Sunday, March 20, 2016


Seemingly unrelated news stories other than they're both about Greece --

(Reuters) "The [IMF/EU] mission chiefs will leave Athens tomorrow evening after a wrap-up of this phase and will return after Catholic Easter," a [Greek] government official said on Saturday, adding that technical teams would continue talks in the meantime.

(Reuters) Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, the head of the ruling coalition's junior party, called on the migration minister to resign on Wednesday for failing to use the full name of northern neighbor the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Yannis Mouzalas called it simply "Macedonia" in a late-night interview on Tuesday, accidentally launching himself into a long and bitter dispute over the proper title of the territory.

In the first case, there's an undercurrent of grievance from the Greek government that the economic program discussions are being scheduled around Catholic Easter -- Greece being Orthodox. And in the second, it's sensitivity over a name, which relates to the historic province of Macedonia.

The point: global policy elites are in too much of a hurry to see nationalism as a vestigial characteristic or something that manifests itself only in Trump/Le Pen/Orban/BoJo forms. But in many countries, and definitely in countries under stress, it's in the bloodstream. You're going to look very confused if you don't take account of it.

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