The following appears as an introduction to the recently published book, The Greek Paradox, edited by Graham T. Allison and Kalypso Nicolaidis.
The Achilles [paradox] . . . affirms that even the runner most famed for his speed must fail in his pursuit of the slowest.
Aristotle. Physics. Book VI.9.
Is there a Greek paradox? Many believe that there is a paradox of modern Greece worth analyzing, even if they disagree on why it came about and what is to be done about it. By entitling the project in this way, we do not seek to be gratuitously provocative. To suggest that Greece's performance today does not match its promise should be understood as a call to arms, not a cause for despair. Indeed, our diagnosis should not be confused with the mind-set shared by nostalgic phil-hellenes around the world, who see Greece like a child prodigy who did not live up to its early accomplishments. Rather, we believe that Greece is no instance of Zeno's Achilles paradox and is not bound to fail in its pursuit of national maturity. We believe that this is a nation of great historic achievement and potential and that we are now living through an historic window of opportunity for Greece. But seizing this opportunity will take hard-nosed analysis, bold vision, and political leadership. This volume is a modest contribution to the challenge.
Greece's assets are well known: its natural and human capital; its geostrategic position at the crossroads of East and West; its partaking in the European Union's (EU) ambitious project for sustained economic prosperity in the region; its people's strong sense of national identity, bolstered by one of the largest, most loyal and successful diaspora in the world; and, indeed, its historical legacy. Yet, it is all too easy to illustrate how Greece's performance is lacking today. Despite the restoration of democracy two decades ago and the existence of solid democratic institutions, the political system remains ineffective and plagued by clientelism; Greece has repeatedly failed to attract foreign investment and its income per capita has fallen below that of Spain and Portugal; and it has managed to become deservedly or not the black sheep of Europe. To the outside world, including sympathetic observers from the United States, the most blatant lost opportunity has been Greece's inability to play its natural regional leadership role to help the world cope with the Balkan tragedy. If anything, Greece is perceived as having fanned the flames. Meanwhile, Greeks suppose that the world "simply does not understand" their legitimate fears and goals. But the world would like to understand. The Greek paradox has become everyone's business in the post-Cold War era.
Obviously, even for those who share this broad diagnosis, there is room for disagreement on the notion of a paradox. One may argue that the promise has never been that great, nor the performance that bad. After all, as Greeks like to point out, for a nation stymied by four centuries of Ottoman occupation, things are going just fine. Viewed from another angle, we may recognize that all countries, like all individuals, face some gap between promise and performance. Striving to fill this gap is the engine of progress in history. Or we may simply note that a country is not an input-output table and that comparing intangible potentials with tangible results, counterfactuals with facts, lacks analytical rigor. Ultimately, there is a risk of circular reasoning: if we view the paradox in historical terms, one day's performance is the next day's promise and every effect eventually becomes a cause. We cannot point at once to Greece's structural weaknesses and then to its current inability to fulfill a promise it never made. In the longue dure, Greece's status as founder of Western civilization, and the haunting echo of its antique wisdom, may be a curse in disguise. Socrates cannot be held accountable for the nuclear bomb, and modern Greeks cannot be asked to act out a playscript written by their forefathers. We are but one of the many futures of our past. Granted. The Greek paradox is neither a measurable fact nor a museum artifact. It is a metaphor meant to stimulate our thinking, encourage debate and thus, inevitably spark controversy.
This book should be useful to readers interested not only in Greece per se, but also in the fate of the broader region and in issues of nation-building, political and economic development, and foreign policy challenges in the post-Cold War era. It's chapters aredrawn from a conference held at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in fall 1995, whose goal was to contribute to the necessary dialogue among Greeks of all persuasions, as well as between Greeks and non-Greeks, around this most important question: Can Greece take up the challenge? A certain Greek pride, grounded perhaps in an attempt by many in Greece to come to terms with the gap between the promise and the performance, and all too often perceived by others as a superiority complex, often precludes constructive debate between Greeks and non-Greeks on the strengths and weaknesses of the country. This need not be so. Such debates are not only possible but fruitful. If this project makes that much clear, its main objective will have been accomplished.
