That was then, this is now (a continuing series)

Even if the Nobel committee does not consider Mr Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart, the 44-year-old Greek prime minister is barely recognisable as the leftwing firebrand who threatened to denounce Greece’s eurozone bailout, ban German politicians from visiting Athens and pull the country out of the euro if its creditors rejected his demands for debt forgiveness.

Four years after his first narrow election victory for his radical Syriza party, Mr Tsipras has become a surprising anchor of Greek financial discipline. His government is generating the sort of budget surplus that Athens’ creditors could once only have dreamt of. And he has reinvented himself as a southern European pragmatist, committed to being a co-operative EU partner while deepening relations with Washington in the interests of regional security.

“Tsipras now has a new international profile, that of the mature leader ready to incur political cost to carry out unpopular policies, whether it’s over Macedonia or the difficult economic reforms needed to keep Greece in the eurozone,” said Aris Hatzis, an Athens university professor of law and economics.

Here is more from Kerin Hope at the FT.  Note that Tsipras is currently not especially popular in Greece: “he is widely expected to be ousted from office when Greece holds a general election this year. Opinion polls show Syriza still lagging more than 10 points behind the centre-right opposition New Democracy party, which has rejected the Macedonia deal.”  Bryan Caplan, telephone!


China's GDP per capita (PPP) is now 15 percent higher than Brazil's. How could you guys let that happen??

And the Nazi trains to the death camps ran on time.

Evidently, there were mistakes. Socialism clearly took its toll on Brazil's economy. In a certain way, it was to be expected after the great success of Brazil in the early 20 th Century -- it was one of the fspastest growing economies in the world then. However, Brazil's Bolsonomics have all that is needed to revitalize Brazil's economy. All things considered, the State of the Union is good and delivered on time. As President Captain Bolsonaro pointed out, there is nothing wrong with Brazil that can not be cured by what is right in Brazil.

"Socialism clearly took its toll on Brazil's economy. "

As compared to China? That seems a bit of a stretch.

One must remember we do not invade our neighbors -- we help them --, we do not crush peaceful student protestor, we do not soy on America and we do not steal technology. Also, one must understand that some aspects of our socialist experience were really inneficient. It does not matter, that is why pencils have erasers. Brazil's reforms are succeding.

One must remember we do not invade our neighbors

cuz you get run out. How did that war with Paraguay, PARAGUAY, come out? The "lost province" of Uruguay is doing fine without Brazil.

Paraguay invaded Brazil in December, 1864!!!! Twelve Brazilians resisted to death against hundreds, maybe thousands of Paraguayans.

The so-called Uruguay is a legitimate part of the Federative Republic of Brazil the successor state of the Empire of Brazil.

In the end, we crushed the Paraguayan invader and killed about 70% of its male population.

The word on the street is that the Argentinians and especially the Uruguayans did all the fighting.

Not true. The Argentinians were fighting a civil war and spared their strenght. Brazil fough the war almost alone because the Argentinians and the Cisplatinians would not fight.

Brazilians don't like to work hard. They like living la vida loca a little too much.

Not true at all. Brazilians work all time.

Brazil is a country of the future...and it always will be.

And establishing state-sanctioned torture. Don't forget Bolsonaro's bold new innovative stance on torturing defenseless captives.

It is not true! President Captain Bolsonato does not support torture in today's Brazil. He only supported it during the war against the communist insurrection in the 60's and 70's. Brazil, then, surely killed fewer enemies than Americans in the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

President Captain Bolsonaro has made easier for honest Brazilians to buy guns (up to 4 or 6) to resist criminals. He is also trying to pass laws that will allow the police forces to shoot to kill criminals who are seen carrying assault guns.

So he did not say, on 23 May 1999, "I'm in favor of torture. You know that. And the people are too. Through the vote, you'll change nothing in this country. Nothing, absolutely nothing. We'll only get change, unfortunately, when we go into a civil war here someday and do a work the military regime didn't do, killing as much as thirty thousand people, starting with FHC. It's all right if some innocent people die. Innocent people die in many wars."

That quote is a lie?

It is an exaggeration. He was aghast at former dissident turned President Fernando Henrique's economic and social policies. He said the military regime should have killed more oppositionist rebels. All in all, one should not take it more seriously than Trump's reiterated vows to "lock her up". Both just wanted to charge their bases, then.

President Captain Bolsonaro has vowed not to impose a reign of terror during his term. The point is, he has been ruling Brazil democratically. It is said that "his fortress is a faithful heart, his pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently his shining bounds increase,
And his ways are ways of gentleness and all his paths are peace."

I just cannot believe that you not only defended the pro-torture statements but actually wrote a fucking love poem for the guy.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

I'm out of here. At this level, communication is worthless. I do hope you get your own fair share of the consequences though.

It is sad to see how anti-Brazilian prejudice keeps being favored by America's elites.

Don't forget about the death threats on gay people!

It is not that simple. There is more than meets the eye. The facts concerning the matter are not known in their entirety yet. The Federal Police is investigating the situation.

First: One must understand that homosexuality is almost unheard of in Brazil. There may be more secret homosexuals in the Republican delegation to Congress than in Brazil. Second: homosexuals are well-treated in Brazil. Third: there has been some political polarization (a former member of Mr. Wyllys's party even stabbed President Captain Bolsonaro) lately. The left is as guilt of that as the right is.

