The ECB thought they could back the Greek Government and leadership into a corner with no other choice than an insipid self-destruction that would have left them, culpable, maligned and threatened by their own nation. Soon to be replaced by a trinket government installed at the whim of a few EURO bureaucrats (or Neo-Nazis - take your pick).
Greece played it about as well as possible. Knowing that the objective of ECB and Germany was to make sure that no other political administration in the crumbling European Union would ever be willing to commit such an act of defiance and humiliation against central planners. They waited till after markets had closed to announce a referendum and to "stick the finger" to the central planners (see ECB & EU Strategy – Political, Not Practical). During the afternoon on Friday, Greece made overtures but just after the close of the markets they gave no wriggle room to a central bank that thought it owned the outcome of the situation.
This era, characterized by the senseless debt pumping by central planning bureaucrats all over the world, has destroyed many lives and is presently in the process of destroying millions more - which will inevitably be the driving force of more complex conflicts between nations. The fact is that, via side deals and convoluted transactions with the US FED, virtually all sovereign central banks operate US FED policy by proxy. Almost all of them are precariously close to losing control of the leverage they have been so desperate to pretend is a catalyst to growth when in fact it is clearly the opposite (see these charts). IMF and BIS have been projecting wild fantasies regarding Greek growth for years. As it appears, these delusions are influenced by blind deference to the concept that something can be created out of nothing by a few bankers with a "control-P" key. Sadly this is not the situation as so clearly shown in IMAGINARY NUMBERS. With so little real capital available and so much leverage, even a little disruption can have grave implications. The next months and weeks will likely reveal more regarding leverage (more accurately deleveraging) implications.
These crises arising all over the world may be a catharsis for people in the end, but it will be one of the most painful paths possible for rejuvenation. From this perspective, Greece knows they are in pain, it can not get much more intense for them. What you can not pay for does not get paid - so, there is somewhat of a limit. BUT IT CAN GET VERY PAINFUL for debt-pushing central-planners. The implications of huge and contagious CDS & derivatives losses, financial instability and challenges that are all pointed at the feet and minds of central planners (as opposed to indebted governments) is likely to be a trend.
If there is one lesson from Greece, it is while the drug is offered - take it. When the drug causes ill health and death, for the history books, make sure its manufacturers and pushers get the blame.