A news item that went largely unnoticed shows a lot – both good and bad. The Hellenic Republic signed a contract to purchase 44 torpedoes for its 214HN submarines, which are considered a significant asset against Turkey.
The good news is that another unjustified and long-standing issue has been resolved.
The bad news, however, is that the lack of seriousness and continuity on the part of Greece is constantly undermining the country’s national security. We have the unique ability to swing from one extreme to the other: from the lists of expensive armaments to unbridled populism that leads to absurdities.
And where does this all lead? To hundreds of Leopard battle tanks left without missiles for years. To submarines which we initially complained were tilting, and then advertised as super-weapons, and – after a very long delay – to torpedoes we ordered making the submarines super-weapons, because until now they were only loaded with previous generation torpedoes.
And why does this happen? Because we oscillate between the ugliness of corruption and the absolute fear of those in charge to put their signature on paper. The solution is obviously somewhere in the middle, in combining transparency with efficiency.
Petty politics, state-funded trade unionism and institutionalized corruption in the national defense have cost us a lot. When Turkey started building a defense industry after the embargo on Cyprus, so that it would no longer be held hostage to the US or anyone else, we handed over whatever we had to the corrupt and the useless.
The asymmetry between what is said from time to time in public debate and what is done on the ground is inconceivable. Countries are not shielded with big words, parades and fanfares, but with methodical professionalism and practical determination. One day we will get to the point where the purchase of 44 torpedoes is not considered news.