Photo: Getty Images

By: Harry C. Blaney III

The future of Greece in Europe and the future of a more united and inclusive Europe is now on the table after the Greek vote “NO” to austerity. The decisions that will be made in the next few days will shape the direction, strength and support for a united Europe for decades.

With the vote in Greece this Sunday, the people of this much punished nation, due largely to imposed outside austerity from its creditors, have clearly spoken democratically against the continued impoverishment of their nation by demands that are in reality impossible. The vote was NOT a vote to leave the Euro or the EU but a desire to have a fair chance to live in dignity and not experience further economic decline. 

How the Greek government will respond is still obscure but they are calling for new negotiations based on a realistic package of debt reduction in some form. This will likely entail some reforms that have been demanded, and some room to institute growth in the economy.

Yes, it is time  for serious thought and analysis. The time has come for a new serious dialogue between Greece and European leaders. The stakes are larger than just a country with 2% of EU GDP, it has to do with the need for Europe to care for all its people.  It is also key for democratic institutions to be strong. Citizens want to be cared for by their governments and for opportunity which austerity does not permit.   What is also at work is the long term security of Europe as a strong entity that can deal effectively with the many challenges it now faces including keeping its nations secure against external pressure and aggression.  Even now Putin is taking advantage of the disunity and bad decisions by the Euro Zone leaders and the ECB. It shows that he sees an opening to divide Europe. 

There are many ways for there to be an agreement between Greece and the EU/Euro Zone and ECB. Greece can’t pay the debt that is owed — even the IMF experts agree on that. The EU and the Euro Zone will both be stronger if the final deal permits real growth and some degree of future prosperity for Greece. Both sides need to make compromises. Such an approach is doable and the best option for all. I think we have a historic moment to act with a helping hand and constructive reform, not destructive “reforms” by the right wing wrongheaded leaders that see only “punishment” as a solution.

We should not forget the lessons of the sanctions after WW I on Germany and its results in Hitler, and the different response of the Marshall Plan after WW II, which made possible the unity and peace we see today.   We have a moment to make the right decisions and I hope both sides now will act in that spirit, not with the nasty and negative views that only too often have been destructive, Germany, in particular,  seems to want to see Greece outside the Euro and perhaps the EU. An inclusive Europe, dealing with its difficulties constructively is needed.

We welcome your comments!


Map of 28 EU countries as of October 2013

Photo: BBC

London Dateline

Harry C. Blaney III

Opening the European papers these days is a bit like living with a daily taste of defeat, greed, folly, and drift in the face of major challenges. There is even a taste of despair moral fatigue in the air. The EU has a GDP and population larger than the United States, member countries with comparatively higher standard of living than most of the world, and a long history of ‘high” culture. Yet, in the face of multiple challenges, the EU seems adrift.

Europe has a major immigration and humanitarian crisis which Europe has been unable to address the fundamental causes of the crisis or even have an effective humanitarian response. This in not for a lack of good proposals, but rather reluctance to take on added costs and burdens that will save thousands of lives especially those who make dangerous voyages in the Mediterranean Sea largely to Italy but also out of places of conflict in Africa and Asia.

After years of legal and illegal immigration and  tens of thousands of migrant deaths on the seas, the Europeans still have no good answers. Europeans are now trying to apportion immigrants between the 28 member countries – an effort that likely will not be carried out or permitted in some countries. Some 103,000 illegal immigrants have arrived on European shores since the start of the year. Today, 450 immigrants arrived in Sicily and the Italian government has threatened to give illegal immigrants visas so they can travel to other EU countries unless the other countries take their share of new arrivals.

Further East is an aggressive Russia run by an authoritarian Putin who continues to cause conflict and brutality in Eastern Ukraine. Russia has already annexed a part of Ukraine Crimea by force of arms. Due to the disarray among European nations to agree to strong sanctions, we are now seeing new agreements and large investments by European (UK included) oil companies with Russia despite continued Russian aggression. Weak EU sanctions are proof Europe will try to accommodate whatever brutality Putin will undertake thus  possibly encouraging further aggression.  All of this undermines the concept of unified support for the security of EU nations. One needs to ask what this means for overall NATO credibility for the security in Europe?

