- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2010


Jason Miko’s column “A place at the table for Macedonia?” (Commentary, Sept. 7) misidentifies the loyal ally that has been disrespected by the United States. Mr. Miko’s attempt to demonstrate how the United States favors Greece over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is flawed.

In November 2004, the United States, in total disregard of Greece, a long-standing NATO ally, irresponsibly reversed 60-plus years of policy and recognized FYROM as the Republic of Macedonia. This act by the United States has contributed greatly to FYROM’s intransigence in the quest to find a mutually acceptable solution to its name dispute within a U.N. framework. Furthermore, it has emboldened FYROM to condone hate propaganda and acts of provocation against Greece and its citizens, causing poor neighborly relations.

Despite the counterproductive U.S. policy position and FYROM’s provocations, Greece has compromised greatly by proposing “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part” in the effort to stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards. FYROM has not reciprocated.

Also, Mr. Miko’s argument fails when he stakes his claim based upon the contributions of FYROM and Greece in Afghanistan. He falsely asserts that Greece has 15 troops staged there. Today, Greece has 61 officers and 135 enlisted personnel in Afghanistan, where they operate the Engineer Battalion in Kabul and assist with reconstruction efforts. Greece also has been responsible for Kabul International Airport. The U.S. naval base at Souda Bay, Crete, and its adjacent air base, serve as a staging ground for the deployment of troops, cargo and supplies to Afghanistan.

Finally, Afghanistan has been a priority for Greek development policy. Since 2002, Greece has allocated approximately $100 million to Afghanistan. And in the big picture, Greece is a top financial contributor to NATO, spending an estimated 3 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, which by percentage is second only to the United States.

In the end, it is clear that Greece is the true ally that has been disrespected when it comes to U.S. policy vis-a-vis FYROM and Greece.


Executive director

American Hellenic Institute


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