OPINION

US policies

It would be hypocritical for anyone with political sensibilities to claim indifference to the outcome of today’s elections in the world’s only superpower, the USA. It would be just as naive to expect US foreign policy to change radically if the Democratic candidate rather than a Republican enters the White House. However, the fundamental continuity of American foreign policy does not rule out individual differences that could be of considerable importance for a country as small as Greece, which also happens to be in such a vulnerable region. We cannot ignore the fact that the Athens-Washington-Ankara relationship, with the Cyprus problem unresolved, the Aegean Sea issues still open and the EU-Turkey negotiations on the latter’s future accession about to begin, plays a very serious part in the course of developments. The degree of American support for Turkey has a catalytic effect on Greek-Turkish relations, whether we like it or not. We should not underestimate the fact that solutions to the explosive problem of Kosovo, the simmering issue of the unified state entity of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or the “artificial” Bosnia are directly affected by decisions in Washington, arrived at by the US president and his staff. It is these decisions that eventually determine the stability or instability of the Balkans, the region to which we belong and which naturally affects us. In addition, Greece has been elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Aside from the honor this election bestows on the country, it also entails serious responsibilities which will affect Greece’s relationship with many countries in the world, based on the positions Athens adopts on issues that affect them during Security Council meetings. The USA, however, is the country that sets the tone for discussion by the Council, so in any case Greece will be subject to US pressure to adopt a particular stance, as are all members of the Council. Finally, Greece is a European country, so it is directly affected by whether US-European relations are bad, as they have been under Bush, or good, as they were under the Clinton administration, particularly regarding its abovementioned role as member of the Security Council. So irrespective of one’s preferences for one candidate or the other, the US president’s policies will have repercussions on Greece as well – perhaps more than on other countries in calmer regions.