International developments on the Ukrainian front point to a tectonic shift in the architecture of Europe’s defense and security. Germany appears to be losing its privileged position of de facto hegemon of the Old Continent, while the United States is once again becoming directly involved.
It is customary that the transfer of power also take place symbolically, ensuring that people will better understand the changes happening. This succession is capped by evident shifts in attitude and communication style among and between the key parties involved. This is perhaps seen nowhere more clearly than in the language of diplomacy…or lack thereof.
Cynicism and occasional arrogance is a key trait of ambassadors representing world powers. Even if these individuals are soft spoken in their private life, their public image and behavior is presented so as to make plain the type of relationship that the power players wish to impose on weaker countries.
For example, the U.S. Embassy in Greece has historically wielded great power. Every substantive political move from the formulation of foreign and economic policy to the appointment of cabinet ministers must be approved and ‘blessed’ by the Ambassador, who operates more or less like a Roman magistrate.
All one has to do is recall the unacceptable behavior of those Brussels and IMF bureaucrats, the Eurogroup cabal, and, of course, that misanthrope Wolfgang Schäuble, to confirm the truth.
And so, the odd behavior of Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany should come as no surprise. He made some unprecedented – at least for diplomats – comments against: the President of Germany, calling him a Russophile; the Chancellor, calling him an “offended liverwurst;” and the chair of the German Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to him as an…orifice where the sun don’t shine.
This behavior doesn’t match that of a diplomat whose country is under heavy attack and is forced to go out hat in hand seeking help to save his homeland. The words of Greece’s national poet in his ‘Ode to Liberty’ remind us of the difficulties facing someone fighting an uphill battle for his country’s freedom: “You set off on the road alone and returned alone. There doors are not quick to open, when necessity comes calling. Some cried on your breast, but granted you no respite. Others promised you help, but fooled you terribly.”
Greek politicians and media are quick to point out the delicate balance that that must be maintained in international affairs. According to this logic, Greece must ceaselessly swallow injustice upon injustice and allow its rights to be trampled upon (unpaid German reparations for Nazi war crimes, Turkish threats against extending national waters to 12 nautical miles in accordance with international law, etc.) on the pretext that it must make concessions, not “provoke,” and go along with its allies’ wishes to protect its territorial integrity.
The Ukrainians, who are up against Russia, a far more formidable foe than Turkey, appear to be following a completely different rationale, going as far as to offend many of their allies. And yet… billions of dollars and heavy weaponry keep rolling into Kiev, just as the valve for the natural gas, so badly needed by energy-hungry Europe, gradually closes, on President Zelenskyy’s orders – exacerbating Europe’s position even further!
When you’re backed by a superpower like the United States, you’ve got a different sort of swagger! Of course, only time will tell if the Zelenskyy Administration’s decisions were truly patriotic and adopted with the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind, or simply a pretext to offer up more pawns for sacrifice in this international chess game between world powers.
All signs indicate the EU has decided to lay down its weapons before even firing a single shot. It follows U.S. directives to the tee, even though America’s strategy entails sacrificing Europe for the sake of creating a strategic strike against Russia. European citizens are up against serious challenges that they’ve certainly not experienced since the fall of the Iron Curtain – maybe even since the end of WWII.
The insane prices imposed by energy providers reminiscent of black market profiteering threaten to bankrupt households or even entire nations. The situation is especially precarious for small nations like Greece, which already went through an extensive crisis, resulting in clear injustices and inequality.
The fact that a prosecutor hasn’t stepped up to investigate the iniquitous “adjustment clauses” being applied to utility bills by domestic profit mongers is a blemish on the history of the supposedly independent Hellenic Republic. The same holds true for the irrational special tax imposed on fuel, which is tantamount to highway robbery, yet somehow still hasn’t threatened the stability of the government or sparked nationwide protests calling for its immediate abolition.
Sooner or later, fuel and energy shortages will start affecting daily life. There is talk of a partial return to remote work or restrictions of vehicle use. The threat of a food shortage appears to draw closer by the day. Perhaps we’ll even witness a return to food coupons in the not-too-distant future…
And so the world turns, and along with it, that small sliver of land known as Greece, turning everything upside down and imposing austere and sometimes unjust measures for a virus whose origins remain unknown, while at the same time, turning a blind eye to the ominous threat of famine!
This too might be chalked up to symbolism, clearly manifesting that human life holds little value for leaders and policymakers…unless it can lead to huge profits for certain industries.
Otherwise, there is no explaining why some nations, with Greece topping the list, continue to faithfully and subserviently follow the ‘marine orders’ issued by superpowers, when it’s clear that the shipowners have decided to run the ship aground in the hopes of bilking the insurance companies out of a fortune…
In conclusion, hope is a good thing, but not if it’s empty. Hope, without provisions, is nothing more than an empty promise. These terms are mutually dependent, not mutually exclusive.
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