Wednesday, 2 April 2008

With friends like these…

Usually, I can't stand smug, self-obsessed, self-appointed demystifiers of Greek national ideology, such as Alexis Papachelas who writes for Kathimerini and is a commentator on Skai TV, who repeats in article after article that Greece has been unreasonable and extreme in the pursuit of its causes and if only it had shown more restraint and common sense then Hellenism would not have suffered the setbacks it has suffered in the last 50 years. This analysis is absurd, because the truth is that Greece's failures in the last 50 years stem from lack of boldness, fear of conflict and an unwillingness to resist the pressure of its patrons. Greece, in fact, has been too moderate in pursuit of its national interests and the result has been capitulation and the diminution of Hellenism.

Turkey has not been so reticent to defend its national interests. It took the risky decision to invade Cyprus in 1974 and having succeeded in its aims benefited from increased national self-confidence, while Greece's blundering in 1974 lost it not only the right to claim Cyprus but also the national prestige necessary for a healthy and progressive society.

Anyway, on Sunday Papachelas had an article in Kathimerini, (Greek here, English here), in which, for a change, he made some valuable points; specifically that Greek-American relations, already strained by Greece's flirtations with Russia and lukewarm response to the so-called 'war on terror', are deteriorating fast, are in fact on collision course in the Balkans, where US plans exclude Greece and Greek national interests, as evidenced by America's backing for the pathetic little rump state of Skopje, which has the childish audacity to want to call itself 'Macedonia' and expects an invitation to join NATO on its terms. (See background here).

But so what, Papachelas rightly asks, if America is putting pressure on Greece to give in to the ultranationalist Turkophile gangsters and terrorists-in-waiting who run Skopje? Greece doesn't have to bow to the Americans. This isn't the 1950s or 1960s, when Greece was ruled from the US embassy in Athens. The sky won't fall in if Greece tells the Americans – and their Skopjan lackeys – to take a hike. As Papachelas says:

‘It is very likely that at the [NATO] summit in Bucharest the Greek prime minister will be facing a tough adversary in the USA. And this will be when we will all have to reflect upon the other aspect of Greek-American relations, the one in which Greece, a European country with its own interests, has nothing to fear from American displeasure. Just as they don’t need us, so we don’t need to worry about them getting angry.'

Now that's a myth worth exploding: that Greece to pursue its national interests must always find itself in step with America.

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