It is only natural, that the entire planet follows the campaign for the American presidential elections with great interest. The U.S. and its president play a very important role in world peace, in world economy and growth. Every position taken by the presidential candidates, every declaration, every speech and even every single word uttered during the campaign is counted, analyzed, magnified, interpreted, scrutinized; it generates expectations or worries, it reproduces or brakes away from stereotypes.
As a Greek citizen, politician and a former Commissioner of the European Union, who has the privilege to currently be a Fellow at Harvard University, I follow with great interest the positions and differences of the presidential candidates, fully aware of the significance these elections have for Europe and Greece.
When I listened to Governor Romney referring repeatedly with disdain to Greece and its dire situation, I found it shocking, insulting and incomprehensible. Greece and its people are facing enormous problems due also to a world crisis which started in the U.S. in 2007‐08. The Greek crisis is just a step away from being equivalent to the Great Depression the US and its people experienced in the 1930s. The American people endured great suffering and pain, but managed to came out stronger, thanks to their courage and an inspired leadership to overcome the crisis. The U.S. changed the dynamics of its economy, experienced growth and prosperity and became a global power.
Greece, is certainly a small country, its economy amounts to just 1.6 percent of European Union GDP; today it faces enormous economic and social problems due to a great extent to errors and deficiencies of its political system. The people of Greece, similar to Americans, are a proud people. Through the ages they have immensely contributed to democracy and world civilization. Today they are making painful sacrifices and giving a great fight to overcome the crisis, efforts that have already produced remarkable fiscal adjustments as noticed by all major international institutions.
Greece is also a country with great potential, well-trained human capital, unexploited natural resources and a very powerful Diaspora; a Diaspora, which has contributed, especially in the US, to economic growth, to the moral values of the American nation; a Diaspora that has given tangible proof of the diligence, the enterprising spirit, the imaginativeness of the Greeks.
It is incomprehensible and saddening that Governor Romney has repeatedly used Greece's present crisis and dire situation as a negative example in front of national audiences, insulting the Greek people and amplifying an adverse perception the country faces and by that, contributing to the realization of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I am certain that this is the result of bad advice that delves in ignorance and is not worthy of a candidate who vows to build alliances on a global level. It is not presidential to have to mend ties with a traditional and trusted ally -- ties that should have not being damaged in the first place.
Having in mind the hardships the American people faced during their crisis, it would be brave on the part of Governor Romney if even now that the campaign is coming to an end he showed his solidarity and respect for the fight of the Greek people. It is simply an act leadership.