ATHENS – The Digital Dialogues series of Greece’s Regional Growth Conference (RGC) featured a dialogue on October 27 focusing on the U.S. presidential election that is now less than one week away. With Greek-Americans and people in Greece eager for insight into an event that promises to make a dramatic impact on America and its allies, Alexia Tasouli, Diplomatic Correspondent for OPEN TV-Greece moderated the discussion between Eraklis A. Diamataris, Editor and Publisher of Ethnikos Kirikas and The National Herald and Christos Marafatsos, Campaign Advisor and Chair of Greek Voices for Trump, Official Advisory Council for President Donald J. Trump's
Diamataris opened by noting the election’s “far reaching consequences not just for our country but for the world,” and the dangerous tension between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean was the highlight of the discussion.
Marafatsos argued that Greek-American relations are at their highest level ever due to the presidency of Donald Trump, adding that the incumbent president is the only one who has the will and ability to bring Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under control. “President Trump is someone that holds leaders like Erdogan accountable. We see that time and time again.”
Except that most foreign affairs observers don’t see that at all, and Diamataris noted that since Trump was elected, “we are seeing an abdication of American leadership across the board. In situations where America would mediate disputes we are seeing actors like Germany and France stepping into traditional American roles, the problem being that we are seeing more and more – with Germany in particular – people just saying words.” He continued, “we need something with teeth behind it,” and then noted Merkel is not in a position to be tough because there are almost three million Turks in Germany.
Diamataris stressed that warnings from the United States are no longer enough as Ankara continues to escalate tensions.
Both agreed that Greece will continue to play the role of the U.S.'s closest ally in the region, regardless election results.
It was inevitable that the COVID-19 pandemic would be an important part of the debate. The loss of human lives and the economic consequences were thoroughly analyzed. Marafatsos supported Trump's policies to stop the spread of the virus and his efforts to mitigate tragic consequences. Diamataris, however, echoed the widespread belief the Trump’s incompetence in confronting COVID-19 is reflected on an almost daily basis in the President’s mass campaign events which he noted risk of spreading the virus.
The two debaters did find some common ground when it came to Greece, however. Both are optimistic regarding investments in Greece and there was agreement on the progress the country has made under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, which has resulted in the return of market confidence. They expect the positive climate for attracting American investment to continue after the passing of the pandemic.
The Digital Dialogue series is part of a series of online events that is a primer for the Regional Growth Conference scheduled for 2021. RGC is organized by the newspaper Peloponnesos and was established in 2013. It “aspires to create a public dialogue between national and regional government, academic communities and private companies, who all need to work together and integrate best cases and regional development policies,” in Greece. Its Digital Dialogues series often presents discussions about elements in the global environment that impact the country’s development.