NEWS

Athens pins hopes on clear US election result

athens-pins-hopes-on-clear-us-election-result

Greek interest in the US presidential election is to a significant extent associated with the threat from Turkey and the possibility of a regional escalation of tensions in the coming period.

A clear election result is seen as crucial in that it would ensure a smooth transition. Officials in Athens are concerned that a potential challenge of the election outcome combined with the final months of a lame duck administration would intensify the sense of uncertainty coming from the White House.

The above scenario would increase the chances of an escalation in the Eastern MEditerranean, particularly if Joe Biden wins the presidential race. The Democratic candidate is seen as less accommodating toward Turkey’s claims in the region and toward the behavior of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It appears that the Turkish survey vessel Oruc Reis will continue its alleged 2D seismic surveys south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo until November 14.

A clear election result would see Washington gradually re-engage in regional affairs and as a result accentuate US interest in diplomatic progress in a number of disputes, including differences between Greece and Turkey.

Should Washington take an interest in bolstering NATO’s credibility, Ankara will most certainly come under pressure over its Greece policy, as well as over controversial foreign policy decisions such as its purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile defenses.

Another issue will be Washington’s support for the various trilateral cooperation schemes in the region, also in light of Israeli-Arab peace talks.

Athens officials do not expect much to change in terms of Greek-US defense cooperation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Greece confirmed Washington’s willingness to expand American military presence at Souda, Crete, and other sites across the country.

Finally, the presidential election comes at a time when Greece is mulling the upgrade of air and sea defenses.