Survival instincts

Greece lies at the center of an unprecedented crisis. From Barack Obama to leftist academics and international market players, absolutely everyone is talking about the Greek issue right now. There is enormous fatigue regarding the country at decision-making centers and certain high-ranking officials are reaching the conclusion that Greece is a special case and perhaps should not be part of the eurozone. I don’t want to get into a discussion regarding whether or not they are right or to what extent they themselves are to blame for the country reaching its current state.

What I know is that we don’t see things the same way, as we don’t like to listen to anything challenging our stereotypes.

I also believe that if the country was not called ‘Greece’ and did not have such a pivotal geopolitical position, the world’s almighty powers would have adopted a very different position toward it. If the country did not have the Parthenon and was located somewhere else they would have stopped lending us money and bothering with us altogether. Our history makes a huge difference. Luckily for us, a generation of Europeans and Americans raised with a classical education, people who love Greece and share a romantic philhellenism, are still occupying certain decision-making spots. We may swear at them from time to time and even threaten them but they still demonstrate a level of understanding and dedication with regard to Greece’s organic ties to Europe. Goodwill reserves are not inexhaustible, however. Politicians from the former Soviet bloc see things very differently and the same goes for certain tough technocrats dealing with figures.

Along with history comes the country’s geopolitical position, an advantage which has repeatedly come to the rescue, from the modern Greek state’s establishment through its European Union membership. A handful of top Greek leaders played the geopolitical card properly, leading the country to prosperity and into the world’s best clubs. But now there is a major gap between Greece and western decision-makers. While we’re mad at them, they see us as spoilt children throwing stones at their windows, from inside their home. Hopefully we will both follow the instincts that have kept relations between Greece and the West intact, despite all the hurdles. While we will flirt with the abyss, but avoid getting sucked into to, they will consider what one prominent veteran European politician once told me: “Do you know what the problem is? You are a little bit like Europe’s prodigal, naughty child. Very often our patience runs thin and we want to cut you off from the family fortune and our protection. But then a strange thing happens: We could never ever envision a family or Christmas lunch without you at the table.” Let’s hope we all get to sit together at the end of the year.

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