Shortly before Francois Hollande was elected president of France, he went to London to reassure the financial community that he wasn’t “dangerous.” Alexis Tsipras, the breakout phenomenon of Greece’s recent parliamentary elections, is on a similar European tour this week -- and he really is dangerous.
Tsipras and his Syriza party are selling the Greek people a falsehood: namely, that Greece can renounce the terms of its bailout agreements with the euro-area governments and still receive their money. If voters believe him, and he attracts enough votes in elections on June 17 to follow through with his threats, then his country, Europe and the global economy will live for years with the consequences.
Until a few weeks ago, Tsipras was a marginal career radical. He joined the Communist youth party in high school, is a fan of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and now heads Syriza, a quixotic coalition of small leftist parties. When he was made president of one of them, Synaspismos, the party announcement described their “comrade” as someone who “attended all the international protests and marches against neoliberal globalization.”