As lame duck Obama finishes his failed Presidency, he is going on one final magical mystery tour, the locations of which remind one of paying a farewell visit to the Montagues just before visiting the Capulets. His final destinations of Greece and Germany are indeed puzzling, though on closer examination, not entirely surprising.
Alex Christoforou has rightly speculated that Obama’s visit to Greece is one last bully attempt to try and prohibit Greece from aiding the efforts of the Russian navel group currently engaged in Syria. For the neo-imperialist Obama, the very idea that Greece should do so much as help to refuel Russia’s ships, is an affront to the idea of an American sphere of influence.
I doubt this will work. Obama is a lame duck. He and Hillary Clinton have made a mockery of Greek sovereignty and Greece is a fraternal nation with Russia. When Vladimir Putin visited Greece he was embraced with open arms. Few western leaders could say the same.
As for Greece supporting further EU sanctions on Russia, like most of southern Europe, they never wanted them in the first place. With Donald Trump looking increasingly likely to drop US sanctions against Russia, Greece ought to feel more emboldened than ever to stand up to the totally out of touch Eurocrats in Brussels, stick two fingers up and say, όχι!
As for Obama’s drive to force Greece to approve NATO membership for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, this too is fanciful. Even though America wants to use Skopje as a kind of mini-me puppet state in the Balkans, the reality is, if Trump begins to disengage from the Balkans, the FYRM will likely cease to exist as a state within three years. Most of its territory will rightfully go to Greece and the remainder will be divided between Bulgaria and Albania.
What’s more interesting is what Obama plans to do in Germany, the second of his two stops on his European farewell tour. Many liberal newspapers throughout Europe, Britain and America are hailing Angela Merkel as ‘the last liberal standing’ e.g., the last globalist, establishment, elitist not to fall under the weight of the political revolutions sweeping the western world and beyond, whether from the socialist left as happened in Bulgaria and Moldova or the traditional conservative right as is implicit in Brexit, Trump and a possible Le Pen victory in France.
Merkel is skating on thin political ice, but she may go down with a fight before members of her own party get totally fed up for fear of losing seats to a surging AfD (Alternative für Deutschland). But until then, she may yet do the devious bidding of the ghosts of Obama and Clinton, until she too ultimately falls to comparatively anti-liberal forces.
Put bluntly, Obama may ask Merkel to do as much as she can to sabotage a Trump presidency in terms of making the EU a thorn in the side of America. EU leaders are readying themselves to do just that. And after Obama recently praised Germany as America’s closest ally, highlighting Merkel’s commitment to a united Europe, a veiled swipe at Brexit Britain, this makes a sabotage attempt look ever more likely.
This is all the more reason for Russia and the US to draw closer together, and it is frankly also a reason for Trump to establish cordial, however firm relations with the Chinese leadership. The Chinese will be willing to talk and deal with Trump in a manner that I believe will be more constructive than that with which they dealt with Obama, a man they clearly had little respect for.
Trump ought to cultivate relations with the next generation of European leaders to help avoid Merkel having any success with ‘project undermine’.
Trump has already done something similar by courting Britain’s Nigel Farage, admitting that he’ll run any thoughts on US-UK relations with him before consulting the less imaginative, less intelligent and less reliable British government. Trump can repeat this tactic with popular opposition figures in Continental Europe, although realistically he ought to do so more subtly, as Farage sells well on American television, but with the possible exception of Geert Wilders, most European figures will not do.
If this happens, a wide alliance of like-minded politicians will be able to squeeze the last vestiges of liberalism out of European politics like air being compressed inside an accordion.
Behind Obama’s smile masks a man who seeks to thwart Trump’s re-alignment of US policy. His statement that ‘there is only one president at a time’, before preaching policies antithetical to Trump, shows Obama’s clear willingness to insult and undermine his successor. He will not succeed, but Merkel may want her last bit of revenge on Donald Trump and what he represents before she too is consigned to the dustbin of history.