Notis Papadopoulos NOTIS PAPADOPOULOS

Constants have vanished

COMMENT

For Syrian Kurds, the stance of the president of the United States is like a “stab in the back.” Who can trust the US, they say, when Donald Trump had no qualms about giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the green light to invade Syria and occupy territory controlled by his allies in the war on the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The message is clear: The decisions of the superpower are not based on some long-term strategy hammered out by the US State Department, the Pentagon and the White House. Rather, they are animated by the impulse and the unbearable lightness of a president who is willing to do anything to ensure his re-election. 

The problem is, if America’s Kurdish allies are so easily abandoned to their fate, what could other US allies, who have not lost 11,000 fighters in battle, possibly expect from Washington? 

The European Union does not inspire much confidence either. It barely managed, imposing tough austerity programs, to overcome the financial tsunami unleashed by the collapse of the giant US investment bank Lehman Brothers. However, in the past five years the bloc has failed to come up with a single policy on Syria. 

At the same time, it has allowed Turkey to control the tap on migration flows, effectively placing the refugee crisis on the shoulders of Greece and Italy. 

Moreover, although it wants to prevent Russia from expanding its political influence in the Balkan region, it did not give the nod for accession negotiations to begin with Albania and North Macedonia, although it had promised to do so. 

In this particularly troubled international environment, Greece is alone. It has just begun to take its first steps toward normalcy – borrowing from the markets, fulfilling its international obligations, trying to attract investment. However, nothing can be taken for granted. And the conditions that were considered a constant in the past are now gone. We need to rely on our own strength.

The country’s political forces should at last make an effort to converge on a long-term plan with national goals. 

Greece should seek closer cooperation with countries in the region that share common interests and similar political views. It is a national imperative to put an end to petty party squabbles and look ahead.

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