New York.- Peter J. Pappas, Sr., Chairman New York State Hellenic American Republican Association, issued n Wednesday the following statement to the community:
“In these final days of the 2008 presidential campaign, the race between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain is yet to be decided. Greek Americans, who take great and well-deserved pride in family, education, hard work, and rugged individualism in business and the professions, have a significant role to play in many of the battleground states that will decide this contest.
McCain is fighting hard to galvanize Republicans and convince independents that promoting economic growth by lowering taxes, controlling government spending, keeping inflation and interest rates low, building our domestic energy production and opening up foreign trade are the best ways to stabilize the housing market, raise stock market prices, and create millions of new jobs across the country.
Beyond our shores, the world remains a dangerous place. Seven years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, radical Islamic jihadists are just as determined to strike again at our country and kill as many Americans as possible. In Iraq, McCain opposed the failed counter-insurgency strategy and was first to call for the surge that is now succeeding. While Iran develops nuclear weapons, Pakistan holds off internal collapse, Russia threatens the European Union, and Arab-Israeli tensions await re-ignition, the United States needs John McCain, one of our nationʼs most knowledgeable and prepared national security thinkers, as Commander-in-Chief.
In southeastern Europe, John McCain views Greece and Cyprus as key allies and partners promoting free-market democracy, international security and expanded energy networks. He will work closely with Greece, America’s surest ally in the region, and encourage Skopje to negotiate a proper solution that fully respects historical accuracy, national identity and sovereignty within secure and inviolable borders. He will also work to ensure a visa waiver program that keeps America safe and welcomes countries such as Greece that have met all the technical criteria for qualification.
John McCain supports a just, democratic and enduring solution of the Cyprus problem that will stabilize the eastern Mediterranean region and secure greater freedom, prosperity and opportunity for all the citizens of a single and united Cyprus. As President, he will work with Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to build a united future in the European Union as a single republic based upon the universal principles of democratic government, the rule of law, and respects for the human rights and private property of every individual.
Obamaʼs supporters point to his recent statement on Greek-American issues. However, he never used his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe to ever publicly inquire into U.S. policies in Greece, Cyprus, or the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His activity began at the same time as his presidential campaign.
Democratic Presidents have often issued highly favorable campaign promises to the Greek American community, only to revert to establishment thinking in times of testing. Jimmy Carter promised to reverse the invasion of Cyprus, and instead lifted the arms embargo on Turkey without any reciprocity or concessions. Bill Clinton accepted the Turkish position of “grey zones” in the Aegean Sea after the Imia crisis and led the NATO bombing campaign of Serbia that delivered independence to Kosovo. Obama himself has already reversed his position on Jerusalem as an Israeli or Palestinian capital, on lifting or maintaining the embargo on Cuba, on the success of the surge in Iraq, and – most famously – on unconditional meetings with Americaʼs enemies.
John McCain has not issued any “Greek-American issues” statement because he stands on broad foreign policy and national security standards and principles that apply across the globe. He is a strong supporter of religious freedom as the universal birthright of all men and women. He recognizes that the plight of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople must be ended, not as a bilateral dispute between Greece and Turkey, but as a priority “of great importance for the United States in our relations with foreign nations.” As President, John McCain would uphold the rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to enjoy the fullest freedom to worship freely, without fear of extremist attacks; to educate generations of priests; to open and operate its seminaries; and to steward church properties that date back many centuries.
Barack Obamaʼs policies, such as his call to slash military spending in the middle of two wars would diminish Americaʼs ability to protect our allies and interests around the world. Here at home, his support for judges who care more for the rights of criminals than of victims will roll back the safety and security of our neighborhoods and streets.
Similarly, Obamaʼs plans to increase taxes, redistribute income, increase spending by a trillion dollars, punish successful small business, socialize health care, expand business and industry regulation and build up union power when the economy is already on its knees under a global credit crisis and finance meltdown is a sign of misguided philosophy. Obama says he will cut taxes, but has rarely done so throughout his decade in public office. He says 95% of working Americans will get a tax cut, but 40% currently pay no taxes – meaning a new $20 billion welfare program.
Letʼs give credit to Barack Obama where it is earned – he is indeed one of Americaʼ s most inspiring political leaders, thrilling baby boomers and young people alike with a message of “hope” and “change.” But the fact is that most Americans still donʼt know much about Barack Obama, or about the change he hopes to achieve.
John McCain is a towering figure in the American landscape, his public life beginning in 1968 when he was shot down over Vietnam. A famous prisoner of war, congressman, senator, and now presidential candidate, John McCain has actually built bipartisan coalitions on everything from campaign finance reform to foreign policy to judicial appointments.
By his inspiring background and his political party, Barack Obama may be better to exploit the hunger for change in America. By his own character, vast experience, and proven record of accomplishment, John McCain is better placed to achieve that change, here at home and around the world, for the betterment of America and the world.
Peter J. Pappas, Sr., Chairman
New York State Hellenic American Republican Association”