The other challenge to European unity and progress is the undercurrent of inequality, racism, and dominance of the very rich and hyper conservative forces over political power in many EU states. 

In the UK, the gap between those that live or work in the “City” as it is called, which is the banking and financial firms in London, verses those in the North of England and in Scotland that have been neglected by the Tory government and that clearly cares nothing for the very poor in their nation by their now public budget cuts.  

There is a clear marginalized immigrant and also an angry native poor population in the UK and in many European nations. This has caused a tear in the fabric of society and has imperiled a key cohesiveness needed in any country to advance progress, productivity, and provide a sense of fairness and upward mobility and integration. 

What are the results of some of these conditions and other forces of alienation within the European landscape?

One result has been the inability of many European countries to effectively address their major problems both internal and external.

The other revelation is the disinterest and poverty overall of European leadership to show any willingness to truly solve the hard problems. Indeed most of the recent decisions have been aimed at destroying the social fabric, and the social compact within society, and by whole national governments and in the EU. One result has been the growth in unpopularity of the EU and of the whole “European Project.” The sad growth of nasty, narrow nationalistic right wing parties like the National Front in France and the UK Independent party in Britain are also a result.

If there is an example of the disunity and myopia of Europe, it is the current Greek crisis. The European Central Bank, is essentially run by and for the very rich EU countries mostly Germany. The ECB together with the IMF and World Bank are demanding now added austerity on Greece, which past requirements of austerity has already impoverish in that country.  These demands for austerity are creating a humanitarian crisis creating among the highest unemployment and poverty levels in the EU ever seen in recent times.

These institutions and countries want the burden to fall on the poor and on the old via further cuts in pensions beyond those already taken. Major economists have stated time and time again that these demands have only created hardships and the bet here today is that these actions will force a default and an exit from the euro. I hope not! There is room for compromise on both sides, but only a major reduction in Greek debt will solve the problem.

Germany, above all, has lost its way as the leader of European unity and cooperation. This reinforces the reality that in these times of crisis the whole of European political leadership are tied to the worst trends in their countries and have the narrowest agendas.

The most important likely result of this outcome is furthering the future of the euro, undermining the EU, and most important the core elements of a united cooperative and effective Europe.  For America these outcomes, along with their fundamental causes, weakens Europe’s capacity to solve region wide and global problems or to act effectively on a global basis.  This means that the U.S.’s key partner in trying to solve critical global problems is becoming an undependable shadow of what it can and should be. While we have a  desirable “pivot” to Asia. it seems we need again to do a deep rethink about strengthening Europe and working hard for a more outward looking enlightened Europe before it is too late.

More on these European issues in another post!

We welcome your comments!




Alan Berlind

It is hard to read the daily press coverage of the Greek financial crisis and the increasingly ugly public bickering between officials of the leftist regime in Athens and the conservative guardians of fiscal responsibility at the European Union without wondering how they can all keep a straight face while pretending that money is all that counts. This is not the space and this blogger not the man for a close and expert examination of the financial arguments put forward by the debtor and creditor. Leaving that to The Economist (April 25) and others, let us take a look at the political game being played on all sides and the very serious consequences of failure to reach a deal that (a) subjects neither Greece nor its current leadership to shame and poverty, that (b) saves face as well for national leaders in Germany, France and elsewhere, that (c) preserves full membership in the Eurogroup as currently constituted, that (d) enhances the position of the EU itself as a major actor on the world stage, and that (e) offers no gifts to either Russia or Turkey. The United States stands to gain from such a result and lose considerably from failure.

There is no question but that Greece has experienced a long run of domestic political turmoil responsible in large part for the economic hole in which it finds itself today, beginning a half-century ago with the military coup d’état of April 21, 1967. It must be added at once, however, that acquiescence followed by more active support in Washington back then and over the succeeding seven years was a welcome gift to those seeking to deal a death blow to democracy in its birthplace. As it had been since the end of WWII, the US was the major source of foreign influence in NATO member Greece, but President Lyndon Johnson slapped the new “government” of colonels on the wrist with a mild reduction in military aid and turned the other way, and successor Richard Nixon, advised by Henry Kissinger, was more than comfortable having a military dictatorship as an ally for another four years. In 1974, however, those colonels, with no apparent objection from their American fans, tried to incorporate independent Cyprus into the Hellenic homeland. Reacting swiftly, the Turks invaded and left more than 30,000 Turkish troops in place, still in place today as a more enlightened US administration works hard to forge agreement among Turkey and the two ethnic Cypriot communities on an independent, non-occupied bi-zonal federation.

