BOSTON, MA – Dimitris Avramopoulos, Defense Minister of Greece, spoke about his country’s “new geopolitical role” at the 12th annual lecture of the Constantine Karamanlis Chair in Hellenic and European Studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law Diplomacy on November 13.
Dean James Stavridis, a former Navy admiral, spoke highly of Minister Avramopoulos and his expertise in Modern Greek politics.
Kostas Karamanlis, a board member of the Karamanlis Foundation and first cousins of the recent former Greek prime minister by the same name, spoke about the history and the importance of the Karamanlis Chair in the contemporary academic setting and environment.
Professor Michalis Psalidopoulos, current Holder of the Chair named after the elder Karamanlis – Konstantinos, uncle of the two Kostas – warmly introduced warmly introduced Avramopoulos, who told the audience, comprised of approximately 300 academicians, professors, students, diplomats, and various other attendees of all origins, among them many Greek-Americans, that “I feel obliged, to pay homage to Konstantinos Karamanlis, the Greek statesman, who established modern democracy in Greece and led the country into the European Union. His vision and his political resolve ensured that my country has a geopolitical role to play in the 21st century. His legacy is preserved and honored here at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, through the work of the Konstantinos Karamanlis Chair of Hellenic and European Studies.”
Avramopoulos said that “we live in transitory era that is being shaped by new protagonists, by new forces, by new trends, and by new values. The new defining element of the contemporary system of international relations is that everything is under construction.”
He emphasized that “my proposition is, in this highly unstable environment, performing a stabilizing international role has a great value” and added that “this is the doctrine of Greece, positioning the country and differentiating its role in the international relations of the 21st century. Greece is a pole of stability, in a highly unstable region, in a highly fluid global reality,” he said. The economic crisis does not seem to have influence the pivotal geopolitical significance and role of Greece in the region and in the world scene, he said. Avramopoulos said that “despite the long-lasting crisis the Eurozone is going through, our country re-emerges in its geopolitical environment, claiming, with convincing arguments, a new role, leaving behind the isolation which resulted from its introversion and negative psychology of the past years.”
He explained that “the new geopolitical role of Greece is supported by six major elements: 1) The resurgence of our economy and the return of Greece to growth; 2) the role that our national defense system plays in the framework of the Atlantic Alliance and the Euroatlantic Cooperation, in a region that is crucial for international stability and security; 3) The strategic importance of Greek ports as trade gateways connecting Europe and Asia; 4) The positioning of Greece in the global map of energy and as a future producer of energy resources; 5) the contribution of Greece to the integration of South-Eastern Europe in the European Union; and 6) above all, the geostrategic position of Greece as the outpost of Western values in a region that is defined by strife and conflict.
“To this extent, the redefinition of my country’s strategic relation with the United States of America, a result of an initiative of the Greek diplomacy during the past years, consolidates Greece’s strategic role and reanimates its international perspective.”
On Greek-American relations, Avramopoulos said the two nations have been in a strategic partnership since the Truman Doctrine in 1947, which shaped the boundaries of the free world in our region. “This alliance of values endured a period when anti-American feeling influenced the politics in Greece, due to the upheavals caused by the dictatorship in Greece and the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey.”
He told the audience that the two countries “were always on the same side when it came for the defense of democracy and liberty, of Western values.
“We fought together in both World Wars. Together we defended the right of the free world to exist and prosper during the Cold War era. Greece was present and supported with its crucial geostrategic position and military bases, the military campaigns in Iraq and in Libya, and today we stand together facing the chaotic situation in Syria, in Egypt, even in Tunisia. The geostrategic position of Greece and the capability of its national defense system is a stable point of reference for peace and stability in the region.”