The effort that various analysts are making in order to present Samaras’ visit to the White House as a step that will bring a new start in Greek-American relations and that it indicates the country’s upgrade in US eyes cannot be anything more than wishful thinking.
Many of these “analysts” are paid handsomely for their writings, others expect to be paid someday, while there are the “romantic” ones, who like degrading their own intelligence, and that of their readers. The reality, however, is relentless.
The current PM of Greece, same as all of his predecessors since 1981, has no credibility; no one can take them seriously nor count on their cooperation. There is a deficit of dignity and this is clearly reflected in the way that the foreign leaders treat all of Greece’s leaders.
Obama invited Samaras a day before his vacation, at the beginning of August, when everything is closed in Washington and when no serious foreign leader would accept an invitation for a visit. Unfortunately, the Greek PM filled a hole in the Presidential program, nothing more.
“Experts” noted that the White House upgraded the visit by enlarging the meeting’s roster with the Secretary of the Treasury, the U.S. Ambassador in Athens and other US government officials. These actions were all nothing more than fanfare.
When the President has something serious to discuss with another country’s leader – whom he respects or whose support he needs – the conversation is held in private, while officials of the countries handle later and in different meetings. Or even better, the relevant preparation has been done before the visit.
That the President widened the number of attendants during his meeting with the PM shows that he knows very little about Greek-American matters or that he has no interest in them. In order not to get caught unprepared, he had specialists by him to add to his words. This is why this visit by the Greek PM was more of a social gathering than an official visit of a country’s leader.
He also knows that he cannot expect much of Samaras, even if he has asked him something concerning energy matters and the relevant compromises that Greece will have to make in relation with the Turkish claims over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Turkey handles the issue better by itself and will take whatever it needs with no particular effort.
No Greek governments, not just that of Samaras – not to be unilateral and unfair- is respected in Washington. This is why the US always brings Greece before the accomplished, one way or another, so that there will be no choice or possibility for further delays.
How can Obama ask Samaras for commitment on critical issues, when the Greek government cannot close down an illegal nightclub in Chalkidiki, a summer resort area in Northern Greece? How can he count on the word of a leader that months ago told the Wall Street Journal that the gold mines in Chalkidiki would be privatized within a week and months later nothing has happened? He would do better with Greece’s Communist Party (KKE), which, as we have seen, knows how to make privatizations with Capitalist criteria, as in case of 902, the TV and radio station the party sold.
Unfortunately, Samaras’ visit to Washington was doomed to fail before it started and any optimism concerning its results can occur by default, which means the least possible damage that it may do to the Greek interests (whatever these are).
Demetrios Rhombotis is a New York City based journalist and Publisher of NEO magazine.