SYRIZA keeps looking for ways to transfer its political dispute with New Democracy abroad. One wonders whether the prime minister and his aides have so little faith in their own positions that they seek confirmation elsewhere, or whether the long-term distortion of reality has evolved from a political trick into a disease, where the afflicted see only what they want to see.
Whichever the case, the Spanish elections and the Venezuela uprising have become issues in Greek politics, proxy wars waged solely to impress their supporters.
SYRIZA is trying relentlessly to tie ND with the worst aspects of politics in Europe and beyond. For a while now, as part of its campaign as the enemy of “the far right and neoliberalism” in Europe, SYRIZA has projected ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis as being one with Viktor Orban, despite the fact that Greece’s opposition leader has called on the European People's Party to eject the Hungarian prime minister’s party, despite the fact that SYRIZA spent years sharing power with the extreme right Independent Greeks.
Now SYRIZA is trying to tie Mitsotakis with Juan Guaido, the leader of Venezuela’s opposition, and ND with Spain’s Popular Party, which lost many votes in the election. Mitsotakis is presented as a coup plotter and his party as a bunch of losers, through proxies in foreign countries.
Obviously, SYRIZA hopes that no one will remember that Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro has destroyed democratic institutions to the extent that a change of government through elections becomes impossible. Also, SYRIZA’s hymns in praise of the Socialist Party, which won the most votes in the Spanish elections, ignores the significant losses of its sister radical left party Podemos – a fact that ND points out gleefully.
Another one of Maduro’s few strong supporters is his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: the latter identifies with him as an elected leader who manipulates institutions and procedures so as to strengthen his hold on power; he too was almost the victim of a coup attempt; their two countries are connected by strong economic ties – some of which are evident while others are not.
Turkey’s support, in short, is understandable in terms of realpolitik. On what ties is Greek support for Maduro based? Talk of the sanctity of the democratic process is not sufficient.
Part of this government’s bankruptcy is its interpretation of international events through the prism of local politics, and its importation of arguments to be used against its opponents. All while the country’s real problems remain unsolved.