Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

28 March 2017

** Notes from Europe's Periphery

Friedman's Weekly
By George Friedman

Both ends of the Continent's periphery are shifting away from the core.

I’m writing this from London and heading from here to Poland and Hungary. This seems like a trip from one Europe to the other. In fact, at this point in history, these places have a great deal in common. They are each on Europe’s periphery, trying to define their relationship to Europe and trying to cope with the radical implications of the right to national self-determination.

Europe’s core since the late 19th century has been Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In some ways, this was Charlemagne’s Europe, which was the organizing core of the European Peninsula. These countries, with the addition of Italy and Luxembourg, also established the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually evolved into the European Union. Together they account for a substantial proportion of Europe’s wealth.

Europe’s periphery consists of the countries and regions that surround this core: Scandinavia, the British Isles, Iberia, the Balkans and what used to be called Eastern Europe. A strong argument can be made that Italy also should be considered part of the periphery. Italy had been the center of a great Mediterranean empire in the distant past, but it was never part of the Europe that Charlemagne created.

What We Know About the London Attack


Four people were killed — including the attacker and one police officer — and 40 others were injured in the March 22 vehicular assault on Westminster Bridge and in the knife attack near the Houses of Parliament in London. The attacker drove a Hyundai Tucson over Westminster Bridge toward Parliament, striking several people, including three police officers, before crashing into a gate. He then left the vehicle, knife in hand, and sprinted into Old Palace Yard, where he was tackled by an unarmed police officer. He stabbed the officer, who later died from his wounds, before being shot by a second officer. The attacker would later die from his wounds as well. The area was then put under security lockdown.

Parliament was in session and preparing for Prime Minister Theresa May's questions session, which meant the full legislature was in the building. May was moved to a secure location, but the evacuation of Parliament was held up while the bomb squad checked a suspicious package in the vehicle. Eventually the lockdown was lifted. Meanwhile, authorities carried out searches in six locations across London and Birmingham, arresting eight people.

The attacker was initially identified in major media reports as British citizen Abu Izzadeen — born Trevor Brooks. But those reports were withdrawn after his lawyer said Izzadeen is currently incarcerated, a report many major outlets have corroborated. Prime Minister May said March 23 that the attacker was born in the United Kingdom and had been investigated by British intelligence agency MI5, but was "a peripheral figure." London police have since identified the attacker as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old native of Kent who had previously been convicted for crimes, unrelated to terrorism.

27 March 2017

Europe at 60 Can Europe be saved?


ON MARCH 25th 1957, with the shadow of the second world war still hanging over them, six European countries signed the founding treaty of a new sort of international club. The European Union, as the club came to be called, achieved success on a scale its founders could barely have imagined, not only underpinning peace on the continent but creating a single market as well as a single currency, and bringing into its fold ex-dictatorships to the south and ex-communist countries to the east, as it expanded from six members to 28. Yet even as today’s European leaders gather in Rome this weekend to celebrate the 60th anniversary, they know their project is in big trouble.

The threats are both external and internal. Internally, the flaws that became glaringly evident in the euro crisis have yet to be fixed. Prolonged economic pain has contributed to a plunge in support for the EU. Populist, anti-European parties are attacking the EU’s very existence—not least in France, where Marine Le Pen is doing uncomfortably well in the presidential campaign, even if the National Front leader is unlikely to win in May. The most dramatic result of the anti-EU backlash so far is Brexit. Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, will not be in Rome for the birthday party; on March 29th she plans to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty to start the Brexit process. Negotiations over Britain’s departure will consume much time and energy for the next two years; losing such a big member is also a huge blow to the club’s influence and credibility.

26 March 2017

*** Notes from Europe's Periphery

Friedman's Weekly
By George Friedman

Both ends of the Continent's periphery are shifting away from the core.

I’m writing this from London and heading from here to Poland and Hungary. This seems like a trip from one Europe to the other. In fact, at this point in history, these places have a great deal in common. They are each on Europe’s periphery, trying to define their relationship to Europe and trying to cope with the radical implications of the right to national self-determination.

