1a) Asymmetry, antagonism, anomaly: They sound Greek to me… Three words characterizing the symptoms of the asthenic ecumenical system. The “Pentarchy” of the permanent members of the New York Pan-Ethnic Organization Security Council face basic problems. Antagonism prevents them from carrying out their mandate. Τhe antagonistic politics and the catachresis (abuse) of the veto power as well as the anachronistic synthesis of the UNSC are synonymous to the inefficiency of the ecumenical collective security system.
1b) Tragedy and polemics: The absence of anthropocentric policies and the recourse to the epiphonyms for polemos (bellum and the casus belli) and to ethnic catharsis (cleansing) are pathetic practices based upon the state sympheron. The architects of the systemic ecumenical political taxis opt for apophasis (decisions) and praxis spreading epidemic crises. The present “polis” and “cosmos” system often fail to save the dignity of anthropos, his zoe and the politismos (culture). Polemics and antagonisms are related to ethnic and religious fanaticism, autocrats and oligarchs and are about expanding the spheres of economic, energy, territorial and political control. They are about geography, politics and economy.
The dramatic exodus caused by wrong political apophasis is a tragedy inflicted on anthropos (mankind). Antipathy instead of empathy, antithesis instead of synthesis, as well as hubris are much present. The anthropocentric basic rights – those we call ecumenical – are applied in an elliptic manner.
1c) History, religion, geography: Democracies are also affected in an asymmetric manner by the metastasis of political egocentrism, autocratic egocentrism, pathos and demagogic idiosyncrasies.
The tetraptych “history, geography, religion and ethnicity” epitomize the typology of certain symptoms and problems in the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans.
1d) Strategy, synergy, symmetry: We need political ethos to move from the ephemeral (day-to-day) state of play to a nicephore (victorious) stratagem. A holistic strategy must apply in our polemics against the pandemic and the climate catastrophes. Empathy should become the catalyst and the dynamic mechanism for synergies. Restoring the Aristotelian “metron” to politics is the epitome and not the epimetron for the polis and ecumenical policies. We expect politics to restore the “politis” (the citizen) at the center of politics. Since Classical Athens “politis” has been the basis and the scope of any organized politeia. Otherwise, politics are synonymous to idiocy.
2a) Multilateralism and the United Nations: Our “cosmos” (world) is characterized by power politics and state interests. Synergy is volatile and partial, allegiance to alliances is challenged while the ecumenical symmetry is elliptic. The bipolar world order has collapsed, while today the superpower monopoly is challenged with persistent reference to the so-called Thucydides trap. We are in search of a new world order…
Resetting multilateral diplomacy has a name: international cooperation, in particular within the United Nations Security Council. Diplomatic polymeria (multilateralism) is the prerequisite for restoring the geometry of the international collective security system, for reshaping the world order. International law and the Charter’s provisions should prevail over threats or use of force. The United Nations are unable to discharge their mission; synergy is missing among the five permanent members of the Security Council. Their antagonism stems both from a different hierarchy of values and attachment to human rights, though also from state interest, geopolitical and strategic themes.
2b) Attachment to the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter has been eroding. Military invasion, occupation and aggression continue unabated and remain unpunished in the Eastern Mediterranean. As long as the Security Council and in particular the permanent five (P5) are unable and unwilling to act as mandated by the Charter, it is impossible to maintain peace, stability and security.
The present “zero sum game” point and calculus cannot become the envisaged world order equilibrium. At times the United Nations Security Council was considered to be the refuge of the weak. Now, it is the basic condition for the P5 in restoring the ecumenical order. Coping with the pandemic, climate crises and catastrophes and the fight against terrorism could become the “reset the button” thematic for an eventual P5 synergy.
3a) The forgotten (also in Greece) 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Plataea: Herodotus in his Histories offers a detailed description of the key ground battle of Plataea (August, 479 BC). A year after the Salamis naval battle, Hellenes fought against the Persian invaders under the leadership of Pausanias from Sparta. This ground battle and the destruction of the huge Persian army dictated the course of European history. Why shall we fight? Reacting to remarks made by the Spartans, the Athenians spoke as follows:
“First and greatest the images and houses of the gods set on fire or reduced to ruin, which we must necessarily avenge to the very utmost rather than make an agreement with him who did these deeds; secondly there is the bond of Hellenic race, by which we are of one blood and of one speech, the common temples of the gods and the common sacrifices, the manners of life which are the same for all…”
3b) Think before the war: Thucydides in his History of the Peloponnesian War refers to the following argument of the Athenian ambassadors warning the Spartans not to go to war: “…Consider before the vast influence of accident in war before you start it. For a long war as it continues for the most part ends in catastrophe… It is a common mistake in going to war to begin at the wrong end, to act first and wait for disaster to negotiate…” (Thucydides 1.78). I much value the sophia of the Athenian warning as we are in the footsteps of the Peloponnesian War in the South China Sea.
3c) Peace: I love Martin Luther King’s definition of peace: “Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is the presence of justice.”
This peace based on the legality and the rules of the international law is increasingly absent in the Aegean Archipelago and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Ambassador (ret.) Alexandros P. Mallias is a recipient of the Martin Luther King International Legacy Award. He served with 11 Greek governments and 15 ministers of foreign affairs.