Every day brings more headlines in the European debt drama: "Greece elects anti-austerity government." "Greek Finance Minister says he won't negotiate with the 'Troika.'" "Anti-austerity movements gain ground across Europe." What's behind these stories? What does the future hold? Are there any implications for the U.S.? Here's an overview of the situation as it currently stands.
In the following interview, Mario Seccareccia, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, talks about why what happened to Greece was entirely predictable, why the Greeks were right to reject austerity in the recent election, and what challenges the country faces in forging a sustainable path forward with the left-wing Syriza party at the helm.
Greece's and Europe's long-term best interests require the kind of reform that Greek governments have failed to pursue. And neither Mr. Tsipras nor any other individual leader or single country can be expected to contribute to such a policy shift without quick, clear and strong EU and social alliances.
The internal political situation is highly polarized between political forces playing with fear and insecurity and others capitalizing on anger and despair. This inflates extreme right and left populism. Much irresponsible and opportunistic rhetoric abounds. This polarization is squeezing out moderate left of center forces that historically have been fundamental in promoting democracy and reforms in Greece.