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen makes a strong argument for a reasonable compromise between unreasonable senior financial negotiators from Greece, the stressed but combative debtor nation, and other EU and Eurozone nations seemingly bent on punishing a noisy leftist government unable to repay excessive loans. Cohen wrote on April 24: “Despite a brutal fiscal adjustment, the fact remains that Greece’s debt is not repayable …. At some point there must be debt forgiveness; the cost of stupid loans has to be recognized. Or there may be a Greek default. The worst outcome for Europe would be a Greek exit from the euro. Joining the shared currency, for all the nations in it, was an ‘irrevocable’ decision. Once one country goes, the whole edifice wobbles. Markets are not sentimental about probing weakness. The constant question will be, ‘Who’s next?’ “

It is crystal clear that the question of overriding concern in Cohen’s view is the future of Europe rather than the angry, spiteful bickering over who’s to blame mentioned at the start. As he convincingly puts it, Europe today is “a borderless market of more than half a billion people between whom war has become impossible …. a continent where entitlements including universal health care are seen not as socialist indulgence but basic humanity …. it (Europe) has delivered peace above all, prosperity however frayed, and freedom to former inmates of the Soviet imperium. It has also created an awareness of European identity that falls short of European patriotism but is nonetheless a counterweight to the primal nationalism that stained the continent with so much blood”.

Whether it is Greece, the Eurozone, the EU itself or the US that stands to benefit most from a halt in the warfare that has driven the negotiations underground, there is a new light at the end of the tunnel: the recent news from Athens that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has reorganized his team so as to remove Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis from the negotiating table without relieving him of his policy responsibilities. It is to be hoped that tempers will no longer override diplomacy at the table and threaten all parties with a result that serves nobody. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

We welcome your comments!

Cyprus in the News – but Where?

By: Alan Berlind

The most senior and most important American visitor to Cyprus in half a century, Vice-President Joseph Biden, arrived in the country on May 21. In public statements – and surely in his meetings with Cypriot officials – Biden made absolutely clear the United States’ position concerning the matter of sovereignty and the country’s importance to the United States, both in general terms and with respect to its role as a strategic partner in the future of energy production and distribution. That Biden had by his side a senior U.S. energy official underscored the last point. Continue reading



by Alan D. Berlind

Forty years after an attempted Greek coup was met with a Turkish invasion that seized some 40% of the Republic of Cyprus and left some 40,000 Turkish troops on the island, there are signs that a reunification may be in the cards, reportedly with active backing from Washington for reasons strategic, political and commercial.  Several other countries have more than a passing interest in a resolution of this long-standing problem, from which the European Union (EU) as a body would also profit.

A brief history is in order, if only because “rethinking national security” must include acknowledging the past along with planning the future.  The Greek coup attempt of 1974 was the work of a Greek military/police regime that had seized power in 1967 with the lame excuse of pre-empting election of a leftist government in Athens.  That takeover had met with minimal disapproval – a cut in military assistance – from the government of President Lyndon Johnson and none from the latter’s successor, Richard Nixon, or his chief foreign policy guru, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.  Nevertheless, the regime was losing strength by 1974, which it hoped to recover by incorporating Cyprus into the Greek state.  Turkey, not about to see the Turkish-Cypriot minority swallowed up by its Aegean enemy, did not wait long to send in the troops.  The British Foreign Secretary at the time, James Callaghan, has written that he tried but could not get Kissinger, by then his counter-part, on the phone to discuss the problem.  The latter, we were to understand, was just too busy with various tasks following Nixon’s resignation in disgrace to devote time to Cyprus.

