A lack of lead­er­ship

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece has al­ways been a for­tu­nate coun­try be­cause at times of ma­jor crises its lead­ers were ca­pa­ble of shin­ing on the in­ter­na­tional stage. Eleft­he­rios Venize­los was on ex­actly the same level as David Lloyd Ge­orge and the rest of his con­tem­po­raries. The Greek states­man’s de­ci­sions, his un­der­stand­ing of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and what he earned at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble were no co­in­ci­dence. A pa­triot who be­lieved in the Me­gali Idea con­cept of Greek na­tion­al­ism, Venize­los also made sure he main­tained his “ex­portable” qual­i­ties, fully aware that this is what counted at the end of the day. Con­stan­tine Kara­man­lis was a sim­i­lar kind of leader. A self-made man, he showed tremen­dous stamina and in­stinct and man­aged to stand on an equal par with the sa­cred mon­sters of his era, in­clud­ing Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Hel­mut Sch­midt and French Pres­i­dent Valery Gis­card d’Es­taing, among oth­ers po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. Through his im­pos­ing pres­ence and ar­gu­ments, he per­suaded Europe that Greece should be a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity (EEC). At the same time, he man­aged to tame an en­tire na­tion which had gone into pop­ulist or­bit. He did not tell peo­ple what they wanted to hear or re­work pop­u­lar cliches, but in­stead, banged on the ta­ble with his fist and shouted what he be­lieved to be the right thing for the coun­try. He never com­plained to any­one or ap­peared de­mand­ing. Sim­i­larly to Venize­los, he be­haved in a way that re­vealed a kind of col­lec­tive, na­tional con­fi­dence. Yes­ter­day it be­came ev­i­dent that Greece’s lead­er­ship is nowhere near that cal­iber. The coun­try was pre­sented with a huge op­por­tu­nity to leave its vic­tim­ized im­age be­hind and to pro­ject self-con­fi­dence, pos­i­tive en­ergy and a vi­sion for the fu­ture. We are, I’m afraid, giv­ing the im­pres­sion that Greece is a “small” coun­try – and this of course is not good. Adding to the con­cern, some of our neigh­bor­ing coun­tries are ruled by con­fi­dent and ar­ro­gant lead­ers. For it’s one thing to ut­ter brave-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.