One cannot help but consider the US’s act a hostile one, especially considering that weeks before, Greek diplomats were close to holding talks with their FYROM counterparts in order to solve the issue on a bilateral basis. Such is the sway of imperialism in our world, that it seems that the US has unilaterally solved the issue for us, UN resolutions and the like being resigned to the dustbin of failed idealism. This seems to be the culmination of a continuous series of hostile acts perpetrated against Greece by it since the seventies, including the subversion of Greek constitutional life and the institution of the Junta, and more recently, the revelation that America was bribing various groups in Cyprus in order to subvert the result of the Cyprus referendum early this year. What was the American response when confronted with their acts? A simple, nonchalant: “Yeah, so what?” The mighty are not answerable to their minions.
Yet this latest American gesture of goodwill and friendship towards the Greek people comes as no surprise. John Kerry, in his concession speech last week stated that he knows America to be both great and good. Great in power and stature and good…well for those to whom its presents come. This certainly does not include Greece and that is why, for the last ten years at least, Greek foreign policy has firmly aligned itself with the European Union, in the hope of protection, a fair hearing and a chance to free the countρy from the machinations of those who expect it to be the subservient satellite it was in the past.
Recent events have certainly disabused us all of any illusions we may have had of the EU as an effective defender of its constituent member nations’ rights. While the EU has out of courtesy for Greece refused to recognise FYROM as ‘Macedonia,’ it has done nothing to facilitate a solution to the problem, while behind the scenes, our Teutonic friends have pressured Greece to abandon its ‘silly’ objections to another’s use of its patrimony. The lukewarm response of the EU to the US’s latest masterly stroke of diplomacy is yet another indication of the fact that while the ideal of the EU is impressive, much of it still remains on paper, and that which is real, is in thrall to other, higher overlords. In the case of Greece, save for providing a stream of funds which the Greeks have variously applied and misapplied for infrastructure works, and which stream will most likely now be dammed and diverted to the new, needy EU member states, the EU does not seem to be the attractive prospect it once was.
Not only has it proven to be diplomatically impotent, it has also failed to reassure member states that it can effectively create a doctrine of collective security, so intrinsic to the viability of such a composite entity. This was evident in its refusal to intervene in the Imia crisis, where EU land was called into question by Turkey. Recently, the frightening spectre of non-existent security has again risen its head, in the context of the daily and mass invasion of Greek and thus EU airspace, by Turkey. Again, the EU fails to intervene, even though a situation where an entity like the EU can tolerate the unjustified and continuous invasion of its territory by a nation which is a candidate for union with it, is the height of paradox.
One is led to wonder whether the EU would so easily countenance territorial violations of France, Spain or Germany by other nations, or US interference in their internal affairs. Most probably not. The fact of the matter is that for all the rhetoric and window dressing, Greece has not been psychologically accepted by its peers as a legitimate member of the EU. It hovers on the fringes of legitimacy, not quite European, not quite Balkan, not quite Middle Eastern. Its problems are strange and foreign and no one wants to deal with them. The inability of Greece to obtain an active voice and a counterpoint to thralldom in imperialism marks a significant failure of its foreign policy focus of the past decade. Yet considering the odds stacked against, it, it is impossible to say what else Greece could do to assert itself.
The recent new development in Greek foreign policy, known as κουμπάρο diplomacy also does not seem to be paying dividends. In true Byzantine fashion, where Emperors such as Manuel Comnenus would marry of members of his family to the Crusader Franks in a vain attempt to keep their allegiance, we have sought cordial, almost familial relations with our neighbours. George Papandreou danced a ζεϊμπέκικο with his then counterpart, Ismail Cem, while Karamanlis has developed close family relations with Recep Tayip Erdogan. None of these are paying any dividends given that friendship, as it is understood by our neighbours does not preclude them from invading Greek airspace en masse and harassing commercial airlines.
Finally, a word about how we ourselves deal with our so-called «εθνικά θέματα. Until last week, those Greeks who still publicly concerned themselves with the Macedonian issue were considered to be ‘nationalistic’ and behind the times. This diatribist in particular was taken to task by previous consuls-general for questioning the Greek government’s focus on the issue. Well, one reaps what they sow and they have sown the wind. While well-meaning Greek-Australians may now attempt to lobby the Australian government not to follow the US’s approach to the issue, it is difficult to see how this will be at all effective, given the way Australian foreign policy has been tied to that of the US of late, or that the promises to preserve the status quo which we were able to extract from our politicians have been clawed back and eroded over the past decade to the extent where there is manifest recognition of a ‘Macedonian’ national identity. That that ‘nation’s’ country is still called FYROM, is a question of mere semantics. There are other Greeks who also need our assistance, such as the Greeks of Albania who raised the Greek flag in Cheimarra during the recent elections there and have now been sentenced to three years jail, as ‘revenge’ for Greek President Stephanopoulos championing the rights of the Greeks of Northern Epirus during his visit to the region. More on that next week.
Today, as at the time of the Crusades, history repeats itself. In those days, Emperor Alexius Comnenus called upon Frankish aid in order to stop the Seljuk incursions upon Byzantium’s territory. Instead of assisting, the Franks made common cause with Byzantium’s enemies and proceeded to conquer and destroy it forever. Today, the help of the Franks is once more sought by Byzantium’s descendants, against various evils. It is to you gentle reader, to decide to whom to ascribe, the greater of evils. We leave you with the fervent Latin prayer of the Dark Ages: A furore normanorum libera nos, o Domine, (Save me oh Lord, from the fury of the Northmen.)