Is it life which imitates art or art that imitates life? I usually don't much care. I'm not much of an art aficionado, but in the case of Greece and the European Union, I think it's life imitating art.

Greece is officially out of money. Actually, they've been broke for quite some time, but now it's crunch time. They need money to make a rather large payment (450 million Euros) to the IMF. They don't have it.

So let's call the country of Greece, the low rent district of Europe (Bedford Falls), or Bailey Park. For those unaware, I'm making reference to Frank Capra's classic movie It's a Wonderful Life.

The European Union, or the Old Building and Loan, has helped the residents of Greece, Bailey Park, all it can, and will no longer lend it any more without Greece instituting austerity measures. Thus far, they have refused.

Well, desperate times lead to desperate measures. The duly elected representative of Bailey Park, the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, has made attempts to acquire more funding from the EU, the old Building and Loan, but to no avail.

Enter Mr. Potter. We might better know him as Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Now, if you recall from the movie, the desperate residents of Bailey Park all rush into George Bailey's Building and Loan to withdraw their money, but the Building and Loan is broke. One panicked account holder exclaims that old man Potter is giving 50 cents on the dollar. To that, Tom, another account holder, begins to walk out, saying, "It's better to get half than nothing."

This is exactly what I see happening to Europe, and Greece is just the tip of the iceberg.

Greece's Prime Minister Tsipras is meeting with Vladimir Potter today to discuss possibly procuring a loan, a line of credit and discounted energy supplies. The European Union is none too happy about that.

Just like old man Potter, swooping in to take advantage of the Building and Loan's desperate customers, Vlad is seeking to do the same. This is made-to-order for the Russian leader. Ahead of the meeting, Tsipras has already made overtures to Russia, condemning economic sanctions on Moscow.

The UK Telegraph reports that a source in the Russian government says that lines of credit are indeed possible, as well as granting new loans and discounts on gas, but that Vladimir Potter is interested in something in return. The source described that something as receiving particular assets in Greece, but provided no details. However, the Russian media identified some potential somethings as maybe the Greek gas company DEPA, the railway operations, and both the Athens and Thessaloniki sea ports.  

Wow, sounds like Bailey Park may end up as Pottersville before it's all said and done.

In the short term, it appears that Vladimir Potter is trying to drive a wedge into the EU by using Greece's veto power to end sanctions on his country. With leverage over Greece, it may also begin to break up the EU's unified front against Russia's ambitions in Ukraine.

And as more European nations like Spain and Portugal falter, Vladimir Potter will no doubt be more than willing to step and buy out their Building and Loan shares, for pennies on the dollar.  

Who knows – in ten years we may be looking at the USSE, the United Soviet States of Europe.

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