...the willingness of the policy makers to sweat blood and tears to avoid falling into the arms of the “Russian bear” was, for a while, unlimited...This got me to thinking (dangerous, I know). What would really be helpful right about now would be the Soviet Union. Not Russia, but the big, bad, Communist-block-creating USSR. Imagine a world where Greece were failing as they are, and the Soviets were around to phone up Greece's PM and offer assistance. I'd imagine that the US, (West) Germany, UK, et al. would be throwing money at the small Baltic nation as fast as it could be printed.
But we don't live in that world anymore. If Germany insists that the Greek people suffer, then they will. The US/UK may prefer a bailed out Greece, but really prefer to keep Germany happy. There isn't a competing alternative that Greece can go to that would force the other Eurozone nations to act humanely. Their best alternative is to leave, but they don't want to do that either, so they are stuck.
I wonder what would happen if China were to recognize how cheap it would be to buy all of Greece's debt in exchange for some very favorable deals that would allow them better access to the Eurozone.