Once Anti-American, SYRIZA’s Greece Invites US Military Presence

(Photo by Twitter/@USAmbPyatt)

Reneging on vows to end a US military presence and take Greece out of NATO, Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras instead has become their best friend, wooing closer cooperation with American troops and helping the defense alliance.

Tsipras’ party came to power with a near-virulent anti-American policy and had demonstrated against NATO before he made a deal to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and open the door for its entry into NATO.

After saying no Greek soldiers would go to foreign lands, he sent an accompaniment to help the defense alliance’s long-running battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan and is now said to be even leaning toward allowing another US base in Greece after saying he would go as far as even shutting out the US Naval Base on Souda Bay on Crete.

The move toward greeting a greater US military presence has shown his sharpest divergence from far-Leftist policies, even more so than backing down on pledges to end austerity, accepting more from the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) to get a third bailout in 2015.

That was for 86 billion euros ($97.94 billion) and came with more brutal measures he swore to reverse before agreeing to implement, but though got support from the United States which culminated in a recent US-Greece Strategic Dialogue in Washington, D.C.

US and Greek troops have joined in military exercises, including near the historic Mount Olympus, The Wall Street Journal noted in a report on how the two countries – who have been allies in every major war but fell out after US support for a military dictatorship in Greece from 1967-74 – have become more cozy.

The exercises in January, —the first by the two longtime NATO allies to include aviation units, officials said—involved U.S. and Greek troops who have been training together at the Volos base nearby. Some 350 U.S. troops are staying in Volos and about 20 U.S. Apache, Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters are operating out of another nearby base in Stefanovikeio, according to U.S. and Greek officials.

Greece’s geography is ideal for exercises, said U.S. Lt. Col. Jamie LaValley, whose combat aviation brigade took part. “We can have operations over the Aegean Sea and at high altitude over Mount Olympus in a very small area,” he said. “This is the only place I’ve been during 18 years in the U.S. Army that combines all these: mountainous, flat areas and sea.”

LEFT-RIGHT-NO LEFT

Even overlooking Tsipras and SYRIZA support for leniency for a notorious terrorist whose group, November 17, killed five Americans attached to the US Embassy over the years, and the Premier’s backing of Venezuelan strongman President Nicolas Maduro, the US has looked the other way to get the Greek leader to accept the US military.

U.S. and Greek forces have been training together since October, 2018 at a base in the town of Volos near Mount Olympus and last year, unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones began operating out of Greece’s Larisa Air Force Base.

And the U.S. military has occasionally been using bases in Alexandroupolis and Araxos, according to U.S. and Greek officials. More U.S. port visits and training exercises are under discussion, the Journal said.

The U.S. Navy has shared the use of a naval base at Souda Bay on Crete since the 1950.s. But U.S. and Greek diplomats say the two NATO allies are now closer than ever before, ironically under an alleged anti-American far-Leftist government and a Premier who was a Communist Youth leader whose heroes include Fidel Castro, Che Guevara – and Maduro.

“It is important for Greece to have such a strong ally and it is important for the U.S. to align with a stable country in such an unstable environment,” Greek Brig. Gen. George Fasoulas, who observed the joint exercises, told the paper.

The increasingly close cooperation comes at a time of strains between the U.S. and Turkey as well as between NATO allies Greece and Turkey, which has stepped up provocations in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean where it has sent fighter jets and warships to violate Greek airspace and waters.

Tsipras also scored big points with the US with his deal to rename FYROM as North Macedonia, negotiated with the help of United Nations envoy Matthew Nimetz, an American lawyer who had failed for two decades to find a solution.

But with the anti-nationalist SYRIZA in power, Nimetz last year reopened talks after a three-year break and helped bring home the deal that opens the door for what would be North Macedonia to join NATO as a bulwark against Russian interests in the Balkans.

Surveys have long shown that most Greeks feel some affinity with Russia, a fellow Christian Orthodox nation and Greece’s Left has long-held enmity against the US, which backed nationalist forces against Communists during a civil war after World War II.

