An invaluable opportunity for Greece to increase its standing and influence on the world stage

The commentary, «Greece and the Security Council» by Costas Iordanidis (January 4) misunderstands the nature of world politics in the 21st century. Iordanidis is critical of Greece’s «dubious» decision to seek a seat on the United Nations Security Council because, in his words, Greece is «a small state» that runs the risk of getting caught in the middle of a US-EU dispute. The problem with this assessment is that it treats power as material power, or what Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye calls «hard power.» Ideally, countries want to have enormous material resources at their disposal. This can help insulate them from the aftershocks of a major power dispute. Few countries, however, are ever in such a position. Iordanidis is correct in arguing that Greece is too poorly endowed in terms of resources and capabilities to significantly affect international relations on its own. But he overlooks the fact that Greece is being afforded a rare opportunity to cultivate non-material power bases, «soft power.» In the current era, soft power, the ability to attract other countries to a particular policy position or agenda, has become the everyday currency of international relations. In the past two years, Greece has lived through two unique experiences, guiding the EU through the Iraq war and staging the first post-September 11 Olympics which have put the country under the global spotlight, providing it with an opportunity to increase its soft power. Greece did not disappoint. Now Greece is being given an even more salient opportunity to help steer the course of world events: a seat on the Security Council. This is a fortunate chance to increase Greece’s standing and influence in the world. Greece should whole-heartedly embrace this moment. PROF. LOUIS KLAREVAS, New York.

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