It is my take that Tsipras had other plans in mind when he started this process in February 2015 after he defeated ex Prime Minister Samaras – or at best he changed his mind in the middle of the negotiations [and kept changing it as time went on] but largely kept these to himself [and perhaps an inner circle] – and it seems he has used Varoufakis in the process to do some dirty job – dropped him along the line – to eventually achieve his own endgame – perhaps Varoufakis could have even gone ahead to compete against him for PM in the near future at the rate his popularity was soaring within and outside the nation?
Yet the biggest coup undertaken by Tsipras here is that he’s been able to play on nationalist sentiments to get his People – the Greeks to vote for tougher conditions against them compared to the one he asked them to support via the Referendum on Sunday – he’s taken “a watered-down plan” to them for endorsement; and then taken “a much tougher plan” to the Parliament, which he has just secured via majority votes even though he lost some members of his coalition in the process – in the same way Varoufakis had tweeted earlier in the day that he would be abstaining from voting for “family reasons.”
More importantly, he’s been able to play the victim albeit very successfully with the EU, Merkel, Hollande, etc – he goes to them like a friend yet returns to his country calling them bullies – he smiles for the cameras like the future Obama that has everything under control and one that must be supported to emancipate his people from modern-day slavery – and he seems to be succeeding at that – as he has just sent to the EU, a new proposal to secure a 74 billion-euro loan over a three year period plan compared to the initial 56 billion-euro plan he was pushing for only a few weeks ago.
So it remains to see what happens after he secures this, if he secures it, how the same Greeks he [mis]led into voting to support this plan begin to react when the conditions he proposed to them becomes tougher to bear in the coming months? Which brings me to my often-propounded theory of “The Mysterious Love between Politicians and the People” – it is amazing how folks would sometimes – within a polity – allow themselves to persuaded by the same Politicians they always claim not to trust into getting them to go in certain directions even when they seem to know such would lead to nowhere or to more danger – nevertheless, they seem to be ready to still go in that very direction – the PM – Samaras that Tsipras defeated on the altar of #Change [does that ring a bell?] only in January 2015 was already trying to move up the exit of Greece from the debt package with the EU only for Tsipras and his party to oppose him on the grounds that the conditions the people of Greece were living under were too tough due to the austerity measures introduced by Samaras to achieve that.
Well, the Greeks agreed with him and voila, they settled for Tsipras and his Syriza Party who had gone about with the “Samaras is working with EU against us” lingo – this new package that Tsipras has proposed to the EU would suggest that Tsipras always knew “the hopes he gave to the Greeks was largely fake” – yet he needed to get into Power to later go on to do what he knew was closer to being possible – probably similar to what the Samaras he kicked out of office was pushing for – and he seems to have done that very thing with Varoufakis as well – he got the guy to lead the talks for a different deal – a much more hardliner – got the guy into trouble with the EU – to the point that the EU seemed to say “no more talks with Greece if this guy stays” – he gets the deadline to get closer – gets the people to the point of having to only be able to withdraw 60 euros a day from the bank – plays on and raises national sentiments – secures the support of the people – and bang, he smuggles through a different plan – a more compromising one with the EU but against the people – all of these accomplished within hours and days.
Like or hate Tsipras, History would probably credit with some huge level of intelligence; and of course, audacity too – to have been stayed in the public eye for the last 5 – 6 months – often seen on global media [perhaps even more than Obama or Cameron or Putin or Zuma] – to the point that so many nations must now be looking up to him as “this young gentleman that stood up to all these big dogs” – and of course that he has set in motion, a seemingly irreversible precedent – the other EU nations in similar circumstances would now have their citizens asking their leaders for similar boldness versus the EU; and this trend might determine the outcome of the next elections in those nations.
And this is not limited to those nations – so is this emerging drama also weighing in on the Politics in the mightier Germany and France – as Merkel and Hollande have to constantly play between the blackmail position Tsipras has put them in as they try to prevent Grexit [a situation where Greece would have been the first nation to leave the EU – that could set the motion for others to follow – seriously, which of these leaders would want to be remembered for that?] and also having to satisfy their local constituencies that they are not being pushed to cover more of Greece’s expenses.
So perhaps, you can conclude that Tsipras has changed the game in his nation, and in the EU – an endgame which only he knew about from day one.