IMF/EU RIFT: For once, Lagarde is right. As always, the EU is wrong. And Syiza too is divided.

lagardeaccuseIN SAYING IT WANTS TO WITHDRAW FROM GREEK SUPPORT, THE IMF IS BEING FAR MORE CRITICAL OF THE EU THAN IT IS OF GREECE.

Before anyone is helped by Wolfgang Schäuble to rush to the wrong conclusions on the IMF’s last and final warning “to Greece” of last night, I think we ought to set the record straight. The mistake lies in the misleading use of “to Greece”.

This is what sources tell me the IMF’s euro bloke Poul Thomsen actually said (my emphases):

“It is vital at this time that the eurozone’s finance ministers comprehend fully our position. This is that without radical so-called debt ‘haircuts’, the Greek debt cannot be sustained…and so until that changes, we are loathe to continue supporting the eurogroupe programme”

This is what the Financial Times actually wrote in its piece:

‘Greece is so far off course on its €172bn bailout programme that it faces losing vital International Monetary Fund support unless European lenders write off significant amounts of its sovereign debt, the fund has warned Athens’ eurozone creditors’
And this from the Sydney Herald:
‘The IMF’s Poul Thomsen has warned Athens’ eurozone creditors that it may hold back its portion of a €7.2bn tranche of bailout aid that Greece is desperately attempting to secure to avoid bankruptcy’

The IMF is accusing the Nordeurope nutters here, not the Syriza Government.

For all her myriad faults (narcissism, stupidity, overuse of tanning creams, unfortunate tonsorial advice and so forth) Christine Lagarde is being consistent with IMF strategy when she says the Greek debt is unsustainable. She does not add the words “and it’s all their own fault” we have come to expect from Bild and fat-necked CDU backbenchers: the IMF pushed hard for Greek private-bank debt to be given a crewcut in 2012. The organisation was only persuaded to continue with the self-serving Brussels-am-Berlin ‘programme’ at that time because the eurogroupe promised to set a trend by 2014 for getting Athens’ debt down to 110% of gdp by 2022.

In fact, the EC and the Eunatics have done nothing at all to deliver on this promise (no change there) because it doesn’t suit them so to do. Today, Dijesselbleom and his Schäublistas remain 100% opposed to any Greek debt forgiveness. But the debt-to-gdp ratio is 179%.

So: we broke our promise Chrissie, but hey, why should that hold you back, eh?

No, people – the IMF is effectively saying, “Are you all mad or what? Do you want to get something back and a recovering Greece, or get nothing and a dead Greece?” That’s actually me putting into English what the IMF is saying here. It is a gist to which, I suspect, Berlin, Brussels and the Shark’s Finn soup stirrers would have no answer.

On the other side of the coin, we need to be wary of thinking that any and all things emitted by Syriza HQ have the Tsipras/Varoufakis blessing. Today, for instance, Costas Lapavitsas has been playing hardball in answer to the usual MSM trotting out of ‘noose around Leftists neck’: Costas threatens to have a controlled Grexit back to the Drachma involving only a 15-20% currency devaluation. But he is not a man of the Left, and not in the Tsipras inner circle. Syriza remains what it’s always been – a loose coalition brought together and nurtured by a threat to Greek viability: the irony remains (as always) that were the squareheads in Brussels-am-Berlin not such sanctimonious pugilists, Syriza wouldn’t exist.

What’s going on here is a subtle battle on many levels between two sides with, between them, almost a dozen warring factions. I often get stuff wrong about it, but then I’m an increasingly derelict pro-am living in semi-retirement. Compared to what I and many others write on the net about the fascist tendencies of the EU – and the dire mistreatment of innocent Greek citizens – the old media and political comments on this farrago of fluff are beneath contempt, and less than superficial. Rather, they are pro tem and superfluous: hastily scribbled by bits of human blotting paper with a serious vision problem.

Earlier at The Slog: Flatlining France & the Interest rate of Doom

18 thoughts on “IMF/EU RIFT: For once, Lagarde is right. As always, the EU is wrong. And Syiza too is divided.

  1. “It is vital at this time that the eurozone’s finance ministers comprehend fully our position. NOW THAT WE ALL KNOW THAT “EU” ARE ONTO “US”, WE NEED TO GET THIS GAME BACK ON THE ROAD”.
    Since when did the IMF un-become a US proxy?
    After Dominique Strauss-Kahn gate?

