06 July 2015

Greece 1967 / Greece 2015

The CIA backed Junta which took power in 1967 represented a reaction to the Greek left. They established a military dictatorship which ruled Greece until 1974 when the fiasco in Cyprus brought them down.

As the United States made abundantly clear in the 1990's, non-compliance in Europe is not allowed. Serbia had to find out the hard way. And interestingly once again one of Russia's historical allies is on the ropes. The timing is also interesting because Russia was impotent in the 1990's when NATO moved on Serbia. Once again Russia is in a position of weakness and internal struggle. It may not seem like that to viewers of the Western media but be sure Russia is feeling stressed and besieged, and Putin is not happy with the present situation. Russia's economic woes a result of oil prices and the sanctions war being waged against Moscow have seriously compromised Putin's hold on power.

The sanctions are never presented as an act of war in our media but that's how they must be understood.

Retired Greek officers are starting to speak out. They want the pro-EU and pro-NATO position to be taken and the programme of austerity to continue. Tsipras must either comply or go. If he doesn't get in line, will the parliament take him down, or the military?

It's not likely we'll return to a ban on the Beatles and the mini-skirt and the kind of authoritarian ultra-conservative rule represented by the Junta, but Berlin, Brussels and Washington will want to see the Greek left utterly crushed. The reign of the Greek Colonels allowed a reaction to occur and unintentionally facilitated PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou to eventually come to power. His form of socialism proved a nightmare for the United States and its control of Europe. When the Colonel's came to power in 1967, CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (whose character appears in the film 'Charlie Wilson's War') told to the Colonels to "shoot the motherf----- because he's going to come back to haunt you." Well, they didn't and Andreas was able to come to power in the early 1980's. He defied expectations by keeping Greece in NATO and didn't force the American bases to close. That's what probably kept him alive. But he became an agitator lambasting US policy and openly identified with its enemies.

The embattled Tsipras does not have the kind of popular support Papandreou had in the 1980's and 90's. It is probable he won't even be allowed to play the role of agitator. NATO membership, the EU and Eurozone membership represent security for some nations and others are learning that it can also be a trap.

Will a Greek exit break the Euro and harm the overall EU project? Everyone has been offering their opinions on this point, but Berlin and Brussels won't want to risk it. The US as usual uses Europe when convenient but also doesn't like to see them too strong. At this moment I'm sure Washington is frustrated because on the one hand a weak Europe is usually a good thing but with the tensions over Russia they would rather (for the moment) see the EU as strong and united.

A military coup would solve the problem. The die is hardly cast but if it happens, we shouldn't be surprised.

John Perkins also offers some interesting comments:

And interestingly another Lew Rockwell regular Eric Margolis takes the Neoliberal position. I usually agree with Margolis and some of the Lew Rockwell crowd when it comes to geo-politics but I often differ when it comes to economics and how these questions tie in with the larger issues. Margolis' concerns are valid but in this case I don't think he gets it right. I think Perkins' insights are probably more helpful.

Robert Kaplan is a bit of a Neoconservative and thus not above criticism but I've always found his writings interesting and helpful, even when I don't agree with him. He deals with Andreas Papandreou extensively in his book 'Balkan Ghosts' which came out in the early 1990's. Papandreou's son George currently heads PASOK, but let's just say, he's not his father and at present seems all but washed up.