Ab­so­lute cyn­i­cism

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PASCHOS MANDRAVELIS

In al­most any other coun­try – even Greece in days gone by – De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos would have been ousted for de­fy­ing the govern­ment line and pre­sent­ing his own for­eign pol­icy. Min­is­ters have been ejected for far lesser trans­gres­sions. In al­most any other coun­try – even Greece in days gone by – a min­is­ter so ve­he­mently op­posed to such an im­por­tant is­sue would de­part from the govern­ment of his own vo­li­tion and try to top­ple it. Min­is­ters have walked away over much smaller mat­ters. Kam­menos, who is def­i­nitely not coy about mak­ing big state­ments, swore “be­fore God and the peo­ple” in De­cem­ber 2014 that his In­de­pen­dent Greeks party would stand op­posed to any “Sa­ma­ras, Venize­los or Tsipras” who en­tered ne­go­ti­a­tions with Skopje on the name is­sue. In al­most any other coun­try – even Greece in days gone by – pro-govern­ment law­mak­ers would come out and say some­thing about this ab­surd phe­nom­e­non of two op­pos­ing for­eign pol­icy lines. They would even likely with­draw their sup­port for the govern­ment that was turn­ing the coun­try into a global laugh­ing stock. Let us not for­get that gov­ern­ments have fallen – even in Greece – be­cause the ma­jor­ity of MPs were sick of be­ing ridiculed by their vot­ers. At least the politi­cians we like to dis­miss as the “old po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment” had a mod­icum of de­cency to pro­tect their own and the na­tion’s rep­u­ta­tion. But we are liv­ing at a time of ab­so­lute cyn­i­cism, as il­lus­trated by re­cent com­ments from Min­is­ter of State Nikos Pap­pas in re­sponse to an ar­ti­cle ti­tled “The govern­ment can tol­er­ate Panos.” “This govern­ment, this al­liance has sur­vived a lot more than many as­sumed it would. It has there­fore proven that the in­ner­most de­sire of the op­po­si­tion to cause a cri­sis in the govern­ment over the Mace­do­nian [name is­sue] will not bear fruit.” He added that Greece’s po­si­tions are “con­stant” and that the coun­try is “bound by the Pre­spes agree­ment.” How the coun­try is bound when the prime min­is­ter him­self can’t bind his own min­is­ters to it is a mys­tery. Of course some may ar­gue that in al­most no other coun­try, and never be­fore in Greece, have we seen a coali­tion govern­ment be­tween a rad­i­cal left party and a na­tion­al­ist party with far-right char­ac­ter­is­tics. Nowhere has a “pa­tri­otic” party aligned it­self with those it has pro­claimed “traitors of the na­tion.” The de­cline – not just in val­ues but even in feign­ing val­ues – that started in 2015 con­tin­ues un­abated. We can only hope that it doesn’t come at too high a cost to democ­racy.

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