RELATIONSHIPS WITH UK AND USA
Modern Greece, has been the victim of the sudden change of interests of its allies that have taken place in critical periods.
The story has been repeated, time and time again, from the time of Greece´s war of independence, fought against the Ottoman Empire, up to current years, the first decade of the 21st century.
Greece’s geopolitical position has been such that played the role of “frontier” for Western Europe, neighboring with Ottoman Empire before world War I and with the newly formed Turkish State during and after World War II. As such, Greece was used as an instrument to serve the interests of its allies depending on which sphere of interest, each time, belonged.
Greece, historically was kept under the British Sphere of Influence, for many years.
Till the end of World War II Britain exercised a very strong influence in Greek political scene and as long as the British interests were served, Greece enjoyed strong support from its allies, while at the same time paid a high penalty each time the interests of Great Britain shifted from its original position. Two striking examples that one can convincingly refer to are:
First example, the shifting of the British position from fierce fighting the Ottomans in Kalipoli, (start of the 20th century) and the encouragement of their Greek allies to invade Asia Minor to the development of a strong alliance withKemal, the founder of the new Turkish State, after the fall of the Sultan, to serve British interests in Iraq and the rest of Middle East. This is to what George Horton the American Consular in Smyrna during 1922 was referring to in his famous Book “The Great Betrayal”. Read under a separate page in this site, The speech of Nancy Horton.
Second example, the conflict over Cyprus, where Britain directly confronted Greece over the fight of Greek Cypriots for unification with Greek main land.
Both examples show very vividly how deep and decisive, the British involvement, has been in the maters of the Greek state during the first part of the 20th century, but at the same time, it demonstrates the magnitude of damage the shifting of British interest has caused for Greece.
Referring to the first example, Greece suffered the biggest defeat of its history in Asia Minor (1922) that ended in the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor, biggest population movement the history has known (1.5 m refuges, plus hundreds of thousands killed).
See: The road towards oil. This is to what George Horton, the American Consular, in Smyrna, during 1922, refers to, in his book “The Great Betrayal”. Read in this website: The speech of Nancy Horton
For the second example: Who can forget the famous statement made by Winston Churchill, after the first victory the Greek army against the axis, defeating the Italians? “ From now on we should not say that Greeks fight like Heroes but heroes fight like Greeks”. Also the same man, the same period, encouraged the Greeks to fight the Germans by one other famous statement: “ Greece fight for Cyprus”.
And what a disappointment that has been!!!
From the end of World War II and the termination of a disastrous civil war, Greece joint the NATO alliance and the USA influence started. USA, naturally, dominated NATO organization as a leading world military and economic power and as long as Greece played the role of the frontier to USSR dominating world Greece received both economic, political and military support.
Greece cannot forget ¨Marshal Plan¨ that helped the country recover from the damages of the second world war.
The participation of Turkey, as a member of the same alliance, has always been a problem and obliged USA to play a delicate balancing political game between both countries which apart from their similar position against USSR had nothing in common in terms of national aspirations with major confrontations that lead to the invasion of Cyprus by the Turkish army and subsequent occupation of half of the island. This lead to the temporary withdrawal of Greece from NATO alliance.
It is necessary, at this point, to stress a very important and dramatic historical fact related to this invasion, as this lead to the fall of the Military Dictatorship that was governing Greece since April 1967. The Turkish invasion eventually lead to the occupation of 38% of Cyprus which was a very high price that Greece had to pay for the fall of this Dictatorial state.
Greeks have conflicting views regarding the involvement and influence USA had over the establishment of the Military dictatorship, as well as with their position over the Cyprus issue.
One should not forget that Greece, at the end of world war II, had a very bitter experience with a cruel civil war that followed up, in conflict with the communists. This conflict left deep wounds in the Greek society that are felt even up to day.
This is that time, after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus that the country started a very successful negotiation and became a founder member of the European Union.
So, after the British and then the Americans, Greece entered into a period of fast growth under the European Union scheme and mainly with support of the two main European countries France and Germany.
THE EUROPEAN UNION
Greece benefited considerably from its participation into the European Union, especially because of significant funding that the country enjoyed towards the creation of its infrastructure. Never the less there are quite a few short comings that are becoming more evident during the last couple of years, especially after Greece joint the monetary union.
Apart from the funding of its infrastructure, the vision behind the idea of EU was the creation of a Union of Nations to resemble the United States and apart from the creation of a common market the desire that top Politicians of the founding members had, including famous Greek Statesman like Konstantinos Karamanlis, was the creation of a strong financial entity with common foreign and defense policy, as well as coordinated development potential.
Greece had the vision , the desire and a desperate need to be part of a union of Nations that will protect its frontiers, will allow her to develop in a safe environment and resolve any differences with its neighbors under international law.
This proved to be a chimera not only for Greece but for most members of EU especially for the countries of the southern part of the Union that had to compete with the influx of low cost labor released from the countries of the ex communist group that joint EU after 2000.
The conflict between the industrious north and the slow developing south came to a very difficult turning point especially for Greece that had lost its monetary defenses since it now belonged to a monetary union that could not depreciate its currency being the Euro.
On top of that the fact that Greece had borrowed enormous amounts of money from EU that was not properly used for development but instead ended up in consumption as well as in the expansion of the Public sector.
This practice contributed to the increase of corruption among the politicians who take the blame for bringing Greece very close to bankruptcy at the beginning of 2010.
But is only Greece to be blamed for this, or some inherent weaknesses within EU have become apparent?
Let us take a note of some facts:
Greece is the best customer for Germany for defense and communication equipment.
Germany has a decisive role when it comes to approving European loans to Greece.
Greece was blamed for submitting false financial statistics to EU auditors. Especially hiding funds spent for defense and public sector.
One statement from EU that would consider Greek frontiers as frontiers of EU would be enough to save Greece most of its defense and public expenditure and reduce decisively its deficit.
Is the European Union ready, does it have a mechanism to resolve crises such as the one southern European countries as well as Ireland are phasing during 2010?
Why Greece remain the only country that has not been compensated by Germany for world war II damages. The last one compensated was Czech Republic only a few years ago.
The fallowing link refers to a letter signed by 370 University academicians, sent to President Obama regarding the issue of Macedonia,
Η Επιστολή των Πανεπιστημιακών προς τον Ομπάμα και στα Ελληνικά
More articles related to recent crisis
A separate page has been created within the present website to describe in more detail the period of the financial crisis. see relevant page.
To be continued….