Europe’s core since the late 19th century has been Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. In some ways, this was Charlemagne’s Europe, which was the organizing core of the European Peninsula. These countries, with the addition of Italy and Luxembourg, also established the European Coal and Steel Community, which eventually evolved into the European Union. Together they account for a substantial proportion of Europe’s wealth.

Europe’s periphery consists of the countries and regions that surround this core: Scandinavia, the British Isles, Iberia, the Balkans and what used to be called Eastern Europe. A strong argument can be made that Italy also should be considered part of the periphery. Italy had been the center of a great Mediterranean empire in the distant past, but it was never part of the Europe that Charlemagne created.

** Centrist Contenders Arise in Europe


Emmanuel Macron has surged to prominence in the French presidential election. Opinion polls show that the center-left candidate and the National Front's Marine Le Pen are favored to reach the second round of voting.

The emergence of strong nationalism and Euroskepticism across Europe has challenged Europe's traditional political parties and threatened the continuity of Continental integration. But in the past few weeks, the political establishment has found itself under fire from a different direction. In Germany and France, which hold general elections this year, candidates who express dissatisfaction with the political status quo yet defend closer European ties have gained popularity. If those candidates are successful, immediate fears about the eurozone's future could fade, even though the underlying causes of the populist wave sweeping Europe would remain.

The Contenders

As France nears the first round of presidential elections in April, opinion polls show that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron has pulled even with National Front leader Marine Le Pen for first place. Polls also suggest that Macron would defeat Le Pen in the election's second round, which will be held in May. Macron's rise (his support, which hovered around 20 percent in January, was roughly 26 percent in March) parallels the emergence of corruption scandals embroiling the former frontrunner, center-right candidate Francois Fillon (who dropped from around 25 percent to roughly 18 percent in the same period), and the movement of the Socialist Party to more left-wing positions. Macron, a former banker and graduate of the prestigious National School of Administration, seems to have succeeded at presenting himself as a political outsider, even though he briefly served as economy minister under Francois Hollande.

London Terror: To Win The War, The West Needs To Empower Reformist Muslims

R Jagannathan

By giving ordinary Muslims the option of convincing themselves that they are victims rather than perpetrators, we are essentially disempowering the rational voices in the community.

It is this group that needs empowerment, so that Islam rethinks its history and reworks its own imperialist tendencies.

If the world is to become a saner place, it is Islam that needs to be secularised, and this task can be done only by Muslims.

The London terror attack yesterday (22 March), which is likely to have been prompted by Islamist rage and jihadi activity, is one more proof that the world has not got its anti-terrorism act right. The world is losing the “war on terror” because one cannot win against shadowy combatants who believe in asymmetric warfare.

Terrorism is a tactic in Islam’s cosmic war against Christendom, and no strategy can win permanently against opponents who deploy flexible tactics, as Daniel DePetris, wrote in The American Conservative some time ago. You can crash aircraft into the Twin Towers one day, you can blow yourself up against a military target, you can run over and kill ordinary citizens on a promenade by driving a truck into them (or a car, as in London), or, as in India, you can kill people by trying to derail trains. There is little that anti-terror warriors can do if a terrorist is willing to die in the process of killing others. Islam has an inherent advantage in this tactic, for Muslims seem more willing to kill themselves for uncertain gains in the afterlife than most other people.

23 March 2017

Greece’s Debt Crisis Isn't Over—and It Could Still Bring Down Europe

Yiannis Baboulias

As the Greek economic crisis enters its seventh year, the difficulties standing in the way of its resolution continue to mount. At first glance, this is surprising. After all, Greece is a small country, representing just 2 percent of the European Union’s economy, and is home to just over 10 million of the bloc’s more than 500 million citizens. But it has played an outsize role in driving the political and economic uncertainty facing Europe today, and has in many ways taken the brunt of the fallout.

For Greece and Europe, nothing has been the same since 2008, when news emerged that the country’s budget deficit was many times what the government had been declaring for years. In 2010, it stood at 15 percent, triggering the first bailout deal between Greece and a troika of lenders: the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank. ...

