The Ahepan Winter 2020 - 8

Greece and the West:
The 200-year alliance

DR. EMMANUEL KARAGIANNIS

T

his year, Greeks celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821 against the
Ottoman Empire. Despite some early victories,
the struggle of the freedom-loving Greeks
appeared doomed to fail. The Ottoman Empire
was a superpower of its day and there was
no state to support the Greek rebels. Nevertheless, hundreds
of volunteers from Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany,
Switzerland, and Poland rushed to fight for the liberation of
Hellas. American volunteer fighters, such as George Jarvis
(nicknamed as " George Zervas the American " ) and Jonathan
Peckham Miller, endangered their life to come to the aid of
desperate Greeks. The selfless sacrifice of these Philhellenes
cemented Greece's relationship with the Western world. In
October 1827, the Battle of Navarino between the OttomanEgyptian fleet and the Allies (Great Britain, France, and Russia)
led to Greek independence.
Since 1821, the alliance with the West has been the most
important pillar of Greek foreign policy. First Britain and France
and then the United States played the role of protector for the
embattled Greek state. The pro-Western orientation of Greek
diplomacy was challenged only twice in two centuries: during
the period of the pro-German neutrality in World War I (19141917) and during the civil war from 1945 to 1949, when the Greek
communists were defeated with American help.

8 | THE AHEPAN ยท Winter 2020	

Since the end of the civil war, Greece has been fully integrated into the Western community of states. Indeed, it became
a member of NATO in 1952 and joined the European Economic
Community in 1981. The relationship with the United States has
been of primary importance for Greece. From the time of the
Truman Doctrine to the involvement of President Barack Obama
in the Eurozone financial crisis, the United States has played a
decisive role in Greek affairs. There are several factors that can
explain this special relationship, including the presence of a large
Greek-American community, the common democratic values,
and the shared national interests. This reality has been recognized by all Greek governments, irrespective of their ideological
orientation.
In recent years, the U.S.-Greece relations have improved to
an unprecedented degree compared to previous decades. First,
there is an expansion of bilateral military cooperation. American
and Greek forces exercise more and more regularly. The role of
the U.S. is going to be crucial in the strengthening of the Hellenic
Air Force's capabilities and in the rebirth of the Greek defense
industry. In the energy sector, Greece is becoming a hub for the
supply of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to European markets.
The ports of Thessaloniki, Kavala, and Alexandroupolis will
soon operate as gateways to the European Union and the Black
Sea region. Potential benefits deriving from the export of U.S
LNG have been perceived by both countries as crucial to their

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