Despite some appearances to the contrary, I remain hopeful that Syriza will hold firm in its resistance to austerity. It may be that the Greek government is positioning itself so that, in the event of exit, it is seen to have been forced off the euro rather than to have willingly opted out. In the event of exit, it could make a significant difference to the response of others (such as the US, the IMF, not to mention the Greek people themselves) that Syriza is seen to have been pushed into a corner, left with no choice, rather than to have been enthusiastic in any break away from the common currency.
For these reasons, it seems plausible to me that Syriza’s recent statements and actions could all be part of an effective strategy. But, equally, I can understand the fears of others that the Greek government in fact may have no effective strategy or that it may be so wedded to the idea of the common currency that ultimately it will end up folding, preferring to inflict further destructive austerity on the Greek people than to go off the euro.
If Syriza stands firm, Greece ultimately will benefit in my view, whether through forced exit or the gaining of significant concessions within the common currency arrangement. But will Syriza stand firm? If Syriza does happen to be pursuing good strategy, it may well be difficult to distinguish from weakness at this point. Difficult because appearing weak could be strategic or simply weakness.
I am not confident that it is the former, by any means, but simply think that we may need to see how the dust settles before evaluating the effectiveness or otherwise of Syriza’s approach to what is obviously a difficult situation.