An anticipated visit

A visit to Greece by the US secretary of state is automatically a political happening of the first rank – especially in view of the current state of international affairs – whether or not one agrees with US foreign policy. Seen from this point of view, the way in which the possibility of a visit to Athens next Wednesday by Colin Powell was handled was particularly unfortunate, regardless of whether this was the fault of the US State Department or the Greek Foreign Ministry. In any case, no blame can be cast on Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who has repeatedly invited Powell to Athens, but the situation has now become tragicomic as Powell’s visit is being regarded as an opportunity for Greece to promote its position on the international stage and the influence the country has ostensibly gained during Costas Simitis’s terms as prime minister. This could be deemed a legitimate aim if one considers the government’s domestic problems. Unable to solve the everyday problems faced by citizens, the government is attempting to gain as much support as possible from external factors. Indeed, the government appears to be expecting Powell to reiterate his previous praise for the communication skills of the Greek government and its «realistic» approach to solving the Cyprus problem, in the hope that the public will once again be distracted from their real concerns.