by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D
Delphi (Greece), situated 150 km at the north-west of Athens, was the center of a highly energetic source coming from the heart of Earth, in a vaporous way. The telluric anomaly was so huge that a religious temple was established there.
It became the most famous Oracle of Antiquity, and a holy woman (called Pythia) was first dedicated to tell the words of Gaïa (Earth) and Poseïdon (Neptun) to human beings. But, after the death of the frightening great snake Python (origin of the word Pythia), it finally fell to Apollo's lot, the God of Sun who killed it - from VIIIth century BC.
Four centuries later, after the death of Alexander the Great (356 -323 BC), it started to decline. And at the end of the Roman time, in 392, it was forbidden to practice there the Apollo cult and Oracle by the Christian Emperor of Orient and Occident, Theodose I (347 - 395) who was from Iberian origin.
But it doesn't mean the "Omphalos" ("the world navel" as it was once considered) lost its power.
And to people who listen, even if talk is not coming from a woman with laurel fumigation - as "Branchides" were also using in Turkey -, Apollo, Gaïa or Poseïdon have got a lot of things to say.
So the question is what Delphi is casting for now ? Actually, different things which lucidity is the mark.
Apollo, Gaïa and Poseïdon observe that things seem uneasy between European Union and IMF (International Monetary Fund) for the second Greek plan signed this tuesday, as IMF warned it cannot be put apart for the success of this plan with Private Sector creditors.
Anyhow, without flexibility and broad mindedness, this plan is already unapplicable as the Greek public deficit expected this year will be 6.7% at least and not 5.4 % (the hypothesis retained), as announced one day after the plan has been signed.
From the first plan involving IMF and European Union (may 2010), Greece got 73 billion Euros only out of 110 : 37 have not been given at the moment. And Greece has to pay back 14.5 billion Euros debts on next March 20th, not to be on bankruptcy.
The "PSI plan" signed in Brussels on february 21st 2012 is the second one : it involves a Private Sector creditors agreement (PSI = Private Sector Involvement), at the exclusion of ECB (European Central Bank) with a partial abandon of public debt up to 107 billion Euros (53.5% of the total amount for private sector which come up to around 70% - or even 75% - with the loss of interests), and a loan of 130 billion Euros. This loan can't be used freely at all : as much as 80% has to be dedicated to Debt repayments, and the rest cannot be used neither for civil services nor retirement pensions. And money will be given only by small bits anyway.
European Union inspectors will check in Greece itself everything : Greece is now on trusteeship.
On sunday, the Greek Parliament has to adopt this new plan, with a protective clausus of collective action to reach the rate of creditors fixed on last tuesday : they wouldn't be able to get away or change their word then for the exchange of bonds to come, with a range of maturity in between 11 and 30 years.
Like previous plan, the aim is to prevent CDS - Credit Default Swaps - to set in motion, and reassure ECB (European Central Bank). It's another "Euro crisis containment plan", more than a recovery one, even if growth is strangely expected to reappear by 2014. Who said financial people didn't believe in miracles ? !
The Greek population (11,3 Million people for an area of 132 00 km2) has again been sacrificed for this second plan of austerity, as counter-productive as the first one, Greece being just like the "cock" of a bottle to maintain closed.
Greece which harmful contraction of economy will reach this year 13.5% since 2010, may start to hesitate about its past and future alliances. As the eldest existing thalassocracy on Earth, it may become more and more attracted to China yet affected by European unofficial recession : Chinese investments in the great harbour of Pirea, near Athens, and elsewhere are uncomplicated. The same can be said about Russia, with whom Greece is sharing a strong religious link through Orthodoxy.
Hard help with hard money lended is a tiring carry-on for everybody now, and Greek threat for Euro and the whole economics might have been a bit exaggerated. Above that, there are some risks for Europe political future as a hopeful and prosperous economic zone, in treating Greece more and more as a "punitive colony", since it started to be declassified by notation Agencies in december 2009. An anti-European feeling may develop and lead to nationalistic imprevisible reactions. Already, a lot of people started to refuse paying taxes, as they will go mainly to (foreign) Debt repayment.
There should be soon legislative elections in Greece, which results are already jumbled with the acceptation of Brussels plan by a national union government. The only party to refuse to sign with Lukas Papadimos (born in Athens in 1947), the new Prime Minister - and previous vice-president of ECB -, was LAOS (Popular Orthodox Rally), the far right movement.
And the Greek people will certainly remember that in due time.
The Oracle of Delphi says equalilly that for presidential elections all around the world starting soon, there may be some unexpected gambits, and not only in France with its lures, or in America with "Tea time".
On that way, in Russia for instance, next presidential elections on march 4th, are transformed in a predictable chess game, even in case of a not so sure second round. Vladimir Putin (born in Leningrad - St Petersburg - in 1952) will most likely be reelected president for the third term, in front of four other candidates : Guennadi Zyuganov (Communist), Sergeï Mironov (Social-Democrat), Vladimir Jirinovski (famous nationalist), and a newcomer labeled Liberal who is also an oligarch, Mikhaïl Prokhorov. The last one, born in Moscow in 1965, is a billionaire once in Putin' surroundings. Prokhorov who is perceived by some specialists as a lure candidate (which he denies) is not as popular as him, in spite of protest manifestations. He wants to free Mikhaïl Khodorkhovski - the unhappy jailed ex-billionaire, born in Moscow in 1963 -, and take him as Prime Minister ! It looks provocative enough to demonstrate he is in opposition. He also plans to dismantle Gazprom and state monopolies (!), wishes to create a monetary union with European Union (something Putin may also wish), and would like to initiate a policy of great works.
Nevertheless, there is a "but" in the expected victory of Putin : Prokhorov challengeable game is revealing that oligarchs have started to become less silencious after so many years, even they are still discrete and cautious. Putin main supports are Russia's heartland people afraid of chaos directed by so-called "pro-American activists", and may be since very recently highly raised teachers.
Notwithstanding, his renewed beginnings as a president will be interesting to study in case of slight opening : he will have to take on account a growing anger and determination amongst big cities' population, whatever its occupation. As a matter of fact, Putin is preoccupied with the expansion of "Arab spring revolution", and not only abroad (in Syria).
And also the traditional opposition between the two capitals (Moscow, the present one, and St Petersburg, the Tsars' one) is rising.
Putin's trump card is growing oil price, as Russia is the second world oil producer after Saudi Arabia, and that's why his campaign can be cleverly oriented on political stability. The Iranian crisis with the West about enriched uranium destination, including a potential attack of Israel on Iran and a possible Persian retaliation of the Straight of Ormuz passage - so important for oil trade -, may well serve him.
Far more than Italy actually doing well with its new President of Council Mario Monti (born in Varese in 1943) and the new successful president of ECB imitating the American Fed', Mario Draghi (born in 1947 in Roma), Greece might have been exagerratedly considered as a "Pandora Box" by European Union. And it may push it to establish or renew stronger links with the larger East.
The world is changing dramatically without people really realizing it. If Greece is, and feels also, less and less considered as European (finally pushed to leave Eurozone in the final step), it weakens Europe on a long trend and Zeus - Jupiter - may glance at new things for the future. The strong ones may then become weak, and the weak ones strong !
The great power of Alexander the Great (356 - 323 BC) was established notably through Orient's conquest and benefitted the West for 2 345 years till now. But nowadays Orient is winking anew at Greece more for an Eurasian benefit, which is quite the opposite orientation...as long as an unexpected "draw" is not coming from Eurasia !