The devil isn’t a philanthropist; he’s an payday lender who hands out easy money, so you can spend the rest of eternity paying him back. Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of debt-burdened Greece has made it more than clear that the Putin government should no longer be confronted for its involvement in the Ukraine Crisis.
As Tsipras indulges Putin’s twisted version of reality, which frames Russia as the victim and the West as the aggressors, he is actually subjecting the Greek economy to future Russian dominance.
People like Vladimir Putin believe they can eventually force their will onto others, because they just have to wait long enough for an enemy to reveal his weak spot. Due to the untenable personal hardships caused by crippling austerity, Greece serves as a weak link when it comes to maintaining European sanctions against Russia.
Clearly, European sanctions against Russia have ripple effects that hurt the European economy, yet the threat of an unchecked, domineering Putin at the helm means Europe faces more than an economic threat.
What Putin offers Greece is not a handout. In fact, talk of Greek-Russian cooperation on “major energy projects” is analogous to saying Russia plans to strengthen its control over European energy supplies. What sparked the Ukraine Crisis in the first place was Putin’s loss of influence over Ukraine.
As such, it is important to recognize Russia has a tendency to use its control over natural gas supplies to coerce and punish neighbors in order political dominate their political leadership. The Putin government is, therefore, pursuing the same agenda that resulted in the Ukraine Crisis, which likely includes Russian dominance over Europe.
Consequently, European leaders need to diverge away from their economic dependency on Russia, especially when it comes to their energy dependency. What they must not do is prematurely lift sanctions for a quick jolt to their economy.
Instead, they must endure the slower and harder road. With Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting France and Germany to discuss increased economic ties, it is obvious that opportunities to rebuild the European economy without quenching Putin’s thirst for power are still available.
As for Greece, let them flirt with Putin. The Kremlin has a major ego problem where the Russian government likes to think of itself as a global power with limitless resources that can be used to take on any and all threats to Russian dominance. The truth is that Moscow cannot afford to financially support every country it wants to influence, which is why the Soviet Union collapsed in the first place.
The Russians would also be wise to recognize the trillions of US dollars that have been given to foreign country that feel no obligation to agree with American policies they do not wish to support.
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