OPINION

Courting trouble

courting-trouble

The two men who for four years were entrusted with heavy responsibilities regarding the fate of the Greeks – the one as minister of national defense, the other as foreign affairs minister – are headed for court, exchanging harsh accusations.

The clash between Panos Kammenos and Nikos Kotzias, of course, pales in significance next to the political cosmogony caused by the Prespes agreement, but, apart from the role that both have played in shaping current events, the dispute is serious.

It shows once again the dangers that the country can face when unsuitable people are placed in important positions, the prime minister’s failings (which he himself has confessed) in his choice of people, and his cynical tactics, whereby he flattered Kammenos in order to keep his government in power while letting Kotzias go even as he adopted his policy.

But are the two unsuitable when it is clear that Alexis Tsipras agreed with Kotzias’s policy? When Tsipras and Kammenos were very close until recently? The behavior of the two men since they left the government has shown that their characters are not in line with the demands of the office that each held.

It’s true that the two former cabinet colleagues may come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but they share an explosive and confrontational nature, a desire to crush their rivals and silence their critics through verbal violence or legal means.

Some statements from their ministries, written in language unrelated to the demands of diplomacy and of the gravity of their office, seemed to reflect the attitude of the two rather than the institutions and the country that they represented.

It is difficult to believe that they would have allowed subordinates in their ministries to improve on their policies or limit the damage.

Fortunately, despite the worsening international climate, our country did not face any immediate threat which would have proved the dangers of such dysfunction.

The SYRIZA-Independent Greeks odd-couple alliance brought Kammenos and Kotzias to power, where each used his position to impose his will on rivals and critics, often through judicial means. Kammenos turned the courts into an instrument of politics, whereas Kotzias has attempted to shut down the Athens Review of Books, in a case that has led to the unprecedented situation whereby senior members of the country’s highest court are currently being tried for their role.

Until now, neither Kammenos nor Kotzias has had to deal with the consequences of their judicial aggression. Outside of government, they may learn that the immunity they enjoy as members of Parliament may be lifted and that the outcomes of court cases are not always predictable.