(Kathimerini, 23 September, 2001)
[ ] Precisely what happens in a distant region like Afghanistan, which has little to do with Greek interests, can only be of little concern to Greece. What should be examined with particular attention is how our interests in our part of the world will be affected and what we can do to protect them. It is certainly our duty to declare solidarity and join in the collective efforts and measures which will be taken as an immediate response to terrorism. Even so, we should not overlook the fact that international attitudes could affect issues in this region, which are not directly linked to these developments. Pressure could be brought to bear for the quick settlement of issues like the Balkan question, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations, and these could prove dangerous. At the same time international activity is creating favourable conditions for those countries that comprehend the full meaning of the new definitions of terrorism in time and realize what the implications are. Furthermore, a US withdrawal in the Balkans could lead to the European Union becoming more involved in the region, providing greater opportunities for Greece. With the new state of affairs Europe can now become more powerful and play a leading role in the region.
In any case, international relations are entering a new phase of tension which will result in a marked increase in feelings of insecurity among the people of the West. Smaller countries, like Greece, which are having to deal with on-going international problems in their regions, must perforce have a two-fold aim: support of and solidarity with the United States and the European Union while simultaneously planning and being watchful, ready for the new opportunities and dangers which may arise.
* Mr. Yannis Valinakis is a University of Athens professor, and secretary of International and European Union Relations for the New Democracy Party.