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Will Israel Save Greece . . and Europe?
Israel - Middle East
Monday, May 28, 2012
Ed DeShields

As Europe barrels closer to an ever-certain economic train-wreck, to some it looks as though it is all but over for Greece and the euro.  But, in a surrealistic Daniel 8:9 moment the politics and economics of Europe may have suddenly flashed into an alignment.

"And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land."  (Daniel 8:9)

Little-known Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras of Greece is aligning the power, and attitude, he says his country needs to re-emerge as the engine of Europe’s future power.  Forget the austere “man up and pay your bills” strategy of the old guard in Europe.  Tsipras intends to leave the EU and Greek debt behind and look to the future with some new and atypical partners -- Israel and Cypress.      

It turns out that Greece and its southern island of Crete, most particularly, is sitting on the western end of the largest oil and natural gas field discovered in modern times.  And to the east and south, towards Cypress lies Israel and the Leviathan gas fields.

In order to make a market for Israeli and Cypress oil and gas into Europe it must have a land bridge for a pipeline; like Greece for instance.   If oil and gas from the Leviathan fields are piped northwest to Greece they can hook up with pipelines in Italy and be distributed around the whole of Europe.

In general, Greece stands to recover and exploit these deposits to create at least 100,000 jobs in the primary sector and 200,000 jobs in the secondary sector, a total of 300,000 jobs, while all revenue to be reaped by the Greek state amounts to €437 billion ($302 billion) not counting the profits from the pipeline transportation of natural gas to Europe, at a length of 1,000 km at a cost of approximately $20,000 / km, or $25 billion U.S. dollars.

But it’s the power of that oil and gas platform feeding Europe that would make Greece exceedingly powerful politically because Europe doesn’t produce enough of its own oil to support itself.  Europe must rely on Russia and the Middle East, which are unstable political suppliers at best.

Today's news says a Greek withdrawal from the EU could occur within days.  When and if it happens it will be sudden.  The rudderless emergency government in Athens will be forced to re-launch the Drachma (its pre-Euro currency) and probably impose something close to martial law to keep some form of basic order within its borders.

The real difficulty for Europe, and the rest of the world, comes when the present status quo turns to fear, with panic spreading to bigger European countries such as Spain and Italy, which are also struggling with debts and uncompetitive economies. If uncontained, expect the return of a 2008-like “credit crunch” across Europe, which would make banking very difficult, freeze trade and dramatically deepen the problem.

Greece’s foreign creditors have been expecting a much different outcome. The two main parties – and political opponents – that had governed the country for a temporary period under an appointed technocrat could not stitch up a new coalition. So following the inconclusive results of May 6, new elections were called.

However, the May elections produced a new player, Tsipras, who may now tilt the balance of Greek politics as we have known them until now.

If his gamble pays off, Greece, can leave the euro without being thrown to the wolves for slaughter.  It (alone) can avert disaster.  Once the Greeks have experienced the initial shock and restored a viable exchange rate, rich Greeks will bring back their capital. The Chinese will invest, so will the Russians, so indeed will the Germans – particularly the Germans.  Everyone needs this newly found Israeli oil and gas. 

It is quite probable that growth will re-emerge in Greece – and be growing again within a few months.  Tourism and exporting will boom as local manufacturing rebounds.  Burgeoning oil and gas exports will attract plenty of new capital.

The danger for other EU countries is that they may look to emulate Greece’s EU exit. By then Portugal, Spain, and Italy will be deeply into their austerity death spirals, and further into self-feeding debt deflation living their own Greek tragedies.

Hence, with all the rhetoric and lack of progress or solutions to prevent a break-up of Europe, could Tsipras be holding a trump card he believes will restore Greek to its once ancient center of culture and economic?

Of course, no one knows for sure how or if Greece plays any meaningful role in modern-day politics or Biblical prophecy, but it sure makes for some interesting discussions when you read the news today.

About Ed DeShields

Last article: Mr. Fiat and a Midlife Crisis

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