“We don't have that technology”
about 15 years ago I was helping my Uncle in Bulgaria build a house for his daughter. To fix the misplaced columns we needed a simple tool, a hammer drill with a ceramic drill bit. His answer was “ We don't have that technology”. Reading between the lines it was clear that we couldn't afford the $300 for the equipment and we would have to make do without it.
Today Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland are facing a financial crisis for which those who live in the X Warsaw-Pact countries call daily life. The European Union economic rules for employment mobility were supposed to bring the Warsaw Pact countries up to Western standards seem to have backfired. Between the industrialization of the Third World and the waves of educated cheap labour from the Warsaw Pact, the second tier European Union countries have been economically destabilized. These unintentional consequences have backfired into European Union, economically dragging down these second tier countries to the level of the X Warsaw Pact countries. To be cynical some might say the German bailout of Greece is a stop gap measure to temporarily recirculate capital back into the pockets of foreign investors and bond holders, with little real concern for the sanctity of the European Union or the Greek people.
During the days when the second tier EU countries were awash with easy Western money, Bulgaria and other X Warsaw Pact nations were all constantly struggling, hustling , pulling and trading trying to improve their peoples lives if only by small fractions. Even today Bulgaria's pensions are easily a half to a third of those of Greece.
Grapes and Apples from Macedonia, Arms to Iraq, technology to Russia, Air Bases to America, Basic infrastructure improvements with guaranteed economic outcomes, no deal to small, no country refused. This is the Bulgaria of the future. Gone are the days of Imperial Pretension, vanity or trappings of greatness. Bulgaria can ill afford a British style monarchy to drag down the country further into poverty. The days of a massive conscripted army are also long gone. Today it is a fully volunteer force, a fraction of its former size, focusing much of its efforts into the high tech for foreign sales. Old army equipment which could not be sold has been scrapped.
Even today, everything in Bulgaria is Generic, 2nd generation or in short supply. Medicines, equipment, transportation, has got to make do on an as is basis. The one place which Bulgaria seems to shine is in its educational system. Universities and Colleges are technically first rate, giving those lucky Bulgarian youth with education a passport to the West. Out of ten million Bulgarians, over 2 million work and live abroad. This is one Bulgaria's few escapes from economic poverty.
Throughout the EU membership Bulgaria has maintained only one luxury, supporting it's culture and populations in neighbouring countries using any and all peaceful means available. Bridges and roadways are being built to connect Bulgaria to Europe and at the same time offer routes for the Bulgarians of the diaspora to reconnect with their relatives. This in spite of continued efforts to stall such programs by neighbouring countries who fear their own minorities will become more vocal and organized. In the face of Macedonian state sponsored discrimination and jingoism towards Bulgarians in the country Bulgaria has responded with painful restraint and calmness. Bulgaria supports its Bulgarians abroad with EU passports, subsidized education, legal representation and employment opportunities, even in these difficult times. Whole generations of Macedonians, once threatened with prison and death in Macedonia for being Bulgarian, are rediscovering their Bulgarian roots and heritage, which has given them a chance to escape the crushing poverty of Macedonia.
One of the first things that Greece and other countries will have to abandon is their bloated militaries. Greece simply cannot maintain military parity with it's so called “enemy” Turkey and still stay afloat economically. It's pensions and health care system will probably be cut by at least 1/3 to 1/2. Everything else will “decay” until it is 2nd generation, generic or in short supply. Soon it will be “ We don't have that technology here”.
Cynically the Bulgarians home and abroad now have a new greeting for Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland: “ Welcome brothers and sisters to the Warsaw Pact”