Tom Ellis TOM ELLIS

Papadopoulos’s high-level contacts

COMMENT

George Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts to connect Donald Trump’s camp with Russian officials who promised ‘dirt’ on rival candidate Hillary Clinton.

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy

The prospect of having a Greek American among US President Donald Trump’s staff, even if he were to be just an aide in the broad sense of the term, provided a simple knee-jerk satisfaction and created expectations.

However, it very soon became evident that George Papadopoulos (the man who recently pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts to connect the Trump camp with Russian officials who promised “dirt” on rival candidate Hillary Clinton) was trying to oversell himself. Compared to Reince Priebus (who had served for five years as chairman of the Republican National Committee and played a key part in Trump’s election campaign before taking over as White House chief of staff), George Gigicos (who repeatedly appeared at Trump’s side during the election race) or Michael Karloutsos (who was appointed deputy chief of protocol and acting chief, a key position in the State Department), who all kept a low profile, Papadopoulos had never held a substantial role, nor did he acquire one in the process. He did nevertheless seek to promote himself in Greece and Cyprus.

As far as Greece is concerned, the problem is not the behavior of Papadopoulos himself but rather the stance of Greek politicians, from the president, to the prime minister, ministers, political party leaders and senior officials, who find themselves being briefed by or depend on opportunistic individuals of questionable credibility and ability.

In this case, they rushed to attribute to this young analyst a role and honors which he did not deserve. As a result, they compromised their own integrity.

I cannot imagine a leader or senior politician in Israel, for example (I mention Israel because we recently seem to be fond of pointing out the similarities between the two countries), who has no idea about who a Jewish American styling himself as an adviser to a US presidential candidate really is.

Apart from Greek diplomats serving in the US, there are also serious and reliable Greeks and Greek Americans with good access and restraint and an aversion to playing games. These people can serve as an objective source of information for issues pertaining to the US. When we are talking about important countries, let alone the global superpower, Greek officials must have clear knowledge of the role and influence of officials who approach them, and treat them accordingly.

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