Monday, 15 September 2008

Delusions of grandeur – big time

Watching again the Fyromian government's propaganda video (see post below Macedonia name mistake), in which (a Bulgarian-speaking!) Alexander the Great prior to the Battle of Gaugamela is shown to state to skeptical officers worried that their cause is hopeless before such a formidable opponent:

'Fortunately, those who think like you are in a minority. I started out to liberate the world, not to teach waverers the meaning of courage and responsibility. I believe in myself, in my decisions and I believe in my people. Forward to victory!'

it struck me that the man behind the production of this video, the man sponsoring all this Fyromian nationalist hysteria, i.e. Fyrom's Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, is actually comparing himself to Alexander the Great, and believes, in fact, that the 'battles' he (Gruevski) is waging with Greece over Fyromia's name are the equivalent of those Alexander waged against the Persians and others.

I ask myself: are there no men in white coats in Fyromia to take this Gruevski away?


Hermes said...

Gruevski is unquestionably an idiot; however, he is intelligent enough to realise that: 1) there are enough cravenly evil people in the US State Department and other American and EU organs to take his silly claims seriously for geopolitical gain; 2) there are many others who will profit from a diminished Greek role in Balkan and Eastern Mediterrenean affairs; and 3) a large part of the Greek population is lazy and greedy enough not to really care. I believe you are correct. If Greece had the courage to not buckle under USD pressure then we will see the No Name state come apart. However, this invites other problems. The Albanians will be so buoyed after victories in Kosovo that they may try and have a crack at Epirus.

On point 3) I have always wondered what the real interest in Greece is of international affairs and geoplitics. Is it only the Diaspora who cares? Post modern rubbish newspapers like Eleftherotypia ignore the subject and Kathimerini is too busy regurtitating copy from the New York Times to care. However, the latest survey results of Greek blogs shows that there is definitely interest. I wonder why the main news channels do not satisfy this interest?

Finally, interested in your views of the Cyprus negotiations so far?

john akritas said...

We all know that the real external threat to Greece is Turkey and in particular its determination to use the Muslim minority to capture, one way or another, Thrace. I'm sure going through the mind of Gruevski and his ilk is that in a conflict between Turkey and Greece, we (the Skopjans) should get on the side of the Turks and pick up what we can from a defeated Greece in Macedonia

You are right: if Fyromia falls apart, this will inevitably mean another success for the Greater Albania project – and again an enhanced Albania is a threat to our interests, though I'm not convinced the Albanians have the wherewithal or are as ideologically motivated as the Fyromians to try something in Epiros. More likely is that they'll start demanding 'rights' – schools, mosques, etc – for the Albanian immigrants we've let into the country.

The state of Greek politics and political thinking is indeed disturbing and a point of weakness for us. Recent scandals and the paucity of options presented to the Greek people makes me think that this must be the first time in Greek history when Greeks are failing in their efforts to renew themselves and the society they live in. It can't go on like this.

As for Cyprus, I remain deeply skeptical that Turkey – and we are talking about Turkey here, not the TCs, who are insignificant in all this process – is willing to shift enough to satisfy even someone like Christofias – who is a dove. Cyprus reflects another theatre in which the struggle in Turkey between the Kemalists and the Islamists is being played out; although I'm not convinced that when it comes to Cyprus there is much to choose between the Kemalists and Islamists. Turkish nationalism is all-encompassing.

The EU is the key here. Turkey wants to join, but can't even get close unless they back down on Cyprus. An advantage of Christofias – as opposed to Papadopoulos – is that Christofias has convinced the EU that he wants a solution and that he speaks the language of the EU – 'peace, tolerance, reconciliation, multiculturalism' and so on. If the negotiations are failing, and Turkey appears to be the cause of the failure, then Turkey will be made to think harder about its European vocation and how much it wants to hold on to Cyprus at all costs.

Whatever the outcome, it should be clear that these talks would not even be happening if Cyprus were not in the EU. Whoever came up with the idea of getting Cyprus into the EU – and I think it was Yiannos Kranidiotis – came up with a masterstroke. Cyprus used to be part of the American and British sphere of influence and everything aimed at a solution had to be done through Washington and London, who both wished to satisfy Turkish demands on the island – hence the Annan Plan. Getting Cyprus into the EU has effectively turned Cyprus into a European and not an Anglo-American issue, and this can only be to our advantage. Getting Cyprus in the EU has been a rare success for Greek diplomacy, but it has been a success, proving we don't fuck up all the time.

Hermes said...

The closer the greater Albania project comes to fruition the closer should our efforts in demanding independence for northern Epirus and its eventual annexation by the Greek state.

We have often failed to renew ourselves. For example, when Rome threatened Magna Gracia and mainland Greece, after 1204 etc. The problems for Greece are about values. As the great Colombian thinker, Gomez-Davila said, "Violence is not necessary to destroy a civilization. Each civilization dies from indifference to the unique values which created it.”

Hermes said...

Something I did not know until today. Here is a movie from Spain set in Byzantium. The trailers are terrific.

by the way caramel is coming out next week over here.

john akritas said...

I don't know much about either film. Tirante el Blanco's English title seems to have been called The Maidens' Conspiracy and is based on some medieval Catalan novel –

It annoys me that Greeks don't make films with Byzantine or Ancient Greek themes – god knows the material is there – and opt instead for sex comedies and films about drug taking. When 300 came out last year, apparently Greeks flocked to see it – I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing – but it just goes to show that Greeks have an appetite for films about epic Greek themes.