The Donald Trump victory in the U.S. presidential election was unexpected for many Greeks. The opinion polls that were favoring Hillary Clinton had made the majority believe that she would be the one.
Yet, the interests of American people are very different from those of the Greeks. With their vote, Americans showed that they are tired of traditional, professional politicians, where the candidates usually promise things that they never deliver. So, it was time to try a businessman who was never involved in politics.
The Greek political scene would have been more comfortable with a Clinton win. President Barack Obama, who is due to arrive in Athens next week, endorsed the Democrat candidate, and for Greece that meant that a Clinton election would mean a continuation of a friendly policy regarding the economy. Now, Obama’s visit would be nothing more than purely ceremonial.
But the question is, how friendly and how valuable would that policy be for Greece? Because, in essence, Greece hasn’t seen actual, tangible aid from the other side of the Atlantic. Instead. Athens has only heard a lot of promises on the Greek debt, Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations, so far.
At the moment, the policies and actions of the 45th U.S. President are as unpredictable as his attitude during his victory speech. When during his campaign he sometimes appeared irritable, arrogant and offensive, during his victory speech he congratulated Clinton for her work as State Department Secretary. More importantly, though, he tried to put an end to the division this election campaign created. He called on Americans to get together and work together. He extended a hand to the Clinton supporters telling them, in essence, that above all they are Americans.
What Trump managed during this controversial campaign was to appeal to the average citizen. Most politicians often try to appeal to certain groups, such as minorities or specific social classes. Trump spoke to the ordinary Americans who do not view themselves as members of any group.
The current Greek administration could learn something from the Trump election. Their continuous talk about favorable policies for the “lower social strata” or “needy Greeks” or migrants, alienate the average person. Add to that the exorbitant taxation of every working person in favor of the “less privileged classes,” equals a recipe for guaranteed failure.
Trump’s unexpected words after his victory could also show to all Greek politicians that they shouldn’t view their opponents as enemies but as people with different opinions. And the same applies for voters a well.
Regarding Trump’s stance towards Greece, so far there have been very few signs — if any — that he would be involved in the issues of Greece’s economic recovery, Cyprus or the tension with Turkey. It remains to be seen what Trump’s foreign policy will be in addition to his stance towards Greece.
So far, Greeks will have to believe the Greek-American advisor to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Christos Marafatsos, who says that the majority of the Greek American community supports Donald Trump exactly because he does not offer words of sympathy but action.
During the campaign, Marafatsos told Greek Reporter that he believes the Republican candidate will actually take a pro-Greece stance and push the IMF and the EU to offer Greece much-needed debt relief.
“He truly cares for Greece,” Marafatsos said during an event in Nevada, adding that Clinton had only offered sympathy for Greece.
But let’s not kid ourselves. The U.S. has a lot of problems at the moment and Greece’s problems would certainly not make it in the “100 things to do” list of any U.S. President.
In July 2015, Trump had said that he would not be involved with Greece’s debt if he became President, stressing that the U.S. has problems of its own.