Greece finds new footing as a player on the world stage

After Greece temporarily hosted a pair of U.S. military drones, Greek defense minister Panagiotis Kammenos said last fall that, “It’s very important for Greece that the United States deploy military assets in Greece on a more permanent base.”

Indeed, Greece just took delivery of some 70 military helicopters that it had purchased from the U.S., and there have been discussions about basing American drones, air tankers and other military aircraft on Greek soil.

COSCO, a state-owned Chinese shipping and logistics-services company, has invested more than 3.5 billion euros in renovating the historic Greek port of Piraeus, which is now the second-largest port in the Mediterranean. The Chinese brag that it will soon become the busiest. The massive renovation is part of China’s 35-year lease of two of the port’s container terminals and the Chinese purchase of a majority stake in Piraeus’s port authority.

Despite recent spats, Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains a supposed ally of Greece, given historic religious ties and the envisioned completion of a natural gas pipeline that will supply Russian gas to energy-starved Greece.

Greece has a complicated relationship with its European Union partners after its catastrophic financial meltdown and the often Dickensian terms of reform and repayment demanded by German bankers. Yet Greece appreciates that more European Union money goes into the country than goes out, even if many Greeks resent bitterly high-handed German dictates — and being manipulated as the frontline transit center for hundreds of thousands of migrants swarming into Europe from Africa and the Middle East.

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