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 Post subject: Greece as a Pawn in the West's Game vs. Putin
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 06 Feb 2015 16:18 
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Last week the world woke up to the fact that Greece’s new government holds a geopolitical trump card: it can hold the EU ransom by threatening to break the fragile consensus on Russia.

The renewal of sanctions against Russia requires the unanimous support of EU members… which means Obama’s alliance against Russia needs Greek cooperation. What’s more, Greece has veto power over whether NATO can retaliate for an attack on any of its members. Article V, which states, “[A]n armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all,” may only be invoked with unanimous agreement among NATO members.

Greece and Russia have close cultural and religious ties, and Russia is Greece’s largest trading partner. Russia’s ambassador to Athens didn’t waste any time congratulating Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, on his victory.

So it’s no surprise that Putin is using Greece as leverage. Russia has hinted that it will open its market to Greek food exports if Greece leaves the eurozone, and also that it would consider giving Greece financial aid. One can imagine other carrots being dangled, like an offer to hook up Greece to the Turkish Stream pipeline.

Syriza, which has close connections with Russia, admires Putin’s defiance of Western institutions. The new Greek foreign minister, Nikos Kotzias, has a relationship with Aleksandr Dugin, a Russian nationalist philosopher with close ties to Putin. As neo-eurasianists, they aim to pry a weak and divided Europe away from US influence. Syriza has openly campaigned for Greece to leave NATO, though it has toned down its hostility on that issue recently—presumably to preserve it as a useful bargaining chip for the future.

Kotzias, who says he’ll work to prevent a rift between the EU and Russia, has already recognized the legitimacy of the Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine and dismisses the Ukrainian government as a neo-Nazi junta. But he’s assured the world that he is not a “Russian puppet.” He simply wants to restore Greece’s dignity and stop the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.”

European leaders were understandably alarmed when Tsipras suggested that Greece might veto further sanctions against Russia. Tsipras has been vocal in his opposition to sanctions, as have other members of the EU, including Austria, Italy, and Hungary. In the end, the EU decided against further economic sanctions but did extend existing sanctions against Russia, with the support of Greece.

The new Greek government appears to be cleverer than initially thought. It is playing both sides, leveraging its veto power to get what it wants in debt negotiations. Tsipras explicitly said that Greece has no intention of accepting Russian financial aid and that Greece’s only goal is to strike a deal with its EU partners.

Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is a formidable negotiator. A world-class economist, financial blogger, and one-man media storm, he’s a leading expert on game theory. As James K. Galbraith, Varoufakis’ former colleague puts it, Varoufakis will be thinking a few steps ahead of his opponents. Varoufakis says the only thing that isn’t negotiable is keeping Syriza’s promise to render Greece’s debt sustainable, “even if the term haircut is replaced with euphemisms, like ‘debt swaps.’”

Greece’s relatively conciliatory approach appears to be paying off. President Obama is supporting Greece’s push for a debt restructuring, and France’s finance minister, Michael Sapin, concedes that Greece has a legitimate right to lighten its debt burden. Even the EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, appears to be prepared to scrap the troika.

At this point, it seems possible—and maybe even likely—that Germany won’t get its way in debt negotiations. Larger strategic matters are at stake. Russia’s influence in southeastern Europe is already growing, and it’s unlikely that NATO would accept a strategic defeat simply to preserve Germany’s small-town fiscal righteousness.

Either way, we could be nearing a historic turning point. The euro and the Ukraine crises are converging, and Putin is watching closely.


By Martin Fluck, Feb 04, 2015, Investment Analyst at Casey Research
Stowe, Vermont Investment Management

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 Post subject: Re: Greece as a Pawn in the West's Game vs. Putin
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 08 Feb 2015 08:03 
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3 February 2015

Today one of the top minds in the business warned King World News that Greece has now become the centre of a much larger global war Between Russia, China, the U.S. And Europe. This interview takes a trip down the rabbit hole of a global conflict that is now raging between superpowers of the world over Greece as Europe trembles with fear of World War III.

Stephen Leeb: “Right now all eyes are on Greece. What happens if Greece drops out of the euro? That would be catastrophic for the euro. Greece owes over $300 billion to European banks. This is why a default would be so incredibly disastrous …. At the same time, Greece has become very close to Russia and China. Both of these countries plan to use Greece in a way that will make relations very, very difficult with the West.

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The Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (right) alongside the eurozone's finance chief
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem

Greece – Major Battle In A Global War

For Russia that will include a new gas pipeline that goes through Greece. For China it will include high-speed rails. That will bring the Balkans closer to the East. It will dramatically increase Russia's and China’s influence and control over this region. Greece is not just some little country that is part of the eurozone. It’s a pivot point between the East and the West.

So Greece is battleground being fought between the East and the West. Whoever wins that battle will end up in a power position in Europe. What you are seeing play out right now is a major battle in a new World War between the East and the West.


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Trouble For Merkel And Germany

People don’t understand how quickly this situation could spell trouble for Merkel and Germany. A recent article in the most recent Foreign Affairs pointed out that the German people by and large look East rather than West. You have to remember, Eric, that the Germans were the last people to agree that there had to be sanctions against Russia when the Russians took over the Crimea.

World War III

What we are talking about here is World War III. You have a battle for worldwide economic hegemony. This war over Greece is incredibly important. Whoever wins control of Greece will have a huge tactical advantage in Europe. The West is at a distinct disadvantage here because the Russians are planning to put in the pipeline that will extend all the way up to the Balkans — the same is true for the planned Chinese high-speed rail system.

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Global War Raging For Economic Hegemony

This is not just an issue of Greece falling out of the euro. It’s not just an issue of that $300 billion that Greece owes the rest of these European banks. This is an issue of who wins the first real battle for economic hegemony in the world. Greece is that that battleground right now.

In a way the outcome in Greece is far more important than what happened in Crimea. It’s far more important that almost anything we’ve seen up to this point.


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China Rapidly Modernizing Its Massive Armed Forces

It’s also important to note that China is going to have a completely modern military by 2020. China also has a direct road to the Middle East through Pakistan. This will allow the Chinese to be positioned to aid the Saudis with their military.

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Entire World Now Watching Greece

So, Eric, as China rapidly expands its power and influence across the globe, the whole world is watching to see who will win the war in Greece. A victory for Russia and China would have disastrous ramifications for the European Union. It would also be a warning to the United States and Europe that aggression works both ways. That would leave the U.S. and Europe with a disaster in Ukraine and a catastrophic loss in Greece — the strategic crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa.”

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