OPINION

A geostrategic diversion

The European system – and others – reacted with fear and shock at the idea that Greece may join the Warsaw Pact, even though it ceased to exist in 1989. This was apparent from publications in respected international media and the comments of European Parliament President and German Socialist Martin Schulz.

However, following the joint press conference given after talks in Moscow between the cunning Russian President Vladimir Putin and the “radical” of the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, it appears that the world order has not been upset, as everyone was expecting.

The two leaders, who were cautious and measured in their statements, simply agreed on a framework for boosting bilateral, mostly economic, ties – as is usually the case at such meetings – and we all breathed a sigh of relief, passing from a state of extreme excitation to one of almost catatonic boredom.

Those who want to continue worrying about the implications of ties between Athens and Moscow will probably be able to conjure up various possibly destabilizing factors by analyzing every word from the press conference. Putin’s reference to a “harmonious community” stretching “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” for example, may appear to some as a geostrategic construct crafted by Alexandr Dugin, who has caused such a stir among some Western intellectuals.

When Charles de Gaulle first said pretty much the same thing, it caused hardly a ripple in the course of the Cold War.

What is certain is that Greece has neither the intention nor the potential to act as a Trojan Horse through which Putin can conquer Europe. All he can do is stir some trouble every once in a while, as he is already prone to doing.

Beyond Russia, however, Western overtures to Iran, with which Greece has maintained good ties over the years, are extremely interesting and present a potential opportunity for a very important economic partnership on a different front. Cooperation with neighboring Turkey could prove even more profitable, not just on the natural gas pipeline project but in other long-term strategic investments as well.

Seen from the street, Greece right now is like a small-time shopkeeper on downtown Aiolou Street waiting for a customer who’ll spend 50 euros so he can keep the bankers threatening him with eviction off his back. But at least we had a few days of diversion, focusing our attention on geostrategic matters.