The case for se­cu­rity

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

For the last seven years Greece’s ne­go­ti­a­tions with its in­ter­na­tional lenders have fre­quently en­tered phases of un­cer­tainty that have sim­ply pro­longed do­mes­tic an­tag­o­nisms, with the op­po­si­tion slam­ming whichever govern­ment hap­pened to be at the helm at the time. In turn, the govern­ment called out the “ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity” of its po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. It’s the same old story played out again and again. And this goes on even though Poul Thom­sen out­lined in full de­tail the tac­tics he would pur­sue with re­gard to Athens and Ber­lin in an e-mail to Delia Vel­culescu, the IMF mis­sion chief in Greece. Ac­cord­ing to Thom­sen, threat­en­ing Greece with eco­nomic as­phyx­i­a­tion and the ap­pli­ca­tion of coer- cive pres­sure on Ger­many ahead of elec­tions there would be the cat­a­lysts for a deal. The leak of this com­mu­ni­ca­tion came as a shock to many, but in the process they for­sook the con­tent of the mail. To­day we see how it is be­ing im­ple­mented. Given this, eu­ro­zone lead­ers and min­is­ters could be con­sid­ered the whip­ping boys of IMF bu­reau­crats. But, for now, the shots in Europe are be­ing called by the tech­nocrats. The dif­fer­ence is that there is an­other more se­ri­ous fac­tor of in­sta­bil­ity at play, con­cern­ing not just the eco­nomic fu­ture of Greece but its very se­cu­rity – on ac­count of the ten­sions be­tween Athens and Ankara. Th­ese ten­sions are be­ing fu­eled on a daily ba­sis as a re­sult of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s quest to se­cure votes ahead of the April ref­er­en­dum to ex­pand his pow­ers. At the most cru­cial junc­tures in any na­tion’s history, it is pa­tri­o­tism and not just ma­te­rial forces that en­sure a for­eign dan­ger is suc­cess­fully kept at bay. “Pa­tri­otic” rhetoric for do­mes­tic pur­poses is a par­ody, ex­pos­ing the weak­nesses and short­com­ings of a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. And there is a dan­ger that a ran­dom event could lead to a se­ri­ous in­ci­dent that even politi­cians who en­gage in ir­re­spon­si­ble rhetoric do not wish for. Of course we will not be able bring any­one to their senses. And no politi­cian – in Greece or Turkey – will take a de­ter­mined stance to re­verse the trend that has been cre­ated, which bur­dens re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries on a daily ba­sis. The dan­ger of be­ing called a traitor is very real given that the term “trea­son” has been used for far less im­por­tant matters. What should not pass un­no­ticed is that Washington has urged Ankara to re­duce ten­sions, Kathimerini un­der­stands. The fun­da­men­tals must not be lost on any­one while a coun­try’s se­cu­rity is at stake and be­fore a Euro­pean army is cre­ated.

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