Greek News Editorial Board
The November 3 presidential election finds the Greek American community wondering which
of the two rivals will be best for the community’s interests, especially on its concerns regarding Cyprus, Greco-Turkish relations, US- Greece and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
During the presidency of Donald Trump, we saw the greatest flowering in bilateral relations of Greece and the USA, and a lot of progress in the relations with Cyprus. Although U.S. Congress has played a key role in the Eastern Mediterranean Act and the lifting of the arms embargo on Cyprus, there is no doubt that more has been done in these four years than in any past US administrations. And if we did not have the huge submissiveness of President Trump to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, we would give the current government an excellent rating. However, President Trump’s relationship with his Turkish counterpart remains a dark spot.
On the other hand, over time, Vice President Joe Biden is one of the most important and stable friends of Greece and Cyprus and the Greek American Community. From the time Cyprus-born Gus Georgiou from Delaware, initiated him in the Cyprus problem, Biden has been standing by our side. With his successive meetings with the leadership of the Greek American Community in 2013-2015, Biden created the background for a new U.S. policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, encouraging the tripartite cooperation of Greece and Cyprus with Israel, Egypt and other countries of the region.
Without Joe Biden (who visited Cyprus in May 2014), but also Obama’s visit to Athens in November 2016, we would not have had this boom in Greek American relations, which of course, must be largely credited to the US ambassador in Athens, Geoffrey Pyattt.
So, this time, for the Greek American Community, the dilemma is not which of the two candidates will be better for Greece and Cyprus. Relations with the United States have excelled to such an extent that we will soon say that they will not depend on the governments that are elected in Washington, Athens and Nicosia. May we one day reach the same level as Israel; may we, as a Greek American community, reach the same level as the American Jewish community and say, as AJC CEO David Harris did,” we are not Republicans, or Democrats, Likud or Labor, but the American Jewish Committee.”
PURELY WITH AMERICAN CRITERIA
In this presidential election, then, we will judge the two candidates according to purely American criteria.
In terms of experience and prestige, President Trump remains alien, ignorant and unstable in dealing with major international and domestic political and social problems, although he has led the largest superpower for four years. His impulsiveness makes him dangerous. His ignorance causes uncertainty. And his narcissism is dangerous both for him and for the country.
The way he has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic has damaged the United States. It has caused casualties and confusion, and of enormous cost to society. The immorality of his praise of the far-right, pro-racist organizations that propagate violence that turns into large anti-racist demonstrations across the country, is an example of how ruthless a government can be that doesn’t stop at any sacrifice.
Trump has repeatedly lied to the American people.From non-disclosure of his tax returns (unprecedented for a president) to his foreign bank accounts and intertwined relations in countries such as Russia, China and Turkey he has tried to keep the skeletons locked in the closet for as long possible.
Unfortunately, we do not have the slightest confidence in Donald Trump. If in these four years he was not able to restrain himself somewhat, even with a view toward re-election, then if he manages to succeed again, we will experience four years that are much worse.
Donald Trump must not just be defeated, but crushed, so that in the future we do not experience such dangerous phenomena again. The country is on the brink of civil war, and instead of healing wounds he is adding fuel to the fire.
Trump must be crushed along with Trumpism, the political and media adventurers who promote the same lies about American progress, the same divisive policies.
Both Congressional bodies must pass into the hands of Democrats, and the next two years must be devoted to substantial reforms in the areas of justice, healthcare, social security, and free higher education.
As we said before, we have reached a level at which the difference for Greek national issues will be relatively small, whichever candidate wins. But that is not the case with Congress. If the Democrats regain a majority in the Senate Bob Menendez will chair the Foreign Relations Committee. That in itself is a very strong incentive for Democrats to vote in Congress.
On November 3, we invite you to vote for Joe Biden. He is experienced, serious, and moderate. He can get the country out of its current division and the crisis caused by the pandemic.
This year’s presidential election highlighted the enormous weakness of the Greek American community. We did not manage to put the Greek issues and Cyprus (not even the Eastern Mediterranean) in the electoral program of the Democratic Party.
The only events held with Biden advisers until 10 days before the election day were organized by HALC and those who raised money for the two candidates did not seek to secure commitments on national issues.
Finally, we took some positions on Greek issues from the Campaign of Joe Biden, which are full of inaccuracies (he talks about North Cyprus and considers the Ecumenical Patriarch only the leader of the Greek Orthodox).
Trump’s election campaign was indifferent. And despite what has been done by his administration to improve the relations with Greece and Cyprus, the non-involvement of the U.S. president makes everything precarious.
If Joe Biden is elected, Greek Americans must not only rejuvenate their relationship with him, but also open channels of communication with Vice President Kamala Harris. Who, as you have read in the English section of “Greek News (10/26/2020), did not even mention our national issues when she came to speak at the PSEKA conference, in June 2019.