ATHENS - It is never easy to wake up to the news that your country’s business model is busted. It is difficult to acknowledge the obvious: that your political leaders had either been deluded or lying to you when they assured you for decades that your hard-earned living standards were safe, that your immediate future now relies on the kindness of foreigners determined to crush you. That the European Union, in which you had placed your trust, had been engaging in a permanent concealment exercise. That your EU partners, to whom you are now appealing for help, look at you as a villain whose comeuppance is long overdue. That economic elites in your country and beyond are seeking novel ways to ensure that your country remains stuck. That you must endure massive, painful changes to ensure nothing changes.
Greeks know this feeling, having experienced it in their bones in early 2010. Today, it is the Germans who now face a wall of condescension, antipathy, and even mockery. Ironic as it may seem, no Europeans are better placed than the Greeks to understand that the Germans deserve better, that their current predicament is the result of our collective, European failure, and that no one - least of all the long-suffering Greeks, southern Italians, Spaniards, and Portuguese (the PIGS as we were once called) - benefits from schadenfreude.