Europe's Reverse Domino Effect

By Pierpaolo Barbieri

Following France’s 1954 humiliation at the hands of the Viet Minh at Dien Bien Phu, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower divined the phrase “domino effect” to suggest that the victory of communist guerrillas would lead to a cascade of parallel events elsewhere: “You have a row of dominos set up,” Eisenhower said. “You knock over the first one. … What will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.” Ike’s idea caught on; the “domino” concept was applied to everything from the Cuban Revolution to the Prague Spring.

Most recently, the prospect of a domino effect was a staple of discussions of the British referendum on EU membership. In this case, a first-mover (the United Kingdom) would trigger the implosion of the EU by daring to exit first. It would be swiftly followed by others eager to free themselves from the shackles of transnational regulators and their world-leading single market.

Domino distress served both sides. As the Leave campaign heated up in October 2015, British entrepreneur Jim Mellon warned that “the EU is heading for a cataclysmic implosion and Britain must get out to avoid (the) grim repercussions.” It implied a chaotic unravelling. The following February, Daily Mail columnist Dominic Sanbrook gave it a historical spin: “If [EU leaders] fail to learn the lessons of the past, then one day, I fear, the EU will go the way of the Soviet Union—a discredited vision of utopian internationalism, unceremoniously dumped in the dustbin of history.”

21 March 2017

New priorities for the European Union at 60


Sixty years ago, on March 25, 1957, the heads of government of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands met in Rome to sign the treaty establishing the European Economic Community, the forerunner of today’s European Union (EU). The document is explicit about its objectives: the preamble announces that the treaty will “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” and improve living and working conditions through “common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe.” 

This group expanded from six initial members to 28 countries with a combined population of more than 500 million and GDP of €15 trillion (exhibit). That makes the European Union the second-largest economic entity in the world after the United States, representing about one-fifth of global GDP. The customs union for the free circulation of goods that the accord set up now includes free movement of people, capital, and services. Living and working conditions have improved in ways the treaty signatories may not have imagined. The EU has also played an essential geopolitical role during its six decades, ensuring peace and stability among European neighbors that had spent previous centuries at war. And it has helped shore up young democracies in countries including Greece, Portugal, and Spain, as well as in the ten Eastern European nations that have joined since 2004. 

20 March 2017

European Defence 2016

By Zoe Stanley-Lockman

The first EUISS Security Monthly Stats (SMS) brings together defence data from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 2016. Aggregating figures from the 28 EU member states, the graphics answer a series of questions about defence spending levels and arms exports.

How much did the EU-28 spend on defense in 2016?


19 March 2017

** Preserving Order Amid Change in NAFTA

By Reva Goujon and Matthew Bey

It took more than a decade and three presidencies, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, to conceive and craft the North American Free Trade Agreement. Will a single presidency manage to undo the process of North American integration? While the risk is real, the reality may be less dramatic.

The Invisible Hand of Geopolitics

Just as in economics, there is an invisible hand in geopolitics that shapes the behavior of our politicians and business leaders. Individuals bend to the world, not the other way around. And North America has long been bending toward tighter integration.

The continent's combined population of 484 million is spread out across a landmass more than twice the size of Europe. At its heart is the world’s largest naturally integrated river system overlaid by arable lands, a foundation for an empire and a prize claimed by the United States. Massive oceans buffer a continent and extensive coastlines with deep ports serve as a launch pad for trade eastward and westward. Arguably, no other continent in the world is as blessed by geography.

An agreement that aims to reap the full benefits of the North American landmass and tighten economic integration was therefore a perfectly natural evolution. While NAFTA has its fair share of imperfections, as any aging trade deal would, it has also been a very sober and prudent exercise in transnational integration.

18 March 2017

Preserving Order Amid Change In NAFTA

by Reva Goujon and Matthew Bey

It took more than a decade and three presidencies, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, to conceive and craft the North American Free Trade Agreement. Will a single presidency manage to undo the process of North American integration? While the risk is real, the reality may be less dramatic.

The Invisible Hand of Geopolitics

Just as in economics, there is an invisible hand in geopolitics that shapes the behavior of our politicians and business leaders. Individuals bend to the world, not the other way around. And North America has long been bending toward tighter integration.

