It is common sense for a country (regardless of the political ideology of its people) to unite on issues of importance regarding national security and national interests. One expects political divisions in a country, but to my knowledge, in no other country in the world do domestic political quarrels transcend common sense to the point of stupidity as in Greece. It seems as though the national goal of the Greek people is the obliteration of Greece. Local political divides should and must stop at the borders of the country!
Because foreign policy encompasses a country’s national security and its national interests, it should be national, cohesive, and coherent, with all parties adhering to it. International law based on diplomatic instruments affects domestic policies and legislation and, of course, the life of the citizens of a country. Such important documents usually do not see the light of day in the Greek Parliament. In my view, the most important document of modern Greece that has hit the heart of Greece’s national security and territorial integrity – the 1995 Interim Agreement between Greece and the FYROM – in violation of Article 28 of the Constitution was bypassed and never ratified by the Parliament. To my knowledge, not one politician of any party yelled, “Foul.” The Constitution provides for ministerial decisions only when referring to secondary rules of law or administrative matters such as recruitment, dismissal, promotion, transfer agents, definition guarantees, etc. These are simply executive decisions. But the Parliament must ratify treaties, conventions and such!
Every single political party has had its own ideas on how to save the country by essentially staying on the sidelines and using emotion and ideology instead of knowledge, experience, and critical thinking. By remaining on the sidelines, the Greeks have allowed others to write the rules, leaving the Greek people to swallow the excuse: “We are a small country; the great powers write the rules!”
No party should monopolize Greece’s foreign policy!
We pride ourselves on the fact that we gave Democracy to the world. Although I agree that this is the case, I would argue that we never kept that idea for ourselves. Demagoguery, anarchy, personal attacks are not part of democracy; they are part of the chaos, and it is why Greece has not only failed: she has defeated herself!
The voters of Greece vote for incompetent politicians who choose advisors according to their image, equally ignorant and inept. Of them, the elected ministers are as irrelevant to the post they are serving as the leader of the governing party. These inept nickel-and-dime politicians represent the country abroad also!
On the other hand, foreign officials place the right people in the right place, knowing well the subject matter for discussion and decision. They even prepare detail biographical summaries of their contacts before they meet, in order to know with whom they are dealing.
Greek politicians have no knowledge to juxtapose any arguments of their collocutors to the defense of the country’s position, or even to promote Greece’s positions. They represent Greece’s national interests unprepared, like a lamb on its way to the slaughterhouse. They are more concerned about being team players and declaring unearned “victories,” rather than taking care of the country’s national interests. Often, they will even agree with the position of the foreign dignitaries, citing as an excuse: “If I do as I feel I should, I will not be re-elected!” A negative and spineless performance. Why is this happening?
Perceptions of reality, more so than objective reality, are crucial to the decisions of public officials. What policymakers believe to have taken place in any given case is what matters, more so than what happened: “The key is perception, the process by which decision-makers detect and assign meaning to inputs from their environment and formulate their purposes and intents” (Ole Holsti 1968, 128). Such perceptions created by Skopje and its Pan-Slavist friends invigorate and jolt the morale of the FYROM Slavs, while they simultaneously demoralize the Greeks, especially in these trying times of significant domestic upheaval that keep the Greek government busy with many more important and traumatic issues.
We are all familiar with the Asia Minor Catastrophe. It must become a lesson to avoid recurrence. We cannot blame a single political party for the constant failure of Greece’s foreign policy, just as we cannot blame unknown dark forces lurking to crush the Greeks because … “they are jealous of Greece” or “they want to destroy us!”
Greeks are the sole custodian of Greece’s national interests, territorial integrity, and national security. No one else is!
However, the issue is much deeper. The national security strategy – as the country envisions its full strategic spectrum – requires it to answer two questions: “What is it in our interest to prevent? What should we seek to accomplish?” (Kissinger 1969, 92).
Since the fall of the junta in 1974, the Greek Establishment, i.e. the Political Elite and the mass media, have done an awful job in governing the country and informing the people. The political elite, whether as government or as “the loyal opposition,” have done nothing to elevate the ideals of its offspring; instead they have managed to kill any vision possible in the name of populism and personal promotion. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” KJV, Proverbs 29:18). They have defrauded the Greek nation!
The Establishment is entirely responsible for creating a nation of people with no common sense by repeating the same mistakes over-and-over, while expecting different results; embracing an attitude of self-righteousness, disobedience, narcissism, and self-pity as justification for its errors. The Establishment furthermore has succeeded in molding selfish, ignorant, gullible, and title-decorated, but uneducated grinning individuals who throw their “smart” one-liners and memorized punch lines indicating blunt acumen. Instead of understanding the message and acting accordingly, they choose to smear the reputation of the messenger in an attempt to sidetrack their collocutor from the issue at hand. The Greek Establishment has betrayed the trust of the Greek nation!
