The Eurozone countries are still trying to find a way to kick Greece out of the euro without collapsing the currency and the integrity of the EU. So far no good answer had been found and the folks across Europe have to swallow unpopular bailouts and the people of Greece have to suffer painful social benefits cuts.
Getting rid of bankrupted Greece would compromise already shaky agreements and treaties on the old continent concerning borders, economy and political alliance.
Greece may be the weak link for the European Union, but another Balkan country is in a similar position when NATO is concerned: Turkey. According to Article V of the Washington Treaty from April 1949:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
So what are we (the people of the NATO countries) going to do if Turkey is attacked? Will Nicolas Sarkozy go to war to defend it? Can NATO get rid of a member in orderly fashion? Not likely. Turkey is one of the oldest members of NATO and often has been of some help in the US strategy in the region (unfortunately, often not as big help as the US would hope for). Ignoring an attack on Turkey would mean the end of NATO. What would be the point of the whole organization if it fails to help a member in trouble?
So what are the chances for Turkey to be attacked? I hope little, but let’s see.
Syria is in civil war. Prominent members of the opposition are stationed in Turkey. Refugees also are headed for safety there. Senator John McCain is meeting with rebels at the Turkish-Syrian border and is calling for arming of the fighters. It seems to me, Turkey is definitely taking sides in the Syrian civil war and is pushing for regime change. The whole thing really irritates Russia. Putin would not like to go in history as the President who lost the Russian naval presence in Syria. Russia and Turkey (then Ottoman Empire) were fighting wars (on average one every 15 years) over access to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean since 1676. Russia is on the map again for a couple of decades – it is about time those two to grab each other by the throat, according to the statistics. Alaska is a US territory today, because the Russians needed money to finance their twelfth war with the Ottomans. This is how important the matter is for Kremlin. During the last two centuries Russia and Turkey signed so many treaties with ‘friends’ (including the creation of the Soviet Union) that they manage to suck in the whole world into their bloody quarrel.
If the USA wants to get rid of NATO it can be done by stopping the financing of the organization. America pays two thirds of the bill anyway. There is no need to send John McCain with a lighter to the Powder Keg.
Let’s hope all countries meddling in the Syrian conflict will “settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force”.