BEST BUDDIES

The U.S. is Greece’s “best strategic ally in the region” Tsipras said without mentioning his previous anti-American views, as he also is wooing American investors to help what he claimed is a recovery from a more than 8 ½-year-long economic and austerity crisis.

Under SYRIZA, which has long derided US imperialism and capitalism, Greece is closing in on signing a near $2 billion contract to upgrade F-16 fighter jets – at the same time Turkey wants to buy more superior F-35 jets that critics said could be used against Greece.

“SYRIZA politicians who in their youth demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy in Athens now rub shoulders with American officials at glitzy receptions inside,” The Journal report by Nektaria Stamouli noted.

Greek municipal officials see benefits to getting closer to the US as well, the feature added, with the Mayor of the northeastern city of Alexandroupolis, which has had close ties to Russia, asking U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt for a permanent U.S. military base there.

In September, 2018, the U.S. was the country of honor at the Thessaloniki trade fair, Greece’s biggest annual business event, with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and dozens of American companies attending.

And last November, the Greek base in Volos hosted a Thanksgiving feast for guests that included American military personnel and featured turkey, octopus pasta and the strong Greek spirit tsipouro. After the speeches, American and Greek soldiers smashed plates on the ground, a traditional celebratory gesture in Greek culture, the paper said.

“Greece is a crucial pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Balkans,” said U.S. Army attaché Reed Anderson, who is based in Athens said. “We are currently exploring with the Greek army different places and opportunities to train together and improve our readiness.”

10 Comments

  1. TNH..is surprised by the lovefest between Tsipras , Syriza, Patrick Theros…and the U.S Fascist government …who has been trampling on the sovereignty of the nations of the world….to control their economic , political , and military policies to support their criminal warfare against the world today!.

    TNH…needs to look no further, than the events unfolding in Venezuela…which clearly demonstrates how Fascist Totalitarian empires …like the U.S and EU….have taken control of Greece…and how Tsipras and Syriza..will forever more..be remembered as cowards and traitors!

    Today, like Iraq, Greece, Iran , North Korea, Syria, libya, Ukraine, Bolivia, Cuba, Honduras, now Russia and China , Yemen ..the fascist U.S government are waging economic warfare and threatening military action in Venezuela, which harm the people of Venezuela, in order, to remove the elected leaders of Venezuela, and in violation of all international laws, replace him ..with an un elected member of the government, who will surrender the sovereignty of the country to the United States…just like the Ukraine!

    However, unlike Tsipras and Anastasiadis…..the leaders of Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Iran etc etc. will not surrender their sovereignty … and will be remembered ..in the words of President Maduro

    “There’s one thing I know for sure: I will not be remembered as a traitor, as a weak man who reneged on his historical commitments and betrayed his nation,”

    Tsipras resign!.

    1. Not all Americans are bad but on a national level Americans are dishonerable sophists and untrustworthy as allies. This is witnessed by their betrayed of Greece in the Macedonia name dispute.

      However….once our communist PM is booted to the curb next election… Greece should be “allies” with both US and Russia. I would also recognize the self-determination of Crimea as RUSSIAN. If Americans object to us being friends with Russia and recognition… point to their behavior of recognizing obvious frauds in Skopje as “Macedonians” and wanting them in NATO. Since they claimed recognition an absolute right with Akopje, the same some should apply to Crimea right?

  2. John …you sound like Nazi collaborators in Poland and Czechoslovakia… in 1940,….who welcomed white supremacist from Nazi Germany to occupy their country ……rather than the Soviet Union..who had to liberate them from these Gas chamber operators!

    You sound like one of the members of the secret society of Ahepa Masons…who promote the Glory of America.and subvert our Hellenic Heritage..in Greece and Cyprus!…..

    How pathetic…to listen to someone ..who embodies everything that Tsipras stands for ..and what a real leader ,like Maduro will not stand for…and that is cowards and traitors!.

    John ..what makes you a coward and traitor like Tsipras in supporting U.S occupation of Greece…when

    You and Ahepa Masons ..take no position to stop the act of treason ..in turning over the culture of Macedonia to FYROM ….to allow the U.S fascist to add another base to the already 800 bases in 150 countries of the world……

    To force Greece to be a part of a Global economic and military war on Iran, Russia and the world ..by a Fascist U.S regime which required Tsipras ..to not purchase oil and gas from Iran and Russia….not enemies of Greece…only the U.S.

