BERLIN -- Tsipras squandered Greece's opportunity, because he and other Syriza leaders were unable to see beyond the horizon of their party's origins in radical opposition activism. They did not understand the difference between campaigning and governing. Realpolitik, in their view, was a sellout. Of course, it is precisely the acceptance of necessity that marks the difference between government and opposition.
ATHENS -- The current disagreements with our partners are not unbridgeable. Our government is eager to rationalize the pension system (for example, by limiting early retirement), proceed with partial privatization of public assets, address the non-performing loans that are clogging the economy's credit circuits, create a fully independent tax commission and boost entrepreneurship. The differences that remain concern how we understand the relationships between the various reforms and the macro environment.
The important point to remember is that the United States cares far more about the health of the European Union and the global financial system than it does about Greece. If the Tsipras government continues to seem aggressively ambivalent about its desire for rescue within that system, the U.S. government will watch from the sidelines as it sinks.
What does the sudden appreciation of the Swiss franc mean for the Eurozone? Will Russia's financial distress spill over to its neighbors? How those questions are answered will affect some of the world's richest countries -- the likes of France, Germany, and Italy. Usually ignored, it will also affect some of the poorest.