Thursday, August 01, 2019

The Greek Option

The United States is looking to rotate more forces through Greece in order to have assets for the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea.


The collaboration with Greece comes at a time of increased regional tensions, with Athens at odds with Turkey, and Russia boosting its military presence in the Mediterranean Sea.

U.S. military officials also have expressed concerns about China’s influence in the region.

In 2010, China began buying stakes in the Greek port of Piraeus, eying it as a strategic crossroads for the ambitious “Belt and Road” initiative. China now has full control of the Mediterranean port that is a gateway to southern and central Europe.

“If we want to pull a ship, a warship, into Piraeus, China can say no,” a EUCOM official told Stars and Stripes in May.

Which is odd given the history of Greek attitudes toward America and NATO:

Greece has long been one of Europe’s least favorably disposed countries toward the United States. ...

But Greece also happens to be one of the United States’ closest friends in the EU right now. Geoffrey Pyatt, Washington’s ambassador to Athens, recently praised the country as “a pillar of stability in a difficult region.” In his words, cooperation between the two nations, from imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to defense contracts, is moving at “top speed.”

The article says Greece is getting good at geopolitics. I'd say it is just a case of deciding that if their hated enemy Turkey hates NATO and America, perhaps Greece has been hasty in not liking NATO and America. Enemy of my enemy, and all that.

Either way, Greece's attitude is helpful to America and NATO.

I've been saying we need alternatives to Turkey given Erdogan's increasingly hostile attitude toward NATO. If Turkey is moving away from NATO, Greece no doubt feels more need to engage with America and NATO to deter their enduring foe.

And I've been worried about China's inroads into Greece.

So more cooperation with Greece addresses two American concerns.