Thursday, January 22, 2015

Some Damn Fool Thing in the Balkans

Could Greece be in play in Russia's march back from irrelevancy?

A left-wing Greek party looks poised for victory this Sunday:

With just four days left until the vote, all polls show Syriza firmly ahead. The latest poll had Syriza's lead over the ruling conservatives widening to five percentage points, putting it close to the threshold for an outright victory.

Greece's election is being closely watched by financial markets as a victory by the anti-bailout party could trigger a standoff with European Union and IMF lenders and push the country close to bankruptcy or an exit from the euro zone.

While I can't say I'd cry over the fate of the European Union, what of Greece's place in NATO should Syriza form a government and look to escape the monetary union that they blame for their problems?

If I was in charge of Russia, I'd sure make a play for Greek loyalty by pledging cash in exchange for Greece leaving NATO and inviting Russia into those nice American bases on Crete.

Even if Assad holds on to survive as ruler of Syria or just an Alawite principality, that Russian base at Tartus, Syria, is really just a place holder for a real base.

You have to admit, getting nice shiny former American bases on Crete would be a nice payback for injuries from Ukraine, to the Baltic states joining NATO, and all the way back to Egypt's flip to America during the Carter administration.

And as I note in that second post of mine, Russia had a military presence in Greece before. So there is history on their side.

I'm relieved that oil prices are so low. Russia would have trouble paying for such a flip. But who knows?