CLOSE
Loading...
12° Nicosia,
17 January, 2019
 
Home  /  Comment  /  Opinion

The deepening US-Greece strategic relationship

Broader geopolitical developments favor closer ties

Athanasios Ellis

Athanasios Ellis

The US-Greece Strategic Dialogue starts on Thursday in Washington, a process that signals a significant deepening of bilateral relations. The meeting loses some of its luster due to the fact that Greece will be represented by its alternate foreign minister as a result of the recent resignation of Nikos Kotzias and the decision of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has taken over the portfolio, to attend a summit of European Union leaders on the same day.

Nevertheless, the takeaway here is that this is the first time the State Department bureaucracy – with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell at the forefront – has seen Greece as such an important partner and ally. The emphasis on Greece’s role and importance is a lot more than the usual over-the-top platitudes that lack substance. Greek observers with good knowledge of how Washington works can attest to that.

Broader geopolitical developments favor closer ties. Uncertainty in the Balkans, the role of Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly erratic behavior, the energy prospects in the Eastern Mediterranean and the broader area, and the close cooperation between Greece and Israel are developments that have put Athens at the center of US policy planning. Moreover, the fact that this multifaceted cooperation is being carried out under a leftist-led government in Greece safeguards it to some degree from future populist reactions from that side of the political spectrum that has traditionally been anti-American. The strategic dialogue will develop on a solid foundation that supersedes individual politicians and parties, and will also be utilized by the next Greek government, whatever that might be.

A relationship that was once undercut, demonized or even hidden is now being recognized for all the potential benefits it can bring the country

A relationship that was once undercut, demonized or even hidden is now being recognized for all the potential benefits it can bring the country. For decades Greece has hosted one of the most important US military bases at Souda Bay in Crete, but every government during that period avoided talking about it and consequently taking advantage of it. Partly as a result of the support America gave Greece through the crisis, but also regional developments, Greek public opinion no longer has such a negative view of the US military presence here or of joint exercises between the two countries.

Greece is stepping up to assume its rightful role as a pillar of stability in a volatile neighborhood. And that is not the usual rhetoric. It’s the reality on the ground. At the same time, a consensus of opinion between the leftist government and the conservative opposition over the relationship with the US is making it easier for Washington to draw a long-term plan, something that can only be beneficial to this country.

TAGS
Greece  |  US  |  Military  |  Balkans  |  Mediterranean  |  Turkey

Opinion: Latest Articles

From the auditoriums

From the auditoriums

Tsipras is constantly mutating and has no problem with devouring friends and allies
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
Andreas Paraschos digs deep, examines the fallout of allegations against Supreme Court judges

Right to dignity

Allegations involving Supreme Court judges raise the stakes in seeking justice
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Angela Merkel in Athens

Angela Merkel in Athens

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit is taking place in a completely different political environment
Athanasios Ellis
 |  OPINION
Andreas Paraschos has a beef as he writes on a most crucial juncture in the Cyprus problem

The end of history

Stakes in Cyprus as high as ever, but frowns stay on the down-low
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Oblivious to danger

Oblivious to danger

Greece has never had the culture of consensus found in northern Europe
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
Two worlds in conflict

Two worlds in conflict

If the next government cannot get the wagon out of the mud, we will be scraping the bottom of the barrel for a very long ...
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
X