Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke at Tufts University in Boston this week at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy – one of the world’s leading schools of international affairs, at the George Behrakis program.
This is not unusual. Many leaders, from America and the rest of the world, make speeches at American universities and many have studied here.
The same is the case with Greece. Almost all the leaders of Greece have had a good knowledge of the American society. At least since 1960, the leaders of Greece have either studied in the United States or they were familiar with America before they came to power.
From Constantine Karamanlis to Antonis Samaras.
Except for one: Alexis Tsipras.
Mr. Tsipras…discovered America after becoming the head of then-main opposition SYRIZA. He began to learn English when he became prime minister.
With known results.
More specifically, for decades, from the First World War onwards, the rapid economic growth of the United States and the assumption – albeit reluctantly at first – of the leadership in the free world it became necessary for foreign leaders get to know the United States.
Eleftherios Venizelos, who, after the 1920 elections was aware of this, traveled throughout the United States to see first-hand the rising star of the international scene, America.
Now, in the era of globalization, it’s necessary for a foreign leader to know the United States well.
If there were a job description with the mandatory qualifications for a Greek leader, or an outline of qualifications required for someone to serve in the position of prime minister, knowledge of Europe, but especially of America, would be necessary.
And I say mainly of America for the reason that even the decisions made by the EU, especially those related to geopolitical matters, as in the case of Greece, are made in the USA. Something that was clear during the time everyone was concerned about Grexit.
Tsipras is therefore a kind of deviation from the norm, and one that came at a significant cost to the country.
To be more specific: it is beneficial for a political leader to be familiar with the United States for two reasons:
It helps to be familiar with the political and social trends of the USA and its people and the ways its political system operates.
And it helps to know how far one can reach and how much one can push and how much one can rely on another country.
In a few words, knowing what is reality and what is myth.
It is therefore necessary for a Greek leader to know the country well, as Kyriakos Mitsotakis does.
Because America irrespective of the EU’s fate, will have a significant impact on the fate of Greece for a very long time.