Monday, May 14, 2012

A Greek Tragedy: The EU at Colonus

OEDIPUS: "I will be mute, and thou shalt guide my steps
Into the covert from the public road,
Till I have learned their drift. A prudent man
Will ever shape his course by what he learns."
--Sophocles, “Oedipus at Colonus”

By Barry Rubin

Greek Chorus: We have had a living standard high indeed
Though we could not afford that stuff at all,
Now we demand that you for all this pay
Or else the entire Euro’s going to fall!

EU: Oh, I have been blind for all too long
Sending to you all that cash you sought,
And now in a crisis deep and grave
I’m able to comprehend all you have wrought!

Germany: Ach! What more can I do or say?
True, I was once the aggressor cruel and brutal,
Yet does that mean I must always pay and pay,
For your entitlements, bureaucracy, vacations long?

Greek Chorus: Yes, it does indeed!
And in my hand I hold a knife so sharp
That will be plunged first into your currency
And then into my own breast!
We’ve just had elections you know
And communists and fascists now empowered
So set ye not conditions on the cash
Or to you all we will give quite a bash!

EU: True it is that I once had such dreams
All in harmony under a Brussels’ elite
Of happy family from Atlantic to the Urals,
Now it’s all just Cerberus’ leavings at my feet!

Germany: Now let me get this straight.
You want us to give you money without end
And no conditions either put on it
So you can just go on and spend and spend?

Greek Chorus: Yes that about sums it up.
Hey, Zeus can you do something bold
To pull our spanakopita out of the fire?

Zeus (descending from heaven on a fiery chariot)
Well, warlike Ares is in the Middle East quite busy
While Athena full-time must hold press conferences to deny
That Obama is the embodiment of her wisdom.
And Mercury made bad investments in Internet start-ups.

EU: Oh, glorious welfare state!
I thought you could go on forever and never bend,
Money pouring out and votes forever in,
Without a thought to the production end!

Zeus: But now the limit has been clearly reached
And looting all the rich—or Germans--is no solution.

Greek Chorus (breaking in) then revolution!

Zeus (continues): While bureaucrats and rulers will not be impeached
By their own hand, thus distress spreads throughout the entire land.
Oh, we are in a pickle, what can we do
In order to save the EU?

France’s New President: Oh, it is all so simple
As clear as Aphrodite’s dimple!
Just raise the taxes on the rich and
Put no limit on immigration.
Higher wages and forbid firing
Keep vacations long, the work-week short
And touch no hair on any bureaucrat’s head
Don’t worry and drink lots of wine instead!

Germany: Gott im himmel, no!
From me then all the funds will flow?

France, Greek Chorus, Spain, Portugal, etc: Yes, indeed!
So with the bail-outs let’s proceed!

Zeus: This cannot end well
I must SMS Pluto right away
To open up more real estate in Hell!

[All exit]

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