Greek has a 1.6 billion Euro Loan installment due imminently. If they don’t pay, they default on their loan with nasty results. The voters voted down austerity measures. So here’s a proposal:
The Greeks spend more than 3 billion euros a year on their military. Cut the military spending in half and you have your loan installment.
So why wouldn’t the Greeks do this? Three reasons, that I can see:
1) The Greeks fear Turkey. The relations between Greece and Turkey have not always been friendly, and Greece still remembers Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus (which happened before I was born, but why let the fact that its ancient history stand in the way of being a hawk?). Turkey has ISIS on its doorstep, and recent Russian military activity on the Black Sea. Greece can see Turkey’s military ramping up to respond to these threats, but sees them as dangerous to Greece. (As if Turkey doesn’t have bigger things to worry about right now). The fix: Have the EU sign a military pact to protect Greek against any Turkish aggression. Turkey wouldn’t invade anyway, but especially with the threat of all of Europe backing Greece. And it will assuage Greek fears.
2) If you lay off a lot of soldiers it hurts the economy. And the last people you want unemployed in a powder keg are a bunch of angry people with military training. The Fix: Don’t lay off a lot of soldiers. Stop buying new military equipment. According to The Guardian, Greece has nearly twice as many tanks as the UK. They buy that military equipment from Germany and France, so it won’t actually hurt the Greek economy to stop buying those things.
3) Germany and France don’t want them to do this because that military hardware is bought in Germany and France. The Fix: Tough it out Germany and France. Your economy can take the hit. And its a LOT better for your economy if Greece stops buying military gear than if they default and drop out of the EU. You would have preferred austerity; the Greek voters rejected that. So, looks like your military industry will have to go without Greek support for a while.
Summary: In a guns vs. butter debate, I prefer butter. This is especially true in a situation like Greece’s where they are both desperate for butter, and have no need for guns. The crisis can seemingly be averted, if we would all give peace a chance. That’s my two cents…