of these politicians received their education in America. Once in power, these politicians served foreign interests and ignored the needs of the country. They destroyed Greek industry and started importing almost everything. The result of this corruption is a nearly bankrupt country that is not self-sufficient even in food.

The clash between indebted Greece and its lenders came to the fore in 2009 when the so-called European Union, the European Central Bank, and America's International Monetary Fund forced Greece to sign a series of humiliating memoranda that, in fact, did more than humiliate the country. These agreements violated Greek and international law. They resorted to mass punishment and made Greek sovereignty null and void.

These memoranda created a curious phenomenon. The EU and its partners, known as the Troika, created a colony in the very country that, literally, gave Europe its name and brought it out of dark-age barbarism.

It's simply inconceivable to think or talk about Europe or the West, which includes America, without Greece. And, yet, so low did these traditions of civilization drop by 2009, that Europe and America thought nothing strange by treating Greece no better than a colonial dependency.

Greeks, of course, saw the travesty for what it was. The pain was real. It's the legacy of this anger, injustice, and insults that brought to power the new Greek government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

I object to some proposed policies of his government -- like considering Greek citizenship for countless illegal immigrants, many of whom are Moslems Turkey is shipping to Greece. However, I agree with Tsipras on Europe.

Greece must regain its sovereignty and dignity. If the Troika keeps up its colonial talk, time has come for Greece to abandon fake Europe.

If Greece leaves Europe, the EU dream will be gone for good. Second, other European countries like Portugal, Spain and Ireland, also under the humiliations of debt, might imitate Greece and exit the EU.

Before this confrontation breaks up Europe, it would be wise for America to intervene. President Obama already criticized the Troika's policies of austerity in Greece [http://www.wsj.com/articles/obama-expresses-sympathy-for-new-greek-government-1422830309]. He should insist the IMF, which is a branch of the US Treasury Department, ought to reduce considerably or, better yet, forgive its part of the Greek debt. Such a generous action - not dissimilar to the Marshall Plan for post-WWII recovery of Europe -- is bound to shake up the ruthlessness of Germany, which guides and dictates the economic policies of the EU.

Someone is bound to remind Germany it still owns a considerable debt to Greece for the atrocities and massive destruction it caused the country during its ruthless occupation of Greece from 1941 to 1944. If Germany intends to teach Greece a lesson in 2015, then time has come for the international community, namely the U.S., to teach Germany a lesson: force the country to pay up the debt it owns Greece.

Second, the U.S. forgave Germany its massive debt from WWII. If Germany had to pay all those reparations, it would probably never been able to recover from the wounds of war.

Time is now to cool the tempers of Europe leading, probably, to more fissures in the political and cultural unity of the continent. Greece is symbolically at the center of this surfacing war between the haves of the North and the have-nots of the south.

It's in the political interests of the U.S. to intervene decisively and prevent the break up of the Western world.