A proposed settlement, labeled the “Annan Plan” after United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was put to a vote in Cyprus in 2004 but was overwhelmingly and vengefully, defeated by Greek-Cypriots comfortable with the fact that Cyprus had already been assured entry into the EU regardless of the outcome, while Turkish-Cypriots voted in favor.  Over the succeeding decade, a determination by leaders of both communities to try again, combined with a perception of hard national interests in several other countries and persistent diplomatic efforts from various quarters, not least among them the current administration in the United States (U.S.), has led to agreement on new negotiations between the two Cypriot communities aimed at the restoration of a single universally-recognized sovereign state, with issues of domestic governance to be agreed between the two parties.

Of those “hard national interests” mentioned above, none is more important than the additional and alternative sources of energy being pursued world-wide and the discovery beneath the waters in the Cypriot exclusive economic zone of potentially massive supplies of natural gas, for either export (sale) by pipeline as is to nearby markets or by container as liquefied natural gas (LNG) further abroad.  Following exploration and findings by the American firm Noble Energy, a tri-partite Memorandum of Understanding has been executed with Total of France and Eni of Italy foreseeing joint exploitation and the establishment of a plant in Cyprus for the production of LNG.  Initial exploration has also revealed the existence of gas beneath waters shared by Cyprus and Israel, opening up the possibility of sales to energy-poor Turkey and an improvement in Israeli-Turkish relations, which have been in a parlous state for five years.

No less important than the resource question, the sine qua non of Turkish EU membership, still being pursued by Ankara, is the end of Turkish occupation of EU-member state Cyprus.  That the Turks understand this was best stated in an interview by Turkish Ambassador to Athens Kerim Uras: “The key to solving the Cyprus problem is natural resources and the key to the candidacy of Turkey to the EU is the solution of the Cyprus problem.”  Of course one cannot rule out Turkish tactical tinkering with the process to the very end as Ankara assesses the benefits of EU accession and weighs the importance of opposition thereto on clearly ethnic grounds within France, Germany, The Netherlands and Scandinavia.  EU membership aside, Greek-Turkish relations in general and disputes over longstanding Aegean issues in particular cannot but be eased by success in the Cyprus negotiations.  Nevertheless, those Aegean issues raise the matter of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), signed by all EU members and the EU itself (the only non-state party), but  rejected most prominently by Turkey and Israel, the former owing to UNCLOS’ full support of the Greek positions in the Aegean.  (The Israeli position is unrelated.)

On the diplomatic front, the U.S. Department of State has apparently been leading the way, with a recent visit to Nicosia by Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland and another by Secretary John Kerry rumored for this Spring.  Clearly, President Barack Obama has been convinced that a Cyprus settlement would serve the interests of the U.S. and its friends and allies in the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond.  Most important, however, has been the apparent determination on both sides of the Cypriot divide and in the capitals of their Greek and Turkish champions to find a mutually acceptable formula for unity.  Leading the way have been Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish-Cypriot opposite number, Dervis Eroglu.  Leaving aside the unhelpful but normal partisan griping on both sides, the level of mutual understanding can be seen in the recent announcement that the chief negotiators will be visiting and conferring with the most interested outside governments this month: the Greek-Cypriot negotiator in Ankara, and his Turkish-Cypriot opposite number in Athens.

An agreement will take time but is in the works, and all interested parties stand to benefit substantially if Cypriots and Turks and Greeks, having learned from the past, succeed in launching a new era of cooperation and progress.


Europe Still in Distress, Disarray Despite Changes in Governments

Posted from London – Coming to Europe one gets the impression that for all the reshuffling of heads of government and promises from other key heads of governments to solve the economic crisis, Europe remains in disarray and the future remains uncertain.  Markets plunged, Italian and Spanish bonds’ interest rates rose to historic levels, and there is no consensus amongst the Euro zone governments on a long-term systemic solution. Indeed their policies seem designed to depress their economies and exacerbate recovery.

Among the many uncertainties is whether the new Greek and Italiangovernments will be permitted to carry out the needed reforms in such a way that they do not lead to further depression of their economies. Things do not look good at the moment. Our TV screen was showing a pompous Berlusconi after his fall indicating that he would stay in politics, implying he may come back.  Just what Europe needs at this moment of deep crisis for his nation. At the heart of the European economic crisis is the total inability of the governments to recognize that austerity policies are counterproductive to solving both the debt problem and fixing the ever higher unemployment and stagnant growth.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s odd stance has been to both stand against giving the power to the European Central Bank to act as a lender of last resort to governments in distress, while at the same time she called for Europe to build a stronger “political union” to support the Euro. Confusion over German intentions thus remains.  In the end, much of the blame or much of the praise will rest with Merkel and Germany depending on whether the crisis is solved or Europe falls into even greater disarray as it continues its policies of austerity.

