By Georgios Malouchos
In Greek foreign policy, there is a skewed habit in which we have a long tradition. We curse those with whom we can build ties that are constructive for Greece, and treat everyone else with kid gloves.
This habit reached its peak in the 1980’s with blind anti-Americanism and Greece’s refusal to build ties with Israel, but recently it skyrocketed with the election of Donald Trump.
At the same time, we adored Moscow. We also adored Berlin. Whoever said this was paranoid and wrong was called a populist, extreme-right winger, and dangerous for the pitiful Greek establishment. Now everyone has understood.
Long before Trump was elected and after his election, there was a tsunami of invective against him. Not only in Greece, but also in hypocritical Europe, which was supposedly offended by his manners, there was a fear of leaving the comfortable, neutral balance during the Obama administration.
Greece is not Germany. It has major open issues with Turkey and the role of the US President is decisive. He must understand what Turkey means, how it works, and how important it is not to trust it.
Trump’s predecessor did not want to understand. They tried to assuage Ankara, and that was decisive in Erdogan’s becoming a megalomaniacal, veiled dictator. Brussels and Berlin had the same stance and still do.
Who can forget that Obama’s first trip abroad was to Turkey. Not Paris, not London, but Turkey!
Who can forget that all that Erdogan did at Europe’s expense on the refugee issue, despite the tension over his intervention in various EU countries’ elections, and beyond unprecedented verbal sparring, Brussels and Berlin still tremble before him and do whatever they can to placate him.
Only the US president disputed this reality. He did not tolerate the craziness and megalomania of Erdogan. Only Trump decided to put the brakes on the neo-Ottoman paranoia of today’s Turkey, and his paradoxical ties to Moscow.
Only Trump began dissembling Incirlik and transferring parts of the base to Greece. The Germans also left and sent their planes to Jordan.
Today, Erdogan is playing around with Berlin and trembles Washington. It was forced to release two Greek officers for fear of the US, and not because Brussels or Berlin intervened. In recent weeks, Merkel did all she could to help Erdogan and Turkey, encouraging them in practice.
Even as the US is on the verge of freezing the delivery of F3 5 JSF fighter jets to Turkey, Berlin hastened to sell Turkey submarines for the Aegean. Berlin also supports Turkey on the international banking scene.
After the joyous release of the two Greek officers after months in a Turkish jail, even the blindest can understand how wrong and harmful all this was for Greece.
Even Trump’s most fanatic opponents see that the US President and his tough policy are decisive for Greece. Even those most subservient to Berlin can see how much harm it has done to Greece at all levels.
Let us understand what is going on in the world and stop cursing those whose policies are useful for Greece, and sucking up to others.
Enough of this inconceivable, disastrous psychopathy. We have paid dearly for it, as we have for visions that Russia will save us, though Moscow has historically and is now still causing us huge problems.
Let us do the best we can for Greece at a very dangerous and revisionist international juncture where all will be judged by two factors: how effectively we pick our allies, and how decisive we are in not tolerating more provocations from Turkey, which wants to change borders at our expense and rebuild the “empire” that it thinks it can, especially at Greece’s expense.
At long last, we need a nationally beneficial Greek Realpolitik. No more delusions. No more defeatism. No more tendencies toward national suicide.