While Obama agrees with Tsipras, Lavrov invites Kotzias to Moscow!
US President Barack Obama congratulated the new Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, stating that he agrees with the termination of austerity. From enikos.gr:
“Greek media report that US President Barack Obama and new Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras had a phone conversation Wednesday evening.”
“According to TV channel STAR, Obama told Tsipras that Europe must steer away from austerity and pursue growth; Obama said he would help with this policy change, adding that the two countries’ finance ministers should be in touch.”
“The TV channel reported that Obama told Tsipras to take a rest after such a tough election campaign, adding jokingly that he also started young and now hair had turned gray. Tsipras reportedly replied that it would be difficult to rest, because he had great challenges ahead.” http://en.enikos.gr/politics/23193,Obama_Tsipras_have_phone_conversation_-.html
The “style” of conversation and the statements by Obama show that the US will seek to cooperate with the new government despite that already showed signs of fast approach with Russia. http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2015/01/greece-and-russia-to-restore-relations.html
On the other hand, Putin sees rather a good opportunity to take advantage of the new Greek government and the traditional relations between Greece and Russia, in order to upgrade significantly the role of his country in the critical geopolitical area of East Mediterranean.
The developments are fast and the latest move by the Russians is the invitation to the new Greek minister of foreign affairs, Nikos Kotzias, by Sergey Lavrov to visit Moscow. Kotzias is well-known for his positions concerning a stronger approach between Greece and Russia and Lavrov also spoke warmly about Alexis Tsipras who met him in Moscow when he was the leader in opposition.
Under such circumstances, the US leadership usually makes clear that any NATO government should fully align with NATO decisions without questions, by imposing tremendous pressure. This time, Obama started rather softly and friendly with Tsipras for a number of reasons.
The first reason, is that the US truly and strongly disagree with the German line of cruel austerity: “This explains the recent statement by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury, speaking about growth through consumption, criticizing indirectly the austerity policies in Europe, and the expected reaction of Schaeuble, …”, when at the same time the relations with Germany are not in the best shape.
The second reason, is that the US have to deal with a new Leftist government, an unknown X. All previous US leaderships were dealing with easy manageable corrupt governments in Greece of the Right-center and the Socialist-center of the political spectrum. The various US think tanks probably were unable to find the necessary time to examine deeply the new political landscape due to the rapid enlargement of the radical Left inside the crisis. For this reason, and because the US already changed their approach, even against “hostile” countries (Iran, Cuba), Obama may not risk, at least for the moment, to lose Greece in the geopolitical battle, especially when he has to deal with tough open fronts in Ukraine and Middle East.
Meanwhile, the American (IMF) side made further steps to re-approach Greece, as Reza Moghadam has requested that 50% of the Greek debt be written off:
“Mr. Moghadam was the IMF’s European Department Director until 2014 and supervisor of Poul Thomsen.”
“In a letter he sent to the Financial Times on the 26th of January, Mr. Moghadam admits that both Greek bailout programs (of 2010 and 2012) were based on overly optimistic assumptions on growth, inflation, fiscal efforts and social cohesion. The former IMF officer also assumed his share of responsibility, as he was involved in the troika talks between 2010 and 2014.”
“Despite the major fiscal reform and greatest restructuring of the private debt in history, the debt remains excessive compared to projections on fiscal surpluses, which directly affect social cohesion and thus any prospects of a financial recovery. Mr. Moghadam believes that on a political level the recovery is impossible, as the excessive debts block investments and create mistrust. As such, Mr. Moghadam argues that a significant haircut is necessary, in exchange for reforms. Should the debt be less than 110% GDP, as agreed in 2012, then it will became sustainable. The Morgan Stanley officer then underlined the importance of Europe overcoming its taboos on debt relief.”