The Eastern gates of Europe at Risk?
Guest post by one of our readers, Greg.
Α country in the outmost Southeastern part of the EU has grasped the headlines for quite some time. With only 2% of the EU’s economy and just 2.5% of its debt it became the “Witch” that is haunted by puritan Northern Europeans. It is claimed as the epicenter of laziness, lust and unproductively for the whole of the Continent, a bad example that pious Northerns should be feared and loath at the same time.
This country is Greece and it must be punished! But is it really the witch hunt that has started in 2009 the most stupid move ever made in the entire European history? Is it worth to blame Greeks for the lonely dark winters up in the North and for the depression syndrome that cripples the lives of dozens of millions northern Europeans, as if Greece makes the weather?
In reality the Northern Europeans risk of pushing Greece into the broader global community where it is going to be free from investing heavily in its defense of the Eastern gates of Europe and it will bring about the greatest change in the balance of powers that Europe has felt since the collapse of the Berlin war. This time Germany will not be re-united, rather it will has to pay a dear price for its energy security. Netherlands will not become richer; rather it will have to pay from its own pocket in order to save itself from the flood of narcotics and Asian immigrants.
Austria will not be greater, rather it will have to deal with powder-keg named “Balkans” that has markets Vienna’s history.
How Northern Europe shoot its leg, in order to satisfy the populist sentiments of an electorate being used to the fairy tales of “bad witches and pious farmers”.
Panagiotis Traianou answers to many of the aforementioned questions and gives a proper solution on his article entitled “GREECE RANKS AMONG THE WITCHES OF SALEM”
Greece was forced from the so-called Troika (EU-ECB-IMF) to get loans from them and only from them, while prohibiting them to get any external bi-lateral agreement with countries such as Russia or China.
This way, the Orthodox Greece falls helpless into their hands. It does not get help from its central religious leadership, or its fellow believers, mainly the Russians. This is the reason why the Protestant European countries have tried – and ultimately succeeded – to cut the ties between Greece and Russia. Greece did not have help neither from that fool George Papandreou nor from Dora Bakoyiannis, both of who have caused trouble in the Greek-Russian relations. Even the Memorandum did not help the situation, because it had a reference concerning the exclusion of any loans by a third party that could help them get rid of the debt. Even Papademos, the usurer Prime Minister and Goldman Sachs associate, has tried to cause problem in the Greek-Russian relations, by refusing Putin to visit the Holy Mountain after his recent winning in the presidential elections.
We have a chance to get some serious help. There is a chance that the fellow believers Russians will shoulder most of the Greek debts. One has to bear in mind that Moscow has state controlled funds readily available in excess of 600 billion USD, as of early 2012. Each day Russia’s energy sector is pumping more than 1.5 billion USD into their economy. Thats a real economic superpower.
Why would they do that? Is it because they are good people? Of course not. There are no good people, only good interests. On the matter in hand, the Russians can help the over-indebted Greece because they have money and because they have great needs of strategic nature. Russia is a super-power and it can view things from a relative perspective; the perspective of the needs a super-power has. Add on that that China already owning a part of Eastern Mediterranean’s largest port, that of Piraeus and the financing issue of Greece can be easily resolved. The Asian giant has more than 3.2 trillion USD in state funds and has made over the years lucrative proposals to Greece in order to get into the local market by investing into ports, airports, railway and logistic services, along with maritime businesses and tourism. Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan have from time to time expressed their interest into using Greece as a European gate-away and these three countries have over 1 trillion in reserves to make their promises into solid work.
Arab Gulf states, such as Qatar are promising billions should Athens lets them get into Southeastern Europe, whilst countries that host large Greek communities such as Australia with over 500,000 Greeks, Canada with 300,000 or South Africa with 100,000 are looking for the time that Greece decides to move globally and shed of its “provisonal EU outlook” in today’s globalized era. India too, has recently set up a bilateral trade organization and has drafted a list of investments in steel industry, tobacco manufacturing, shipping and transportation. Even Algeria with its state gas company Sonatrach has formally bided to give 2 billion Euros in order to buy a large segment of Greece’s natural gas industry.
