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  1. Ricochet Member

    Thank you, Mary Kissel, for bringing this to our attention. Considering the US has Naval operations at Souda Bay, Crete, I was wondering if the US would have to step into this Greek crisis, just merely to protect our interests.

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  2. user_379896 Coolidge

    Thanks Mary, I love Kaplans geopolitical analysis. His book The Revenge of Geography is a must read. And please post more often….

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  3. AIG Inactive

    So what’s the problem with the Chinese investing in ports in Greece?

    What’s the geostrategic interest in Greece? Why should we care if they have closer ties with Russia?

    There very well be a “strategic” reason. But it’s not obvious if there is, or what it is. Or why Chinese or Russians investing in Greece is a problem for our interests there. Greece (and Cyprus) have always been basket cases of loony commies (as has been Italy for that matter).

    Maybe if Russia lends them some money, they can start repaying their debts. Let a bankrupt Russia have a bankrupt Greece. Seems like a win for everyone else. 

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  4. Giaccomo Member

    Mr. Kaplan’s op-ed is thought-provoking.  I would like to offer a few observations, based on several years experience in Greece.

    As a backdrop, I note that Greece has always been a problematic member of NATO. While maintaining nominal defenses against Yugoslavia and the Warsaw Pact, its primary focus was always Turkey.  Its main effort was in ‘D’ Corps, along the border with Turkey in Thrace, and in the Aegean.  The units facing Yugoslavia and Bulgaria were skeleton crews.  And while these dispositions were a realistic choice in view of Greece’s assessment that Turkey was a greater threat than the Warsaw Pact, they nevertheless left Greece as the weakest link in the alliance.

    Elsewhere, in the fifties and sixties Greece exacerbated tensions between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities.  These were a considerable distraction to NATO that did not disappear when Cyprus became independent in 196o.  Greece’s military coup in 1967 created a major embarrassment for NATO and very nearly tore NATO apart when, back to Cyprus again, the Greek Junta backed a military coup on that benighted island in order to bring about union with Greece in 1974.  The Turkish intervention in Cyprus created yet additional problems for  NATO (they still exist today).

    Against this backdrop NATO’s defense planners concerned with the Eastern Mediterranean always had to factor in Greece’s unreliability and unpredictability.  After the late 1950’s NATO and the US never had easy access to their facilities in Greece.  Even intelligence gathering efforts directed against the WP were hampered, and this was under conservative governments.  The last fig-leaf of Greece’s value to NATO disappeared with Andreas Papandreou’s ‘New National Defence Dogma,’ which dictated a posture of absolute passivity against Bulgaria (Yugoslavia was no longer an issue by 1985), and preparation to take Turkey’s Aegean possessions in the event that war left Turkey badly weakened.

    ‘With Friends Like These’

    The point of all the above is that even according to nineteenth century geostrategic thinking and at the height of the Cold War Greece would have been a rubber crutch for NATO.  Now that is no longer even relevant and  geostrategic issues should not factor into how to handle Greece’s debt..

    None of the above should be misconstrued as an attack on the Greek people, whose culture, humor, thirst for life and general vitality I admire.  But hard military realities are another matter.

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  5. AIG Inactive

    Giaccomo: Now that is no longer even relevant and  geostrategic issues should not factor into how to handle Greece’s debt..

    That’s right. Your analysis is spot on.

    Strategic reasons at the time existed only because the WP was at its doorstep, and because the Soviets actually had a fleet at the time. None of that exists today, and if anything, Greece is more of a hassle to be offloaded to someone else.

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