The United States, Russia, the EU and Greece
Greece’s future depends on Europe’s stability and prosperity. Without a strong European Union, Greece, with its great problems unsolved, will be like a feather on the winds of the great global reordering of power. However, developments in the EU and the growing doubts in the European project in many countries make it most likely that the European Parliament elections in May will lead to a long period of introspection and perilous inertia. Therefore, Greece must prepare a strategy which includes cooperation with forces outside the EU. The situation presents opportunities but demands fine diplomatic skills. Greece is currently in intense negotiations with both the United States and with Russia. The mission is difficult: Russia’s dynamic presence (along with its alliance with Turkey) and the United States’ renewed interest in our region have created a new situation. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is in Moscow today, a few months after the sudden rift in relations caused by Russian diplomats’ involvement in efforts to undermine the Prespes agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Also, two days ago, Moscow warned Nicosia that closer ties with the United States and NATO could have “dangerous and destabilizing consequences.” Russia, which for decades had supported Nicosia on the Cyprus issue, is now closely allied with Turkey and is threatening Cyprus because of its closer ties with the United States. At the same time, the first USGreece Strategic Dialogue will take place in Washington next week, a sign of strengthening relations and America’s renewed interest in Greece. Tension between the United States and Russia (over Ukraine, Russian intervention in the domestic politics of the United States and other countries, among other issues), the rocky relationship between Washington and Ankara, and developments around Cyprus have shaken the status quo. Greece must now strengthen ties with the United States – ties on which we have depended on for our security for decades – and also cooperate with Russia while trying to lessen the consequences of the Russian-Turkish alliance and Russian involvement in Greece’s politics and society. The rivalry between the United States and Russia makes this challenge even more complicated. Overall, though, a priority for Greece (as for all member-states) is to contribute toward defending the European project. However necessary bilateral relations may be, however much the EU is shaken these days, the Union provides the strongest guarantee for the future of each of its members.