Jewish World Review July 8, 1999 /24 Tamuz 5759
Greece could be key to Balkans stability
ATHENS -- Greece could provide an anchor for the Balkans, if America is willing to listen to folks who've lived in the
neighborhood for a few thousand years, and now are a model of economic and political progress.
Most Americans don't think of this sunny land as part of a famously fractious region. In the American mind, Greece is a
Mediterranean country associated with Zorba and sailors dancing in circles.
Yet Greece borders Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria. By air, it's an hour from Athens to Belgrade. Greece accounts
for more than half of the region's productivity and exports 12 percent of its manufactured goods to the Balkans.
The Greek economic boom could lift lifeboats throughout the region. The governing center-left coalition is committed to
privatization and growth -- a far cry from the stagnating socialism of the ‘80s Andreas Papandreou government.
Businesses nationalized then are being privatized now. Utilities, telecommunications and transportation companies all
went on the auction block. The annual budget deficit dropped from 13.8 percent of its gross domestic product in 1993 to 2.4
percent in 1998. Inflation fell from 14.4 percent to 2.1 percent.
In 1999, the economy is expected to grow by 3.5 percent for the third consecutive year. This compares quite favorably
with the average European growth rate of 2.1 percent.
If present projections hold, the value of shares traded on the nation's stock exchange will increase from 50 billion
drachmas last year to 200 billion in 1999.
Tourism, up 15 percent in 1998, is only part of the picture. Today, Greece exports more than olive oil and feta cheese.
A growing range of medium technology products, medical equipment and quality clothes compliment traditional exports.
Of course, there's room for improvement. Thanks to long-festering problems with Turkey (the Turkish occupation of
nearly half of Cyprus for a quarter century, disputed islets in the Aegean), military spending is between 5 percent and 7
percent of GDP, against the European average of 1 percent.
The top individual tax rate of 45 percent kicks in at the drachma equivalent of $50,000. It takes 28 signatures from
various bureaucracies to start a manufacturing firm.
Still, as Athens looks forward to hosting the 2004 Olympic games, joining the European Monetary Union sometime next
year (it's the only Balkans nation that belongs to both NATO and the European Union) and signing a new status of forces
agreement with Washington in the fall, Greece is confident of its future.
What worries the Greeks is the future of their neighborhood, after recent renovations by the Kosovo Liberation Army's
surrogate air force.
True to its NATO commitments, the Greek government supported the war on Yugoslavia, no small thing when 97
percent of public opinion went the other way. This is not to say the nation's leadership was overjoyed by the alliance's efforts
to once again redraw the map of Yugoslavia.
Constantine Arvanitopoulos, an insightful young Ph.D. who heads the Institute for International Relations, Greece's
pre-eminent strategic think tank, told me that America -- once seen as the savior of Europe -- now is viewed as a
destabilizing, self-aggrandizing force.
“People are saying the U.S. isn't doing this for the Kosovars; it's doing it to break up European nations,”
Lyssandre Migliaressis-Phocas, who heads the foreign ministry's North American desk, is dubious of what Tomahawk
missiles have wrought. “What we have in Bosnia is artificial. God knows how long it will last. What we have in Kosovo is
artificial. God knows how long it will last. What will be the end game? Will other national boundaries change?”
Every country in the region has large ethnic minorities that would love to hang with their homies in a neighboring state, or
have a state of their own.
There are 300,000 Albanians in Greece, sizable Greek communities in Albania and Macedonia, Hungarians in
Yugoslavia, more Albanians in Macedonia, and so on. The Clinton-Albright formula (bombing for ethnic harmony, NATO as
Europe's cartographer) is a recipe for continual strife.
Clinton bombs, does photo-ops with refugee children and goes home. The Greeks have to live with the results.
As the Founding Fathers looked to ancient Athens for republican inspiration, America should seek the advice as well as
the consent of Greece, to bring stability to the Balkans.
With its robust economy, secure democracy and ties both economic and cultural to other Balkan states, Greece could
be the key to regional
JWR contributing columnist Don Feder can be reached by clicking here.
7/06/99: How the 'Net ruined a marriage
7/01/99: What made our revolution different?
6/28/99: Michigan lowers the boom on swearing
6/23/99: Politicians think we're fools -- they're right
6/21/99: Gambling commission issues report, rolls dice
6/17/99: Why Right went cuckoo over Kosovo
6/14/99: America will be ultimate victim of war on Yugoslavia
6/09/99:Call a moratorium on Clinton judges
6/07/99: Public schools will muck up character education
6/03/99: Don't think, just vote
5/28/99: An American credo
5/26/99 :Do we really want peace in Yugoslavia?
5/24/99: Gay 'marriage' -- don't pass go
5/19/99: Little Bill, you had a busy week
5/17/99: Gun control, campaign-finance reform -- two liberal illusions
5/12/99: Watch Quayle go from "incredible" to quite credible
5/10/99: Conservatives excluded from academic diversity
5/05/99: Expecting the impossible of parents
5/03/99: Gore race-baits with impunity
4/29/99: Why Kosovo? Oh, just because
4/27/99: The president's pro-parent claptrap
4/22/99: McCain plays to the media
4/19/99: NATO would have favored the confederacy
4/14/99: Before we march into Kosovo
4/12/99: Taiwan more worthy of U.S. support
4/09/99: Bauer and Forbes --- Main Street vs. Wall Street
4/05/99: Bubba and Maddy lit Kosovo's fire
3/29/99: At Passover, Egypt is a state of mind
3/29/99: Could the GOP stand Pat in 2000?
3/17/99: Hollywood's party line in 1999
3/15/99: All bow, the court is in session
3/11/99: In praise of negative campaigning
3/09/99: Day-care study defies common sense
3/04/99: Starship Clinton orbits Kosovo
3/01/99: Public will blot out Broaddrick's accusation
2/25/99: Slick Hillie for Senate would be fun
2/23/99: Fascism in the name of fighting fascism
2/16/99: Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?
2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy
©1999, Creators Syndicate