The Greek Prime Minister startled Europe and the financial world Monday by announcing that he will be calling a referendum on the terms of the latest deal negotiated by European leaders and bankers.
On one level Papandreou is simply weary of being the agent of his own country's economic destruction at the hands of bankers. He also is tired of the political unpopularity that comes with the role of broker of austerity.
But more importantly, Papandreou is resisting a double-cross already being cooked up by the bankers. He is playing the one card he has -- if the bankers walk away from the partial debt relief committed in principle at the recent EU summit, Greece will default. And Papandreou wants that decision to be made, knowingly, by the Greek people and not by technocrats.
One can assume that the panic that rippled through Europe's financial and political circles was about what Papandreou intended. Greece now has the desperation power of the weak. Papandreou's is a brave, nervy, high-stakes move, and one that deserves our respect.
Read the full post on The American Prospect.
Follow Robert Kuttner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rkuttner