Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Divided and unreliable

COMMENT

TAGS: Diplomacy

The allies and, especially, foes of a state evaluate its strength on the basis of how serious and stable it is on the inside.

Right now, Greece is projecting a very disconcerting image. We are deeply divided because we are ruled by a government that will stop at nothing in order to serve its political ends. The SYRIZA-led administration is using division as a tool and it is fueling polarization, without any inhibitions or reluctance.

We have been here before – and it never turned out well. The difference is that the ruling class of today belongs to a generation that does not fully appreciate the risks that the country is facing. They believe that anything goes in that game of power. They believe that they can afford to divide the Greek people over the name row with Skopje because it it serves their political purposes, while creating problems for the opposition. In the same way, they did not hesitate to pass an electoral law which is certain to result in political instability and, perhaps, render the political system hostage to small yet powerful interest groups. They target their political rivals with ostensibly lawful, yet deeply anti-institutional methods. The government’s representatives express themselves in a manner which is pushing the rest of the political class and the public discourse into vulgar territory. They are turning the political arena into an endless show characterized by soccer-style rivalries.

All that is happening as the country’s basic institutions – education, domestic security, the public administration – are quickly coming apart. Our ugly side has resurfaced, in the most intense manner. This is enough to put off any serious investor who might be thinking about putting their money in the Greek economy.

Even our most indifferent and cynical partners are realizing that just as Greece was getting ready to celebrate the end of its bailout program, it suddenly runs the risk of regressing into its dysfunctional Balkan self.

If we were a Central European country, in a nice and safe neighborhood, all that would be insignificant. But we happen to live in a rough and unpredictable neighborhood. Turkey has upped its claims in the Aegean and Cyprus.

It would be tragic if the prophets of doom were right in claiming that every period of crisis and decline inevitably ends in a national tragedy.

We are standing at a very crucial juncture. We do not have much time to get our act together and come to an understanding, so that others also take us seriously.

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