restricted access Greek Foreign Policy Since 1974: Quest for Independence
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Greek Foreign Policy Since 1974: Quest for Independence Van Coufoudakis A state's foreign policy is not conducted in a vacuum. As states pursue their long- and short-term goals, regimes and their policy makers pursue adaptive strategies intended to balance both internal and external demands and to enable them to pursue new opportunities (cf. Rosenau 1981: 58). A frequent foreign policy goal for nation-states, and one of particular importance in the history of the Greek nation, is the retention of the state's integrity as a significant independent entity in its relations with other states. This paper analyzes the influence of the regime changes in 1974 and 1981 on the conduct and evolution of Greek foreign policy. These dates mark significant events in Greek politics: 1974 saw the collapse of the 7 year military dictatorship and the transition of Greece to democracy under a new republican constitution. In 1981, Greek voters for the first time in modern Greek history elected a socialist party and abandoned decades of conservative rule. Both transitions—from dictatorship to democracy and from conservative to socialist rule—produced changes in the definition and conduct of foreign policy. I investigate the nature of these changes; whether they were actually substantive, or merely stylistic, and how they reflected the various regimes' belief systems. I also consider the strategies of the foreign governments with which Greece had to deal and the kind of adaptations to those strategies the Greek regimes pursued before 1974 in order to see how these may have influenced the new regime policies. The emphasis here is, therefore, on the post-1974 period, the internal and external pressures to which the two regimes responded and the consequences of their decisions for Greece's place in the international world. Journal of Modern Greek Studies, Volume 6, 1988. 55 56 Van Coufoudakis A Background of Dependence—The Quest for an Independent Foreign Policy Since the start of its independence from Turkish rule in the first quarter of the 19th century, Greece has sought an identity that would reconcile its competing ties to its Western heritage and its oriental experience.1 Greek elites, supported by the major powers that dominated Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, opted for the Western orientation. Furthermore, intervention byGreece 's Western protectors at critical moments of its independent history assured that Greece maintained this orientation both in its domestic institutional structure and its external policy.2 Greece's strategic location, financial weakness, and military vulnerability made intervention possible well into the middle of the 20th century. Consequently, because of its traditional dependent and client status, Greece is unlike other Western European countries. The dependent and client status of Greece was enhanced also by the linkage of Greek domestic and foreign policy. The pursuit of the objectives of the Megáli Idea3 had serious domestic political, economic, and social consequences and frequently brought Greece in conflict with its great power protectors whose objectives often differed from those of Greece. Since Greek independence, the attainment of Greek foreign policy goals therefore required the support or, at a minimum, the toleration of the major powers whose sphere of influence included Greece. In addition, political elites inside Greece sought to involve foreign powers in Greek affairs not only to pursue their own domestic and foreign policy goals, but also to achieve personal advancement and rationalize their own failures. These elites became the vehicles for foreign intervention and provided legitimacy for external intervention in Greek affairs. They also conveyed the image that Greece was penetrable and that its politics were open to external manipulation. Following the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1974, a number of dilemmas confronted successive Greek governments. These included, how to keep foreign policy issues separate from domestic politics; how to protect such interests when they diverged from those of Greece's allies; and how to reserve past perceptions that Greece, as a dependent and client state, was penetrable and open to external manipulation. The reformed Conservatives of the New Democracy party who guided the transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1974 and contributed to the consolidation of democratic rule, attempted to pursue an independent foreign policy within a Western framework. This attempt...