Thursday, February 16, 2012

Greece: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

This morning, NATO's Secretary General, Anders Rasmussen, of whom I am a big fan, was meeting with Greek politicians on the 60th anniversary of Greece's membership in the alliance (I think) and said something like what a wonderful ally Greece is. 

I had to snark, could not help myself:
SG loses 7 units of credibility RT : Secretary General praises Greece as a pillar of Euro-Atlantic security
Why?  Because Greece has largely been an impediment to NATO for, well, more than a decade.  How?  Let me count the ways:
  1. Focusing on Macedonia's name so much that it blocked serious efforts to deal with instability emanating from Yugoslavia's demise.  NATO docs still have FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) instead of simply Macedonia (let's just compromise and call the place Mac & Cheese--heaps of marketing opportunities).
  2. Efforts to build links and cooperate between NATO and European Union are blocked by the mutual hissing fit between Greece and Turkey.  Greece blocks such efforts in EU circles, Turkey replies in NATO meetings.
  3. For much of the NATO effort in ISAF, Greece had the least proportionate commitment--15 guys.  Even if other countries had significant restrictions on their troops, they provided at least enough so that some slots could be filled in key areas.  Fifteen is a joke.
  4. Greece distracts NATO with talk of the Turkish threat. Yes, they have issues, and, yes, Turkey is not the most cooperate member of NATO (that would be Denmark), but Turkey is not going to war with Greece anytime soon and Greece is jointly responsible for the mess that is Cyprus.  
  5. Oh yeah, Cyprus got to join various European organizations due to Greek insistence, undermining the effort to set conditions for membership (of course, that is good for me since I get to write about conditionality as "Pie Crust Promises).  
So, spare me.  Greece is not a wonderfully ally.  It is a thorn in the side of European/Atlantic cooperation.  

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