Likewise for France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose poll standing has plummeted.  Like other nations, France faces serious debt and growth problems itself and seems for the moment immobilized by the political forces within the French society and government and anger both from the right and the left.  The French economy just grew in the third quarter at the annual rate of 0.4%, while Germany the so-called “strong economy” grew at just 0.5% and the whole Euro zone grew at just 0.2%.  So much for the results of “slash and cut” as a conservative policy for growth.

Prime Minister Cameron in his speech at the City of London’s Lord Mayor’s Banquet, focused on foreign policy especially the economic/financial crisis including the EURO Zone debt issue. The problem with the speech is the lack of acknowledgment of how disastrous his own austerity policy has been for Great Britain and especially for the middle class and the poor. The background of his speech was not pretty, either at home or in Europe.

Cameron tried to separate himself from the generation of UK leaders before him of the post WWII generation; his youth influence was in the post 1989 fall of the Iron Curtain.  His focus seemed narrow, with self-serving generalizations, and it showed no recognition of the crisis being experienced by his people. He made disparaging remarks about the EU while saying the UK would not withdraw from the EU and wanted to influence it by withdrawing some of its powers.  Confusing and unconstructive would be a fair assessment.

As noted, coincidently, at about the time of his speech in the City (London’s “Wall Street”) two government leaders, Cameron and Bloomberg of New York representing the rich, used police force to remove protesters of the “Occupy Wall Street” and “Occupy the City” (outside of St. Paul’s), showing again that the 1% are having their way, and that free speech and the protests of the 99% are being trampled on. None of this will solve the fundamental problems of either side of the Atlantic. As economic conditions get worse one wonders what the impact will be and whether people will feel even stronger that their voice is not being heard.

The resulting instability, loss of productivity, and ever higher unemployment will undermine the capacity of Europe and America to act effectively to deal with the host of challenges we jointly face in an increasingly dangerous and risky world.

More on these events and trends and their implications in the coming days. We welcome your comments.

By Harry C. Blaney III.

Cyprus and National Security

The ongoing harsh dispute between Turkey and Israel has been treated in the media as if only those two countries, plus the United States and the European Union, were involved.  There has been mention of the Cypriot angle, since one major aspect of the dispute involves seabed exploration for hydrocarbons in the area composed of the exclusive economic zones of Cyprus and Israel located between the shores of those two states.  But otherwise, if one judges from “the news”, Cyprus is a bit player in the Israeli-Turkish drama that may yet produce an unhappy ending for all actors mentioned above and a tragic one for Cyprus itself.

Former American Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz, who knows better, is among those who give Cyprus short shrift, witness the op-ed he co-authored for the September 17 edition of the Washington Post entitled “Obama must deal with Turkey-Israel crisis”.  Cyprus gets only quick mention in the eighth paragraph.  Reuters news agency on September 22 hinted at the importance of Cyprus with the following dramatic report:  “Cyprus has said it will block negotiations Turkey began in 2005 to join the European Union if Ankara continues to oppose its gas exploration. Turkey has said it will freeze relations with the EU Presidency if Cyprus is given the rotating role next July before a settlement over the island is reached.”  Nevertheless, the emphasis is clearly on the question of Turkey’s application for EU membership, with little Cyprus just a technical, albeit annoying, stumbling block.  Little though it may be, the Republic of Cyprus is a member in good standing of the United Nations and the EU and, as Turkey has fretfully acknowledged, will assume the EU presidency next July.

For reasons given below, a little history is in order. Following a bitter struggle, Cyprus won its independence in 1960 from Great Britain, with the departing colonial power retaining small sovereign air bases in the southern part of the island.  Serious and often bloody strife between the majority Greek-speaking community and its Turkish-speaking  counterpart led to a UN military presence and the establishment in 1964 of a “green line” to prevent inter-communal violence. 

