Monday, 16 January 2012

America, Greece and a World on Fire


Gideon Rachman wrote a truly excellent article in the Financial Times today entitled America, Greece and a World on Fire. The article reviews the role of the United States in declaring the Truman Doctrine in 1947 as a result of the Greek Civil War, which led to the Marshall Plan for Europe. It contrasts the fact that at present, European leadership of the Greek debt crisis has proved extremely disappointing.

An extract is below: please check the link for the full article.

“It took an economic crisis in Greece in 1947 to force the United States to assume world leadership. Now, more than 60 years later, another Greek crisis is showing what the world feels like without US leadership.

In February 1947 the British government – bankrupted by the war and beset by a harsh winter – told America that it could no longer afford to aid Greece, which was on the brink of economic collapse and civil war. A British diplomatic cable at the time recorded a belief in Washington that “no time must be lost in plucking the torch of world leadership from our hands”.

President Truman went before Congress and requested $400m in aid for Greece, pledging that America would now “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation”. A few weeks later, the US announced the Marshall Plan – a huge programme of financial aid, aimed at stabilising the whole of western Europe.

The contrast between then and now is stark. Once again, an economic crisis that began in Greece is threatening Europe. But this time there is no question of America assuming the central role in the management of the crisis.”

Financial Times – 16 January 2012

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