What is Your Best Alternative to a Negotiated Settlement?

If you ever take a class in negotiation, that is the first question they teach you about. Before you meet with the other side, decide what you are going to do, if they walk away. Greece, and in particular Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister, apparently didn’t get that message. He believed that the EU, the Eurozone, Germany, the Central Bank and the IMF would NEVER walk away. Suicide Isn’t Painless – WSJ.

Alexis Tsipras, the left-wing Prime Minister who forced this crisis on the theory that the European Union would never risk a Greek default, discovered too late that his bluff had been called

After the news of Greek’s default broke, the markets hiccuped, and then returned to business as usual. Even Spain, Italy and Portugal were mostly unaffected by the Greek tragedy.

So now Greece will vote on Sunday. “Yes” = accept the terms Europe and the world is offering. “No” = go it alone. Tsipras is campaigning for a No-vote.

If “no” wins, it would mean almost certain default on a $3.87 billion loan payment due to the European Central Bank later this month. On Wednesday Mr. Tsipras assured voters that a “no” vote won’t trigger a euro exit, and a poll this week found 57% of voters on the Prime Minister’s side. Somebody might whisper to Greeks that it’s hard to stay in a currency bloc when nobody will give them the currency.

But then the Greeks elected Tsiprias 6 months – or so – ago, on the promise that he would end the terms that Europe wants to impose.

A “yes” vote might also mean that Greeks have taken the lesson that they can no longer expect foreign governments to underwrite Athens’s bloated bureaucracy and extravagant pension system.

But whatever Greeks choose, it’s at least clear that they can no longer hold the rest of Europe hostage to their politics, and that they are responsible for their own pain.