The continent’s combined population of 484 million is spread out across a landmass more than twice the size of Europe. At its heart is the world’s largest naturally integrated river system overlaid by arable lands, a foundation for an empire and a prize claimed by the United States. Massive oceans buffer a continent and extensive coastlines with deep ports serve as a launch pad for trade eastward and westward. Arguably, no other continent in the world is as blessed by geography.

16 March 2017

GERMANY’S NEW DEFENSE PRAGMATISM IS NOT MEASURED IN EUROS

NIKLAS HELWIG

For special access to experts and other members of the national security community, check out the new War on the Rocks membership.

When representatives from the Trump administration travelled to Europe last month, they made sure to stay on message. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence underlined that they expect Europeans to quickly spend more on defense. Germany and its peers were asked to make concrete proposals on how to reach the NATO target of spending 2 percent of the national GDP on defense. The real transformation for Germany’s defense policy is, however, not the planned increase of defense spending, but its new pragmatism in pushing Europe towards cooperation on military matters.

Germany was singled out as the main target of the U.S. burden-sharing demands. Even though Berlin increased its defense budget by 8 percent in 2017 and is allocating 1.22 percent of its GDP to its military, the biggest European economy still falls far behind the alliance’s defense spending goals. Chancellor Angela Merkel and her defense minister Ursula von der Leyen were quick to confirm that Germany will do its utmost to fulfill the 2 percent commitment.

13 March 2017

** The EU May Bend to Keep From Breaking


The European Commission is taking a clear-eyed look at Europe's future. On March 1, the institution presented a report proposing five different visions for what the European Union might look like in 2025. The report will doubtless take center stage at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday between discussions of such issues as migration, security, defense and the economy. Along with suggesting that member states could integrate at different speeds, the white paper raises the possibility that EU member countries may regain control of some prerogatives currently under Brussels' authority.

This idea represents a marked departure for EU leaders. Since the bloc's inception six decades ago, its goal has always been to progressively delegate national policy decisions to supranational authorities. Every institutional reform since the 1950s has furthered this goal, giving Brussels more responsibilities. Though EU officials have said they oppose weakening the supranational institutions, the white paper nonetheless speaks volumes about how things have changed in Europe.

However unusual the report may seem, Europe has already tried many of the ideas outlined in it. Integration in the Continental bloc, for instance, has been moving at multiple speeds for decades. Some members use the euro as their currency, while others don't. Some are members of the Schengen Agreement allowing passport-free movement, while others aren't. And some countries are exempted from participating in EU structures on domestic affairs and security cooperation. But prior to the white paper's publication, the bloc's central expectation was that all EU members would converge one day, if only in the distant future.

12 March 2017

The Plot Against Europe

BY JAMES KIRCHICK

May 9, 2022 — Standing on the viewing platform in Red Square, President Vladimir Putin observed the military parade commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. This Victory Day, he had reason to be especially proud of his country.

Earlier that week, a group of 150 Russian special forces — bearing no insignia and disguised like the “little green men” who had occupied the Crimean peninsula eight years prior — had slipped into the tiny neighboring Baltic state of Estonia. Seizing a government building in Narva, a city on the border with an ethnic Russian majority, they planted a Russian flag on the roof and promptly declared the “Narva People’s Republic.” In a statement released to international media, leaders of the nascent breakaway state announced they were “defending ethnic Russians from the fascist regime in Tallinn,” Estonia’s capital. Most of Narva’s Russian-speaking citizens looked upon the tumultuous events with passivity. Ever since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, they suspected something like this would eventually happen.

In the months leading up to the incursion, Kremlin-backed television networks — widely watched by Estonia’s Russian-speaking minority — had beamed inflammatory reports about an impending Estonian “genocide” of ethnic Russians, much as they had warned of a similar phantom “genocide” allegedly perpetrated by the Ukrainian government against its own Russian-speaking population years earlier. Tensions reached a climax in March when Russian media accused an “Estonian fascist gang” of kidnapping an ethnic Russian teenager. Agents of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in Narva were aware from the very beginning that the boy had actually died in an alcohol-induced accident after falling off a bridge. But such facts need not get in the way of a pretext, which came in the form of an ethnic Russian leader in Narva calling for Moscow’s “fraternal assistance” in staving off an incipient pogrom.