The book has three sections. In the first section, four prominent political, economic, and security analysts of Greece and its region provide the analytical foundation for better understanding its history, policies, and institutions. Each in their own realm, their contributions assess the causes and consequences of the Greek paradox, focus our attention on factors of change as well as inertia, and provide a basis for prescription. This set of chapters laid the basis for our conference debates. The second section offers "views from the top" by three key players who agreed to engage in our dialogue. For students of world politics interested in reciprocal perceptions between "big" and "small" countries, it is fascinating to contrast the views of President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos with those of former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Joseph Nye, who has since become dean of the Kennedy School. As someone living between the two worlds, Governor Michael Dukakis shares his moving testimony on what it has meant to be a Greek American as well as an icon for the Greek diaspora. One ultimate goal is to develop a few concrete proposals and to offer some of our own answers to the perennial question, What is to be done? In the last section, key commentators remark on the diagnoses offered and add prescriptions of their own.
Greek Politics and Society
The political institutions of "the most ancient democracy" in the world can be likened to some foreign words recently introduced into modern Greek language that turn out to have a Greek etymology. In the last century and a half, through its progressive liberation from the Ottoman Empire and other foreign influences, Greece has imported its institutions- royalty and democracy, for example- in bits and pieces from the West. Throughout this process, and ever since the time of the Enlightenment, the schism between modernizers and traditionalists, Westerners and Easterners, has been a defining feature of Greek political life. What does the Greek paradox owe to this tension? Have we reached a time when the debate is over, when modernizers and reformists have definitely won?
In his contribution, Nikiforos Diamandouros, a leading academic advocate of modernization, explores the roots of the cleavage between the "reformist and underdog" camps and argues that while political reform has been gathering momentum in the last few years and especially in the last few months it is bound to encounter deep forces of resistance that should be anticipated. His version of the Greek paradox contrasts Greece's unprecedented performance in the 1950s through the 1970s with the poor performance of the last two decades. Greece achieved full-fledged democratization during the key period from 1974 to 1981 that witnessed a loss of power by nonaccountable institutions (like the king and the army), the entry of mass parties on the political scene, and the movement of both the Left and the Right toward the center. To explain why Greece "steadily lost ground over the past twenty years," in spite of the normalization achieved in Greek politics, Diamandouros points to the "darker side" of the years of promise, with the buildup of a rather monstrous state bent on the systematic exclusion of all those on the losing side of the civil war, an utterly nonmeritocratic ethos, blatant discrimination in its distribution of social benefits, and harmful overprotection of Greece's fragmented economic system. The structural rigidities and the weakness of Greek civil society, resulting from what the author calls "the logic of particularism," did not prepare the country for the turbulent times ahead.
Despite the watershed victory of the Greek socialist party PASOK in the 1981 elections, the situation perversely worsened. To be sure, PASOK's arrival at the pinnacle of power contributed decisively to the legitimization of Greek democracy through the integration of a whole strata of the population into the system. But this movement only served to intensify the particularist logic of the prior era under the euphemism of "compensatory justice," and to increase the inefficiency and corruption of the state-controlled sector. These developments ran exactly counter to the need for profound structural adjustment called for by Greece's entry into the European Community (EC). For Diamandouros, the prospect of a shrinking state sector and state-dependent private entities, coupled with the gradual adoption of public policies based upon a universalist logic, is bound to encounter staunch resistance from the existing vested interests that make up the underdog camp. Yet, there have been encouraging gains for reform since the late 1980s in the realm of macroeconomic policy, public management, and relations between business and labor. The election of Constantine Simitis, in January 1996, constitutes the latest and most decisive boost to this process. But, Diamandouros insists, reformists need to focus on minimizing the social and political costs of adjustment if they are to succeed in engineering a metamorphosis of the state "into a flexible instrument of strategic and selective intervention" at the service of Greek society. The author points to a number of concrete approaches to help achieve this goal, from the creation of a more flexible labor market, to the development of continued education, the independence of the media, and the internal democratization of the parties. We are currently witnessing the awakening of Greek civil society and the mobilization of the social coalition advocating reform and, with this, Diamandouros believes, the promise of a reconstructed, inclusive, and universal Greek citizenship.
