According to Greek newspapers, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and French President Emmanuel Macron signed an agreement in Paris that provides for “direct military assistance to Greece from France and vice versa in the event of an attack by a third country, even if that country is within their alliances (such as Turkey, which is a NATO member)”
Greece will receive from France “in record time” 3+1 Belhara combat frigates with full air defence and anti-submarine warfare equipment and the ability to shoot down air targets at very long distances. The frigates will be compatible with the French-made Rafale fighters, which Greece had previously purchased from France.
Greek media are raving about the deal, but glossing over the fact that the agreement is unprecedented: there is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and its members include France, Greece, Turkey and the United States. It seems that within the framework of this Alliance all member countries are provided with military support.
So, support is not assured after all? And after the creation of the “separate” Anglo-Saxon military bloc AUKUS is that obvious to everybody? Including the Greeks who are at loggerheads with the Turks?
Macron, after signing the agreement with Greece, stressed that it represents “a bold first step towards European strategic autonomy” at a time when the US is busy confronting China.
Mizotakis makes the same point: “I firmly believe in the absolute necessity of European strategic autonomy. Recent events have clearly demonstrated that we must be ready and able to do more as Europeans on our own.”
“Recent events” is the formation of an intercontinental Anglo-Saxon bloc that has set the US, Britain and Australia apart in the Western community.
According to the Greek newspaper Vima, quoting Mitsotakis, “Greece, which has favoured French frigates over US frigates, must be protected militarily immediately.”
“The bilateral agreement has a purely European dimension, as it is the adoption of the European Union doctrine of strategic autonomy by the two countries and is an important step in this direction,” adds the Greek Katimerini. Both Paris and Athens assure that “the strategic partnership agreement between Greece and France … is fully coordinated with the EU and NATO”.
Is it so? After all, the crack is already taking shape within the “European dimension”: while Macron says that strengthening the partnership with Greece “is fully in line with our commitments to the EU and NATO”, Mitsotakis contradicts him in some ways: “Our two countries have created a very powerful alliance that goes beyond our mutual commitments”.
The latter seems closer to the truth: the French-Greek alliance goes beyond the “mutual commitments” binding NATO member states. The link between these commitments has become unreliable. Le Mond notes that the agreement with Athens is a kind of “consolation prize” for Paris; the agreement comes “after the termination of a huge submarine contract worth 55 billion euros with Australia, which preferred to choose a strategic partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom.”
And what is “European Union strategic autonomy” anyway, if Europe is dotted with US military bases and serves as a storehouse for US tactical nuclear weapons? The positions of European states, NATO members and the EU are increasingly divergent. They differ on their assessment of the reliability of the American nuclear umbrella; on the drift of Eastern Europe away from a “united European family” dominated by Germany and France; on their attitude to Russian gas purchases; and on the extent to which they tolerate the invasion of Europe by foreign migrants.
The divergences are many, and the German Handelsblatt worries: “Europe is a crisis continent … It is now a very fragile entity, it is in danger of splitting … In this state Europe simply cannot afford to break with America, however difficult and humiliating this may be.
Can’t afford it and won’t allow it. It will tolerate humiliation, it will demonstrate (like Macron and Mitsotakis), but until there is a fundamentally new balance of forces in Europe and the world, Europe will not be able to get rid of its vassal position vis-à-vis America.
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