Its been a bad two weeks for Ireland and Dominique Strauss-Kahn hasnt helped. The IMF chief has left the bailout discussions if not rudderless then wrongfooted.
Meanwhile, it has emerged last week that Irelands cause was even more fatally damaged by none other than Timothy Geithner in a move that, at the time, undermined all the best efforts of Strauss-Kahns IMF.
The revelation came in an opinion piece by economist Morgan Kelly in The Irish Times. Kelly is famous for having predicted the bursting of the Irish property bubble and for having been profiled by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.
In a piece otherwise about how Ireland should default now and get it over with, Kelly claimed that, having been forced into taking an ill-advised bailout by an inept central bank governor, Irelands then finance minister, Brian Lenihan, had been offered by the IMF a plan to haircut 30 billion of unguaranteed bonds by two-thirds.
Kelly takes up the tale: At a conference call with the G7 finance ministers, the haircut was vetoed by US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner who, as his payment of $13 billion from government-owned AIG to Goldman Sachs showed, believes that bankers take priority over taxpayers. The only one to speak up for the Irish was UK chancellor George Osborne, but Geithner, as always, got his way. An instructive, if painful, lesson in the extent of US soft power, and in who our friends really are.
In all this, according to Kelly, the IMF had been acting in Irelands best interests. If it had any intention of doing so again, the chaos following DSKs arrest will surely mean another round of tough negotiations for the Irish.