Some conference participants criticized what they saw as an externally imposed dichotomy between modernizers and traditionalists. Most, however, made their own variations on this powerful theme. In his comments, Alexis Papahelas echoes the call for radical action against a concentration of power in Greece particularly in the media—which he sees as a core factor of inertia. Dimitris Keridis notes that the modernization debate is not between the past and the future, but between competing pasts and futures, and that while the dichotomy is valid, politicians are prone to stress the contrast rather than seek a possible synthesis. To the list of strategies to strengthen the participation of Greek society in the reformist movement, he adds three crucial items: genuine decentralization and local accountability, the buildup of a meritocratic civil service, and the separation of church and state. In his concluding remarks, Loukas Tsoukalis leaves no ambiguity in his diagnosis of the current situation: the propensity of Greek politics to be defined by populist and charismatic leaders catering to a clientele has so far survived the era of mass politics in Greece. In short, he, too, sees the dualism of modern Greek society as the best explanation of the Greek paradox; but he is not reassuring on the scale of the task ahead. Many in the professional classes, he believes, have been an integral part of this closed system of privilege, and thus have as much an interest as any other group in resisting change. In conclusion, Tsoukalis draws out even more explicitly the implications of Diamandouros's analysis by suggesting political realignment as a possible future scenario in Greece, since the political forces favoring reform cut across the two main parties.
The Economic Sphere
If the thrust of the argument presented here about Greek politics holds, it is no wonder that the economic sphere is in trouble. And indeed, according to Stavros Thomadakis, the Greek economy remains "chronically backward." This situation sharply contrasts with the individual abilities of Greeks whose success abroad offers ample proof that they are, on the whole, "industrious, adjustable, and capable people." For Thomadakis, however, the gap between ability and performance creates only an apparent paradox, albeit a useful one, since what matters are the intervening variables between the individual and the statistical whole. Thus, his analysis dovetails with that of Diamandouros, both in his assessment of performance and his seeking to draw out the structural variables that affect the Greek economic landscape. Thomadakis presents the economic version of Diamandouros's "darker side" to the "Greek economic miracle," a period of prosperity that lasted until the mid-1970s, boasting a growth rate almost double the European average. He shows how the trade deficit and unemployment rate during this period indicate deep structural weaknesses in the Greek economy, defects that would only be revealed in the following decades. According to him, this should not surprise us, for Greece labors under handicaps not experienced by other EU countries. In addition to the effects of a protracted period of nation-building and devastating wars, Greece is in a bad location: too close to Turkey and too far from Western Europe. Moreover, as both a small and a poor country, it has wavered between the Charybdis of inefficient, small-scale undertakings and the Scylla of oligopolistic heavy industries. This thriving of "large firms in a small market" gives us an additional clue to the politicization of the economy in Greece. Most importantly, Greece is an outward-looking economy, highly vulnerable to international crisis. In 1974, the first oil crisis spelled the abrupt end of the economic miracle and the beginning of a period of low growth and high inflation, which is only beginning to subside. Thomadakis provides useful comparative data, with Spain and Portugal, the traditional suspects for unflattering contrasts showing their much faster recovery after the shock as well as the worrisome lag in Greece's rates of growth of investment and productivity. But there may be some hope in the resilience of Greece's export sector and in the absence of a potentially obsolete industrial base to hinder the country's ability to adjust.
Thomadakis is less critical of the role of the Greek state than Diamandouros. While he concurs in criticizing the use of the regulatory structures as a shield against the crisis in the 1970s, he reckons this was necessary in order to co-opt the Greek electorate into the new democratic game. In his conclusion, Tsoukalis makes no compromise with history, bemoaning the fact that "economic adjustment and international competitiveness were sacrificed for many years on the altar of democratic consolidation." What, then, is the potential for economic reform? Thomadakis stresses recent evidence of change in the public sector, while providing his own list of desiderata, including tax reform, mechanisms to coordinate public and private initiatives, political agreement to eliminate the manipulation of taxes for electoral purposes, radical reform of the welfare state, and concurrent privatization and modernization of the public sector. Reform is possible in Greece that combines the harnessing of market forces with a responsible role for a regulatory state. For Thomadakis, the liberalization of the financial sector during the last decade, which he describes in great detail, provides a case in point. The number of other success stories that can inspire the Greeks is growing, as is the consensus that "economic stabilization must precede the satisfaction of social demands." These are signs of collective learning from recent economic history and poor performance, promising signs indeed if such learning eventually leads to an overhaul of Greece's antiquated institutional designs.
