As enthusiasm over the March 25 celebrations gradually subsides, a reality check would perhaps be in order.
A great deal was said about Greece’s glorious past. Likewise, there were plenty of vague proclamations about the country’s future, its amazing prospects and dynamism. If we look at the first 200 years of the modern Greek state as a present-day observer, then the country’s achievements have indeed been neither self-evident nor easy. They have been presented and analyzed in depth by the new generation of scholars, without the passions and the ideological exigencies that marked the period after the civil war.
The question is, where do we go from here? It is often said that the ones who make proposals are also the ones who get their way. This is true to some degree. However, it is questionable if the proposals that are occasionally put forward are formulated with Greece in mind and through a rational analysis of available data. Most likely, they reflect the existing balance of interests and the political priorities of the government of the time.
However, the country is more than the current interests at play. How can we draw some conclusions regarding the strategy that Greece should adopt ? To do so we must give honest answers to certain questions. Some of these are rather general questions: Like, for example, to what extent is Greece capable of playing a meaningful role in the region? How independent can its foreign policy be? What is the productive capacity of the Greek economy? Can Greece ride the momentum of the fourth industrial revolution? How can the demographic decline be halted?
Meanwhile, we must provide answers to a number of more specific questions (which are not separated from the rest). Is Greek policy vis-à-vis the (mainly Turkish) claims on its national sovereignty truly independent? Aside from the – necessary – billions of arms procurements designed to safeguard the country’s security and the import of know-how, is there a plan to create an independent defense industry? What incentives will bring back the talented Greeks who left the country between 2010 and 2020? Are we willing to accept more migrants? Are we satisfied with the output of the existing networks that feed our political parties (and, by extension, our governments) and the so-called business elite? Finally, are we honest with ourselves?