This week the world watched as Greece continued its fight for economic survival. Armed with the Greek people's resounding "no" vote on yet another round of economy-killing austerity measures, Prime Minister Tsipras went back to the negotiating table with EU negotiators. But the rescue package he presented to the Greek Parliament on Friday was a mixed bag: while it includes fresh loans, it also comes with the kind of destructive elements -- like regressive taxes and pension cuts -- that already tanked the Greek economy. As the 28 EU leaders meet today, it's clear that Greece isn't fighting mindless austerity just for Greece, but also for the rest of Europe. The Greek public's bold stance has galvanized anti-austerity groups across Europe. It's like a proxy fight in a new cold war -- but this one isn't East vs. West, it's the failed past vs. a sustainable future.
At first sight, there is little to connect the ugliness in China and Greece. The former reflects the unwinding of a market bubble; and the latter is driven by weak and deteriorating economic and financial fundamentals. Yet both share a common element, and they are not the only ones: They have benefited from the ultra-loose experimental policies that have been pursued by major central banks around the world.
PARIS -- Ancient Greek had two words for the people: the "demos" of democracy and the "laos" of the mob. With his puerile call to shift the burden of his own errors and his reluctance to reform onto the shoulders of Greece's fellow Europeans, Tsipras is leaning toward the latter manifestation -- and promoting the worst version of Greek politics.
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."