OPINION

Perpetual transformation

At the foundation of the Greek State, three parties made their appearance – the Russian, the French and the English. None of the politicians at the time had considered setting up a Greek party. Many years have passed since then and, luckily, today’s reality, lacking the same drama, reveals a comic dimension to the ruling party. PASOK, which began its political career as a party that was profoundly critical of US policy, both in Greece and internationally, has gradually become the «American» party of some contemporary Greeks, and not only thanks to the communication skills of George Papandreou. Without any intention of interfering in Greece’s internal affairs or of influencing the coming electoral contest, as Washington vigorously claims, the FBI gave new PASOK General Secretary Michalis Chrysochoidis an award, while US Secretary of State Colin Powell warmly welcomed Papandreou’s leap into the position of sole candidate for the leadership of the Socialists. These developments should have triggered depressive schizophrenia among PASOK members, especially the more senior ones, yet they all remain in the most cheerful mood and have been congratulating one another on the single feasible transformation of their party. In short, the offspring of Andreas Papandreou has taken a party, PASOK, which was beyond doubt one of those most unusual but extremely effective creations of the post-dictatorship period, and turned it into a carnival maypole. Under such circumstances, one wonders what the feelings are of those who voted for PASOK in 1974, aiming at economic emancipation, and who have seen their incomes shrink over the past eight years. How do they respond to the stamp of approval from American President George W. Bush’s administration, following the «great» days of Andreas Papandreou’s break with the governments of Ronald Reagan and Greece’s European partners? But one must wait until the election on March 7 to see how traditional PASOK voters will act. As for the stance of the Americans in recent years, that has been consistent. They promoted then NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana, a fanatically anti-American street-fighting politician and his successor, Lord Robertson, who was in favor of Britain’s unilateral disarmament at a time that the Soviet Union had an unquestioned superiority in conventional arms. Of course, the preference of Americans for their former opponents is not indicative of any recognition of equality. But since Papandreou fears no one, it is highly likely that the next slogan he pulls from the family quiver will be «Greece belongs to the Greeks» – to general hilarity.