Why the strategic alliance with France is a game changer in the Mediterranean

Prof. Costas Grivas
Why the strategic alliance with France is a game changer in the Mediterranean, Costas Grivas

Although it is too early to start celebrating, and as a Greek proverb says: "when you hear of many cherries, hold a small basket," perhaps, in this case, a tiny one,

And we say this for the first time, because in the past alliances with great powers, such as Great Britain and France, were one-sided, given the difference in geopolitical potential between them and Greece. On the contrary, today's France, which of course does not have the status it had a few decades ago, is within the measures of Greece so that it may enter into a relatively equal relationship with it. Moreover, the geopolitical downsizing of France, in parallel with the intended gigantism of Turkey, makes it the latest strategic threat to Paris.

In particular, France seems to understand that if Turkey manages to finlandize Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, as is its clear intentions, then it will put Israel and Egypt under a suffocating blockade. It will lead these two Mediterranean countries to a reluctant but forced co-operation with Ankara, which will thus become the undisputed ruler of the Eastern Mediterranean.

This will be a heavy blow to France. But it is not at all sure that Turkey will stop there. Its intervention in Libya has shown that Turkey has broader ambitions. Thus, it could enter into a strategic alliance with Algeria, causing even greater problems for Paris. The latter is a traditional rival of the French and has one of the largest armaments programs on the planet in progress. It is purchasing a huge package of weapons from Russia, which includes S-400 and Pantsir S1 air defense systems, Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, Kilo submarines and more.

It also appeared to be the first customer (outside Russia) for the fifth-generation Russian stealth fighter Sukhoi Su-57, something that has not yet been confia broken Libya. Egypt, as is well known, is also an opponent of Turkey. Thus, a Turkish-Algerian alliance would put Egypt under a suffocating siege, so there is a greater possibility for such to emerge.

Where is France aiming?

In this case, France is in danger of losing its maritime geopolitical butress, which is the Mediterranean. Such a development would be destructive for the country. Among other things, it would be cut off from Africa, where it has a large presence and significant geopolitical interests. The bridge that connects France with Africa is the Mediterranean. If it loses control, it also loses Africa. Africa allows France to continue to stay on the world stage as a world power. In other words, if it loses the Mediterranean, France loses the last remnants of its imperial identity.

This means that it will become a medium-sized European state, a Europe that is becoming more and more a place of German hegemony. This will be put on a course of dependence on Berlin and this is a fate worse than death. Consequently, Paris seems to understand that in order to avoid this domino of developments, it must resolutely support Greece. And this is what it is starting to do. Or at least we have some initial indications that it intends to do so.

Of course, this is the "defensive" dimension of the "philhellenic" French stance. The "aggressive" aspect may be France's attempt to establish itself as the dominant power in Europe and as one of the most important forces in the current multipolar international system. Paris seems to understand that NATO's "brain dead" and the stripping of the EU is creating a power vacuum that calls on France to fill it. Because if it does not, Germany will.

A "small NATO"

At the same time, this gap seems to be widening due to the internal crisis plaguing the US. A crisis that is by no means certain to end after the presidential election. It will probably intensify, no matter who the winner is. So France has to show who is the really big player in Europe in the geostrategic game spectrum is, moving away from the economic level, where Berlin is dominant.

In the context of this strategy, it seems that it wants to form a "small NATO" and a "small EU", concluding strategic alliances with critical European countries, the most important of which is Greece. To be precise, the system of the two Greek states, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus. A close alliance with the two statal components of Hellenism creates a geopolitical composition that far exceeds their simple sum. It offers Paris the necessary geopolitical base to build its dominant role in the multipolar international system of the third decade of the 21st century.

Under these conditions, this alliance offers enormous potential for Greece, which goes beyond the suppression of Turkish imperialism. Among other things, such an alliance would redefine Greece's relationship with the EU and allow it to act as a “liberator” against German financial oppression. Finally, it would offer a huge geopolitical capital to Hellenism to negotiate, under new conditions, its relationship with the US (when and if Washington recalls that it must have a structured global strategy), but also with Russia, China, and other important countries of the international system.

The Greek ruling elites

Of course, it is too early to celebrate. Yes, all of the above is based on real data, but so far it has not been confirmed that they are valid. We can not be sure of the intentions of the French. For example, they may simply want to achieve a large sale of weapon systems to Greece and this prospect of a strategic alliance is simply part of French marketing.

The creepy thing is that even if what has been said above is true, it is by no means certain that they will delight the ruling Greek elites. This is because they have learned to function as part of a foreign power and not to plan strategies based on national interests. In addition, this means that they will have to stand tall against Ankara and risk a clash with the Turkish war machine.

Apparently, the pursuit of the Greek elites is not resistance. It is a dialogue aimed at "compromise" through the "reasonable" concession of national sovereign rights. The prospect of Greece, which will aim at a strategic victory over Turkey and to emerge as a strong power in the Eastern Mediterranean and an important factor in Europe is something that seems to surpass them.

The duty of the government

In order to proceed with the implementation of such a strategy, the Greek elites must "disobey" Berlin and Washington. And that scares them. Of course, any reaction, especially from the US, will probably not be very strong. This is because France is part of the hardcore of the West, so a French-Greek strategic alliance will be a base of strength for the wider Western strategy in an international system, where Eurasia is increasingly rallying against the Eurocentric West.

It takes, therefore, some moral courage and a basic initiative by the Greek elites to enter into an alliance with France. The leading elites of Malta or Nauru would have this courage, but it is by no means certain that the Greek system of power as a whole, and not just the government, has it.

The burden falls on the government to seriously investigate whether the prospect of a long-term close Greek-French alliance that would change the situation on the Greek-Turkish front, but also in Europe, really applies. If this perspective is indeed realistic, then it must move forward quickly. And then hope for Greece will be reborn.

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