The global balance of power is undergoing dramatic shifts during these turbulent times and it may take us some years to comprehend their real scope.
On the one hand, Barack Obama’s decision on whether to take action in Syria or not is by no means a simple matter. The president of the United States has already undermined the status of his own office by asking Congress to approve a “very limited” military intervention, and now he will find it difficult to strengthen his position and his stature either domestically or internationally.
At the same time, it is clear that the American public has entered a new period of intense islolationism. The senseless loss of life, money and strategic capital in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned the average American citizen strongly against the idea of another military intervention, and especially any involvement in the Middle East.
This isolationism, meanwhile, does not seem to be a passing and limited phenomenon, but rather a stance that is growing in force and which goes hand in hand with the decline of the United States’ international might and standing.
On the other hand, we have a leader in Russia who has emerged as a serious player in international developments.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has played the game over Syria hard and has shown that he can impose his own rules. How the situation turns out and what role Moscow will ultimately play remains to be seen, but Russia has certainly gained a lot from the Syria crisis so far.
Europe, for its part, appears small, doddery and indecisive. Great Britain has become a mere shadow of its former self. French President Francois Hollande tried to play a game of geopolitical chess – such as that favored by his predecessor – but he failed to pull it off in the end. And Germany, meanwhile, appears uncertain of whether it wants to be a major power or wants to be left alone with its obsession for fiscal discipline.
In short, this is where things stand right now: The United States is pulling away from international developments and shying from further involvement while Europe has allowed itself to drift over to the sidelines of developments and Russia is displaying an aggressive self-confidence that does not appear to be based on any kind of plan or vision for the future.
The world is certainly changing and these changes will without doubt also affect Greek interests. It is simply too soon to see how at this point.