Ten years later, on July 15, 1974, a faltering Greek military/police regime in Athens participated in a rightist coup attempt aimed at incorporating the island into Greece.  In just over a week, a cease-fire had been declared, the coup had collapsed, civilian rule had been restored, and the reign of the Greek junta, which had mounted its own coup in 1967, had ended.  But, three days before this potentially happy ending, Turkey had dispatched its own troops to nip the Cypriot coup in the bud and, it claimed, to protect the minority Turkish-Cypriot population. 

Finally, while talks were under way in Geneva among the ludicrously labeled “protective powers” (Great Britain, Turkey and Greece), Turkey on August 14 launched a massive invasion and occupied 37% of the island’s territory, from which 180,000 Greek-Cypriots were expelled, their homes and properties to be given to Turkish settlers imported mostly from the plains of Anatolia.  In 1983, Turkey and its vassal proclaimed the establishment of the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, which as of this writing has never been recognized by any nation on earth but the new colonial power itself.  Today, thirty-seven years after the invasion, and in disregard of dozens of UN Security Council resolutions, some 30,000 Turkish troops remain in armed occupation.  (This of course makes an absurd mockery of Turkey’s repeated recent references, otherwise valid, to Israel’s disregard of an even larger number of UNSC resolutions.)

Why was this little history in order?  The focus of this blog is on “rethinking national security”.  President Obama’s recent decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of this year brings to mind his absolute failure to call his predecessor to account for the illegal, unprovoked and disastrous invasion of that country.  The conviction here is that accountability and honesty go hand in hand with America’s standing and influence throughout the world and, accordingly, its security.  It is in that context that the role of America in the history recounted above is recorded below.  These are not revelations by any means; it is all on the public record.

When Greek colonels on April 21, 1967 mounted their lightening coup, ostensibly to pre-empt the election of a liberal, or leftist, prime minister, the administration of President Lyndon Johnson did absolutely nothing other than impose a mostly cosmetic reduction in military aid to its long-standing ally.  The debate continues to this day as to whether the U.S. was taken by surprise, knew of the coup in advance or was in fact more actively involved.  In any case, when Richard Nixon was inaugurated in 1969, he and his National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger, dispatched a new ambassador, Henry Tasca, to Greece with instructions to report back in six months on the progress of the military junta in restoring democratic norms to Greece – the unstated expectation being that such would be the case.  In the absence of any evidence whatsoever, Tasca dutifully complied.  Aid was restored to former levels, and the junta carried on with no civilizing reforms and scant opposition to speak of until a major demonstration in Athens in 1973 paved the way for that pitiful attempt to overthrow the Cypriot Government.

Kissinger, now dual-hatted as Secretary of State and in total control of American foreign policy, was warned explicitly by Cyprus experts in the Department about the dangers of a Greek coup attempt in Cyprus and a decisive counter-attack by Turkey.  Some wish to blame Kissinger for no more than unfamiliarity with the territory, or for personal antagonism toward Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios, or for the enormous weight on his shoulders following Nixon’s resignation. Whichever excuse is offered, he certainly let it all happen.  There is every reason to assign the blame to this genius of realpolitik for consciously permitting the desperate Greek junta to kick off the fight and thereby furnish Turkey with an excuse for intervening and then colonizing a large part of an independent UN member state.

Will Henry Kissinger ever be called to account for his role in events that paved the way to the current situation in Cyprus, still suffering today from the longest military occupation in memory, by a force the largest ever in relation to the local population?  (One can of course ask the same question concerning other crucial decisions made on his watch, for example, immediately excusing Yassir Arafat after the latter in early 1973 ordered that American diplomats in Khartoum be slaughtered in cold blood, or agreeing to delay the end of the Vietnam War so as to ensure Nixon’s re-election in 1974.)

The greater misfortune, however, lies not just in the sins of one man.  Kissinger’s actions and policies, given his authority, were the actions and policies of the United States Government, which itself therefore shoulders much of the blame for the dilemma facing Cyprus today and the closely related problems involving Turkey, the EU and, given its own national interests, the United States.  This history, in combination with the current threat to U.S. interests stemming from the Turkish-Israeli-Cypriot-EU imbroglio, requires attention on the part of Washington. 

More on the Cyprus question will follow.  In the meantime, all comments will be welcomed.

By Alan Berlind.