There is no limit to how low the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition will stoop in terms of of incompetence and puerility. Its baseness is reaffirmed on a daily basis and, in combination with the vulgarity that defines so many of the government’s actions and behaviors, is increasingly poisoning public opinion with an addictive drug – one that prevents people from being surprised or shocked, from reacting. Even when issues of tantamount national security are at stake, there is silence.
The truth is that nobody – not even the government’s most skeptical rivals – could have imagined it making such a mess. Who would have thought that the news regarding the lease of two frigates from France, confirmed with such fanfare to Kathimerini by Deputy Defense Minister Fotis Kouvelis, would be denied in an equally loud manner just a few days later by the relevant authorities in Paris and then in Athens too?
We may never know what actually happened, but we do know that it all started with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. Whether he understood what was actually said or not (the latter is more likely), he came away from that discussion believing with unnecessary frivolity that he was holding an agreement to lease two frigates within the summer. He went on to allow his belief to be transmitted to his associates so that when it leaked, the deputy defense minister hastened to confirm it. He had been equally thoughtless last year when he promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he would see to the extradition of the eight Turkish servicemen wanted by Ankara.
Everything this government does is haphazard, without a moment of thought, research or fact-finding. After Paris’s denials, we saw Defense Minister Panos Kammenos – that giant of a man who never misses a chance to pour oil on the flames – trying to hush up the issue by exposing Tsipras and his own deputy.
There are more interesting incidents – such as a press conference Kammenos gave regarding the upgrade of Greece’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets – but the main issue is that the government continues to appear unable to pull itself together on matters concerning national security and defense. Before the most recent incident with the frigates, we had the confusion concerning talks between Tsipras and US President Donald Trump on the F-16 deal, a string of conflicting reactions concerning Ankara’s provocations in the Aegean, revelations from the defense minister about the strengthening of troops on the islands and so much more. Hopefully there is a God looking out for this country.