Within an hour of Russian Spetsnaz forces commandeering the administrative building in Narva, the Estonians rushed into action. Approaching the outskirts of the city, the Estonian army announced that if the men did not exit the premises with their hands above their heads, Estonian officers would enter and clear the structure by force. Yet it immediately became apparent to all involved that this was an idle threat: Over the course of the previous evening, 25,000 Russian soldiers had amassed on the eastern side of the Narva River, along with 200 tanks and 50 attack helicopters. The operation1) Putin’s hatred of Estonia is personal. During the Great Patriotic War, Putin’s father parachuted into the country ahead of the re-conquering Red Army. Vladimir Spiridonovich Putin was a member of the elite People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), Josef Stalin’s secret police force responsible for foreign operations, and he deployed to Estonia to wage sabotage attacks against the Germans and their local collaborators. Hiding in the woods and running out of food, as Putin recounted the story of his father’s exploits, the elder Putin and his comrades turned to some farmers for help. The ungrateful peasants soon alerted the Nazis to the location of their Russian liberators, and father had to submerge himself in a swamp. Using a piece of straw as a makeshift snorkel, he barely escaped with his life. took Western intelligence agencies completely by surprise. American spy satellites ought to have detected any Russian troop movement along the borders of one of its easternmost NATO allies, yet Moscow, having gained access to Washington’s European communications network, was able to mask its maneuvers. (Edward Snowden, on whose chest Putin had pinned a Hero of the Russian Federation Prize in 2018, had seen to that.)

Reducing Tensions Between Russia and NATO

Author: Kimberly Marten, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, Barnard College

“[Vladimir] Putin’s aggression makes the possibility of a war in Europe between nuclear-armed adversaries frighteningly real,” writes Kimberly Marten in a new Council Special Report on tensions between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). She outlines how U.S. policymakers can deter Russian aggression with robust support for NATO, while reassuring Russia of NATO’s defensive intentions through clear words and actions based in international law.

Marten, a professor of political science at Barnard College, Columbia University, and director of the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at Columbia’s Harriman Institute, lays out several scenarios that could lead to a dangerous confrontation, ranging from an inadvertent encounter between NATO and Russian military aircraft or ships to an intentional Russian land grab in Europe. The report, produced by the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, offers a plan for how the Donald J. Trump administration could work with Congress and NATO allies to lessen the chances of crisis escalation.

Marten recommends that U.S. policymakers take the following steps to deter Russian threats: 

Reaffirm the U.S. commitment to NATO defense. “President Trump should immediately reaffirm, and the State Department and Pentagon should periodically restate, that the defense of all NATO member states is Washington’s highest priority in Europe.” 

10 March 2017

** Nationalism and Liberal Democracy

Friedman's Weekly
By George Friedman

Tension between nationalism and liberal democracy is not what is haunting us today.

Nationalism is rising in the Western world, and many view it as the enemy of liberal democracy. The basis of this view is not unreasonable, as European wars fought from 1914 to 1945 were among the most barbaric in history. Those wars were fought between nations, many of which had rejected the principles of liberal democracy. Some saw the proliferation of nations as causing a rise in tyrannies, destruction of liberal democracies, and a war fought to recover liberal democracy in Europe. The view that Europe’s wars originated in nationalism became common, along with the belief that nationalism gave rise to fascism, and that the preservation of liberal democracy required nationalism’s suppression.

From this, the European Union emerged as a moral project, along with the idea that a re-emergence of nationalism would return Europe and Euro-American civilization back to barbarism. Historically, that may be a persuasive argument. But it fails to understand that nationalism – however distorted it might become – is the root of liberal democracy, not only historically, but also morally. The two concepts are intellectually inseparable.

8 March 2017

NATO And EU Need ‘Grand Strategy’ To Resist Putin, Says General

By: Sam Jones in Mons

Nato cannot deter Russia alone and must formulate a “grand strategy” for security in Europe with the EU, the alliance’s highest-ranking operational European officer has warned.

