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