The debate centers on fine-tuning Thomadakis's diagnosis, and the divergence of views turned less on teleology and more on whether what needs to be stressed by reformist advocates is whether the glass is half-full or half-empty. In his comments, for instance, Keridis highlights the pressures for reform that have built up over the years, including those of investors and consumers seeking cheap credit. Tsoukalis, on the other hand, puts greater emphasis on the resistance to be expected when structural reforms are implemented, from tax evaders responding to the widening of the tax base, from pensioners responding to changes in the social security system, or from workers losing their jobs due to administrative reforms and privatization. It is clear that efforts at stabilization initiated in the early 1990s really started to bite by the mid-1990s, leading to a sharp decrease in the budget deficit and a stronger drachma. These signs of adjustment are to be welcomed. But only if the Greek people can strike a new social contract around radical reform of their state institutions will the government be able to move decisively from this new macroeconomic realism to structural economic reform. As Tsoukalis concludes, the challenge will extend well beyond the end of this century.
Greek Foreign and Security Policy
For Greece, perhaps more so than for many countries, economics leads to security. The link points to the two greatest challenges facing Greek foreign and security policy in the next five years. For one, everyone agrees that the ill-managed relationship with Turkey has become a drain on Greece's economy. At the same time, if Greece had enough resources to invest in regional economic development, the opportunities awaiting in the Balkans are enormous. How can Greece square this fundamental equation?
Monteagle Stearns, former U.S. ambassador to Greece, takes us back to basics. He argues that, in the field of security, the Greek paradox lies in the gap between military performance and diplomatic potential. Joseph Nye expresses this more diplomatically by explaining that Greece has not exploited its "soft" power to the fullest. And, indeed, one cannot help but be puzzled when Greeks testify to their collective sense of insecurity, while concurring with Nye that Greece constitutes a beacon of stability for countries in the region. To be sure, the challenge here is enormous: Greece's geostrategic situation can be compared to an unwalled city with a coastline to defend twice that of the United States! Thus, says Stearns, "military measures alone cannot defend Greek borders." Only an astute alliance strategy can face up to this challenge, where the fundamental choice for Greece has always been between a land-based alliance to the north and a sea-based alliance to the south. While the purpose of Greece's NATO mission was ostensibly to defend its northern border against communist attack, and that in cooperation with Turkey, every Greek government since the late 1950s has instead concentrated on the perceived Turkish threat. Stearns cogently points out that, given this obsession to the east, it was the collapse of Yugoslavia, not of the Soviet Union, that created a real challenge to Greek security. Above all, the Macedonian question has plagued Greek diplomacy since the end of the Cold War. And while Stearns absolves Greek passion over the issue as an understandable product of Greek history, he cannot help but wonder about Greece's incapacity to capitalize on Skopje's dependence, pushing it instead into the arms of competing neighbors. More broadly, and given its outspoken partisanship for the Serbs, Greece has failed to use the Balkan crisis to strengthen its influence in NATO and the EU. Yet, there is much potential value in these memberships that Greece has left unexploited. In this vein, Stearns praises the new thinking in Greek-Turkish relations exemplified by the lifting of the customs union veto in exchange for promised EU membership for Cyprus. But ultimately, he argues, Greece's future security lies with NATO, given its new Mediterranean outlook and its role as a mechanism to strengthen Greece's precious ties with the United States.
