The new U.S. Administration, Greece and the Balkans

by D. P. Dimas [*]

(“Eleftherotypia”, February 24, 2001)

Four weeks into its term of office and, as is only natural, the new American government is trying to find its way in foreign policy and defense.

The Balkans

As far as Southern Europe, the area which interests Greece directly is concerned, it is interesting to note that pre-electoral statements made about withdrawal excepted, the new government seems to be treading particularly carefully. General Powel seems to have understood the problem of the Albanians and, unlike his predecessor, M. Allbright, he seems to be discouraging their actions which almost forestalled American planning, and Mr. Powel has, at the same time, curtailed Montenegro’s ambition to become independent.

In one respect these positive signs allow Greece to play an interesting role there; not the role of locum tenens for the various Washington think tanks which dictated policies, as has been the case up to now, but that of genuine partner, especially now that Athens’ so far cautious position on developments is proving not to have been such a mistake after all. Greece will once again undertake initiatives using the most traditional diplomatic methods of communication and not arbitrary, disposable channels of uncertain value.

Even so, there is an ever-present danger of Balkan issues flaring up if left completely at the mercy of bureaucracy, as attempts might be made to patch things up in a way that reflects the needs and factors involved in the middle east situation which has reached crisis point and taken priority, and other issues in the region might be seen only from this point of view and treated accordingly.

* D. P. Dimas is Washington Correspondent of Eleftherotypia newspaper

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