The threats to Hellenism from the circumstances of the gradual decline of the West

What has been happening in the international arena lately, and in our European neighborhood in particular, is indicative of the great fluidity in international relations and its complexity. The general features of our time are the new conditions of equilibrium and imbalance, for both the global protagonists, but above all, for the West now in a phase of degeneration and gradual decline.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War and the global sovereignty of the US, there has been a marked retreat of Western hegemony. The G7, the seven major economic powers of the planet (USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Britain, France and Italy), recently met In France. At the annual meeting of French ambassadors, Macron stated: “The era of the West’s supremacy is coming to an end because of huge geopolitical shuffles”.

What we call the westernization of the world began in the late 18th century and persisted until the late 20th (around 1880 to 2000). The 21st century is undoubtedly in the East. But, that does not mean that the West will back down. A few years ago, the G7 countries accounted for 70% of world GDP, while today they do not exceed 30%.
India has outpaced France’s economy this year, with more population than all the G7 countries combined: 1.3 billion people, 65% of whom are under 35 years of age. China, with its new “one belt-one road” silk road, will connect Asia by land through Russia to Europe, while its investment-markets around the globe pose the greatest threat to the US and the Western system.

In addition to the G7, the G20 club covers most of the global economic and geopolitical issues more credibly as its members include Russia, China, India, Brazil, Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Australia, even Argentina and Turkey that have economic issues.  And, the group of BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are paving their own way.

Unrest in the Western camp

But beyond the economic dimension and rise of the forces of the East, Europe, and the Western world in general, has political internal issues to resolve, new threats such as demographic issue and immigration but also issues of cooperation, alliances, identity and cohesion.  The US with Trump’s tariff policy (trade war with China and the imposition of duties on European products) are hurting Europe economically and politically. They are weakening it, and that has and will have consequences for NATO.

The European camp is in a state of turmoil and anxiety for tomorrow’s EU. Brexit is on the threshold and the consequences of a possible withdrawal will be equally harsh for the EU itself, especially for the German economy. The EU’s annual growth rate is anemic at 1.2%, which in combination with the global economic slowdown may fall below 1% in 2020.

The German economy is in a pre-crisis phase, and voices of anxiety are increasingly all the more along with the rates of anti-systemic political forces. Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are retreating everywhere, creating conditions for future political instability. Draghi’s latest moves to cut interest rates from the European Central Bank have been unpopular in Germany.

As for the other countries: Spain has not formed a government since May. In Italy, fears for Salvini have united ideological enemies into a new government whose stamina will be revealed soon. Finally, in France, Macron cleverly tries to balance this European and international scene, but with problems.

Adverse international environment for Hellenism

As for us, we are confronted with Turkey’s threats and the pervasive violations of international law in Cyprus. The sanctions are ignored, the British are backing Turkey, the Americans are not daring to come into direct conflict and the rest of the countries are whistling indifferently. A solution to co-exploit the deposits in the Eastern Mediterranean would primarily serve the interests of large companies.

In this suffocating context of the coming months, Hellenism is called upon to organize its defenses and its alliances. Strengthen its forces, both material and spiritual, and prevent any immediate threat that might appear on the Thrace-Aegean-Cyprus axis. We have a combination of refugee-migration, Turkish blackmail for energy-sharing, and the strategic choice of the Turks to neutralize the Greek presence in the eastern Aegean Sea and in Kastellorizo. This combination is a threat to Hellenism.

At the same time, it is a powerful reminder to the country’s elite and its political system callingfor a change in their perceptions: serenity, political correctness, deliberate and vigilant analysis of the application of international law, compliance with agreements, hollow rhetoric about multiculturalism, open boarder practices.

Let us not forget that the surrender to the sirens of foreign interests is catastrophic. A small, obedient, and huddled Greece is convenient for them. We have an obligation to become more assertive and to defend legitimate national rights. This means a strong economy, a strong national mindset and a persuasive deterrent.

Giannis Mitsios
Giannis Mitsios
International Relations expert