By Nick Stamatakis
Even if someone knew nothing about US foreign policy, the fact that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in such a busy time would spend over 48 hours in Greece (this Monday and Tuesday) would be enough to signify a high point in the two countries’ relationship. Natural allies by definition (by their history and by their status as global naval powers), the United States and Greece managed during the last ten years to overcome a post-1974 climate of anti-Americanism in Greece and have gradually reached the highest level of cooperation at all levels. The rise of the Islamist movement through Erdogan in Turkey along with the imperial advances of the Chinese Communists are bound to lead the two countries in even closer cooperation. Some of my friends on the Left can argue all they want about the “unilateralism of power” in this relationship, and the multiple post-WW II direct US interventions in Greek political affairs; but the fact of the matter is that this relationship, this alliance, is rooted in deep common interests and a sense of trust that is rarely found in the world of international affairs…
The human factor: The “Greek Mind” – and fighting spirit
All “communique” and reports show that Pompeo’s visit will focus on expanding US investment in Greece along with strengthening the military cooperation at all levels. Pompeo’s stop at Thessaloniki will focus US attention on the most valuable of all Greek assets: the human capital. Helleniscope has reported Pfizer’s establishment of a “Greek Hub” in this northern Greek city, under the leadership of one of its great sons, CEO Albert Bourla. But more American companies have recently discovered the unbelievable innovative powers of the “Greek Mind” not only in Thessaloniki but in other major Greek cities. Should I mention that the whole team which developed Tesla’s battery system comes directly from Athens Polytechnic – the famous EMP, an institution that has been considered a twin to MIT since the 1950s, although the relationship started much earlier!… Should I also mention that we currently have in US universities and research centers over 3,000 professors born in Greece – in addition to even more Greek-Americans? For a country of 10 million people (0.3% of the world population), Greek academics and researchers are quoted over 3% of the time (measured by Google Scholar)!!
This human factor, the “Greek Mind”, has recently shown its capabilities in all their glory in the confrontation with Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. The captain of a 40-yr old Greek frigate, in showmanship of naval maneuvering, ridiculed by ramming the brand new flagship of the Turkish Navy; Greek anti-submarine helicopters played the game of cat and mouse with the Turks in the Aegean; Greek AF F-16s flew from Crete to Cyprus several times, undetected by the Turkish radars; and the Turks are still wondering where 5 Greek submarines were hiding during the two months of the confrontation!! American officials are fully aware of the abilities and valor of the Greek military, as they had the opportunity to witness them firsthand in multiple exercises over many decades…
Souda Bay: The most valuable American military base globally
The second leg of Mike Pompeo’s visit will bring him to Souda Bay, the well known American base near Chania, Crete. During my recent visit to my ancestral homeland of Crete, I was explaining to friends the significance of the base as one could see the activity of ships and aircraft from the hills overlooking the Bay. Positioned in between the three continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa, just a few minutes flight from each, this base is the ONLY place between Norfolk, Virginia, and the Middle East with deep enough waters, where an aircraft carrier can stop for serious repairs, with an airfield next to it for easy supply.
Overlooking Souda Bay, at the hill of Agios Mattheos, the Mitsotakis Family compound is located, where Mike Pompeo will stay overnight and be offered the famous Cretan hospitality as he holds talks with the prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The Mitsotakis family, one of the few “mafia-like family clans” which dominate the island of Crete and Greek politics for many decades, is a known associate of American interests in Greece since the early 1960s when George H.W. Bush was the director of the CIA. The founder of the family, Constantine Mitsotakis, was known to have over 5,000 godchildren in Crete!! The press in Athens have been pushing for years that “the Bushes were attracted annually to vacation time with the Mitsotakis family by the famous stuffed grape leaves – dolmadakia – Marika (the late wife of Constantine) used to make, but the obvious truth lies elsewhere: it was a close, multi-faceted, political connection.
Currently, one problem for the US policy may be that the Mitsotakis family has traditionally established even stronger connections with the German establishment: very few people in three generations of the Mitsotakis family do NOT speak German, while the relationship goes back to the German occupation of Crete in WWII. Some years ago Kyriakos Mitsotakis himself was involved in a serious bribery scandal by the German multinational Siemens. In an environment of increased antagonism between the US and Germany, the Greek people, both on the left and the right of the political spectrum, have already chosen the American side. Mike Pompeo, we are sure, is very well aware of this choice as he enters the talks with Mitsotakis. Germany as a leader of the EU has destroyed Greece to make an example of her to other Mediterranean countries and the Greeks long to move away from Germany’s murderous embrace…
At the same time, it is also an excellent opportunity for the US to develop a “healthier” relationship with new political powers in Greece – some coming out of the retired military – who seek to overthrow the “family clans” who had a mostly destructive role in the development of the country. Should we remind Mike Pompeo that it was these family clans (the names are well known) along with some traitors who had cooperated with the Germans 1941-44, who stole in the 1950s much of the American Marshall Plan for Greece, many billions in today’s dollars? They are known to be corrupt for generations… The United States would benefit greatly by the establishment of much healthier powers in such a close ally as Greece… By supporting corrupt “families”, not only President Trump’s message is undermined, but also American long-term interests… Greeks have always been politically acute and very suspicious when it comes to politics: they will never cease to see the US in a negative eye as long as these corrupt actors are openly endorsed by Washington. Let me be even more clear: The number one reason for the many failed American investments in Greece – and therefore for minimized American influence – is related to these corrupt families and their stronghold on every government aspect.
