May 23, 2014

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CYPRUS - Strategic Issues Regarding Joe Biden's Visit

The following article was written by Dr Aris Petasis who is member of the Board of Trustees, International Fund, at the Moscow State Aviation University.  Dr Petasis raises a few good points about Joe Biden's trip to Cyprus. This is a MUST READ. (It was first published on

Whenever countries concern themselves with the affairs of other countries they do so to promote their own interests first and foremost. This is a fundamental tenet of international politics and applies to all countries: USA, China, Russia, France, etc.

This truism raises the question: "should Cypriots celebrate the arrival of the Vice President or should they be anxious?” I see no reason for being taciturn provided we keep a cool head; show no naïveté and have the right people in place to assess correctly: the fundamentals of international politics, power politics and geostrategy. Provided, of course, that we insist on respect for international law, UN resolutions and the acquis communautaire.

Here are some realities to consider:

a.) Cyprus has been under occupation for over 40 years without the USA admonishing Turkey for its aggression and punishing her for using, contrary to US legislation, American weaponry to attack and occupy Cyprus.

b.) America considers Turkey to be a key NATO ally particularly as regards the size of the Turkish military (Turkey: 600, 000 under arms vs Great Britain: 200,000) and

c.) America needs Turkey geostrategically as regards: Syria, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Armenia, Central Asia, the Middle East and importantly the Black Sea.

In light of America’s above strategic interests we ought to ask ourselves whether the US can play a helpful and, more importantly, objective role in the Cyprus-Turkey impasse. Though we credit the US with goodwill we note that Cyprus has few if any comparative advantages versus Turkey as regards American interests.

Had we had such comparative advantages America would have not tolerated Cyprus’s occupation by Turkey for 40 years and would have employed the many UN resolutions to free Cyprus. We also credit Mr Biden for concern for Cyprus and our situation. But, Mr Biden comes to Cyprus to promote his country’s interests and as such his personal views and hopes have no place in the debate.

In light of current geopolitical events we can surmise that Mr Biden’s visit to Cyprus serves two US objectives:

Objective 1: After the disastrous Suez campaign of 1956 and its subsequent economic collapse Great Britain “bequeathed” to America its Middle East influence/powr. Thus, American became the big power-broker in the Eastern Mediterranean serving both its own interests as well as those of Great Britain. In the meantime things have changed in our neighborhood as a result of the offshore energy finds off Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, etc. All these countries together can be of great strategic advantage to the US and its ambitions to free Europe of its dependence on Russian energy and to weaken the latter. Turkey is in the neighborhood but has no proven energy reserve but is a serious ally of the US. Turkey has proven and unfathomable capacity to act as troublemaker at all stages in the energy chain: from discovery to transportation of energy. Turkey shows little concern for the respect of: international law, Exclusive Economic Zones and the legitimate rights of others. Turkey is known to threaten its weaker neighbors and more particularly the Greeks (Greece and Cyprus.)   Turkish capacity to create trouble is of concern to America and the energy companies because instability is inimical to their interests. We would therefore surmise that the Vice President’s visit aims to “smooth over” relationships between the Greeks and Turkey to reduce the risk of instability. But, to Turkey smooth relations mean: «give me all I demand, and have no right to, otherwise I will create instability for you!” To the weaker Greeks smooth relations mean respect for the rule of law, international order, etc. America needs to decide which of the two sides to support. The answer to this dilemma should be easy for the reader.

Objective 2. America has an obsession with Russia (also a British legacy) and its influence in various regions (see Ukraine, Georgia, Central Asia, etc.) As such it tries hard to curb Russian influence (the Russians talk about encirclement of Russia by America.) Turkey is an ally of the USA and both countries wish to contain Russia. Feeling under threat Russia has planned the delivery of a mammoth 4,000 (four thousand) light and maneuverable tanks for us in the Caucasus area. At the same time it will soon take delivery of 1,000 (thousand) new aircraft and helicopters. The Russian Ministry of Defense has recently announced that by 2020 it will take delivery of 2,300 (two thousand three hundred) “armada” class super-modern tanks for its army. The USA and Great Britain want Russia to stay as far away as possible from Cyprus and to have no influence on the country. Both are trying to entice Europe to support them by putting forward the “Middle Eastern option to European energy sufficiency.” The best way to achieve their objective is the Bizonal – Bicommunal – Federation for Cyprus which Mr Biden will support during his visit. This solution nullifies the Central Government and renders impossible the taking of any decisions on closer relations with Russia without the consent of Turkey (via the T/C component state.).

Good to welcome Joe Biden to Cyprus with the hope that all the other member of the UN Security Council (SC) will follow with similar visits.

We need to keep the Cyprus problem within the UN. The involvement of all five permanent SC members (Russia, China, France and Britain) is of vital importance to us. Incidentally, as the issue of Varosha will feature during the visit we need to take care lest the transient benefit of a 6-sq kilometer beach front reduces our chances for survival on the Island.

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