Greece's populist powder keg

The frustration of Greeks should feel familiar enough. It’s a frustration born of the inability to chart a course for the future — especially one that’s in closer accord with the foundations of the past than with the slippery, panicky present. If the Greek people truly rebel against the deal, they (and we!) will be in uncharted territory. That’s scary, but at least it’s not the same stagnant holding pattern.

Fittingly enough, Greek outrage over stagnation as official policy makes it a microcosm for the world. Everywhere you look, people see superficial change that only reinforces prevailing constraints. While Europe contorts to keep the euro rolling, Egypt has returned to military rule, and Mexico to cartel conflict. In the U.S., amid a presidential contest shaped by Bushes and Clintons, the administration’s agreement with Iran augurs yet another episode of extended crisis management as a new normal. The same can be said of America’s approach to ISIS. The list goes on and on.

Few are willing to come out and say they want Greeks to revolt against the deal their European overlords have offered. But if they did, the world would stop and take notice. People would palpably sense the possibility of breaking out of the present day’s grand paralysis. What would happen next could well be harrowing. But sometimes that’s the price policymakers pay for trying to conquer history.