CLOSE
Loading...
32° Nicosia,
16 June, 2019
 
Home  /  Comment  /  Opinion

Undiplomatic behavior

In democracies governments change

Athanasios Ellis

Athanasios Ellis

Foreign diplomats in important embassies in Athens who viewed the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “very positively” are now faced with a new reality. When, on a number of occasions, this writer pointed out that the support for the government seemed excessive, the response by most diplomats could broadly be summed up by: “We don’t have preferences but our cooperation is excellent and we say it.” Some diplomats noted that, in the last few years, their countries have developed the closest relations they’ve ever had with Greece.

Their arguments do not lack merit. Indeed, the cooperation has been very good. And when you have in government a party that rose to power by criticizing – if not insulting – their countries, even their leaders personally, it is understandable that those diplomats would be pleased with the about-face of its leader and most of its top officials toward realism, along with the completely different rhetoric and the active cooperation on a range of issues.

I am not adopting the oversimplified explanation that “Tsipras did what they wanted.” In general terms, in his relations with partners and allies, the SYRIZA leader simply joined the mainstream. After the delusions and the efforts to mislead, he understood the state of affairs and changed policies, even behavior.

It is only natural that they would have preferred the former anti-systemic, radical politician in the Maximos Mansion and not protesting in the streets. At any rate, the close cooperation with the SYRIZA government, which produced some positive results, is – up to a point – understandable.

However, the behavior of some diplomats was excessive. They almost completely identified with Tsipras, sometimes making it almost a personal thing. Not only was this a mistake, it was also unfair toward other political forces such as New Democracy, Movement for Change and To Potami, which had not tried to deceive voters and did not ignore reality. These parties had always been openly pro-Western and did not change when they took power, as Tsipras did.

In fact, they paid a price for their alignment with “imperialist America” and “the Europe of memoranda.” Some were even attacked – such as former PASOK minister Theodoros Pangalos, who had yogurt thrown at him, and ND deputies Costis Hatzidakis, and Giorgos Koumoutsakos, who were physically assaulted.

It is obvious that diplomats can express agreement with specific actions of a government – the deepening of bilateral cooperation, good relations with the country’s creditors, the signing of a pact, or the promotion of trilateral cooperation, such as that with Israel, Cyprus and Egypt – but not in a way that seems almost insulting to the parties in the opposition, which, with a few exceptions (such as the Prespes deal), had the same strategic approach.

There might have been ideological preferences toward one side, or bad personal chemistry with the other, but the mission of the diplomat is to ensure the best possible relations with the country in which he is serving, not with a specific government or leader. And as we all know, in democracies governments change.

Opinion: Latest Articles

Prudence and moderation

Prudence and moderation

Greece is going through one of the most toxic pre-election periods it has experienced in decades
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
President Anastasiades visiting Nicosia General Hospital on the 7th of June 2019 following the implementation of the General Healthcare System

Anastasiadescare

When it comes to policy making, politicians should be judged based on the results of their actions not their intentions
Yiannis Kafkarides
 |  OPINION
The silent vote

The silent vote

“It’s better if the result exceeds your expectations”
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
Marina Economides keeps things straight as politics of hope clash with populism and fear

They are not Europe

Hope will save the day, not populist rhetoric that flirts with racism and fear
Marina Economides
 |  OPINION
President Nikos Anastasiades shakes hands with Niyazi Kızılyürek on election day

Against all odds

Cyprus elects first ever Turkish Cypriot MEP, shuns nationalists
Yiannis Kafkarides
 |  OPINION
Eleni Xenou asks how much longer until anger over old politics turns rage into action

How much longer?

Old fashioned politics not up to task, but reaction has yet to boil over
Eleni Xenou
 |  OPINION
Andreas Paraschos writes about the overburdened voters as he sees trouble ahead on the Old Continent

Monnet or Orban?

Putting national power above the greater good for Europe spells out a bigger problem
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Eleni Xenou sifts through the mud of dirty politics to see a cleaner picture ahead of European elections

Did someone say Europe?

Cheap shots in Cypriot politics rule the day as party leaders choose bickering over substance
Eleni Xenou
 |  OPINION
Andreas Paraschos connects the dots as multiple cases fail to deliver justice, one after the other

The yellow lake

Lady justice fails to prevail as politicians hop from one case to the next
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Marina Economides is fed up with petty politics that do irreparable damage, Kızılyurek’s candidacy a case in point

Toxic environment

Short term memory loss strikes around election season, but at what cost?
Marina Economides
 |  OPINION
Eleni Xenou looks closely at the racist question and discovers hidden undertones

So are we racists?

Walls go up as the dreadful question about racism fails to hit a nerve
Eleni Xenou
 |  OPINION
Cry havoc!

Cry havoc!

The decision by the President to call the Turkish incursion into the Cyprus EEZ an invasion has raised eyebrows both at ...
Yiannis Kafkarides
 |  OPINION
Kathimerini Cyprus writes a letter of apology in the wake of the horrific serial killer murders

Sorry

An apology in the wake of the horrific serial killer murders
 |  OPINION
A tear for Notre Dame

A tear for Notre Dame

Andreas Paraschos writes about the wilderness of a society that does not seek accountability
Andreas Paraschos
 |  OPINION
Son-in-law diplomacy

Son-in-law diplomacy

White House meeting between Erdogan’s son-in-law and Trump’s son-in-law raises eyebrows in Greece
Alexis Papachelas
 |  OPINION
X