Greece is a peculiar vantage point, from which to watch the Great Power game in the South-East Europe/Eastern Mediterranean/Near East region as the game changes – once more.
To start from the nexus of unpleasantness: the visit of (troublesome neighbour) Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the US and his meeting with “great fan” President Trump signaled quite a setback for shallow Greek hopes that the U.S. would serve as a shield against Turkish aggression (or at least rambunctiousness) in the region. The thinking went that Ankara’s closeness to Moscow, plus the Turkish Army’s buying and setting up Russian S-400 missiles would pry the US away from DoD and State Department closeness to Turkish options. “The Donald” put such thinking at rest, while the perspective of Turkey buying Patriot missiles alongside the S-400 and partly-mothballing the latter until things cool down with NATO fears for “alien system” invasion to the Alliance armory brings anew to the fore the possibility of Ankara regaining access to the (currently frozen) F-35 programme. Will the American foreign policy-military establishment, or else Congress, put a stop to such Trump shift of policy? Will the increased presence of the U.S. in facilities in Greece (Alexandroupolis, Larissa, Volos, further to Souda) neutralize such renewed US-Turkey closeness?
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was diplomatically polite and supportive of his Greek counterpart Nicos Dendias who visited Moscow trying to counterbalance the growing ties of Russia with Turkey – especially after their joint policing of North-East Syria at the behest of Ankara, once the latter succeeded to talk away American effective presence from Kurdish-held and -claimed territory.
Lavrov was careful enough to reiterate Russian support to a solution on the other, East Med, front of hydrocarbon extractions – a solution based on international law, but promptly adding the dimension of negotiations between regional players – a position quite close to the Turkish one.