Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nicolas Sarkozy lays down alliance terms of engagement

Dr. George Voskopoulos in American Chronicle
June 06, 2008
During his visit to Athens the French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave lessons on solidarity among alliance partners. He was clear about alliance obligations, something that other Greek allies have not honored, although they request the political and logistical support of Athens. Yet, this should not be a surprise to anyone, at least for those of us who have received a French education and are parts of le monde francophone.
The charismatic French leader made some explicit remarks on the Greece-FYROM name dispute as he is amongst those who do not find Greek worries "absurd". As he pointed out referring to the Greece-FYROM name dispute, "we have chosen to support Greece and we will not change our position. Greece and France wish to see FYROM get closer to NATO and the EU, yet, the name dispute will have to be settled first. The solidarity of France towards Greece is a fact and it will go on in the future. The Greek position is justified, responsible and open to a dialogue…".
This is one single statement never heard from American officials investing in the op-portunistic Atlanticism of Slav Macedonian government. Actually the State Depart-ment has invested a lot in a continuous, outdated act of cannibalizing history and has overlaid NATO´s commitment to the defence of one of its members.
American policy in the issue has been dominated by inflexibility. Ever since 1996 there was hard evidence that the US undermined the name issue and Greek security and dealt with it as if it were a "name game". A. Mallias, Head of the first Mission in FYROM in the mid-1990s, was one of the first diplomats who sensed US determination to proceed with recognition of FYROM with its constitutional name. In mid-June 1996 he was the one who alerted the then Greek Foreign Minister on US non-facilitating policy [1]. Evidently current American policy is not just a temporary deviation from alliance commitments, a fact that clearly sets a number of priorities for the next American president.

The last time an American leader felt apologetic for America´s policy vis-à-vis Greece was B. Clinton. While visiting Athens he expressed his apologies for the US not standing by the Greek side and the democratic forces crashed under the military might of a handful of low-rank military officers. We should have been more careful with our Greek allies…we should have done more to prevent the expression of the military coup in Greece in 1967…we focused exclusively on the Soviet Union and forgot our obligations to our ally, B. Clinton said. It takes a charismatic leader to ac-knowledge mistakes of the past and Bill Clinton was one of those.
That was probably the first and last moral support Greece got from an ally that has de jure served ever since 1952. Still too many in Greece think that this is not enough. N. Sarkozy made this feeling more acute and exposed American inability to accommo-date the institutionally-derived expectations and security considerations of an allied country.
Nicolas Sarkozy was more than explicit in setting the framework that should deter-mine relations between allies. "The Greek people can count on us and we can count on them", he said. It is sad enough that very few people in Greece could ever picture an American official saying the same thing today. Nikolas Sarkozy gave alliances a raison d´ être and a meaning something urgently expected form the next American administration.
[1] See Greek weekly Ependitis, 15-16/6/1996, p. 18.

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