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Editorial

Panhellenic Campaign for the Protection of Greece-Cyprus

February 26, 2020

About eight months from now, specifically, on November 3, 2020, the American presidential election will be held. Let us not let this major event go untapped, as has happened so many times in the past. 

Now is the time to plan some actions to maximize the potential benefits to our Community during the upcoming election campaign. Political passions are so sharply polarizing and the divisions in our country are cutting so deep that it is likely that the election of a new president will be based on a small margin of victory, which means that our vote as a Community can be decisive.

We are interested in the outcome of the election – both as American citizens and as Greeks. 

The criteria on which we, as American citizens, will vote in the general election are primarily related to the economy, security, war and peace.

Correspondingly, there is a single criterion on which we will base our vote as Greeks: Greek-Turkish relations. That is, we will be focused on Turkey’s provocative policy of contesting the sovereignty of Greece and Cyprus – and the positions of the candidates for the on this issue. 

However, while the primaries are now in full swing, not a word has been heard about this crisis, despite the fact that the United States has to take seriously the possibility of a clash between two NATO allies, Greece and Turkey.

It is a fact that until now in the candidates’ television debates foreign policy issues have been completely absent.

The only issue under discussion is Russia’s possible efforts to help re-electing Trump, but not as a matter of foreign policy, but as a factor in domestic affairs.

Now, however, is the time to seek out contact with key Democratic candidates and President Trump and secure a positive, analytical, statement on this matter, irrespective of whether they later fail us, as in the past, for example, with Jimmy Carter. 

But the question that immediately arises is who will take this initiative? 

This opens the door to a broader debate on the relationship between the Community and Greek governments.

To summarize: Politicians in Athens expect a lot from the Greek community, but without investing in its relations with it. They prefer a no-strings attached relationship which grants them funds when they request it. 

They think it is our debt. Our obligation to help. And to a large extent it is. 

For its part, however, the Greek-American community is tired of having only obligations, not an active say in the affairs of the country and basic rights.

So in order to reactivate the Community’s fervor and commitment to the Hellenic Republic and to achieve the maximum of its potential to benefit Greece, I suggest the following: 

The government should build a global Greek coalition which acts with the utmost cohesion against Turkey so that everyone can understand that in these difficult times Greece is not alone and that its power is not limited to just domestic forces within its own borders.

Athens must initiate a campaign across the Hellenic world to defend the holy and sacred soil and seas of the nation. 

One way to do this, is for the Greek government to immediately assemble a bipartisan meeting with key leaders of the Greek diaspora in the United States and in other countries such as: Australia, Canada, Germany and Great Britain. At this meeting these community leaders should be informed, in detail, about Greco-Turkish relations and exchange ideas on how to deal with the growing crisis. 

The same thing should happen in Cyprus. 

The key concept is: an exchange of ideas.

And also to listen to the opinion of Diaspora Hellenes on issues they understand better than officials and journalists in Greece. 

Then they must formulate a national strategy with the primary responsibility belonging to the government in Athens, of course. 

After that, the participants from the Diaspora, when they return to their countries of residence, must mobilize Hellenes and Philhellenes and campaign for the promotion of the national strategy, focused on, among others, candidates for the presidency of the United States.

And this, the meetings of the leadership of the government with the leadership of all Hellenism, should happen twice a year. 

Regarding the thorny question of who will be responsible for selecting the guests – it is understood that the costs will be borne by each and not the Greek State – I would suggest the diplomatic authorities in consultation with distinguished persons and bodies. 

Only with such initiatives will the unity of conscience and purpose of the Diaspora with their motherland be restored, and then much will be achieved, both on national security and other issues.

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