By Dr. Christos C. Evangeliou
Professor of Philosophy, USA

By its unexpected recognition of F.Y.R.O.M. as "Democracy of Macedonia", the newly re-elected Bush Administration had a big surprise, not only for its wealthy Greek-American "friends", who supported it with millions of dollars in campaign contributions, but also for all Hellenes and Philhelennes in the World. Even the Greek Government and its diplomats declared that they were "surprised" by this sudden move!

To calm them down, a letter from the President reassured them that the US is prepared to recognize the new Balkan State by the "proper name", on which the two disputing countries will agree in the future as a result of their prolonged and not progressing negotiations in the UN. This is, of course, a "diplomatic oxymoron".

For what incentive would F.Y.R.O.M. have to compromise now and look for another name, when the only remaining Superpower (along with dozens of other States) deemed it expedient to recognize it with its own "constitutional name" as they claim, and regardless of the "historical truth" or the injured Greek feelings?

The political reality is that the US, beginning with the Clinton Administration and continuing with the Bush Administration, made a double (but wrong, from the Greek perspective) strategic choice. First, it allowed and encouraged the dissolution of Yugoslavia; second, it seemed to have supported one-sidedly the Muslim element in the Balkans (in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, F.Y.R.O.M., etc). This policy, not surprisingly, has opened the door (and the appetite) of Turkey to re-enter and re-assert its historical influence in the Balkans, while pushing its heavy wait (in terms of population growth) into the aging and anemic European Union.

Unfortunately for Greeks, the same US policy in the Balkan frustrates, cuts off, and isolates Greece from the European Union, of which it has been a full member for some time now, but it does not connect with. These are not good signs or encouraging omens either for the future of Greece or for the future of the EU.

Will the recent decision in the Brussels Summit, to set o date for entrance talks with Turkey, strengthen the EU and make it a model of peaceful coexistence, as Tony Blair dreams? Or will it open the gates to the "Trojan Horse" of Islam, mounted by Turkey and disguised under the mask of its "political secularism"? That is the big question to be decided in the near future but the Europeans and their transatlantic friends.

This bleak situation, for the Greeks and their diplomacy (or lack of it), is bound to become even worse in the near future, because the Cyprus problem (just like the F.Y.R.O.M. problem) remains unresolved for the last thirty years. The December 17 decision in Brussels, to link somehow the date of entrance talks for Turkey with its "tacit recognition" of Cyprus (in the Greek interpretation of the accord) or with the "solution of the Cyprus Problem" (in the Turkish version of it), seems to complicate the situation further. The next "new surprise" to the Greeks and their friends everywhere may come from this Cypriot question.

Unfortunately for Cyprus and Greece, there is a worst possible scenario, and the worst part of it is that it is possible. It might be good for their respective diplomatic bodies to start think and plan ahead, instead of reacting spasmodically, to the events caused or planted by others at their expense. Without pretending to predict the future or to bring bad new to good friends, it is possible to envision a situation, in which by the next fall, at about the anniversary of the "F.Y.R.O. M. surprise", we will wake up to a "T.R.N.C. surprise".

For those who are not familiar with it, this acronym stands for "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". It came into being in 1983 and, until now, it is recognized officially only by Turkey. But if, hypothetically, the Annan Plan were to be revived and, with some minor changes, sent to Cyprus for another referendum, and was rejected by the Greek Cypriots (for a second time), then what? Let us think daringly for a moment.

Well, here is a hellish scenario for our diplomats to meditate and chew on. Possibly, then, Turkey with not sign the customs treaty with Cyprus, which may push its President to exercise his veto power to block the commencement of entrance-talks for Turkey with the EU. A furious and proud Turkey may withdraw from the table of negotiations, while the new head of the State Department, Dr. Contolezza Rice, can declare that the US found it expedient under the circumstances to reassure this "valuable" NATO member. Therefore, it had decided to recognize the T.R.N.C. as the "Northern Republic of Cyprus" or, alternatively, as the "Southern Republic of Turkey" whichever suits best and sooths its injured ally and friend, by the bad EU!

This seems very phantastic at the present. But, if the situation in Iraq has become worse by then, and the US is desperate for NATO countries to enter the war in Iraq, and the Turkish military is willing to do so with the proper inducement, then things will look different from the point of view of USA. There is no better inducement for them from the recognition of Turkish Cypriots, as a friendly "Independent State!"

This "gift" would be especially attractive to the Turks, if it is jointed to the satisfaction of their appetite to move into northern Iraq "to protect" their brethren there. If by then Mosul has become another Falluja, the American resolve to resist the Turkish advances may have weaken sufficiently to yield to the temptation.

If the Greeks, the Greek-Cypriots and Greek-American do not wish to be "surprised" once again, they, especially their statesmen and their diplomats, should start thinking along these lines, as they prepare to celebrate the coming of the new year and to make their "political resolutions" for the 2005 Anno Domini!

Dr. Christos Evangeliou, is Professor of Hellenic Philosophy at Towson University, Baltimore Maryland, and author of philosophy books including, The Hellenic Philosophy: Between Europe, Asia and Africa.

(Posted February 2005)

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