Speculation: The increasing polarization of political discourse is driven by the increasingly moderating effects of state institutions. The real variance change is bounded away from zero and from above.

If Obama was the candidate of "Change"and the Peace Prize, and Tsipras was a pragmatist, what does an idealist look like? And how many who voted for him in 2017 really believed that Trump was all MAGA hat and no cattle?

Only red-baiting Nixon could have gone to China, only left-wing Tsipras could have imposed austerity measures. Or something like that. Tsipras named his younger son, Ernesto, after Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Oh, well. As for the economics, Greece's economy has been lackluster for years, with economic growth stuck between zero and 2% until the world economic crisis in 2008-09 when the growth rate dipped into the negative (minus 4%-5%) but began to rise beginning in 2012 and reach positive growth only to fall back to negative (minus 2%) upon the adoption of the austerity measures, and since 2016 has has been mostly flat but slightly above zero. "Tsipras is currently not especially popular in Greece". Why would that be?

Greeks are hotheads, but the economy is slowly coming back. If you believe in money non-neutrality and/or helping out the indebted (spenders) at the expense of the lenders (savers), then dropping out of the Euro in 2011-13, the height of the bank crisis, would have helped. I thought perhaps a round of such 'debt forgiveness' maybe would have jump started the economy (talking against my book, since I had cash in the bank, but, I literally had cash in a safe-deposit box, not e-money, so I was prepared to slowly smuggle it out of the country over time, should they have banned the Greek euro, lol). We have property in Greece and it's slowly coming back. Property taxes (low, around 0.5% of the assessed value) are being collected, and I think/hope there's less corruption (it's hard to tell, contrary to public belief, real corruption is hard to detect; not the petty bribe to the phone company to bump you up a queue, but stuff like getting an operating permit).

Tsipras also disobeyed the voters who twice voted to essentially get out of the EU. Is a politician a 'statesman' or a 'voice of the people'? As for "New Democracy", that's a sort of Greek "Republican / Free Market" party (in theory, in practice they're as corrupt as the Socialists).

Bonus trivia: how is "North Macedonia" (the new name for FYROM) *less* provocative than simply "Macedonia"?! "North" to me implies there's a "South", somewhere in Greece! Doesn't that imply that someday they'll be reunited? Like North and South Korea? East and West Germany? North and South Brazil? Makes no sense, but that's the Balkans for you.

It is reasonable to view this whole fracas between Greece and Madonia as a ridiculous display by a bunch of overblown nationalists. But the calling it "North Macedonia" admits that there is indeed a South Macedonia that is in Greece. To the Greeks, the barren name "Macedonia" seemed to imply that their nation was all there was to historical Macedonia, implicitly denying the existence or validity of the Greek province of that name. I would agree that this was all hysterical and silly, but I think this is the logic, such as it is.

North and South Brazil ??

Cisplatine ("this side of River Plate") and Brazil. If there is this side and there is that side of the same thing, they are to be reunited.

Also, in colonial times, "The unified Governorate General of Brazil, with its capital city in Salvador, existed during three periods: from 1549 to 1572, from 1578 to 1607 and from 1613 to 1621. Between 1572 and 1578 and again between 1607 and 1613, the colony was split in two, and during those periods the Governorate General of Brazil did not exist, being replaced by two separate Governorates: the Governorate General of Bahia, in the North, with its seat in the city of Salvador, and the Governorate General of Rio de Janeiro, in the South, with its seat in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

In 1621, an administrative reorganization took place, and the Governorate General of Brazil became known as the State of Brazil (Estado do Brasil), keeping Salvador as its capital city. With this administrative remodeling, the unity of the colony was once again interrupted, as a portion of territory in the northern part of modern Brazil became an autonomous colony, separate from the State of Brazil: the State of Maranhão, with its capital city in São Luiz." -- Wikipedia

Only red-baiting Nixon could have gone to China,

Nixon's views ca. 1954 were perfectly mainstream. The Communist Control Act passed that year was sponsored by Hubert Humphrey. Nixon was distinct from others in that he had in 1948 exposed a Soviet spy ring run by a career ambassador employed in the Department of State, a man who had reached the ultimate rank of the Foreign Service. In addition to this man, there were three other Soviet assets in subcabinet positions in the Departments of State and Treasury.

The importance of being Ernesto. Che would kill anyone who called him Ernesto.

This paints an overly-rosy picture. Pragmatist? His economic policy has been been catastrophic. Growth was just restarting under the previous government and tanked under Tsipras. The whole capital control debacle was 100% avoidable and 100% his fault.

In Greece too, the civil service tail wags the dog.
Greek voters are not stupid. I imagine that they can see through Tsipras's campaign promises of more government handouts just as easily as Nadal saw through Tsitsipas.

"leftwing firebrand who threatened to (...) pull the country out of the euro if its creditors rejected his demands for debt forgiveness"

I think that Tsipras and the Syriza never threated to leave the euro.

Speaking of Greece, what's the update on Cyprus? (For those who haven't checked in since 2013...) Did the capital controls work after all?

Comments for this post are closed