Greece to decide if it wants NATO’s help

Two-and-a-half years ago, Nicholas Burns left Athens to take up one of the key posts in American diplomacy, head of the US mission to NATO. There, a year ago, on the eve of the war against Iraq, the cohesion and common direction of the Western alliance was severely tested in a clash over whether or not to activate Article 4 on Turkey. At that time many spoke not just of a serious crisis, but of the end of the alliance. The reality was very different. Nicholas Burns was one of the key figures then, as well as in the subsequent efforts within NATO to heal these wounds and to make a rapid transition to a new era with a completely new role. Kathimerini met Burns in his office in Brussels to talk about his current duties, in the first interview he has given to the Greek media since he left Greece. He spoke about the new goals of the alliance, the broader vision these goals represent for the Western world and beyond, whether NATO is close to achieving them, the balance between Europeans and the Americans, and the role of Greece in the new environment. And of course, any discussion with Burns had to touch on his favorite football team, which the US ambassador to NATO sees as a certain election winner, as he refused – with a charming but enigmatic smile – to answer the inevitable question.