With the United States military gaining a bigger footprint in Greece under the once anti-American Radical Left SYRIZA, the US Navy sent a destroyer to the port of Piraeus and welcomed Greek journalists aboard for a tour.
USS Mitscher Commander Ian Scaliatine said,“Our presence in the Mediterranean and out cooperation with the Greeks is vital to security in this extremely important region,” according to translated comments, said Kathimerini.
The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer arrived in Piraeus on April 13 for a scheduled port visit that is aimed at enhancing US-Greek relations, with the ship’s presence in the Mediterranean Sea “seen as a demonstration of Washington's continued commitment to collective security in the region,” the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa command said in an announcement.
USS Mitscher’s port visit in Piraeus is “another demonstration of our view of Greece as a pillar of regional stability,” it added.
“The people of Greece gave us a very warm reception,” Scaliatine said on the USS Mitscher's arrival at Piraeus. “The crew is very excited to explore the history of Athens and learn more about Greek culture.”
Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras’ government is reportedly looking to allow a greater US military presence and additional weapons.
The countries are looking at what was called “flexible” options to consolidate the presence of American weapons systems in Greece, the paper said, including stationing more drones or flying tankers at the Greek military air base in Larissa.
With relations between the countries ironically said their best with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA that is filled with vehement anti-Americans, the US also wants to increase its participation participation in Greek military exercises and to expand their scope.
The paper said that included the Iniohos military exercise which is expected to become a large-scale drill as US relations worsen with Turkey – despite having a base there – and with Turkey increasing violations of Greek airspace and waters and wanting to buy both US-made F-35 fighter jets and a Russian S-400 missile defense system.
With growing military cooperation, Greece now also expects American ships to dock more frequently at Aegean Sea ports, it was reported.. The US operates a naval base at Souda Bay on Crete but is said to be eager to have another base, once unthinkable with Tsipras and SYRIZA railing at the Americans at their ideological enemy.