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Editorial

Biden-Greek Relations are Disrupted

President Joe Biden had set some goals for the recent NATO Summit, the first in the post-Trump era.

The foremost of these was to assure the Alliance of 30 member states of the United States' absolute commitment to it.

To emphasize this point, he described paragraph 5 of the NATO treaty – which states, “an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all” – as a "sacred obligation."

His second goal was to turn the Alliance's attention to China, which he achieved. The magnitude of the change is historically significant, as evidenced by the fact that in the 79-paragraph joint statement, China is mentioned 12 times – while it was never referred to in the past.

"China’s growing influence and international policies can present challenges that we need to address together as an alliance," he said.

Russia is also mentioned in the joint statement 60 times, thus underlining that the Alliance continues to view Russia as a major challenge.

These were the key issues addressed by the NATO Summit. There was no discussion about the threat that Greece is facing from Turkey, although one could argue that this, NATO, is the competent body to discuss such a thing.

Indeed, the Wall Street Journal noted that “Turkey’s increasingly discordant role in the alliance also hung over the gathering.”

It seems that this is exactly the "disagreement" of Turkey that the American President planned to deal with in his separate meeting with Erdogan.

This meeting is said to have gone quite well – or at least that is the impression the two leaders wanted to give.

For his part, Erdogan said, "we think that there are no problems in Turkey-U.S. ties that don't have a solution and that, to the contrary, our areas of cooperation outweigh our problems and look richer," while Biden said, real progress was made.

What exactly these generalities mean, no one knows.

It is noteworthy – and disappointing – that Biden did not meet with Mitsotakis, however. This would have been very useful, even as a simple message of the importance that the United States attaches to Greece.

However, the Greek Prime Minister did meet with the Turkish President, with only his diplomatic advisers present. It is not clear what exactly was achieved at this meeting, as neither side is revealing what was said. However, it is important for the two leaders to know each other, to be able to pick up the phone and talk to each other in a time of crisis.

The Mitsotakis-Biden non-meeting gives the impression – at least – that the Americans are not assigning any urgency to the Greek positions.

In other words, they seem to be suggesting that their intervention is not needed to change Erdogan's expansionist course. Or, not yet. And that they have more serious issues to deal with at the moment.

This is contrary to the long-standing and the recent pre-election statements of the President to the Greek-American community. And this frustration should be conveyed to him by his Greek-American interlocutors – before our relationships become permanently infected.

 

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