Plan B for FYROM and more US bases

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY TOM EL­LIS

The coun­try’s for­eign pol­icy and se­cu­rity are too im­por­tant to be han­dled lightly by any­body. When that per­son is the de­fense min­is­ter dis­play­ing a flip­pant at­ti­tude in for­mal dis­cus­sions with top su­per­power of­fi­cials, we have a se­ri­ous prob­lem. We may be ac­cus­tomed to the crazi­ness of op­pos­ing pol­icy lines within one gov­ern­ment. We may be used to see­ing the min­is­ters of for­eign af­fairs and de­fense lock­ing horns, of­ten get­ting quite per­sonal. We may be un­sur­prised that one coali­tion part­ner would re­ject an agree­ment signed by the other that is of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance and has broader re­gional ram­i­fi­ca­tions. But when this theater of the ab­surd is trans­ported to the world’s most im­por­tant de­ci­sion­mak­ing cen­ter, then the coun­try’s cred­i­bil­ity is chal­lenged. We have a name deal with the For­mer Yu­goslav Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia that was signed by the gov­ern­ment of Greece, via its prime min­is­ter and for­eign af­fairs chief, and has the avid sup­port of the Amer­i­cans and the Euro­peans – each for their own rea­sons. And then we have that very same deal be­ing un­der­mined by the very same gov­ern­ment via the min­is­ter of de­fense, and all that tak­ing place in­side the US State Depart­ment, dur­ing a meet­ing with the as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for Euro­pean af­fairs. We are equally baf­fled by De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos’s pro­posal for the creation of a “Balkan al­liance” with Al­ba­nia and Bulgaria. Why would Greece not just pro­pose but ac­tively play a lead­ing role in in­clud­ing FYROM in a re­gional “arch of sta­bil­ity” that would ef­fec­tively op­er­ate un­der a US um­brella, with­out get­ting any­thing in re­turn with re­gard to the name dis­pute, and espe­cially when ev­ery coun­try in the re­gion, as well as in most of the world, will keep call­ing the coun­try the “Repub­lic of Mace­do­nia”? Why would we give Skopje the sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity it seeks for free, even though it is will­ing to make con­ces­sions on the name is­sue in re­turn? It doesn’t sound as if the pro­posal would serve Greece’s na­tional in­ter­est in any way. Kam­menos also put for­ward a propo­si­tion for more Amer­i­can bases in Greece. Even if one ac­cepts the geostrate­gic im­por­tance of such a move, and that is in­deed the case, this is some­thing that is sim­ply not an­nounced on cam­era. When it comes to any strate­gic de­ci­sion that serves the na­tional in­ter­est, if there a se­ri­ous plan, it has first to be looked at in depth be­hind closed doors. When it comes to is­sues re­lated to the com­plex re­gional puz­zle of which the name deal is a piece, and to Greece’s strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion with the United States, a more se­ri­ous ap­proach is ex­pected of peo­ple in po­si­tions of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.