Angst on the Aegean

ANGST ON THE AEGEAN…. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the global financial sector, you’ve no doubt noticed that Greece is one of a handful of European countries facing a severe financial crisis, which threatens to send shockwaves through the international system.

With this in mind, the Monthly‘s editors are highlighting a very timely piece in the upcoming print edition of the magazine….

World financial markets and U.S. stock prices have been buffeted recently by the fiscal travails of Greece. That country’s budget deficits so threaten the stability of the Euro that EU leaders meeting tomorrow in Brussels are reportedly planning a bailout package. But any rescue attempt will ultimately rest on the ability of one man, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou, to implement it. And according to a profile of Papandreou in the upcoming issue of the Washington Monthly, there is some reason for hope.

In “Angst on the Aegean,” Economist editor Bruce Clark explains that Papandreou aims not just to get Greece and the EU out of this immediate crisis, daunting as that task will be. Rather, according to some of the prime minister’s closest aides, he wants to use the crisis as leverage to reform Greece’s whole political economy — to attack, in particular, the endemic government corruption that is at the heart of the country’s fiscal woes. And as the architect, a decade ago, of a dramatically-improved relationship with Greece’s arch-nemesis Turkey, Papandreou has a record of pulling off seemingly impossible change. So his efforts are worth watching, and not only because they may help determine the future of the euro zone, one of the great political and economic experiments of modern times. They are also a test of whether it is possible for a country mired in debilitating corruption (and there are many that are more corrupt and worrisome to the United States) to change its spots and its stars.

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