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Politics

Dukakis On Greek Crises, US Election

Michael Dukakis was the longest-serving Governor in Massachusetts history and in 1988 became the only Greek-American to be a major party (Democratic) Presidential nominee.

Voted the most effective governor in the nation in 1986 by the National Governors Association, Dukakis left office in 1991, but his contributions to public service did not stop.

Since June, 1991, Dukakis has been a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University. He is also a visiting professor at the School of Public Affairs at UCLA, and remains involved in the political process.

In an interview with TNH the governor discussed a variety of issues about Greece and presidential politics. In the Democratic primary he declared:

CLINTON OVER SANDERS

”I support Hillary Clinton. She is the more experienced candidate and I believe that she has a better chance of winning the general election in November.” Bernie Sanders, he said, ”made Clinton a better candidate by focusing on certain issues, but I doubt that he could win the general election.”

An advocate for strict gun control policies, Dukakis differs with Senator Sanders, who only supports a ban on assault weapons. ”Concealable handguns whose only purpose is to kill humans should be subject to the same strict controls we have in Massachusetts, the state with the second lowest homicide rate in the country.”

A veteran who had been stationed in Korea, Dukakis added that ”I was an expert rifleman in the army, and I have no problem with people who want to hunt with long rifles.” But unlike Senator Sanders ”I would go beyond assault weapons and regulate very strictly handguns generally.”

Regarding Sanders’ proposed single-payer health care system, Dukakis aligns with Clinton’s position of expanding and improving the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He explained that while ”I prefer a single payer system, it is not realistic at this time. The votes are simply not there. If the Vermont legislature was not able to pass a single payer bill, how does Sanders think he can influence the United States Congress to do that?”

BENGHAZI, EMAILS, RIDICULOUS

Dukakis also said that the Benghazi investigation is ”ridiculous. They have investigated Clinton repeatedly and nothing concrete has been proven against her.” The Senate Intelligence Committee in its report indicates that mistakes were made by both the Intelligence Services and the State Department, of which Clinton was in charge at the time.

But Clinton was mentioned only once in the report and no specific charges were made against her.
Regarding the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server, Dukakis thinks that the investigation ”is exaggerated. Most politicians in Washington use private emails.” Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is one of them.

NOT AN INTERVENTIONIST

Dukakis’ philosophy on foreign policy can be defined as ”an internationalist but not an interventionist.” He questions the purpose of having 837 bases in 150 countries around the world: ”the Cold War has been over for a long time now.”

He approves President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran because he does not see a better alternative at this time.

”We are more effective when we work with the UN and the international community, building alliances.” When asked about ISIS, he said that Ted Cruz’ proposal ”to carpet bomb Isis is insanity. We need to work with the international community to solve the problem.”

ON GREECE

Regarding the Greek crisis, Governor Dukakis said that the EU’s and the IMF’s policies do not work. ”Austerity does not get you out of depression. Perhaps partial debt forgiveness and an extended repayment schedule can be worked out just like the agreement Ukraine did.”

Though he has never met Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras – they have only spoken on the telephone – “I hope to meet him in my next visit to Greece in the fall. The reforms in the public sector should continue,” he added.

”Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to this humanitarian crisis,” Dukakis said regarding the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece. “The United States missed a golden opportunity to find a solution in Syria. The Kofi Annan six point peace plan was supported by the Arab League and the UN.”

ON TRUMP

As for the United States, it has accepted very few Syrian refugees to this day. Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump in January called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States, and called for deporting 11 million illegal aliens. “Trump’s immigration plan is crazy. A wall across the country’s Southern border paid for by Mexico? He can’t be serious.”

As for the legal challenged to President Obama’s Executive Order on immigration, Dukakis said he “would be astonished if the Supreme Court doesn’t support the executive order.”

Dukakis also called the Senate Republicans refusal to conduct a Judicial Committee hearing on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland (to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February) “inexcusable. The nominee is supremely qualified and cannot be turned down on merit.”

Meanwhile, Dukakis continues to lend his expertise to presidential politics, serving as co-Chair of the group Greek Americans for Hillary.

(VASILIS PAPOUTSIS)

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