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  2. Do you think a thirtyfive percent debt haircut will do the trick or is this to little too late? Oh where is Winston now he’s needed!! Really a public announcement!! the Banksters almost never air their dirty linen in Public!! Golden Dawn will be parading in the streets. Tsiparis and Merkel are now squeezed into the exact corner where GD wanted them. Tsiparis has to ask what Merkel can’t give. If he settles for less, neither the bond markets nor the Greek public will tolerate it and Merkel can’t give the debt haircut without the German banks approval which she ain’t gonna get by the weekend, if ever. Do you get the feeling

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  3. ” …. unfortunate tonsorial advice …” John ?

    I was so convinced you were intimating the lady possessed an Adam s Apple I checked on Google Images.
    Viewed from any and all angles it is plain that unfortunately she does not .

    By tonsorial advice d’ you mean simply loose/wayward/ misleading talk ?

    ( Probably the only female politician with an Adam s Appke remains Angie Geli …. unless of course Hitlerry Clinton is about to bare her neck …..)

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  4. Tonsorial – of or relating to barbering or a barber. The subject here is the hair style not the tonsils.

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  5. O/T. Garry, a previous Scottish MP and two year tenant of No. 10 has emerged, from the shadows, to make a passionate plea to his fellow Jocks against them voting for the ‘sNASTYp, two of whose ‘thugs’ have been put in ‘administrative suspension’ today by Nadolphe Sturgeon ,the party leader, who like Garry is not standing in this election. The smart money, post the ‘ Garry saving Scotland’ moment is now on a late swing to CMD getting 310 seats, for which various turf accountants offer reasonable odds.

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  6. Informed sources have written that Lagarde is a lawyer by trade, has no in depth financial knowledge, and has somehow risen to where she is on the back of her unusual ‘je ne sais pas quoi’ demeanour, channel no 7 edt and unusually active hormonal levels, creating a bucking bronco challenge for very important people who have taken it upon themselves to energetically interview her between the sheets.

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  7. How can you possibly believe anything that evil corrupt lying orange tart says. This is the IMF slapping the bitch down in Europe over Putin

    There is one thing and one thing only I will give Junkface credit for. As a dirty crony evil lying twisted pervert, he is the embodiment of every despicable trait in any filthy bureaucrat.
    But he is not stupid. He is evil but that’s different, and he is quite correct that Anglo Saxon forces are at work here.
    What he doesn’t say is who those people are.
    Well, they are the neocons in Washington, they are the ones pulling the strings in Brussels, and it is the US puppet banker the IMF that is used purely as a tool to destroy nations and force them to toe Washington’s line.
    This is not about Greece, Junkface knows that too, that this about Putin, and forcing Europe that is backpedaling on support for the neocons in setting fire to the Ukraine by backing 100 the puppet regime Nazi thugs that Washington installed in Kiev.
    Europe does not want a war on its doorstep with Russia.
    Washington war mongering neocons do and will do anything to achieve that. Because they are very very rapidly becoming irrelevant in the world and a Russia Chinese axis will overtake them. and as is already happening make the petro dollar worthless.
    If Washing cannot coax backing, and it was foaming with insane fury when Merkel, vile repulsive reptile as she is, went with the flabby ignorant moron Holland to see Putin, then it will use force.

    What you are seeing now is Washington using the IMF to effectively warn Europe, that back Washington war mongering neocons against Russia or they will set fire to Europe.
    By first setting fire to Greece. And they know that forcing Greece to default, that the IMF can do quite easily, by refusing backing will force Greece out of the filthy ponzi voucher and back to the Drachma.
    And despite all the garbage uttered by Europe coping with Greece leaving, it will not, It will catch fire too.
    And Junkface knows that too.
    It is quite easy to see the solution to Greece getting bailed out at a fraction of the cost of the bottomless, utterly irretrievable pit in the Ukraine.
    All Europe has to do is concede defeat to Washington and follow closely its instructions on what to sanction, how to do it, when to do it, how much to spend on it, how many lives they are allowed to lose what weapons they must hand over to the Kiev junta of Nazi thugs and how many soldiers to send there and die.
    Then Greece will miraculously get all the bail out money it ever needs and the disgusting toad at the ECB will print away merrily accepting any worthless tat from Greece as collateral.