Politicians have claimed that during the dictatorship Greece’s economy was in shambles. The fact is that when the country returned to democracy in 1974, Greece had a surplus of 178 million U.S. dollars. Within five years (in 1980), Greece accumulated a debt equal to 22.60% of its GDP, to the point of about 180% in 2015 (TradingEconomics.com). How can any politician explain this mess?
The mass media, being narrowly partisan and incredibly dogmatic, preferred to keep silent – worse yet, it launched attacks against those who dared to voice a differing opinion on the detriment of Greek society by denouncing them with appellations, such as “Μακεδονομάχος,” and making patriotism an insult. Whenever politicians exercised their constitutional right to disagree with the “infallible leader” of their party, the mass media, as the “leader” of free speech, termed those individuals a “δελφίνος”, thus conveniently creating conditions under which responsible politicians were forced to perjure themselves (Constitution Articles 59.1 and 60.1).
Although the mass media members recognized that something was wrong, rather than correct the situation, they engaged in smearing the reputations of honest patriots. Even people of the cloth were attacked for loving their homeland. The political inclinations of the media moguls received more consideration, as did the pressure from political clowns, to whom the members of the media bowed, disregarding their duty to inform and not misinform. They intentionally misled the public’s expectations and eradicated its dreams. They have deceived the Greek nation!
Day in and day out, the Greek Establishment has created new standards, degrading Greece’s already weak position even further. Not one government of Greece has fully cherished or suitably utilized the geostrategic importance of the country! Their understanding of geostrategic importance covers geographical position and physiography. They have completely ignored the importance of the ethnic cohesion of the population. It is the same with education, standard of living, and trends, as population values develop within their domain. In addition, the same governments have overlooked the proper use of resources to the point of negligence, and even deliberate indifference, “according to their private ambition and covetousness, perniciously both for themselves and their confederates” (Thucydides II.65.7). Two and a half millennia ago, the conduct of the Athenian politicians that led their city to its near annihilation should be a lesson for us (Xenophon, Hellenica, 2.2.19-23). We had a chance to learn from it and change. But nobody cared.
The condition of the Greek nation abroad is not any different. We have one of the largest Diasporas in the United States, but there is an un-utilized great national power – soft power (electorate, culture, and history) and hard power (economic means) – to influence the attitude of the American establishment. The Jews, Turks, Skopjans, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, and other groups, which are even smaller in number than us – except for the Jews – have trumped us. Instead of looking for allies, we resort to castigating them. What are they doing wrong? They do what they can for their homeland or for the land of their ancestry; the question is: What are we doing for ours? My suggestion does not imply prima facie alliances; but genuine and profound coalitions, working daily for the betterment of our nation, and turning alliances into lasting friendships!
Every Tom, Dick and Harry mentions our powerful lobby – not out of respect, but as a matter of mockery! We have a warped sense of reality that embodies an individualistic discernment, a local view, and a partisan perception of Greece’s present, rather than the interest to work together on a collective foresight, an ethnic perspective, and a national vision of Greece’s future!
After Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, we saw the arms embargo on Turkey lifted barely a few years later, while the blockade of weapons on the victim, Cyprus, was lifted only a couple of years ago. Since 1974, time-and-again, Turkey has been playing games and exhibits its military might against Greece and Cyprus. And when we complain to U.S. officials, they cite Turkey’s strategic location as the excuse. We are even incapable of reversing Turkey's seclusion of Famagusta!
Albania shifted the very legitimate agreement it made on the sea delineation with Greece to reflect its sole interests – at the expense of Greece. We have seen Skopje do whatever it pleases. We see countries that Greece has helped toward gaining membership to international organizations (e.g. Slovenia), turn around and support the Skopjans in their bidding. We have sensed the new awakening of Pan-Slavism with Russia, its originator, leading the way (Vlček 2002, 43; Koliševski 1980, 152; Jelavich 1958, 12-13). It is time now for us to wake up and smell the coffee!
Our rivals have dynamic advocacy groups, which work in educating politicians and honest citizens. They use periodicals of national scale in the United States, Canada and Australia disseminating “truths” as they see them. But when and if we utilize our experts, they lecture the Greek Diaspora, preaching in essence to the choir, while leaving politicians and citizens at the mercy of our rivals’ activism!