    This blatant act of Treason by Tsipras , which harms the people of Iran, and the people of a bankrupt Greece, by stealing revenue of the depleted treasury of Greece, which could have been enjoyed thru ..buying oil from Iran ..that would have saved billions in energy cost for the people of…

    1. To finish my last post …”The People of Greece….and subjected to a criminal and indescent Austerity program ..which makes many Greeks live under “Subsistence levels”

      But John…to understand what you stand for …and you and your demented members of the leadership of the Ahepa Masons…who are known to practice SS Nazi doctrines …against insubordinate members of this fraudulent organization…..is best expressed by Democratic Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Iraq war veteran….who announced her candidacy for Presidency…to stand up against the people and government you wish to turn over Greece to…as follows.

      Stand up against a President who bows to the wishes of the neocons around him, clamoring for regime change wars in Venezuela and Iran.

      Stand up against those who dishonor our troops, treating them as political pawns, and mercenaries-for-hire in wars around the world.

      Stand against powerful politicians from both parties who sit in ivory towers thinking up new wars to wage and new places for people to die. Wasting trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives, undermining our economy and security, and destroying our middle class.

      These self-serving politicians are dragging us from one regime change war to the next, exacerbating the New Cold War, and pushing us to the brink of a nuclear war. This is not who we are, America.
      A movement of the people, by the people and for the people. That is who we are.

      A real Non Anglo…

    2. Michael… I agree with you far left extremist Tzipras is a a traitor to Greece for agreeing to call Skopians “Macedonians”. He’s a puppet…why foreign nationalists love him… but hate communists like Tspras in their own country..

  3. The shared values of Greece and the US such as true democracy and respect for human rights are generally better defended by alliances and synergies between countries such as Greece and the US than they are with other countries that have authoritarian regimes and poor human rights records.

    Instead of blaming everything else on others, Greece needs to first take responsibility for its own issues whilst forging alliances with others with common values. Having US bases in Greece is a great. The US was criticised for not seeing the importance of Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean during WWII and now that they are here we should be grateful. Would like to see another US base on Karpathos etc and multiple opportunities to train together.

  4. Ironic that an American should accuse a Greek of being “anti-American”… when the American establishment betrayed Greeks by bizarrely recognizing the former Yugoslavians as “Macedonians. American’s looked the other way as the former Yugoslavians start suddenly claiming to be founders of the Hellenistic period and promoted irredentism against Greece. With “friends’ like this, who needs enemies?

  5. Hey George..you must be one of those Greek secret society Masons..who worship the Glory of America.and the doctrines of the Aristocratic Anglo White Supremacist Racist in our government..who believe they rule the world from Washington

    So you would like more U.S bases and I guess…you would love to have some of those intermediate Nuclear warheads with target ranges specifically directed at Russia and any European country!. However, the fascists degenerates you worship ..have torn up an agreement forbidding these weapons in Europe and Russia …and now force Russia to deploy them …which now make Greece…housing these U.S bases a threat to Russia..and subject to a nuclear warhead which can be delivered within 3 minutes on Greece and its people!

    But .Georgy…you are confused…how does U.S military bases represent the interests of Greece…when it only makes the enemies of a bunch of degenerates in Washington …the enemies of Greece! .

    How are the National interests of the people of Greece served …to be safe and at peace!

    Greece is a part of Nato and the EU…and outside of NATO ALLY OF AMERICA …TURKEY…..WHO GEORGY…IS A THREAT TO GREECE, HER NATIONAL INTERESTS, SOVEREIGNTY…..AND MOST IMPORTANTLY..HER PEACE……WHICH DEMANDS MORE U.S MILITARY BASES!

    .TULSI GABBARD, IRAQ WAR VETERAN, CONGRESSWOMEN, RANKING MEMBER OF THE ARMS SERVICE COMMITTEE AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE….AND POLLS OF THE COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD.ANSWER…IT IS AMERICA! .

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