OPINION

Greece and the Security Council

As of January 1 and for a two-year period, Greece is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Greece’s election a few months ago filled local politicians with joy and pride. True, running for the post was the brainchild of the former Socialist administration, which spent a great deal of time and energy on ensuring a positive outcome. As a consequence, just as with so many other issues, such as the Olympic Games, the economy and foreign relations, the current government will have to handle the aftermath of a dubious decision made by other people. What is most disquieting, however, is not the absence of benefits but the fact that Greece will have to plunge into the global disorder ushered in after the decline of the bipolar system and the growing chasm between the US and Europe. The national interests of a small state under a heavy financial burden and pressure from a powerful neighbor dictated that Greece stay out of any US-EU tiff as Athens depends on both powers. The policy of benign neutrality that has been standard practice for Greek governments in previous years would be seriously challenged should Washington decide to expand its military campaign beyond Afghanistan and Iraq without European consent. Moreover, it is far from certain whether Greece has enough leverage to influence the five permanent members of the Security Council on vital national issues, such as the Cyprus dispute. If that were the case, it is highly unlikely that Greece would have got the post in the first place. Greece cannot help but find ways to meet its new obligations in a decent fashion. This means that it will have to monitor developments and political trends in the US, the EU and Russia. It’s a daunting task but stepping onto center stage was purely a Greek decision.