LONDON -- When push came to shove, Varoufakis faced the difficult choice of going along with more of the same, despite knowing that it would fail, or trying to pivot to a new approach. He bravely opted for the latter. While his brash style undermined outcomes, it would be a real tragedy to lose sight of his arguments (which have been made by many others as well).
BRISTOL -- Populism appeals to the "will of people" but is actually profoundly undemocratic. Democracy is about the negotiation of competing interests and the balancing of different values. Populism, in contrast, is a kind of mob rule. Where there is complexity, it offers simple solutions. Instead of seeking common ground, it looks to exaggerate the differences between them and us.
ATHENS -- Tsipras can become a leader of stature and take the deal and side with the vast majority of Greeks on either side of the "Yes"/"No" divide to whom he has promised to remain in the euro and undertake the reforms Syriza has resisted. Alternatively, he can live a short moment of glory as a revolutionary by siding with a small minority of the "no" camp and turn the country into a failed state run by a new set of authoritarian oligarchs.
ATHENS -- Tsipras appeared triumphant to greet his voters last night. What kind of a triumph it is remains puzzling. A few meters away from the victorious prime minister in Syntagma Square, the heart of Greece, the ATMs stand dark and empty. "It's sad to admit that we see darker days than before, darker even than during the dictatorship," I heard an old woman saying while queuing to get money a few days ago. "Back then there was political discontent but no poverty. Now we have both."
QUITO -- No country -- including Greece -- should expect to be offered debt relief on a silver platter; relief must be earned and justified by real reforms that restore growth, to the benefit of both debtor and creditor. And yet, a corpse cannot carry out reforms. That is why debt relief and reforms must be offered together, not reforms "first" with some vague promises that debt relief will come in some unspecified amount at some unspecified time in the future (as some in Europe have said to Greece).
Although the eurozone is better equipped than it was in the past, it is still a highly imperfect monetary union. In fact, if Greece exits, new vulnerabilities will emerge, and there is no certainty other weak southern periphery economies will actually be protected. This may add to the many reasons for the two parties to reach an agreement this week, allowing Greece to remain in the eurozone. The alternative could be the beginning of the end of the euro.
DUBLIN -- The decisive nature of the No vote should persuade European leaders to set aside their hopes of forcing regime change and to focus their minds on the practical implications of a Grexit. They need to acknowledge something that is widely accepted: that Greece cannot pay back all of the money loaned by Europe. Pushing Greece towards a euro exit is probably the strategy that will ultimately minimize the return of money to the creditors.
Unlike many letters from Congress that are ignored by the executive branch, this one might be taken more seriously by the IMF and the U.S. Treasury department -- which is the IMF's most powerful overseer. One reason is that the IMF has been trying for five years to enact reforms in its governance structure that are very important to the Fund and Treasury -- reforms that can't be enacted unless they are approved by Congress.