The United States, Rus­sia, the EU and Greece

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

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.

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