Sir Adrian Bradshaw, a British general and Nato’s deputy supreme allied commander, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Russia would remain a threat for as long as President Vladimir Putin holds power. He said there could be “catastrophic” consequences if the west lost coherence in its response “to a competitor that has his hands on all the levers of power”.

“It’s the responsibility of Nato . . . not only to be the architect and executor of military strategy, but to understand clearly how military strategy is integrated with the other arms of national power and to flag up where action needs to be taken in the non-military domain,” said Gen Bradshaw.

“We need to move in the direction of the ability to formulate in the old-fashioned terms, grand strategy . . . I think it has quite serious implications regarding the relationship between Nato and the EU.”

The threat from Russia is that through opportunism and mistakes and a lack of clarity regarding our deterrence we find ourselves sliding into an unwanted conflict which has existential implications

4 March 2017

NATO's Enormous Arms Clutter

By Elisabeth Braw

In the past several weeks, NATO allies have been deploying troops to the Baltic States and Poland, where they are participating in the alliance’s inaugural Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP). The EFP, which involves some 1,000 NATO soldiers on permanent rotation in each of the host countries, is NATO’s answer to Russian aggression in the neighborhood. With the troops has come a wide assortment of equipment made in many different countries. Europe might have a common currency, but it most certainly does not have uniform military equipment. Today EU member states—most of which are also NATO members—operate 154 different weapons systems. The United States, by contrast, has only 27. (A weapons system is a major piece of military equipment, including aircraft, tanks, helicopters, and large naval vessels.)

“Since we don’t have an integrated European defense industry, each country invents its own equipment,” Vincenzo Camporini, a retired Italian Air Force general and a former chief of defense, told me. “As a result, the name of the game is reinventing the wheel.” The United States has only one fighter jet in production, the F-35, which will also be exported to other countries including Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. By contrast, EU member states have a total of three fighter jets in production: France’s Rafale, Sweden’s Gripen, and the Eurofighter, which is flown by Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Likewise, the U.S. Army uses only type of tank, General Dynamics’ M1 Abrams, while EU member states operate 19 different types. Germany’s Bundeswehr, for example, drives the German-made Leopard, the French army drives the French-made AMX Leclerc, the Italian army drives the Italian-made Ariete, the British Army uses the U.K.-made Challenger tank, and the Swedish army drives the Stridsvagn 122, a Swedish version of the Leopard. The same lack of uniformity plagues every European weapons system.

No politician would argue that duplicating military equipment is a good idea. On average, NATO countries spend around 20 percent of their defense budgets on equipment. Using fewer models could make that money go farther. According to the European Commission, the lack of military cooperation costs the EU’s member states 25 billion euros ($26.4 billion) each year. Streamlining military equipment could result in significant savings, which would be very welcome given that the United States recently delivered an ultimatum to its NATO allies on defense spending. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do,” Defense Secretary James Mattis told NATO defense ministers at a summit in Brussels.

2 March 2017

In Defense Of Greece: An Open Letter To The IMF

By Elliott Morss, Morss Global Finance

It is time for the IMF to step back from the Troika table and sit down at the Greek table to remedy this Greek tragedy. To that end I have written this letter.

Managing Director Lagarde:

In retrospect, I think it is fair to say that all the major players in the Greek tragedy share some blame for what happened: 

The Greek authorities for approving far more generous pensions and other benefits than the country could afford; 

The European bank regulators for allowing banks to treat sovereign debt like cash in calculating their reserves; 

The European banks for purchasing so much Greek debt in light of the country’s deteriorating economic situation; 

Other Eurozone members, led by Germany, insisting that even today, austerity is the answer and no further debt forgiveness will be given. 

Admittedly, the Fund’s position is somewhat more nuanced. It started by agreeing that severe austerity was the answer. But it backed off austerity when it saw Greek unemployment jump from 9.6% in 2010 to 27.5% in 2013. It then switched to insisting on a huge structural reforms and further debt forgiveness. In reality, the structural reforms the IMF is insisting on, will be just as deflationary as the earlier austerity measure were. Why, because virtually all of them will result in reductions in government expenditure or increased tax collections.

So where do things stand today? Stasis: