Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nicholas Burns on Troubles in Greece

Nicholas Burns, former Undersecretary of State and Ambassador to Greece, was recently interviewed about the riots in Greece. For more, see:

Like other commentators, Burns has attributed the rioting to mounting frustration about a lot of things, including corruption:

And I think what it means is that there's a tremendous deal of frustration, obviously, with the unemployment situation, with the world financial crisis. Also, there have been allegations against the government of corruption. All of this has tended to roil the young students and some of the anarchist movement that have been very prominent in Greek politics over many decades.

Let's face it. Corruption in Greece extends to pretty much everything, including the country's policy on cultural artifacts. For instance, Greece has laws that criminalize collecting ancient artifacts, unless, of course, you happen to be connected enough to be recognized as a "registered collector."

Such "two tiered" systems are a recipe for abuse. Such a system also exists in the Republic of Cyprus, a nation closely aligned with Greece proper. And, indeed, perhaps not coincidentally, members of the numismatic community strongly suspect that the same type of cronyism that infects Greece and Cyprus may have also infected our own State Department's decision to extend import restrictions to coins of Cypriot type. Certainly as described previously on this blog , Undersecretary Burns' decision to accept the "Livanos" Award from Greek Cypriot lobbing groups shortly before the decision was made to impose import restrictions on coins of Cypriot type suggests as much. See:


Brad Zurich said...

Yeah, the situation is not great but unemployment and lay offs are happening all across the world. It is something that we will all have to deal with.

Juile said...

There are similar problems all over the world, Taiwan and China also India and Pakistan just as North & South Cyprus. Politics is really a bane at times for the people of these countries.