This is not the first time in her history that Greece finds herself in a bankruptcy. Yet, this present crisis is unprecedented both qualitatively and quantitatively. Even if this country would wake up tomorrow a major oil producer, or with extensive discovered deposits of gold and diamonds in her mountains, it could take years to stabilize her finances, pay off the debts, and provide a modicum of future security to her people. Bad politics, a culture of headlong borrowing to feed consumption, deep-seated corruption, cooked national statistics, and complete disregard for what happens tomorrow have all combined to put Hellas in a politico-economic-diplomatic corner from which she cannot easily escape.

Faced with a tradition of trying to fool outsiders about the true state of her economy, and her financial tribulations undermining the common European currency in the international markets, the mood of Greece's "friends and partners" in the European Union is sour, to say the least. This is a deadly predicament for Athens to be caught in. With a slew of "national issues" -- Aegean and Turkey, Cyprus, illegal immigration -- lingering, the last thing this country needs is to find herself, hat in hand, knocking on her "partners'" door for alms.

But this is where we are now and there is very little Greek politicians, or our famed Greek "ingenuity," can do to turn the tables any time soon.

Greece faces the possibility of outside economic management, to say the least, if things are to be stabilized and, one way or another, she is already under tight monitoring by the European Commission, a generalities-filled "stability and growth plan" her government concocted in a hurry receiving hesitant nods from Brussels in the absence of any better immediate alternative.

This is how (what is left of one's) sovereignty is lost.

Long a country with diminished ability to put an end to outside challenges, like the one persistently and aggressively extended by Turkey over the Aegean for the past three decades, Greece is now entering the perilous and uncharted territory of forced concessions under the pressure of "friendly persuasion" emerging from her undeniable beggar status.

Here's how Greece's "ingenuity" will be now tested:

1) Concerning the so-called "Aegean dispute," Greece will need to find a way of countering the steadily increasing Turkish play-for-war tactics without any support whatsoever from her "allies," who were never too hot, anyway, in offering genuine help against the neo-Ottoman menace; in the meantime, Greece's entire Aegean territory will be affected by an expanding "gray zones" pall assiduously cultivated and juggled around by the Turks;

2) traditionally a disproportionate consumer of frighteningly expensive armaments, Greece, even if bankrupt, will experience increasing pressure from individual "partners" to buy from them in exchange for "understanding" of Greek concerns -- but without any real guarantee that this "fair 2-way play" will take place;

3) on the literally exploding strategic threat of illegal immigration, Greece will find herself on the receiving end of lip service from her "friends" but will face some insurmountable choices behind the scenes, with very little, if any, room to maneuver;

4) on Cyprus, and although Athens has fatally lost strategic interest in the "Cyprus issue," Greek "initiatives" within the European Union, if they indeed materialize for the sake of appearances, will be shot down with ease, even more so because a practically unconditional Greek endorsement of Turkey's (progressively untenable) bid to join Europe still mysteriously stands;

5) in the Balkans, a "strong" Greece will lose even the last shreds of "influence" allowing her rundown neighbors to pursue their irredentist fantasies with renewed vigor and further erode Greek interests with the help of "human rights" and "protection of minorities" contact torpedoes.

Brave words aside, Greece now stands with fearfully few options to protect her interests and ward off the wolves thanks to bankruptcy.

Playing international hardball with a money noose around one's neck has rarely turned out uneventful. What remains to be seen then is what type of calamity is in store for us after decades of "proud" Greek policies that have permanently undermined the national interest, mortgaged the country's future for the next century, and broadcast over open channels the message that we will accept willingly to teeter on the verge of the abyss just for a few billions of borrowed funds more.

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