Lobbying, advocacy, and public relations to the untrained mind might sound similar: but they are neither identical nor are they interchangeable. While “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics” (Public Relations Society of America - PRSA) requiring many smiles, lobbying (direct or grassroots) along with advocacy, they also entail empirical and academic expertise in various dimensions of particular subject matters and their cognate fields. They are the result of a team effort of experts in all, even remotely related, aspects. They all require much money, imagination, and, most of all, critical thinking – and not the harbored sickening ambition of an overinflated ego of a single omniscient Greek. One size fits all does not do it either. The most important elements that people ignore are a low profile and, when possible, secrecy. That is how a fait accompli materializes!
Should Greece “import” a government? One doubts whether the present Establishment would allow Greeks from abroad to take over ministries relevant to the professional background of the “invaders” to fix the mess which the system has created and nurtured for years. Assuming that this could be the case, the “imported” Greeks, by applying their know-how and their skills of handling the job uncontaminated by corruptive ministries, would prove the incompetence of professional politicians. Greece, to the detriment of those who pretend to be the political elite of Greece, would never be the same!
Currently, Greece does not qualify as a functioning state. Briefly, a state’s obligations toward its citizens include – but are not limited -- to providing security for its people, as well as equal protection under the law, and services, such as the infrastructure that promote an individual's human rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Citizens finance these obligations of the state through taxation, expecting a reasonably professional civil service in return. This is not happening in Greece. Employment through individual merit is an unknown commodity in the country! Cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence-peddling, graft, and even embezzlement are means available to citizens for employment. But even if a politician wants to work for the people, as politicians are supposed to, they will be attacked from all sides, because what they’re doing is against the established system!
Most of the so-called representatives of the Greek Parliament are treated as monarchs, if we apply the definition of heredity by blood or marriage. Also, they and their friends enjoy a lifetime-immunity that exempts them from any criminal act during their thieving career (or they may simply by-pass legal proceedings). Worst of all is that they do not even represent the areas they claim to. They are accountable for their district of residence, i.e. Athens. It is precisely why, by far, most of the representatives in the Greek Parliament own homes in Attica. Greek ministries and their employees see Greece as starting in Thebes and ending in Corinth. And the people of Greece do not see the fruits of their paid taxes, since, by far, most of the tax money stays in Athens for the benefit of Attica!
In any event, the problem lies with the voters of Greece. The people of Greece are delusional in creating facts in their minds out of hot air. They support those self-sought “realities,” and when such “realities” do not materialize, they point to conspiracies and foreign inimical groups and governments (e.g. the Americans, the Zionists), making them the cause of their discontent. What has happened to voter responsibility? Worst of all is that those who manage Greece's crisis - products of the delusions themselves - are in turn deceived as well. Thus far, they have offered solutions that are simple improvisations, patchworks, serving nothing and creating havoc. They fail to understand why the country is hit from every direction as they lie in their world of a tested and failed political and economic system of yesteryear. They have no idea whether they are coming or going. They have reached the stage of Nirvana hoping for the best. The problem is that Nirvana means “blown out, extinguished.” They have missed the personal and political responsibility to their country and to their nation!
What Greece needs is business and financial development, since “personal freedom and ownership are the fundamental elements of prosperity, which advance the consolidation of human capital and education. Those two components promote science, technology, and innovation. The last three elements, developed to a balanced and stable economic growth, are relevant to national security. They are part of the Greek psyche.” (Templar 2014). Greece’s foreign and domestic policies need to change. Ideals, aka values such as “Justice, Personal Freedom, Ownership, and Honor,” determined the goals that the developing independent Greek nation had hoped to achieve, so that its offspring could physically and psychologically feel secure and prosperous. Once such ideals are dead, the Hellenic nation is dead as well. It is time for the Greeks to wake up! The coffee is brewing to unsettle last night’s (decades old) stupor from too much ouzo!
About Marcus A. Templar
Marcus Alexander Templar is a former codebreaker and Principal Subject Matter Expert in Intelligence Analysis. During his military career, he has supported intelligence operations on a national level, and served as instructor in a number of U.S. Intelligence Schools.
His academic research includes the political ideology of Bulgarian intellectuals after the Commune of Paris and the effect of their ideology to the establishment, development, and activities of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization aka VMRO. The research also examines the organization’s activities in order to create a communist regime of the Bulgarians in Macedonia at least 20 years before the founding of the USSR.
More specifically, his work analyzes the relationship and interaction among members and factions of the organization with contemporary political, pan-Slavic movements and governments, as well as the organization’s political and terrorist activities. Pedagogically he is interested in matters of national security, public governmental policy, and strategy.
He holds a BA from Western Illinois University in the social sciences and humanities (Macomb, Illinois), Master's degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Human Resource Development (Chicago, Illinois) and a second Masters in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University (Washington, DC) specializing in the southern Balkans and Turkey.