Stearns' sense that Greece has still to take on the challenges presented by the ending of the Cold War was widely shared in our proceedings. There was, however, some debate over just how much better it could have done and what exactly it should do now. "In all, the Greek moment of opportunity has arrived," states Secretary Nye, urging Greece to capitalize on its soft power, including its political and military alliances, in order to play a leadership role in the region. Steve Larrabee sums up the expectations of many in his assessment that "Greece could become the point man of Europe's policy in the Balkan." But the official view from the top in Greece is definitely more cautious, as President Stefanopoulos reminds us that "Greece firmly believes that no Balkan or other neighboring country should involve itself in the ongoing conflict in the Balkans, since this would increase the danger of seeing it spread." Indeed, one can argue that a mediator needs to be either powerful or neutral; Greece is neither. Could it have used or still use its nonneutrality to its advantage? It is not easy for Greece to mediate between Albania and Serbia on Kosovo, while at the same time inquiring about the fate of Greek Albanians in "northern Epirus." How much more could Greece really do?
Not surprisingly, the Macedonian question is still at the heart of any assessment of how severe the Greek paradox really is. Whatever their own opinion about desirable solutions, Greeks, wherever they live, have shared a frustration during the last few years over the world's lack of understanding of or sympathy for Greece's position. To be sure, the Greek government did receive the benefit of the doubt, as the diplomatic status of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) testifies. But, most non-Greek as well as some Greek analysts use harsh words to condemn Greek policy vis-a-vis Macedonia. Greeks unfortunately need to hear Woodward's warning that the Enlightenment view of Greece, which has been its core intangible asset, could erode as "the Greek nationalist hysteria regarding Macedonia and persistent Greek preoccupation with Turkey as a hostile threat contribute to an alternative view of Greece." As Stearns sums up, "the Greek embargo isolated Greece politically almost as much as it isolated FYROM economically." Ironically, as Larrabee points out, Greece is the only country in the region that does not have territorial aspirations against Macedonia. This should have led it to engage with rather than try to isolate its neighbor. It is not too late to make the connection, and the stakes are high. In his introductory chapter, Misha Glenny issues a passionate plea for diffusing the "ethnic time bomb" in Macedonia and urges Greece to build on its recent constructive stance. Echoing the preoccupation of the U.S. administration with Macedonia, Joseph Nye reminds us that Bosnia is only one piece of a complex puzzle in the Balkans, and while he praises Greece's accommodating stance, it seems that more is expected.
Clearly, the Greek government will have much to do in order to address the "credibility deficit" Larrabee's words that has resulted from its prior policies. Pulling together the opinions contributed to this book, its strategy should be threefold: to engage in a dialogue over its past policy, to contribute to current reconstruction efforts, and to move to center stage to shape the future of the region. On the first front, Greeks need to explain more comprehensively to the world the rationale for their stance on FYROM and ultimately to reappraise their message. In this vein, President Stefanopoulos's address to the Harvard community sought to offer the balanced, official view on the issue, covering the historical landmarks, the ancestral Greek character of the region's population, Bulgaria's ambition to annex the entire region as the cause of the Balkan War and its alliance with Germany to accomplish the task, and, finally, Tito's "creation" of a Macedonian republic and, by the same token, a Macedonian national identity in Yugoslavia.
Unfortunately, non-Greeks simply do not share the belief deeply held by many Greeks and relayed by the president that resistance to the name "Macedonia" is legitimate because such a name is a vehicle for irredentist ambitions. Greeks have a better chance of making themselves heard by stressing the historically shared character of the region, and therefore of Macedonian identity, and by reminding their interlocutors that Greece's tragic civil war was in part fought over Macedonia. Ultimately, Greece will never be taken seriously without acknowledging squarely the legitimate national feelings of two generations of people brought up as "Macedonians." (I have long argued that, for this reason, Greece should have promoted the compromise name of "New Macedonia" from the beginning.) If we accept Papahelas's diagnosis that the foreign policy establishment depends too much on state support to challenge strategic axioms in periods of "over-excitement," then there is some hope for new thinking under the current, more "sober" government.
