OPINION

Editorial

The devastating terrorist attacks in the USA have put Greece, as well as the rest of Europe, in an emergency situation. US President George W. Bush’s repeated calls on the American nation to prepare itself for a sustained war, the repeated clarifications by US officials that this war could last for months or even years and will have casualties, all seem to make clear that the emergency will have a very long duration. This is no temporary phenomenon like the war against Iraq in 1991 or the bombing campaign in Serbia in 1999. The unfolding international political context forces the Greek government to re-examine its policy line on a wide range of issues in view of the evolving conditions. The problems are numerous. Some of them are manifest, such as the impact on tourism – a vital sector of the Greek economy – while others are much more difficult to assess in advance, such as the indirect impact on the economic and social realms created by Europe’s participation in potential military operations. Unanimity between the government and opposition in siding with the USA and Europe removed any doubts over Greece’s alignment with the Western camp. What remains to be managed, however, is the multi-sided preparations of the country and the population to tackle the problems that will inevitably arise. The cost of cracking down on international terrorism, even in terms of merely sponsoring the necessary operations, will amount to many billions of dollars that will be underwritten by the USA as well as its allies. The government must examine carefully the parameters on which its present approach has been based, in order to deal with the factor of uncertainty and to map out a more effective policy in the future. The threat of recession was felt even before the tragic events; hence we now find ourselves at an extremely unfavorable conjuncture. By taking part in a collective effort, the Greek government will no doubt have the support of its allies and partners. But at the same time it has to mobilize all national forces in order to safeguard the country at this crucial turning point.