COMMENT

Put some pressure on us, please

By Alexis Papachelas

We like it when others put pressure on us - we almost get a kick out of it. It's hard to see why a country like Greece, a member of some of the world's most-coveted groups and alliances, still enjoys playing the victim. Recent local media reports are rife with talk of a US and NATO diplomatic war against Greece over the Macedonia name dispute. However, Foreign Ministry officials reassure me that they have received no warning from Washington. According to NATO staff, there is «no big deal» either. American diplomats too shrug their shoulders at Greek complaints of US pressure. During President George W. Bush's meeting with the NATO chief, the Macedonia issue was discussed for little over a minute. We were close to asking our publisher to write an open letter like the one Georgios Vlachos sent to Hitler 67 years ago. So we were relieved to see that we are not under that much pressure - nor seriously threatened - after all. But even if we were under a great deal of pressure, what could the Americans or the NATO crowd actually do to punish us? After all, we make sure we punish our country on a daily basis in a manner that exceeds that of our angry allies or enemies. Everything seems to suggest that Greece will eventually block FYROM's NATO entry in a month from now. Regardless of what I or anyone else think of the issue, we all ought to back Greece's diplomatic effort. Should Greece lose this diplomatic arm wrestle with our neighboring statelet, no one will ever take us seriously again. And if there's a chance of winning, it will only happen after a veto in NATO and maybe even in the EU. At least those who can't get enough of outside pressure will be happy and plead out loud, «Put some more pressure on us, please!»

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