[MGSA-L] The Greek-American lobby

June Samaras june.samaras at gmail.com
Mon Aug 7 15:00:27 PDT 2017

Any comment on this ?


The Greek-American lobby


Within the space of just a few days, the two Greek Americans upon whom some
in Athens and certain Greek Americans had pinned their hopes left the White
House. Reince Priebus was expelled in the most deceptive way possible from
his position as chief of staff. George Gigicos, the person who spent the
most time by Donald Trump’s side during his presidential election campaign,
has also departed his position as White House director of scheduling and
advance. The Greek-American “mafia,” as some in the media dubbed them, no
longer exists.

As the other recent and not-so-recent experience has demonstrated, just
because a Greek American is in a key position doesn’t necessarily mean our
problems will be solved quite the way we imagine. The agenda these people
have when they take up key positions is much greater than the “Greek”
issues, which are much smaller by comparison. We also often expect too much
of them because we see them as a direct line to the US president, resulting
in us either putting them in difficult positions or making them hide from
anyone with a Greek surname.

The bad thing is that the Greek-American lobby is a ghost of its former
self. It’s spent itself on photo ops, for the sake of being pictured next
to the president. On March 25, Greek Independence Day, this year, a
bouzouki band played at the entrance to the White House and some believed
this held some sort of significance. But the truth is that for years the
Greek-American lobby has been without real leadership and in danger of
being transformed into a secular assembly without political intervention.

Leaders of the Church played a decisive role in the past, but since the
passing of Archbishop Iakovos there has been a void that has yet to be
filled. Some use their influence for business and self-promotion. There are
plenty of patriotic Greek Americans but there is also a lack of leadership
or any sense of camaraderie.

Now that the illusions have been shattered, it’s time that the
Greek-American lobby underwent some kind of reconstruction. If Greece wants
to play ball, it must convince Washington that it holds strategic
advantages for the US and that its political leadership is capable of
delivering – while of course claiming its own benefits as well.

We’re at a complicated juncture. Yes, there are tensions with Turkey and
serious misgivings about its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but nobody
wants to lose Turkey as an ally. The question is who are the appropriate
interlocutors in Washington? The people who really have any influence over
issues concerning us appear to be Vice President Mike Pence, US National
Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis. It is
them that we need access to and who need reassurance that they have serious
strategic interlocutors in Athens, even if they’re not big on tzatziki and

June Samaras
2020 Old Station Rd
Canada L5M 2V1
Tel : 905-542-1877 <(905)%20542-1877>
E-mail : june.samaras at gmail.com
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