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  8. The only exception to that is if the ECB agrees to dump its 100bn. They can just write this loss off.

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  9. Correction JW:

    Lapavitsas IS most certainly a man of the Left and edits the New Left Review in London where he normally lives. He is not a member of Lafazanis’ Left Platform inside SYRIZA. Lapavitsas has built a career advocating Grexit and apparently imagined SYRIZA would bow down to his wise words when he took leave of his London day job to join SYRIZA. He may have imagined himself as Fin Min, who knows what this nutter thinks?

    At the moment he is a total loose cannon giving aid and comfort to Greece’s enemies – he’s a new member of SYRIZA, yet preaches to an international audience of SYRIZA’s supposed failure (from week 2 no less) – and is duly leapt on and quoted by the MSM as ‘proof’ of SYRIZA’s failure, incompetence, internal divisions, a party collapsing and riven against itself yadda yadda yadda. I assume this will help his career (such as it is) in certain left organs when he decides to retire.

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  10. I’m not so confidant that IMF is on Greece’s side since Poul Thomsen and Lagarde are also insisting, along with a haircut, that Greece enter a 3rd ‘extreme’ austerity programme. This demand is based on the fact that since SYRIZA came to power in January, Greece has gradually lost its fiscal surplus and is now in deficit. Never mind that the ECB created that deficit almost single handedly by acting illegally and politically [against its mandate] on Feb. 12, cutting Greece off from financing itself through T-bills. Further, ECB has also refused to return the “mistakenly” returned, unspent 1,2 Bn EUR portion of Greece’s bank refinancing, even as Greek taxpayers remain on the hook for this.

    My sense is that IMF is 100% on USA/IMF’s side in a crisis of international credibility and legitimacy brought about by a very real existential threat posed by the newly formed AIB.

    The final straw precipitating this event was Greece. BRICS and Asia had objected violently inside the IMF to the Greek programme, predicting the exact results; 2-3 years later as their predictions were confirmed, they went public with it. It is these countries that proceeded to set up AIB, as an alternative development bank. Except for China, they are also all countries who have suffered through sovereign-state-destructive, US corporate-favouring IMF programmes.

    Meanwhile the outright failure, transparent politicisation and destructive incompetence (even by its own standards) of the Greek programme is clear to the world. Mme. Lagarde’s (and IMF’s) neutrality is also in question since she took over from the framed, politically decapitated Strauss Kahn midway through the Greek crisis – leaving her position as France’s Finmin under Sarkozy to do so. Yes, France – which happened to have the greatest exposure to Greek debt and is still on the hook for 60bn.

    To provide some cover for herself/IMF, Lagarde has initiated an internal review of the Greek program. No doubt this will result in some mild self-criticism and blame-shifting.

    Whether Greece will benefit from these machinations???? we wait & see.

    ps. I repeat my observation above that the only portion of Greece’s debt that can be haircut without consequence is the ECB’s 100 Bn.

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  11. Who said that the IMF would be on Greece’s side? It certainly isn’t.

    Economically rational and cold as ice, the IMF is simply interested in is withdrawing its overexposition in Greece as fast as possible and minimizing write-downs. Finally, cooperation with the European institutions, especially the morally overloaded Germans, has become a nightmare for them.

    The IMF has never been fond of the German government strategy of reframing a bailout of neoliberal policy as an act of political solidarity, even less as in the German context it is stipulating calls for German-style Ordnungspolitik, which Schäuble now excessively rides. In the end, the IMF isn’t ready to be held responsible for the German neomercantilist strategy which increasingly holds Europe (and for a good part the world economy) hostage to its reawakened dominance ambitions.

    So while the IMF isn’t solidary nor obsessed with helping the Greeks, it is clearly pushing against Schäuble’s project of domination by overt subjugation and debt hostage. Objectively that is quite helpful for the Greek cause, as it at least opens up leeway for alternate ways of framing the current situation.

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  12. I’ve been wondering myself whether Varoufakis was also a proxy-part of those meddling Anglo-Saxon forces, given his academic background in the US.
    He’s been doing a damned good job of keeping everyone distracted till he got himself sidelined.

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