OPINION

An opportunity for Greece

Since the early days of the pro-democracy uprisings that have swept the Arab nations on the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, most observers have agreed that these unexpected events would have an impact on Greece?s status in the nascent geopolitical environment.

The approval on Thursday by the United Nations Security Council of a no-fly zone over Libya ?and all necessary measures? has put enormous pressure on the regime of Colonel Muammar Gadhafi by paving the way for military action by the Western powers.

As indicated by the recent large-scale rescue operations that saw the safe evacuation of hundreds of foreign nationals from Libya, Greece can play a key role in implementing a UN-mandated no-fly zone — as well as in future developments.

Crete has the advantage of lying near the North African coast. On top of that, the island hosts a considerable number of military installations and infrastructure that could be of strategic importance in the efforts of the United States and Europe to maintain their influence over Libya and its precious oil resources.

Meanwhile, the recent accident at the tsunami-stricken Japanese nuclear power plant will encourage states around the globe to turn back to hydrocarbons. And, in any case, the volatile Arab nations from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf are worth more than the sum of their oil reserves.

It seems that under certain conditions and in light of ongoing developments in the broader Mediterranean region, Greece has an opportunity to upgrade its geostrategic role in the area.

The question of course is how can debt-ridden Greece, now surviving on loans from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, make use of the strategic advantages described above so as to defend itself against the constant threat of bankruptcy?

The past year has shown than many economic problems, if not all of them, can be tackled with political solutions.

Politically and economically damaged, Greece could gain some unexpected bargaining advantages.

The country is presented with an historic opportunity to remedy the gloom. It will not be easy. But here?s a chance.