Editorial: Obama’s gifts and reality
There is no doubt that the visit of an American head of state to any country is a major…
There is no doubt that the visit of an American head of state to any country is a major event. More so when it is one by a charismatic President such as a Obama on his last international trip, following the unexpected election of Trump. Even if he is at the end of his term, Barack Obama continues to generate international interest with his statements and interventions.
On a symbolic level the visit of the American leader to Greece is a major event. His statements against austerity and in favor of a debt settlement may not directly influence the decisions of American leaders, as he admitted himself, but they demonstrate the consistency in his politics that he implemented during his term as President. They are, after all, in line with his interventions during critical phases of the Greek crisis.
The gifts of President Obama, beyond the symbolic and public relations – for the government – value, cannot have any meaningful impact. He stressed it himself, recognizing the differences between the USA and Europe, where it is difficult for the 28 governments to overcome their differences of opinion and interests to take large steps forward.
Unfortunately for the Greek people, the praises ancient Greek beauty and references to the birthplace of democracy are not enough to overcome our current problems. More so when the election of Trump is a wild card as far as the future of American policies are concerned.
The American President’s genuine expressions of sympathy and compassion definitely sound nice to the Greek people and of course the government. After all, the older anti-American sentiment – bar a few exceptions – has mostly died down in recent years and the USA is considered a given ally of our country.
However let us not forget that the USA does not have a direct involvement – aside from participating in the IMF – in the management of Greek problems. Furthermore they do not – even if the USA would like to – have a word in the settlement of the Greek debt. The USA’s influence definitely remains important even in Europe, but it is not decisive.
Let us hold on to the words of sympathy that we heard, along of course with the strong advice to carry on with the reforms, but let us not have high expectations as far as their effectiveness. Barack Obama will be remembered in history as one of the more popular American Presidents and not because of his contribution towards resolving the Greek crisis.