Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
Don’t believe the tripe about the crisis in Europe. With the election of the Syriza Party in Greece, the Greek people have offered Europe hope. This is Europe’s chance to turn from the crippling austerity that has left the South mired in depression and the North sinking in deflation. Syriza is calling for a “New Deal,” not only for Greece but for all of Europe.
The question is whether the rest of Europe will exhibit statesmanship—or condemn the people of Europe to years more of misery. The initial reactions in Germany and Brussels opt for misery. Now is the time for the Obama administration, progressives in Congress and across the country to join in a bold call to save Europe from its folly.
The facts of the situation are clear. The Greek debt cannot be repaid. When the bottom dropped out of the global economy, Greece, plagued by a corrupt and indebted government, was the most vulnerable of the European Union nations. The so-called “troika”—the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF—stepped in to bail out reckless banks, assume most of the debt, and inflict harsh terms on the Greeks to repay it. The Greeks have sold off their assets, crushed workers, trampled labor laws and slashed vital public services to ensure that the private bankers be paid.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.