Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

The high price of illusions

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

This is a country where passions often run high and people believe in easy solutions. It’s time we realized that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, whether in economic or geopolitical matters. No one holds a wand that will magically revive the economy and lead the country out of the values crisis it is immersed in. Unfortunately, nor can we look to some protector or white knight who will rush to our side if, God forbid, a crisis breaks out with Turkey.

Illusions are always damaging. We experienced this in SYRIZA’s early immature period. Regulars on morning TV shows persuaded Greeks that solutions for the country would arise beyond Europe’s borders, that money would come from Moscow or Beijing. It turned out that these were tragic, unfounded illusions. Recent revelations show that the game is too complex and far too big for the abilities of our very own protagonists.

While we were living in our own fairy tale, Russian President Vladimir Putin was speaking with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, while China said there would be no “playing” with Greece outside the eurozone. We have said this before and it has become tiresome, but it seems like we had to enroll in a fast-track, violent and very expensive private tuition school.

Have we become any wiser? I’m not sure. I read and listen to different analyses regarding the upcoming visit by US President Barack Obama. It’s very important. The US leader played the role of catalyst twice when the country’s presence in the eurozone was at stake. Clearly, with his visit, he wants to pass on a strong message regarding the need for maintaining European cohesion, joint handling of the refugee-migrant crisis and Greek debt relief.

It would be a mistake, however, to nurture excessive expectations regarding geopolitical deals or any financial benefits of major value.

A strategic relationship between Greece and the US, similar to Washington’s ties to Israel and Egypt, could emerge in the future. But in order to reach that point, we have a long way ahead of us and a lengthy period of uncertainty. Perhaps what is also needed is big changes in society and a political system that is able to play ball even harder and more openly, as this would be the only way to fill in the gap left by Turkey.

But let’s not rush to any premature conclusions. When it comes to security and foreign policy, wrong calculations made at the wrong time carry a high price tag. At the end of the day, when it comes to the country’s display of power, nothing is more important than showing how serious and united we are at home, if you know what I mean.

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