Keeping an eye on international developments

By Nikos Xydakis

The Ukrainian crisis may herald the start of a second Cold War, while there is no shortage of analysts comparing the current international climate to that of 1914 in the runup to World War I.

There are others still who see an even more combustible situation unfolding in the Middle East, and in particular in the parts where extremist Sunnis are trying to establish a caliphate, where borders are being redrawn, ethnic cleansing campaigns are being carried out and alliances are being broken and reforged.

In any case, six years after the international financial crisis rocked the globe, the epicenter of the instability the world is experiencing has shifted from the markets to nation states and to the sphere of the geopolitical equilibrium.

The biggest losers here are the nations, the people, from Ukraine to Syria, Gaza, Iraq and Libya: pain, death and migration.

This instability has had an immediate and profound effect on Europe and not just on its economies. The main reason is that it has upset the balance achieved in the post-Cold War era, which was already on shaky ground following the Iraq War.

Turkey, for example, faces the serious threat of seeing some its territory being lost to the emerging Kurdish state, the founding of which is being encouraged by certain international elements. Of course Turkey cannot avert such a development on its own, but recently elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be eager to ensure that his personal triumph is not allowed to become a national failure. This is especially the case given that his long tenure as prime minister became identified with visions of neo-Ottoman hegemony over the Islamic world.

Isolated from powerful alliances and thrust into the direction of Erdogan’s sultanic ambitions, Turkey may well end up venting its hegemonic urges on the Balkans and the Mediterranean region. Ankara’s growing intransigence in talks for a solution to the Cyprus issue is but one indication and Greece must be prepared for such an eventuality.

Of course this is just mere supposition, but Greece is crippled financially and cannot under any circumstances afford to suffer another crisis, be it diplomatic or otherwise.

All the country’s political forces need to be vigilant and to keep a close eye on developments on the other side of the Aegean as well as the wider Mediterranean region.