Saturday, May 18, 2024
 
 

Trump victory downgrades Syriza investment in Obama visit to “junk” status

- Advertisement -

It seems Greece’s Syriza government invested too much energy and hope in the Clinton family enterprise and that investment quickly went through the floor on Election Day (November 8). The focus on Democratic Party ties is of course not unusual given the large percentage of Greek-Americans who remain steadfast supporters of the Democratic Party and its values, and some of those provided their help in making sure Greek Prime Minister Tsipras had indirect conduits to Washington and the Democratic presidential candidate. It is also recognized that PM Tsipras worked closely with certain Greek oligarchs to open direct contacts to the Clinton Global Initiative, a fact that resonates unhappily in some elements of Greek society.
Immediate domestic impact
Because President Obama is scheduled to arrive next week, it basically took nanoseconds for the main Greek opposition party, New Democracy, massively ahead in opinion polls, to translate these conclusions into the Greek domestic body politic. The intent was clear; to reduce domestic significance of the Obama post-election Greece visit to little more than a symbolic gesture of a “Lame Duck” President who was unable to deliver a successor and to downgrade any potential political support Prime Minister Tsipras himself hoped to derive. We haven’t seen any useable metric on this, but a stopover by a sitting (but now Lame Duck) President whose chosen successor was roundly defeated the week before could not possibly be valued at even 50% of its pre-election value in today’s rough-and-tumble markets. In any event, the Syriza government was on the defensive after the Clinton loss and explained that it had previously opened ties to Trump’s two (very young) Greek-American advisers and that it saw no reason to expect American policies towards Greece would change.
No Democratic successor means limited policy continuity on the debt issue
Trump’s victory means the Obama team cannot guarantee any kind of policy continuity on the Greek debt issue, which is unfortunately all that seems to matter for Prime Minister Tsipras. Embarrassing questions of this nature will surely be asked if there is any joint press event. On the bright side, bilateral relations are excellent, military-to-military cooperation is top flight, and the American people clearly recognize what challenges Greece has had to face in this unstable region during the refugee crisis. You simply won’t find anyone traveling with President Obama able to guarantee a sympathetic hearing for Greece’s socialist-flavored economic policy desires after the inauguration. And we still don’t know whether Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will be joining Obama for the visit.
Greece’s Eurozone partners, like the opposition in Athens, will have absorbed the significance of the Trump victory as well. They have bigger fish to fry, so to speak, in Washington, especially on trade, and will not be expecting any more of President Obama’s anti-austerity interventions anywhere in the Eurozone, if any were actually warranted at this point. So even if President Obama was to theoretically press in the strongest possible terms for immediate decisions on medium-term debt relief for Greece, Berlin would listen politely, look at the calendar, and do nothing. Everyone in the Eurozone is now assuming that once President-elect Trump takes office, current U.S. support for more clarity on Greek debt relief will not be a much of a priority, if at all.
The only potential bright spot we can come up with on economic issues is the small and rapidly-closing window with the IMF, whereby after the visit the U.S. aggressively pushes the IMF to fully join the Greek bailout program before President-elect Trump takes office, putting the Greek bailout fully back on track and removing the lingering question mark about the IMF’s role. In any event, there is hope this matter would be resolved before the end of 2016.
More detail on the visit and “Legacy Speech”
The White House has now confirmed plans leaked much earlier for a so-called “Legacy Speech” scheduled across from the Acropolis on November 16th. That means there will be an overnight Athens stay in the program, and a huge increase in security is now expected, with hundreds of extra Greek police and U.S. Secret Service protective personnel ordered up. We still do not know what else the President will be doing in Athens, but after a “Legacy Speech” what else is needed? The security atmosphere is now slightly tenser that before the trip was announced thanks to a nuisance raid (no damage) close to the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki on November 8 and a bombing at the French Embassy in Athens November 10th.

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

CEO/Editor-in-Chief.  Former US diplomat with previous assignments in Eastern Europe, the UN, SE Asia, Greece, across the Balkans, as well as Washington DC.

Latest

Tackling new threats to critical energy infrastructure

The explosions that targeted the Nord Stream pipelines from...

Georgia’s “Foreign Representatives Law” moves forward amid protests

On May 14, Georgia’s parliament approved (84/150) a hotly...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of...

A Green 5+1, regional water issues in Central Asia and previewing next year’s Astana International Forum

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Forum (AIF) has been postponed to 2025, as Astana...

Don't miss

Tackling new threats to critical energy infrastructure

The explosions that targeted the Nord Stream pipelines from...

Georgia’s “Foreign Representatives Law” moves forward amid protests

On May 14, Georgia’s parliament approved (84/150) a hotly...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of...

A Green 5+1, regional water issues in Central Asia and previewing next year’s Astana International Forum

Kazakhstan’s Astana International Forum (AIF) has been postponed to 2025, as Astana...

Navigating the climate challenges for COP29

The impacts of climate change have become more evident...

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of the nationalist presidential candidate in the first-round presidential elections on April 24, VMRO-DPMNE (Internal Macedonian...

New wave of U.S. sanctions target Russia’s foreign suppliers and industrial base

On May 1, the U.S. Department of State together with the U.S. Treasury Department unveiled a wide-ranging new list of anti-Russia sanctions covering an...

New U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues named

Although currently traveling in China, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a reshuffling of the position of Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian...

G7 Italy 2024 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Addressing Global Challenges, Fostering Partnerships

The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the...

U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum focuses on engaging the private sector in Ukraine’s Recovery

On April 17, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and USAID, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted...

U.S. and U.K. take new steps to reduce Russia’s revenue from metals

On April 12, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, in coordination with the United Kingdom, issued two new prohibitions in order to disrupt the...

EU-Armenia-U.S. High-level Meeting: A Critical Moment for the South Caucasus

On April 5, an EU-Armenia-U.S. trilateral meeting was held between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and U.S....

New U.S.-Japan-Philippines Pacific bulwark established

The leaders of Japan, the Philippines, and the United States met in Washington April 11 for the first ever trilateral summit with a deep...