ATHENS -- The strong mandate he got from the polls, has put a burden on Mr. Tsipras to fulfill the great expectations he produced. If he succeeds, the Spanish Podemos, the French Front National and Italy's Bepe Grillo could all follow suit and question Berlin's fiscal orthodoxy. The much feared domino effect set off by Greece at the outset of euro crisis in 2010 could now materialize in another way.
Europe should count itself lucky that a leftwing anti-austerity party won the Greek elections, swept into office by citizens who've had enough. Elsewhere in Europe, seven years of stupid, punitive, and self-defeating austerity policies have led to gains by the far right. If a radical left party is now in power in Athens and sending tremors through Europe's financial markets, the EU's smug leaders and their banker allies in Frankfurt, Brussels and Berlin have only themselves to blame. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the winning Syriza coalition, says he doesn't want Greece to leave the Euro. He just wants Europe's leaders to renegotiate Greece's debt. It's about time. This crisis could have ended years ago with far less suffering for ordinary people who had no responsibilities for the offending policies. Greece, after all, has about two percent of the EU's total economic product -- and it has about 25 percent less than it had before the crisis. Writing off Greece's debt outright would have cost peanuts, and still would.
If you have any spare cash laying around and need of a vacation, Chevy Chase would probably recommend that you go to Europe. The euro currency has dipped to a nine-year low against the dollar. That is good for tourists going to Europe, but is not good for European economic prospects in the long term. Why?
Despite some recent apparent signs of improvement, in the past two years we've had very negative economic news from Europe, particularly from countries such as Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Portugal. High unemployment, failed banks, fiscal insolvency, and a growing distrust of markets are just a few of the difficulties.