So the baleful facts bear repeating. The eurozone governments have committed to $200 billion of direct fiscal guarantees to Greece, but in cobbling these expedients together during the 2010 and 2011 crises what the politicians of Brussels really did was to stick the ECB with the ultimate Old Maid’s card.

Stated differently, in the process of bailing out their own banks, which were stuffed with Greek sovereign and private credits, Brussels did just enough to stabilize the private credit markets and ward off the vultures. This, in turn, allowed the ECB to pretend that Greek collateral was money and to pacify the German monetary sticklers about the sin of monetizing state debt. At length, the ECB became the money market for the entire Greek economy.

Greece owes the ECB upward of $140 billion. That is, the Greek state and banking system owes the ECB more money than the entire deposits of the Greek banking system!

Altogether then, Greece owes the politicians and apparatchiks who rule the continent from Brussels and Frankfurt the staggering sum of $340 billion. In fact, the sum is not staggering; it is lunacy itself. The cowardly, self-perpetuating rulers of the European superstate have managed to loan Greece what amounts to 3 percent of their own GDP when Greece itself only accounts for 2 percent of eurozone economic output.

In the event of a blow-up and Grexit, exactly how would this mountain of Greek collateral be collected? Would it be done by the German army sent in to occupy the Greek ports and railway stations?