Pompeo’s visit: Yes to everything, at a small cost for the government

Pompeo’s visit: Yes to everything, at a small cost for the government

It is clear the Government is highly satisfied with the beautiful breakfast photos of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his wife with the Pompeo couple.

The breakfast with the wives is the American way; it is what suits the American-educated Greek Prime Minister. The rest of the US Secretary of State’s program, as well as his attendance at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens received the same extensive media coverage.

The question naturally remains what Greece gets out of the upgrade of the Defensive Agreement with the States, which was signed during the Foreign Minister’s trip to USA over the previous weekend.

Both the previous and the present government gave Washington what it asked for regarding the expansion of Souda, Alexandroupolis and Stefanovikio. But what is in it for Greece? The conclusion is that Greece gave it all – as requested – and got little in return. More precisely, it bought prospects. Both the previous government and the running one have sought to obtain in return US guarantees of national security in the event of a Turkish attack. The response they both received from Washington was clearly negative. The US is not prepared to pledge its support to Greece in the event of a conflict with Turkey. The Minister of Defense Mr. Apostolakis got the same answer a few months ago, when after talks with his US counterpart he had stated that Greece would be on her own in the event of a Greek-Turkish conflict.

Pompeo said the US would not allow Turkey to proceed with any illegal drilling operations within the Cypriot EEZ, yet he was fast to explain he was referring to the diplomatic initiatives they might take. Not even sanctions in the military or financial field. Washington is facing Turkey’s threat to invade the Syrian territory in order to crush the YPG’s Kurdish fighters. Any diplomatic means and rewards it holds, it will invest them all in this specific area that puts its global standing at stake. If they do not thwart the threat by moving in the background, the US troops will have to move to protect the Kurds, unless they can afford for the US status to take a massive hit. Yet that would also signal a definitive breakage, on which Washington has yet to decide, since the stakes for the American power in the ever-sensitive Middle East and in its relations with Russia are high. They will definitely not do it just for the sake of Greece or Cyprus.

However, despite Washington’s attempt to bring Ankara back to the western corridor, Erdogan does not trust the Americans. It is through this pathway that a prospect for Greece receiving an upgrading in the US geostrategic agenda opens up. The question that follows is whether Greece is aware or that and has devised a corresponding strategy to exploit the opportunity that is offered to become a front-line country and reap the benefits. The answer, at least for the moment, is no.

Both the previous government and the current one, for completely different reasons, are unable to make similar and in-depth geostrategic plans. During an economic crisis period all governments focus on the US investments – which of course never happen – and on energy cooperation that will strengthen Greece’s respective position, without addressing the updating of the country’s military and geopolitical image. To no avail. As Athens slides militarily and geopolitically, Turkey will intensify its threats. And in the end it will eliminate any energy or economic benefits. Relations between states are power relations as Thucydides said 2,500 years ago – the strong one imposes and the weak one recedes – and this is an all-or-nothing game; one gains at the expense or the other one, and this does not change with the wishes of the Greek governments for world peace… /ibna