On the current strategic front, Greece must also take an active part in peace building in Bosnia and, following Glenny, help engineer an overall bargain in the Balkans, linking the south and the north in a regional stability pact. Both Stearns and Larrabee argue for building a Balkan alliance system, while Glenny stresses the key role of the Greek-Bulgarian relationship. Finally, Greece can work at becoming a future political, economic, and cultural hub for the region. It already serves as an engine for the Albanian economy through the remittances of Albanian workers. The president himself has played no small part in building closer economic cooperation with Bulgaria and Rumania. These ties need to be encouraged and infrastructures built. For instance, as Thomadakis points out, there will be a need for institutional arrangements to facilitate the security and freedom of payment in the Balkans, which in turn will facilitate trade and economic cooperation. In such a scenario, the city of Thessaloniki has a crucial role to play and needs to develop a coherent strategy to attract the necessary investment.
Ultimately, Greece's sense of security depends on accommodation with its Aegean neighbor. Participants disagreed on whether Greece's interests lay in a strong or a weak Turkey, and therefore when and how it should be engaged. When Joseph Nye urged Greece to take the first, sometimes difficult, steps to build better relationships with its neighbors, he probably had Turkey in mind, along with the Balkans. But Greeks do not see the points on which they can concede. Commenting on the Aegean Sea controversy, President Stefanopoulos makes the case that "the threat by Turkey to declare war against Greece is plainly due to the fact that it is well aware that it lacks any valid argument to support its position." To be sure, Greece was vindicated during the January 1996 crisis over the Imia islets by winning a broad endorsement of its position that the Aegean dispute should be settled by the International Court of Justice at the Hague. Yet, Greeks need to come to terms with the strategic importance of Turkey to the rest of the world and their need, therefore, to make some accommodation. By distinguishing between process and outcome, a compromise could be found between Greece's insistence on a legal settlement and Turkey's insistence on a political one.
On this premise, several of our commentators argue that Greece can and should engage Turkey in numerous ways. For a start, the Greek strategy to link strategic concessions by Turkey to EU economic benefits can pay off as long as Greece is not seen as reneging on its commitments. Larrabee and others advocate and spell out confidence-building measures between Greece and Turkey. Woodward stresses the need for a regional arms-control regime centered on cooperation between Greece and Turkey, all the more desirable for Greece at a time when Turkey is to be given central responsibility in training the Bosnian army. New ideas need to be generated and initiatives taken along these lines through formal and parallel diplomacy.
During our proceedings, Ambassador Loucas Tsilas told the story of a man who encounters an unfriendly group of warriors in the jungle. "Are you with us or with the others?" the warriors ask. "With you," is the man's immediate answer. "Sorry," the warriors' retort, "we are the others." Game theorists may no doubt one day come up with an optimal strategy. In the meantime, Greece must learn to live with the blurring between its own image, reputation, and responsibilities and those of its "significant others." To be sure, our proceedings testified to the fact that Greeks, like anyone else, resent being blamed for other people's mistakes "Others around us are the ones who ignited the fires, If we live in a bad neighborhood, others, not only us, must police it, or others need Greece more than Greece needs others." But at least in geostrategic terms, we do not choose the "other" that we must live with. Negotiation is the name of the game. Tsoukalis describes the pathology of Greek foreign policy as based on a strong sense of insecurity, sometimes culminating in a siege mentality. While it is true that this sense of insecurity is "not created out of nothing," that Greece's neighbors easily turn into enemies, and that Greece's allies have done little to allay Greece's fears, Greek foreign policy, like Greek political life in general, needs to be normalized. Tsoukalis argues that Greek political discourse all too often refers to rights grounded in ancient Greek history. Instead of rights, which are by definition absolute, Greek leaders need to speak more often of Greek interests. This would better prepare Greek public opinion for the give-and-take of international politics and for the political deals that will need to be struck with Skopje and Ankara in the next few years.
