The United States has encouraged Europe to keep Greece in the euro zone.
Robert siegel, host:
Washington wants a deal in Europe that will keep Greece in the euro zone. President Obama called German chancellor Angela merkel. Finance minister jack Lew held talks with Greek prime minister Alexis tsipras. Why are Washington’s highest-ranking people so eager to use the phone? How does this affect the United States? Well, we’re going to refer this issue to the President of the Chicago global affairs committee, iverdard, who was once the U.S. ambassador to NATO. You are welcome to join the program again.
IVO DAALDER: it’s nice to be here.
Siegel: why is it so important that the United States avoid the so-called Greek exit from the eurozone?
DAALDER: so, Greece is a strong and long-term member of the western countries. It has been a member of NATO since 1952. It was a member of the European Union and a part of the post-world war ii reconstruction of Europe. If the greeks left the eu and even the euro zone, Washington has fear – this is a reasonable fear – we don’t really know where it will go, we don’t really know that Greece would be the only one who will leave. It is this uncertainty, especially as we see a growing confrontation with Russia, which Washington says may not be the time to shake the system.
Siegel: you mentioned Russia. During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, greeks, like russians, were generally pro-serb. There is an orthodox national brotherhood. Could this be a meaningful block in Europe?
Dahl del: chances are you will see the orthodox together, and said that these traditional values – you have heard from Russia and President putin – the need to strengthen against western immoral value. Greece, there is nothing to suggest that this is the place where people want to go to Greece, unless the political and economic promote Greece left, pushing them into an unknown domain – they don’t know where to go from here – they may decide it is best to not only stand with the serbs, but russians against the west as a means of punishment in the west, or in fact it is a means of save Greece in the future. That’s the idea, and I think we need to prevent this from happening by not pushing Greece in the direction of development.
Siegel: European politics is usually very technical and economically strong, but as you said, the eu’s goal is to consolidate peace in Europe. Did Greece’s creditors miss the forest of trees here, too much emphasis on European integration rather than purpose?
DAALDER: well, I think this is part of the debate that will be held this week. The euro and its creditors have economic cases, but there are political cases in the eu. Frankly, over the past 60 years, the German leadership of Europe has emphasized an important political case. It is particularly important for Germany, but for all European countries, it is no longer possible to find a coalition that is no longer likely to be in conflict. And from an American perspective, that’s what we’ve been looking for in 70 years. So if you’re sitting in Washington and you see the beginning of a potentially disruptive breakup, then you’re probably not the smartest way to go.
Siegel: Ivo Daalder, President of the Chicago council on global affairs. Yvo, thank you very much.
DAALDER: my pleasure.