So, now that some unruly Northern European suggest Greece to sell its islands at a bargain price, they will not like it if that actually happens. They will not like it because selling the islands is not only about selling land where rooms to let will be built. Greek islands have multiple uses and can serve as parameters in various kinds of games. Instead of selling, the Greeks could rent land on the islands. It is the same as with the Chinese Shipping Company Cosco that has an interest in the port of Piraeus and the German construction company Hoch-Tief that has taken over control of the airport in Athens.
Can anyone imagine the geopolitical implications if we rent part of the island of Kythira to the Russians for a hundred years, for example? To what extent would the balance of power change in Eastern Mediterranean if the Bear set its foot in the Aegean Sea? To what extent would the balance of power change if the Russian fleet dropped anchor permanently there? To what extent would such a naval base influence the defense of the unruly Northern Europeans? It would be a base that among other things could commit Russia to provide Greece with help in case the Turks challenged the Greek sovereignty in the Aegean Sea and anywhere else there are Greek interests.
So, there is a question posed to those who love accounting. How many hundreds of billions of Euros is a naval base worth in the middle of the Aegean? How many hundreds of billions of Euros do the Europeans make because Greece provides for their defense as well? Who is the deadhead in this case? Is it Greece which provides its aircraft carriers or The Netherlands that chips in a few crates of beer for the common defense? Things are simple. Until now, the Europeans could play it smart by paying a pittance. They know Greeks will protect their interests even if it means dying, so they hide behind these interests to pay a pittance. What will happen, though, if the Greeks decide to follow their example? What will happen if the Greeks decide to pay a pittance and they hide behind the Russian interests, which are anti-European by nature?
In this point some bare facts have to be laid down in order for one to understand the extent under which European strategic defense depends on Greece. The country spends totally in defense, security and intelligence functions over 16 billion USD per annum. That includes standard expentituteres, allocation of the so-called secret funds, its NATO participation costs and peace-keeping operation costs, along with security functions diverse such as coast guard against illegal immigration from Asia, anti-narcotic and anti-trafficking operations and its participation in the “global war against terrorism”, and also the costs associated with keeping up with training and other purposes with NATO states, as well as, hosting allied bases in its territory.
That sum is far larger than that of countries such as Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Austria, Finland and Belgium. In fact in NATO only USA, UK, France, Germany and Italy spend more and they do have multiple times the population of Greece. Moreover the majority of the Greek armed forces is composed by conscripts and they don’t get paid although many retain highly-skilled positions. The officers of the army and police get paid but much lower than their EU counterparts, about one third. If the Greek state had a full professional army its expentitures would be more than 25 billion USD, more than Italy’s which has 6 times its population. For 2012 alone Greece will pay 2 billion USD in arms & security systems procurements mostly from Germany, France, USA and since 1996 it has procured more than 65 billion USD worth of arms & security systems.
Hundreds of thousands of highly skilled jobs were kept or created in USA and Northern Europe by the Greek budget and dozens of Greek police officers and coast guard personnel died or injured in action to protect the EU from the continuous flood of illegal immigrant from Islamic countries, the flow of heroin through Turkey and the illegal arms trade from the Balkans and the East Med.
One can play games to a limit. Bawling, insulting and threatening are meaningful as long as they bring results. So, the people who threaten and insult Greece on a daily basis had better care; especially the German Protestants who have a vital need to access the energy reserves in the Middle East; those who have made their allegedly huge competitiveness contingent upon safety on Eastern Mediterranean; who pay a pittance relying on the Greek patriotism; who as a State lack even an oil can to support their industry and use natural gas they have taken from Russia to get warm. They have to stop taking us for a ride. Until now, the Northern Europeans not only gave money to build a defense but also they made money out of this, because they used to force Greece to buy what they both needed for their safety.
They forced it to spend 5% of GDP to military supplies. They forced it to spend money it did not have – and deprived its children of it- and not only did they not acknowledge this contribution to building a common defense but they also hastened to benefit from the expenses. Not only did they take for granted that Eastern Mediterranean was safe, but they had also turned it into a lucrative El Dorado-like source of equipping. Not only did they not contribute to something that would protect their vital interests, but they also had the nerve to play profiteering games.