Europe, the United States, and the Greek Diaspora
Susan Woodward warns us that isolation is the greatest threat to national survival in a world of interdependence. A last variant of the Greek paradox is that Greece is one of the most open countries in the world, sending out and taking in massive flows of people every year. And while Greece perceives itself as isolated from the "West" by a belt of potentially hostile neighbors, at the same time the "West" often sees Greece as isolating itself in the foreign policy realm. In part, there is a gap in perception here regarding the promise versus performance of Greece's alliances. Greece's partners in NATO and the EU stress the enormous comparative advantage this double membership gives Greece in the region; Greeks concur regarding potentials but feel that these alliances do not necessarily deliver. In part, this is due, of course, to the historical baggage of Diamandouros' "institutionalized" foreign influence. As Woodward notes, "Greece follows other countries in the region in the conviction that the interests of foreign powers continue to define the realm of the possible." Whatever the mix of perception and reality, Greece and others in the region must be given, and must seek out, the means to shape their own future. Clearly, "Greece needs allies and not patrons;" Stearns's motto is warranted on both sides. Participants in our proceedings argued over whether Greece must continue to balance its links to the East and the West or turn definitely to the West. But almost all agreed that to use the threat of an Eastern alliance to obtain satisfaction in the West would be counterproductive. One of Greece's key assets lies in the synergy between three concentric circles of "allies" Europe, the United States, and the diaspora, whose partnership must be used systematically as a lever to accomplish the transformation goals discussed in this volume.
On how to best use Greece's alliance, certainly a common theme is the need to turn from reactive to proactive strategies. As Tsingos suggests, going one step further and taking an active role in non-Greek issues that matter to its allies would certainly serve to build a reserve of diplomatic capital. One of the remaining core questions is how to strike the right balance between Europe and the United States, between the EU, the Western European Union (WEU), and NATO. The tension between Stearns's advocacy of NATO over WEU and Tsoukalis's invocation of the freedom not to choose has been somewhat muted by EU members' decision, led by France, to pursue a NATO-centered European defense identity. It is still the case, however, that how Greece handles its membership in the EU at the turn of the millennium is the key to its future.
Diamandouros' chapter makes it clear why integration into the European Union in 1981 was not followed by the restructuring of Greek social, political, and economic arrangements that would have been necessary if Greece's developmental trajectory was to converge with that of its new partners. Today, however, Greece is embarking on a difficult reform agenda and the EU more than any individual member states an indispensable partner in the reformist coalition. As Tsoukalis argues, membership in the EU generally acts as a catalyst for reform, even if at the margin the EU's budgetary transfers can contribute to slowing the need for adjustment. In the last few years, Greece has shown its will to play by the dictates of convergence in the realms of value-added taxes, financial reform, and the criteria for monetary union. Tsoukalis believes that the Maastricht criteria of convergence "will help to concentrate the minds of politicians who may have some difficulty focusing." But Greece also needs to win over its European partners by acting in a constructive manner beyond the mere defense of its own interests, in particular by serving as the guide that many Eastern and Central Europeans believe it to be. In doing so, Greece could transfer political capital in other realms, such as back to the European Monetary Union (EMU), where it could more credibly take part in the crucial upcoming debate on the fate of a, euphemistically called "pre-ins," that needs to be better heard and represented. Maybe not so paradoxically, it is by playing by the rules of the game whenever possible that Greece will be able to advocate for changing those rules when really necessary.
If Europe is the anchor of Greece's economic and political stability, relations with the United States remain Greece's insurance policy. In the post-Cold War era, the United States has become the great stabilizer, even if often reluctantly and by default. We will never know what our world would have been like if Michael Dukakis had become president of the United States. While, fortunately, the "institutionalized" nature of U.S. influence over Greek politics based on the Truman doctrine is over, Greece has still to build a real ally rather than a patron relationship with the U.S. There is no doubt that the Greek diaspora in the U.S., indeed the Greek lobby in Washington, does count. This may be why Nye feels that the U.S. is sometimes more sensitive to Greek concerns than the Europeans. But the U.S.-Greek relationship needs to be nurtured and elevated above the perennial demand for balance with Turkey. For one, it is still the case, and is likely to be for a long time, that U.S. leadership is indispensable in periods of crisis, especially when Turkey is involved. To be sure, the EU's leverage through accession discussions is not to be discounted. But, in the short run, the U.S. ambassador steps in first. Even in protracted crises, such as the case of Cyprus, U.S. leverage needs to complement the EU. When Larrabee and others advocate making Cyprus a priority of U.S. diplomacy as a first step in pressuring the Turks and Greeks into normalized relations, he reflects the U.S. preoccupation with the eastern flank, Turkey's stability, and its anchoring to the west. For the U.S., Greece is a key piece in a much bigger puzzle that spells balance of power for some and clash of civilizations for others. As far as Greece is concerned, it needs to be reassured that the pieces can design their own shape.
