If Greece falls, no one wants their prints on the murder weapon
By Paul Taylor
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - "We're going bust." "No, you're not." "You're strangling us." "No we're not." "You owe us for World War Two." "We gave already."
The game of chicken between Greece and its international creditors is turning into a vicious blame game as Athens lurches closer to bankruptcy with no cash-for-reform agreement in sight.
Europe's political leaders and central bankers and Greek politicians agree on only one thing: if Greece goes down, they don't want their fingerprints on the murder weapon.
If Athens runs out of cash and defaults in the coming weeks, as seems increasingly possible, no one wants to be accused of having pushed it over the edge or failed to try to save it.
Greece's leftist government has already identified its culprit of choice - Germany, Europe's main paymaster, accused of having inflicted toxic austerity policies on Greeks, causing a "humanitarian crisis".
Euro zone governments are preparing the ground to blame the novice government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for having blustered, obstructed, failed to meet commitments and evaded hard choices while Athens burned.
"We are doing everything we can to save Greece from itself, but in the end, it's up to them," is the message pouring out of Berlin, Brussels and IMF headquarters in Washington.
Tsipras and outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis tried at first to mount a coalition against Berlin, touring France, Italy, Britain, Brussels and media studios after their election. They found no allies outside the media. Continued...