Someone should explain to the competitive and unruly Northern Europeans what it will happen if Greece follows their suggestions and starts selling its islands. Someone should explain to them the consequences for their countries, jobs, their lives if Greece starts abandoning the European trenches; if they lose the Greek line of defense; if they lose Greece that has one of the most battle-worthy fleet and one of the most battle-worthy aviation in the alliance.
In all NATO exercises and in USA “Red Flag” Greek fighter jet pilots stun their “allies” by winning all war simulations. Dutch and Italian pilots fly to Greece on an annual basis to train in exercises so they can get a glimpse what an “air dog fight” really is. Since the mid-70′s Turkish fighter jets try on a daily basis to catch off guard the Greek air defense systems…to no avail. The entire Greek fighter jet fleet is on a 60-120-360 SECONDS alert 24/7, the only air force in the world. And they have been doing that for almost 40 years.
The Greek Navy belonging to a traditional merchant marine superpower, has never lost a sea battle and its officer corps is highly regarded in the world. Greece has more anti-tank missiles, modern artillery systems, anti-aircraft systems and attack helicopters than its neighboring Turkey with 7 times its population. The entire fire power of the Greek armed forces is more in both quantity and quality terms from all EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES COMBINED. That means Poland + Baltic’s + Czech + Slovakia + Hungary + Slovenia + Croatia+ Romania + Bulgaria + Albania. Greece has really paid a heavy price in the notion of NATO solidarity and keeps the Balkans and the East Med. a friendly territory for the Northern Europeans that talk loud and much but are frighten to expose in a decades-long, systematic and disciplined path of retaining strong defense forces for their precious oil and gas supplies. When the crisis begins Greece and the UK will once again secure Europe’s freedom from totalitarian ideologies. Perhaps this is what ideologically-frenzy circles in Munich, Berlin and Vienna dread about….
Someone should explain to them what it will happen if they are forced not only to lose their large-scale money provider but also to try to replace its contribution to the alliance with their own means and manpower.
Greece has never stopped guarding the Thermopylae of Europe because it has never stopped acting as a frontiersman of Europe. Greece is valuable to Europe more than ever because Europe is almost unarmed. Belgium for instance does not have more than 80 available MBT’s, whilst Greece boasts a tank fleet of more than 1,600 units larger than that of Germany or France. In fact the 3rd largest in NATO equipped with the latest series of Leopard 2 which it was dearly paid to Germany industries.
It had got used to setting things up for itself by letting the suckers pay, taking the piss and selling civilization. It leaves the colorful and uncivilized Greeks to shoulder the burden of defense while it comes in the foreground only to provide with supplies. The Greeks are presented as barbarians who are involved in equipping competitions with Turkey and the Europeans are presented as the civilized ones who cannot stand military solutions. Having ulterior motive, these civilized Europeans act as if they do not understand that Germany ensures competitiveness in the Aegean Sea thanks to the Greek fleet, not thanks to the crippled usurer.
90% of Islamic illegal immigrants, 90% of heroin comes Asia through Turkey to the EU. Have any of these brainless Northern Europeans though of the expentitutres involved in containing that scale of “asymmetrical” threat. Moreover has anyone thought what would happen to European metropolises, when Greece will say “Enough is enough” !
Europe gives its fights every day in the troubled waters of Eastern Mediterranean, not in the calm canals of Amsterdam. Can the ill-tempered, racy Minister of Finance in Holland, who exercises the imperialism of cheese and beer in a safe Europe, estimate how much it will cost Holland as a State if Greece is substituted in terms of Europe’s defense? Can the disheveled, little madam, that scolds Greeks and pretends to be the Minister of Finance in Austria estimate how much it will cost her unarmed country if the extravagant Greek defense collapses? Will the Dutch or Austrian citizens put foreign flags on Aegean islands ever again? What business will they have to visit the Aegean ever again?