A few months ago, I wrote an article, in which I compared the actions of the Greek “Dynamic Duo”, PM Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, against the Euro-group and the Troika, with a classic ‘suicide by cop’ situation:
A desperate renegade, with virtually nothing to lose, gets stuck in a certain awkward situation (often a hostage taking). While being in this situation, he is challenged by heavily armed police, who want him to immediately surrender to their conditions.
Instead of complying to these conditions, the follow-up actions of the renegade seem utterly pointless and even counterproductive. These actions become increasingly erratic and dangerous for the surroundings, causing the general tensions at the spot to mount dramatically. As a consequence, the police start to act increasingly aggressive and hysterical.
As neither of both parties (renegade and police) want to change their behaviour in the follow-up of the events, the outcome of such a situation is mostly perfectly clear: the renegade threatens to shoot the hostages and is subsequently shot down in a hailstorm of bullets, leaving everybody flabbergasted about his former motivation and motives.
This (mainly American) phenomenon is known as “Suicide-by-Cop” (SbC) and a perfect example of a lose-lose situation, as both the police and the renegade become losers of their own behaviour eventually.
In a SbC situation, none of the parties is able to rethink their own behaviour (or strategy) objectively and to look at it as a strong catalyst for the mounting tensions between both parties.
The police find that they are fully doing the right thing during the progression of the events and that they should not give in one bit to the hostage taker, who is clearly wrong from their point of view. And the renegade himself?! He is stuck in his own “adventure“ and cannot objectively judge his own behaviour anymore, as utterly improductive and straightforwardly dangerous for his health and life.
Suffice it to say that the defining moment of the ‘hailstorm of bullets’ is indeed very close for the Greek Syriza-government today.
Renegades Tsipras and Varoufakis seemingly behaved increasingly erratic during the last months, while the “good cops of Euro-zone common sense and divine self-righteousness”, Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Wolfgang Schäuble are ready and willing to blow their heads clean off.
The last seemingly erratic act of Tsipras and Varoufakis was the organization of today’s Greek referendum upon the last proposal emerging from the Troika (IMF, European Commission and ECB) and their open advice to vote “Oxi” (Greek for ‘No’) against this very proposal.
Varoufakis even went so far to say that he would ‘vanish’ as Greek Finance Minister, when his “Oxi-action” would fail.
So this is the situation: when Greece says ‘no’ to the last Troika proposal, ‘Eurozone cops’ Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Wolfgang Schäuble and all the right-wing politicians within the European Union will probably pull the trigger and effectuate a Grexit in the coming months.
When Greece says ‘Yes’ to the proposal, the country will be in for another decade of harsh austerity, causing massive (youth) unemployment and poverty, as well as very limited growth or even economic decline. And on top of it: with a resigning Syriza government, the country will step into the pitfall of political chaos, in which the old, corrupted Greek elites might again take their chances to rise into political power.
So as a matter of fact, the suicide-by-cop will virtually be effectuated today, whatever will happen in the Greek referendum: for the Greek population, this is a classic lose-lose situation and so it is for the rest of the European Union, which is again caught with its pants down.
What bothers me, however, and what should be on the retina of every historian of the next fifty years, is the question whether Greece is solely guilty to this chaos or not.
This is the eternal question after every suicide-by-cop situation: was only the renegade guilty due to his erratic behaviour or was the behaviour of the cops themselves also a catalyst for the situation quickly getting out of hand?! I think I know what the answer will be.
And now we will see, whether Greece will pull the trigger causing its immediate demise through an Oxi-action, or that it will continue the “soft choke” that the European Union forces upon the country, by voting Nai (i.e. “Yes”).