Legitimate double-talk

If there is one encouraging fact in Greece amid the absurdity and the amoralism of the pending war in Iraq, this is the pacifist stance of the public and the mature behavior of most of the politicians. Greek people have rightfully objected to the war plans and slammed the unmatched superpower which does not hesitate to snub alliances, international organizations and international law. Notably, this opprobrium, and at times indignation, against Washington has not degenerated into any sympathy for Saddam’s tyrannical regime, nor into some blind anti-Americanism – probably because of the anti-war movement inside the US itself. The near-unanimous public condemnation of the US war plans, in the recent past, would have had a decisive effect on the stance of Greek political parties, particularly of PASOK and the Left. Barring some colorful attempts by certain Socialist cadres to ride on the back of the anti-war movement, the government of Costas Simitis, now heading the EU presidency, has so far staved off any negative fallout from the crisis. New Democracy and Synaspismos Left Coalition have also kept a pragmatic and moderate stance, leaving the Communist Party as the only uncompromisingly anti-American voice. At times of uncertainty and global transformation, like the present, small countries tend to adhere to a dogma which is popular among big powers, namely that a state’s foreign policy should be hammered out according to the national interest and the public good. The greatest accomplishments in social equality, international law, and peace were brought about by the people, not their governments. The people are rightly opposing the war. For their part, political leaders are rightly taking a cool-headed and realistic stance on the unavoidable clash.

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