The 21st Century War Games and the Greek Position
by Alexandros K. Liakopoulos, CEO & Chief Strategist, BRIGHTSiGHT VERITAS 3.7.2014
Monographic analysis on war and the international system during “the teenage-hood” of the 21st century, for Foreign Affairs – Greek Edition, issue: April 2014
Translation from the original Greek article to English was done by Mr Konstantinos Mouratidis, Expert on European and International Relations. Athens - June 2014.
The world has changed. It will not change. It changed. This happened already and happens still; and it will continue happening. This is not something that will occur sometime in the future with a definitive and irrevocable event, although there will surely be many of those in the years towards the end of the adolescence and the beginning of the maturity of the 21st century. A series of developments and events are the ones constituting this Big Change to which I refer. It is a mosaic, a medley of revolutionary developments of exponential growth in the industries and technologies of communication, transportation, biology, economy and – of course – strategy and the art of politics.
On January 1st 2016 the New Age of the Human Kind, Anthropocene1, embarks as a brand new Era2. Human became an element of nature and is now struggling to survive. When human struggles to survive, the first thing s/he does, since ancient times, is to turn against other humans, seeking to secure privileges that one might had to share with others. Human is a strong organism; one of the strongest characteristic of humans is the instinct of self-preservation. Under the effect of terror and simultaneous arrogance, deriving from the potential to re-define and/or create nature on its own, i.e., to play God3, which seems to have captured the souls of the Very Important People, Human commits first-class crimes, as the history of warfare indicates4, with culmination of the War in the 20th century 5.
The Big Change, which happened and still happens, continuing to produce results, is an extremely important change: the human kind is at war, again. The Era of Peace, Multilateralism and Collective Security is over for the International System. This became and continues to become less and less international, and less and less –often, not at all – system. These are very dangerous developments. In this environment, some additional factors make the Greek - and European - situation even more inconvenient: Greece seems to have resigned from her future, fighting either to preserve an finished and bankrupt past, or failing to define its views and interests to delimit, then, her right decisions, actions and choices. It is getting torn apart, through deadlocked rearguard battles and political fights of the barricades, inflicting wounds to herself [Note of the translator: the authors used an idiom which literally translates to: “extracting her eyes with her own self”]. Greece resembles now to any blind, missing the ability to look and see towards the horizon and beyond; yet, and this is where it stops resembling to the blinds, Greece walks with firm and sound steps towards it, following her Erinyes probably. In doing so, Greece commits the ultimate political mistake: during the critical timing of the Big Change and all other related changes and revolutions, at the crucial time that War Comes Back and takes a progressively global dimension with lots of focal points of gravity in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, Greece choses to abolish her future, but instead to criticize, judge and condemn her past. The loss of critical time is a key factor in politics. Yet, Greece loses lots of time and she is not the only one doing so in Europe: the whole of Europe loses time, not just Greece.
"If the present tries to judge the past, we will lose the future"6 as one of the winners of WWII, Winston Churchill, said in his speech to the English Parliament when entering to the war, in 1940. However, unfortunate as it may be, great leaders are nonexistent, and political and strategic wisdom is in widespread lack these days in Greece, but not in Greece only. There seems to be a widespread virus in the air, “blinding” people and states and institutions and all other international actors, when it comes to strategic decision making. Only trained strategists seem to be able to recognize the facts and separate them from propaganda. However, even they seem to be missing of a coherent framework of analysis, that of War maybe, which could put under investigation multiple, possibly seemingly contradicting signals, tendencies or facts occurring in the same time, but in different space, in the same space but in different time, or in the same space and same time, whatever this may be.
"The best policy is honesty" says Eleftherios Venizelos in a speech to young people in 1929 and Churchill quotes the exact phrase7 as a moral conclusion of the failure of the German-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, a visibly and obviously dishonest agreement between two otherwise mortal enemies. Churchill’s words emerged as a conclusion confirmed in less than two years from the signature of this dishonest agreement, when it succumbed to the Champs of Mars in Russia. These lessons are conspicuously missing from the current political situation in Greece, thus paying the price of an invisible, yet so obvious, hyper-modern war.