Realpolitik of the Superpowers

Recently, a person formerly known to us released his new book. It’s Henry Kissinger. Sure enough, this gave rise to a new round of criticism on his controversial policy while he was secretary of state during the Nixon administration.

Kissinger, who is a proponent of realpolitik, has been accused of being responsible for the tolerance of, if not the participation of, the United States in serious violations of human rights. Strangely enough though, his way of thinking has many similarities with those who in present-day Greece support Russia against NATO and Ukraine.

It is known that generally, the United States, European Union and NATO have been criticized for provoking the Russian reaction by trying to surround it after extracting Georgia, and now Ukraine, from its sphere of influence.

The aforementioned criticism has a logical base, and it’s typical that it is not being expressed by some marginal political figures but by conservative representatives of think tanks in the United States, such as Foreign Affairs magazine, which is the bulwark of the diplomatic status quo. Their logic is simple: They say that “if we recognize that we have the right to define the affairs of our backyard — the Monroe Doctrine — then, we should show equal respect to Russia’s legitimate concerns.” Who can argue with that? However, the problem of such an approach lies in the fact that the elements of democracy and national sovereignty are not included. If Ukraine’s citizens want to join NATO and the E.U., if they consider Putin to be the greatest threat to their independence, just like Poland and the Baltic States, who can deny them the right to join any alliance they opt for?

This is obviously a somewhat simplistic approach. Things are not always black and white. Ukraine is not Scotland, and labor pains were inevitable after the collapse of the Soviet empire, but when we shift from diplomacy to military intervention, what is there to say, or mainly, what can one do?

This is a matter of direct concern to Greece because, for one, you can express your sympathy toward Russia through social media networks, but it’s completely different to tolerate border violations even under the cover of guerilla groups.

Living in our familiarly sensitive neighborhood, it would be ridiculous to adopt the realpolitik used by the superpowers, spheres of influence, or further, to have the right to violate borders and intervene to protect minorities in other countries.

Ironically, Cyprus paid more and beyond for such realism when Henry Kissinger was secretary of state! Apparently, those who call for our withdrawal from NATO with such ease have clearly forgotten it, or they send letters to Putin begging him to be exempted from countermeasures.

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