Athens and its initiatives

Foreign policy is the area of government activity where Greek politics tends to verge on the ridiculous. And this is what has happened in reaction to Israel’s military strikes on Lebanon. Suddenly, opposition PASOK called for Greek initiatives in the region and Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis moved heaven and earth to get invited to a crisis summit in Rome. Mission accomplished, Bakoyannis declared from Rome that «this was a day of responsibility for the international community.» It is unclear what she meant if one considers the outcome of the summit. There was no agreement for an immediate ceasefire and so the violence continues unabated. No one is disputing Greece’s obligation to be active in providing humanitarian aid to Lebanon. But proposing that Greece embark on a substantial intervention in the war in Lebanon – beyond that of providing assistance to injured civilians and moral support – insults the intelligence of the average Greek citizen. Governments that are unable to solve fundamental domestic problems should not pretend to be capable of playing an essential role in critical global affairs. The USA and Great Britain fully support Israel in its campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon as this constitutes an extension of their broader goal for stabilizing and «democratizing» the Middle East. And this trend remains predominant despite the skepticism of other countries as regards imposing one culture upon another. The European Union, which stands somewhere between these two trends, essentially remains inactive. In the context of these dynamics, Greece is simply riding the wave and its only real effort should be focused on providing humanitarian aid. Otherwise, our politics will once again verge on the ridiculous.