Saturday, September 8, 2018

Alexis Tsipras: From “anti-imperialism” to US-NATO's most loyal ally


By Nikos Mottas.

Those who follow the political developments in Greece during the last decade have certainly understood the rapid transformation of SYRIZA- the ruling party in today's coalition government- from a small party of the opportunist left into the country's major social democratic power. In this site we have written extensively, in numerous occasions, about the role of SYRIZA a major pillar (alongside the center-right New Democracy party) of the bourgeois political establishment.

In June 2017, we were writing among other things: “During the last seven years, SYRIZA has been proved an extraordinary case of political deception and ideological manipulation. Foreign policy is another field where SYRIZA and its leadership has turned black into white. The supposed 'radical anti-imperialism' of SYRIZA as an opposition party has been fully transformed, thus proving the real, illusionary character of social democracy”.

In the last NATO Summit in Brussels, on July 2018, Greece's PM Alexis Tsipras co-signed all the decisions made by the imperialist alliance, thus certifying Athens' willingness to participate further and deeper in the dangerous euroatlantic plans. After all, despite its small size in terms of population, Greece comes 2nd in defense expenditures among NATO member-states!

The official statistics published by NATO are revealing: In 2017 Greece spent 2.36% of GDP (appr. 4.2 billion euros) in “defense expenditures”, outrunning countries like the United Kingdom (2.12%), France (1.79%) and Germany (1.24%)! Alexis Tsipras' coalition government spends billions of euros for the military advancement of NATO (that's the truth, no matter if they call it “defense expenditures”), while the Greek working class and the country's popular strata face continuous austerity, antiworker measures, cuts in wages and pensions, high unemployment and heavy taxation.

SYRIZA follows the pattern of the previous governments, those of New Democracy and PASOK. It is characteristic that during the last 7 years of the capitalist economic crisis, all Greek governments maintained military expenditures over 2%, despite any fluctuations. Based on NATO's official statistics, during the last seven years of the crisis, the Greek people paid almost 44 billion dollars (37.5 billion euros) in military expenditures.

The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government boasts about its “multi-dimensional foreign policy” and about supposedly making Greece a “pillar of stability” in the region. In fact, what the government of Mr. Tsipras does is to deepen the country's involvement in the imperialist competitions, for the sake of Greece's capitalists. Under the leadership of Tsipras, Greece has become the standard-bearer of NATO and EU's interests in the region of east Mediterranean.

Left: 1999, a young Tsipras demonstrating against Clinton's
visit in Athens; Right: 2017, PM Tsipras visits U.S. President
Trump at the White House. 
Tsipras himself is a characteristic case of political opportunism and deception. He began his political careers as a radical leftist, with “anti-NATO” views. 

As a member of the youth wing of Synaspismos (predecessor of today's SYRIZA) in 1999 he was protesting against Bill Clinton's visit in Athens, while in 2001 he was participating at the large demonstrations against the G8 Summit in Genova. On May 2012, the political programme of SYRIZA was proclaiming among other things: “Our policy includes... the closure of all the foreign military bases in Greece. Immediate abolition of the bases in Souda and Aktio. We want neither Greece in NATO, nor NATO in Greece and we are fighting for its abolition”.

In 2014, during a press conference in Thessaloniki, Mr. Tsipras was stating that “in the new international situation there is no reason for NATO's existence” and he was assuring the people that this is a “principle position” that “will not change”. Of course, the course of developments showed that Tsipras- like every opportunist- was blatantly lying and that his supposed “anti-imperialism” was a great political deception.

Since he became a Prime Minister, on January 2015, Tsipras has done almost anything in order to prove his loyalty to NATO and the EU. The existing US-NATO military bases in Greece were used for various imperialist attacks in Syria, Iraq and Libya, while new ones (e.g. Alexandroupolis' port) began operating in order to facilitate the imperialist plans. At the same time, Greece never stopped to participate actively in NATO's joint military drills, as well as in bilateral exercises with Israel.

Greece: A “geopolitical hinge” between NATO and the EU in the region

Greece: A "playground" for imperialists.
(Click image to enlarge)
In many occasions, the U.S. ambassador in Athens Geoffrey Pyatt has praised the role of the Greek government as a stable ally of the US-NATO interests in the region. In one of his interviews, the ambassador called Greece as a “geopolitical hinge” between NATO and the EU, quite useful for the promotion of Washington's plans in the Balkans and east Mediterranean.

The choice of the U.S. as the “honored country” in this year's Thessaloniki International Fair (which begins today, Saturday 8 September) isn't a random one. Monopoly and business groups from the United States have already arrived in Greece's second largest city, in order to present and promote their products. 

Yesterday, Alexis Tsipras met with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross who heads a high-level delegation from Washington on the occasion of the International Fair. During the meeting, Tsipras underlined the “great importance of the historic relations between our countries and mentioned that the US-Greek relations have also a “very significant perspective, especially in economic relations”.

Tsipras' remarks actually verify that his government aims to expand and deepen its collaboration with the imperialist superpower. According to U.S. ambassador Pyatt, the ongoing presence of american monopolies and business groups in Thessaloniki consists “the most important activity of the U.S. in northern Greece since the Marshall Plan” and covers a wide range of the Greek-American relations. Ambassador Pyatt said that Washington regards Greece as a “regional pillar” for the U.S. intervention in Western Balkans and praised the role of the Greek government in the “Prespes Agreement” with FYROM.

The U.S. government could not find a better collaborator for the promotion of its interests than Mr. Tsipras and his government. Especially in a period when the traditional alliance between U.S. with Turkey is facing a serious crisis, the SYRIZA-ANEL government proves its servile- towards the imperialists- political orientation.

As for Alexis Tsipras himself, he will remain in the history of politics as a deplorable example of a “left-winger” who did the “dirty job” for the bourgeois class and served the imperialists better than any right-wing politician could ever do.

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of 'In Defense of Communism'.