Originally published July 13th, 2015.
Europe is a fascinating place, but not as interesting as it was before the European Union came into existence. Older travellers may recall the fun of going from one European country to another, with each having its own currency and banknotes which you could scrutinize with interest as you relaxed at various cafes or restaurants. The national stereotypes could still easily be found - Frenchmen on bicycles dressed in blue and white striped shirts and black berets pedaling around selling strings of onions, and refusing to speak English on principle even when they understood it, or spending their time productively on four hour lunches or womanizing. Germans with their ruthless efficiency and organization, but who produced great sausages and beer, which they would routinely consume in vast quantities in gigantic steins. They were supposed to be humorless, and were wonderfully personified by Gert Frobe in the classic 60's film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, who let slip a chuckle when one of his officers crashed a flying machine into a tree, but you certainly can't call the Bavarians in southern Germany humorless, with their oompah bands and their vaguely silly lederhosen - these people are an inspiration to drinkers the world over. Holland, with its windmills and women with armfuls of tulips and wearing horribly uncomfortable wooden clogs. The Swiss with their huge moldy cheeses, St Bernhard dogs that would rescue you from the snow after an avalanche with a miniature barrel of whisky, ludicrously expensive watches, and banks where you could squirrel away huge quantities of money out of sight of the taxman, and trains that always arrived bang on time. The Italians with their dislike of fighting and their love of ice cream, opera, painted ceilings and mamma's pasta etc. It's true that eastern Europe, behind the Iron Curtain and in the control of the Soviet Union, was a godforsaken backward impoverished dump, but you could ignore it as there were plenty of places west to go.
Europe was a place of amazing diversity - and then along came the European Union.
The European Union is nothing more than a grotesque collection of control freaks, whose objective is the concentration of power and wealth into their own hands at the expense of the peoples of Europe, as they set about creating a "United States of Europe", another step along the road to global government, and then, in the more distant future, a "United Federation of Planets", when they succeed in discovering some inhabited planets elsewhere in the galaxy that they can conquer. Their ludicrously expensive and half-baked mission to Mars is presumably a step in this direction.
The main plank in their game plan to control Europe is of course the single currency, the euro, but they haven't stopped at that. They have cooked up literally thousands of rules, many of which are downright silly and result in vast waste, that they inflict on the hapless citizens of Europe, which include rules that regulate - and I am not joking - the maximum size of potatoes that can be sold, and a limit on the curvature of bananas. I resent this because as a child I liked to find outsized potatoes and super curved bananas, and because of their petty meddling today's children are being denied such crucial formative experiences.
Their "modus operandi", in league with the big banks, is to encourage the member states within the EU to borrow massive amounts of money right up their absolute limit, and then to slowly close the debt trap on them. They then call the shots and dictate the terms. Before Greece this is what happened to Spain, where they fanned the flames of a massive construction boom by shoveling as much money onto Spain as it could take. This boom ended in a catastrophic bust that saw thousands of newly constructed apartments lying empty, rather like what has been going on recently in China on a grander scale, property prices plummeting, and the economy diving into depression leading to huge unemployment. Millions of young Spaniards - and Italians and Portuguese and of course Greeks have had their lives wrecked by these parasites, who don't care and are only concerned that they can continue to build their positions within the Empire in Brussels.
When they lent tons of money to Greece, they knew, or should have known, that a lot of it would disappear down the cracks into the pockets of corrupt officials and into various scams, like bogus construction schemes and fictitious projects etc. They didn't care - they wanted to get control of Greece - and nothing would do the job better than to bankrupt the country and force it to go cap in hand to them for bailouts, that they would be granted, upon condition that they grovel and accede to all and any demands. Because Greece stood up to them - until Tsipras caved in - they decided to exact harsh retribution - they aim to make an example of Greece, so that if much larger debtors like Italy or Spain go looking for debt relief, they know what they can expect.
What Tsipras should have done, but bizarrely backed off from doing at the last minute, despite having a mandate from the Greek people, was to tell the EU to go and "take a long walk on a short pier". This extraordinary about face is unfathomable, and prompts the suspicion that he was "got at", either by means of huge bribes from third parties and by means of some kind of threat. What he has done is to "sell Greece down the river" - the conditions to be imposed on the country are so onerous that it will in effect lose its self-determination and be transformed into a vassal state, which is just what the EU elites want - and just what they are going to do to the others countries in Europe, starting with the smallest and weakest and working their way up to the biggest and strongest, with the final goal being the conquest of the German people themselves, who like all other citizens in Europe, will eventually end up as indentured debt serfs.
You might argue "But if Greece had walked away it would have been ostracized by the EU and have to stand on its own two feet, which would have involved a very painful restructuring and severe penury for a while for its citizens." That's true it would, especially as the elites would target any fledgling Drachma for destruction on the international capital markets, so that Greece's only hope of survival would probably be a pact with Russia, with which it has strong cultural ties, but it would still be better than being eaten alive by the remorseless EU bureaucrats demanding their "pound of flesh" who will drive Greece into prolonged penury but without any hope of a better future.
Tsipras' surrender before the EU elites was a tragic day not just for Greece, but for all of Europe, since if he had told them they are not getting a penny back and to stick their patronizing bailouts "where the sun don't shine" and left the euro, it would have marked the start of the unraveling of the remorseless predatory EU machine, as if Greece had the courage to do this, Italy, Portugal and Spain, which have much larger debts and who are next in the firing line of countries to be pillaged, would have been emboldened to do likewise.
There is an argument that the European Union is a good thing because it makes wars on the continent less likely. In the first place who are they to deny European citizens their periodic purgative wars, which although terribly destructive, give far right types a chance to vent and have the effect of "clearing the air" like a thunderstorm. Secondly the EU, in deference to their superiors in the US, have been doing their best in the recent past to stoke a war with Russia on their eastern flank, so they can hardly be described as peace loving, and they also helped get rid of Gaddafi in Libya, and now have the karmic retribution of thousands of migrants washing up on their shores to deal with.
There is still hope, however. Many Greeks are boiling mad at Tsipras' inexplicable climb down and surrender, and there is some chance that what he agreed with the EU leaders will be thrown out by the Greek parliament in coming days. Even if it isn't the screw is going to be turned so tightly on Greece that it wouldn't be at all surprising to see violence erupt in the future leading to revolution and a change of government to one which reneges on all agreements with the EU, so that the EU elites determination to "make Greece pay" backfires in their faces, setting off a chain reaction across southern Europe, as Italy Portugal and Spain decide that they have had enough too and want out, and the dream of the EU plutocrats of farming the population of Europe for their benefit crumbles like a sandcastle before the incoming tide. We can but hope.