To render the Greek paradox more vivid, Thomadakis depicts Greece as poor while "Greeks . . . strive the world over as merchants, entrepreneurs, scholars, or engineers." The image is popular, especially among Greeks abroad, but we do not need to assume that there is a Greek gene for genius that is dampened by Greece's waters (he certainly does not!), only that Greek migrants strive like many other nationalities of migrants. What Michael Dukakis's testimony vividly illustrates is the extent to which members of the Greek diaspora are able to combine a deep level of integration and commitment to their new land with strong feelings of loyalty to the "homeland." This leads to a sense of solidarity within the diaspora itself that cannot be better captured than by the images of "outpouring support" and "enormous pride" summoned by the former Greek-American presidential candidate. Yet, these feelings of loyalty and a sense of belonging to some sort of Panhellenic ideal do not, to the same extent as, for instance, the Jewish Diaspora, translate into concrete and continuous ties with the homeland itself. Papahelas is right in pointing out how too often members of the Greek diaspora's elite who want to lend their expertise, resources, or enthusiasm to specific projects in Greece end up losing interest because the bond has not been nurtured enough by Greece itself. A new definition of "remote citizenship" is needed for Greeks abroad that can fulfill their frequent yearning to "contribute" without allowing them to pretend to know best "what is good for Greece."
The Greek diaspora, not only in the United States but also around the world, unquestionably has a role to play in fostering change in Greece. It can help create spaces for constructive and bipartisan dialogue by supporting initiatives such as an independent foundation for the future of Hellenism, as called for by Papahelas, or the already existing network of the Hellenic Resource Institute, launched by Greek students in the United States. Greek immigrants can also continue playing an advocacy role for Greece in the realm of foreign policy by explaining its fears, hopes, and dilemmas in their own words: why they got to where they are rather than why Alexander the Great did not. But, as Dukakis pleads, this advocacy role requires a clear message emanating from Greece itself. Conversely, members of the diaspora can bring their experience in their adopted country to bare by contributing to debates in Greece over democratization, economic reform, or the information revolution. Often seen themselves as minorities in their adopted countries, members of the Greek diaspora could even contribute by raising the ultimate taboo subject in Greece, namely the status of minorities. Clearly, members of the diaspora do not, by definition, play only a constructive role, and we must not underestimate the risk stressed by Woodward, that while their beliefs were formed in a previous period, they have enormous autonomy in defining the perceived interests of their homeland. This is all the more reason why the contribution of the diaspora must be conceived of as an ongoing interaction rather than as two unilateral streams of propaganda from the homeland and support from abroad.
What Is to Be Done?
In each of the areas discussed, it becomes clear that the time for reform has come. There is a range of concrete policy proposals, some controversial, others less so, that we hope will contribute to the current and lively debate over Greece's future. Many discuss extensively options for political, economic, and institutional reform that could form the basis for a new national debate. Basilis Tsingos sums up the challenge as a need for policymakers to lengthen the shadow of the future for all actors in Greece. But, ultimately, what needs to be questioned in Greece is as much the state of mind as the state of things. Participants in this project call for a shift from an attitude of entitlement to a spirit of participation, from a focus on Greek rights to an articulation of Greek interests, and from a defensive posture to a proactive approach to its relations with neighbors and allies. Most generally, and to paraphrase Woodward, there is a post-Cold War paradox in the contrast between the proclaimed hope of tearing down territorial and ideological curtains and the ubiquitous resurgence of policies and philosophies of exclusion. Greece can address this paradox by designing its own policies of inclusion, domestically, in the region, and with Greeks around the world. We do not claim to have found ways to resolve the "Greek paradox," or even to have presented a consensus on what this paradox really is about. We do, however, believe, unlike Zeno, that Achilles can catch up to the Tortoise and that Greeks are committed to the promise.
Kalypso Nicolaidis is Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, teaching courses on negotiation, international institutions, and the European Community.