It is rare in 2022 to announce that a country has had a good week geopolitically, but one country in Europe managed to pull it off with little or no fanfare.
The country in Europe that managed to pull off this feat is Greece. There are two important reasons why this happened and what will come as a surprise to many readers – both reasons have the same conduit for action. That conduit is their relations with the United States of America.
The first piece of news took place during the week of July 10th. During that time the Hellenic National Defense Chief General Kostantinos Floros made a visit in his official capacity to the United States. While in the U.S. the General met with the Greek Ambassador to the United States, Alexandra Papadopoulou and General James McConville, who is the Chief of Staff for the United States Army.
The conversations between the Service chiefs focused on matters of mutual interest between the two countries. The conflict in Ukraine was of course part of the conversation along with issues pertaining to the Agean and the Eastern Mediterranean areas. However, the topic of the deepening of military cooperation between the armies of both nations and the updated Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement (MDCA), which according to General Floros on a social media post “were the center of discussion.” General Floros went on to highlight that these talks were held to “consolidate security and stability in our region”.
The military talks were a good opening of the week for Greece. However, the biggest move would actually be delivered by the U.S. Congress.
On July 14th the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that would effectively block a proposed sale of F-16 Fighters by the United States to Turkey. This places an additional hurdle in the plans by the Biden Administration to facilitate this sale.
Most people did not notice this move as it was attached as an amendment to the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey and Chris Pappas and passed on a vote of 244 to 179.
Under terms of this amendment, this sale or even transfer of these aircraft cannot move forward unless the Biden Administration certifies that this deal is essential to the national security of the United States and that there is a description of concrete steps that are taken to prevent their unauthorized overflight over Greece.
It will take some time before this ban could see the light of day. The NDAA will be sent to the U.S. Senate for their input on whether or not they accept the House version. They have their own interests at stake as well. The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is also on record as being against the proposed sale of these platforms to Turkey.
From a PR standpoint, this has been a good week for the Greeks. The military is cementing its relationship with the U.S. and a proposed weapons sale to their nemesis in Turkey is facing a new hurdle. All in all not that shabby.