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Further on Greece

Reader comment on item: American Intifada
in response to reader comment: Further on Greece

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jun 29, 2007 at 17:56

Hi, JJ !

Thanks for you reply and valuable inisghts !

> Dear Ianus,

>The American role in Greece had both positive and negative aspects, and is so tangled in the web of Balkan politics reaching back to the First World War and beyond that it is hopeless to try to unravel all the strands.

In his book "The Blight of Asia" (1926 , Chapter 28 ,available on the Net ) the American consul-general in Smyrna George Horton (he worked there for 30 years) write on that dismal subject :

"Of our American responsibility for the destruction of the Christians of the Near East, I write with great hesitation and sorrow and must confine myself to the statement of certain universally known facts.

The days and months leading up to the fearful events at Smyrna were noisy with the Chester concession and pro-Turk propaganda. The enthusiastic pro-Turk articles in the press of the two Chesters-father and son-are still fresh in the public memory. Other pro-Turk and anti-Christian writers were busy, some among them doubtless earning their daily bread. The Turks were in funds. They had been busy picking the bones of the Christians and had laid their hands on great sums.

The shrewd Europeanized group of Turks, who inhabit Constantinople, overdid themselves in the courtesies and hospitality, which they lavished on foreign diplomats. This sort of Oriental is the most plausible and fascinating man in the world. The educated hanum, also, is extremely charming, and has a seductive grace that is hardly granted to her alien sisters. If a few of them take off their veils and show their lovely faces in Constantinople, they have little difficulty in persuading diplomats that they are emancipated and that polygamy is a thing of the past among Mohammedans; that the Greeks burned Smyrna, that a million and a half Christians practically committed suicide and were not actually massacred, or anything else they wish. (...) the Americans gained the reputation of being pro-Turk, true friends, who would ultimately, on account of this friendship, be given the permission to put through great schemes, which would result in the development of the Ottoman Empire and, incidentally, fill certain American pocketbooks. The Turks confidently believed that commercial avarice would prevent us from interfering with their savagery, or even strongly condemning it."

> I agree that with respect to the dictatorship the American role was disgraceful.

It was the Cold War logic. The Soviets did the same things, if not worse.

> Regarding Afghanistan, it was the Soviets who invaded that place, thanks to our great president Jimmy Carter's fecklessness, and at that point there were not many good options. Supporting the Jihad may have been the least bad option, much as supporting Stalin during World War II was the least bad option at that time.

Well, strategically thinking you're no doubt right. But culturally , the Rusians are much closer to the Americans than the Arabs and the Moslems. The Russians are Christians, European with deep Enlightenment traditions. They would never commit a collective suicide to please a murderous God of Marxism like Allah's followers daily do. But who thought in Washington in these terms? Brzezinski hated the Soviets , European , Christian or atheists. He didn't like too subtle distinctions as far as teh Soviet Union was concerned. Even during the Gorbatchov era , the Soviets were still the "evil empire" , although the "emperor" was perhaps the most honest , democratic and sincere politician the world history has ever recorded.

> In both cases there have been serious consequences.

Absolutely. What seemed to be a lesser evil in the short run turned out to be a disaster in the long run. The Soviets were expelled from Afghanistan and the result was 9/11 (carried out by the Afghan-based terror cell) and an "optimistic" doctrine that the same way the Soviets were defeated by Allah's warriors so now America will be defeated and subjugated.

> I do not think Greece's bad relations with Israel were due to Israel's relations with Turkey, which did not develop until much later. If I had to guess the main motivation was Greek interests in the Arab world, and the large Greek communities in places like Egypt, along with a certain ideological streak in Greek politics.

I think you're right about both. Greece voted against acknolwedgement of Israel in 1948 because the Egyptians had threatened otherwise to wipe out the large Greek minoriy there (if I am not wrong c. 100 000) and liquidate the ancient patriarchate of Alexandria.

> All the same, for many years Greek governments seemed to think Arab terrorism could be appeased. To paraphrase what you say it is time to move beyond the past or else we will lose the future.

Agreed! What is done cannot be undone. Let's learn from the past to let the future benefit from the past.

> On a more positive note did you see the recent CD put out by Manos Rassoulis with Yehuda Poliker (who is an Israeli of Greek parentage)? It has gotten a great deal of air time on Israeli radio. Rightly or wrongly it has made me much more optimistic about future relations between Israel and our Greek almost-neighbors.

I didn't see the CD but I am happy to hear that. Both countries are culturally and politically close to each other and can only benefit from cooperation and reconciliation. Israel needs friends. Seeing the growing , rabid anti-Semitism in Turkey they must draw their conclusions. That purely (99%) Muslim country which is the worst enemy of Turkey and Europe wishes nothing good to Israel (or America for that matter) either.

All the best ,



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