As France has moved in to support Greece militarily and diplomatically against Turkey, at the same time as it leads a “Mediterranean Alliance” of many countries in the region, it is a very opportune time for American diplomacy to start defying German power in Europe. They have done it based on Nord Stream II, the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, and it is about time to cut Germany’s power in the South. If history has taught us any lesson during the last two centuries, this lesson is that the Germans cannot be trusted with exercising power beyond their own borders…
Finally, as Mike Pompeo has actively supported a wider alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean, including Israel, Egypt, other Arab States, Cyprus, and Greece, it is time to silence those voices who doubt that the US fully supports Greece’s territorial integrity, its right to fully defend its islands (including with missile systems) and the rights to an EEZ according to International Maritime Law, the same Law the US applies in Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean, the same Law it supports in the South China Sea. A strong statement by Mike Pompeo will put those “doubting Thomases” to rest…
Greece and the Rise of the Chinese Dragon
The State Department has been fretting for a few years over the huge investment China made in Greece mostly in the port of Piraeus, which as a result has become the number one port in the Mediterranean. I grew up in Pireaus and I am very familiar with my home town. I never get tired of explaining that the people of Piraeus and the governments of Greece had a very “schizophrenic” choice to make: On the one hand they had the communist unions who, like a mafia – very much like the American unions – were exploiting the port in all ways imaginable and destroying economic activity around it; On the other hand they had the communist Chinese leadership which offered billions in investments. They chose the latter and it was the right choice. The American leadership has many ways to advance its causes in Greece as the ties with the country and the Greek people run very deep. But in advancing economic ties as they are now doing (with ports in Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis, shipyards, science “hubs”, energy exploration, etc.) they have to finally decide to ally with the healthier elements of the Greek society. It is time to finally learn the lessons of squandering the Marshall Plan and stay away from “mafia family clans” and “mafia unions”…
As the US is entering a special new chapter in a global antagonism to China, Greece has one more element to offer to the alliance: Rare Earth Minerals. Dean G. Popps, a Greek American former US assistant undersecretary for the Army, has pointed to the significance of these minerals in this global antagonism, as we need to move away from reliance on China for their mining. Greece is known to have very substantial deposits of REM’s, not only from the huge active mines of bauxites but from other sources, mostly in Northern Greece. We are hoping that Secretary Pompeo will promote American investment in this strategic field and put it very high on the agenda.
Orthodoxy and Mount Athos: Better to not get entangled in religious diplomacy…
It was the right choice for Mike Pompeo to avoid visiting Mount Athos at this juncture or at any juncture. If the US is to win in the global antagonism with China then it has no choice but to create some form of cooperation – if not a full alliance – with Russia. Recent public statements from foreign policy and intelligence officials indicate that the President himself has communicated with President Putin and a certain basic understanding has been formed regarding such a possibility. I truly cannot fathom how such cooperation can be accomplished, unless the US and Russia reach an agreement on Libya, Syria (the first such signs there are already on the ground in both countries), and, above all, Ukraine. American involvement in Ukraine (including the “Autocephaly turned Cacocephaly” schemes of the Patriarchate) has been absolutely disastrous and needs to be revised immediately.
Concerning Greece, we need to note that President Putin is the most popular foreign leader in Greece by far, with his popularity easily exceeding 70%. The reason is his Orthodox faith and his support of Orthodoxy. The Greeks do not need to be reminded that the Russians saved from certain death the oldest Christian Church in Syria, from the beheaders of the Islamic state, when the “deep state” actors in the US were encouraging and supporting these beheaders, along with the Turks. And of course, the Patriarchate of Constantinople did absolutely nothing to support their “brothers” in Syria. Should I also note that the Russian prime minister will visit Mount Athos in a few days and stay in the Russian monastery? Again, it was the right choice for Mike Pompeo to stay out of Mount Athos. Religion should stay out of politics for the most part. In our case, Greece can instead easily act as a bridge in the upcoming, necessary, US-Russia rapprochement…
I will close this analysis with one more reminder: It is high time for the US to support healthy political powers in a country whose people share the American entrepreneurial mentality and the fighting spirit and have sacrificed everything fighting alongside US forces in so many wars… The Greek people are ready to write a new chapter of their history, and this chapter will be closer to America in all possible ways.
September 28, 2020, email@example.com www.helleniscope.com
I would never trust Pompeo. He’s more dangerous than Erdogan. He doesn’t want to help Greece. He just wants alienate others from Russia and China. And I’m American. The Greeks need to continue to improve their relationships with Russia and China. As for the US, do what they do…talk a good game.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
George must have lost his mind or he a Russian troll.
Greece, the founder of democracy, should strengthen its ties with a communist tyranny like China or a corrupt kleptocracy like Russia? Huh?
And not ally with Uncle Sam?
Come to think of it now, George sure does sound like a Russian troll, seeking revenge for Bartholomew’s Ukraine venture.
The next station of Pompeo is the Vatican.
He will hold a symposium about “The Chinese abuse of Christians in China”.
It is an effort I believe for CATHOLIC priests to WAKE UP against the GLOBALIST POPE !