Cyprus-US: One Way?

Less than a few weeks after the announcement of the drilling results of the US company Exxon Mobil regarding Block 10 of the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus, we witnessed exponential growth in Washington’s attention to our small bedeviled island. Undoubtedly, the Cyprus government weighs the potential advantage.  Official statements churned out speak of bright future for the Cypriot people. The Republic of Cyprus is single handedly baptized a ‘strategic partner of the US’ whilst an unmistakable euphoria seizes the Cypriot ministers who start to think of themselves, and by extension of the island itself, as the main US ally in the region. Apparently, the Cypriot leadership is rapidly moving into the ‘open embrace’ of the West. Admittedly, a new domestic political struggle is on the rise: our leaders are vying to bestow themselves the title of main White House protégé. No sooner said than done, Senator Menendez calls the ‘moment great for Cyprus to form a new relationship with US and West’ while he submits – with Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio – a 19-page bill designed to forge ‘friendly ties’ between Lefkosia and Washington, including the arms sales embargo lift. Who has paid the prize of the 45 year old arms sales embargo on the victim – Cyprus – while the aggressor – Turkey continued importing billions of dollars-worth of US arms?

US foreign policy may be driven by a burning desire to achieve global dominance. What does Cyprus stand to gain from such designs? What if Cyprus is selected as the next victim in Washington’s geopolitical games in the Eastern Mediterranean? There are serious doubts about how beneficial this game is for the Cypriot people. What do we stand to gain as the West assigns to our troubled island the role of the bulwark of its ambitions in the region?

Modern history abounds of sad examples in which Washington’s interference in foreign countries turned out a nasty affair. One of the most recent striking example is Ukraine. For five years, President Poroshenko served with ardent zeal the interests of the White House, dashing his own people’s hopes for a better future. He fulfilled his personal task in full: during this period his income increased manifold. Rampant corruption and profiteering have been the main characteristics of his term in power.  This sorry state of affairs in the ex-Soviet country continued unpunished by his Western protectors. However, his days were counted: the Ukrainian people casting their vote stopped him short. Poroshenko (hence the US protégé in Ukraine) – received less than a quarter of the total votes – three times less votes than Zelensky’s, the winner artist, in the second round of presidential elections held last weekend.

Whether Poroshenko’s quarter of the votes corresponds to the true level of popular support for him is still a controversial question. The civil and religious war unleashed by the US protégé, the utterly destroyed economy, the poverty and despair of the Ukrainian people do not come as nearly as close to a complete list of Poroshenko’s “achievements” with his pro-American team.

It is always easier to destroy than to build and develop what has already been achieved. Washington offers a path that seems easier and light-hearted. It is naive to believe that Americans care about the welfare of the Cypriot people. Taking into account the experience of Ukraine and other countries, it is easy to guess what to expect from an imposed American friendship. A number of actions of the Cypriot government can hardly be called constructive in terms of their compliance with the interests of the people. This is the only way to explain the visits of our leadership to some Western countries at the time Cypriot people celebrate national holidays and honour the memory of the heroes who gave their lives in the fight for independence from the colonial yoke of the current Western partners.

Turkey and the UK, both staunch NATO members control, in aggregate, two fifths of the island’s territory. Is this undeniable fact to be ignored? Is it the aim for which our people fought in the middle of the last century? Are we putting a noose on our neck and meekly wait for the command of the neo-colonial master? Oddly enough, sometimes it seems that the noose is already thrown around the neck of some of our leaders. It is difficult to explain the rumors about the negative decision of the Cypriot leadership for Russian warships participation in the multinational search and rescue exercise scheduled for the end of May in Cyprus’ waters.

The invitation to Moscow to participate was issued. The Cypriot side with genuine satisfaction accepted the consent of the Russians to take part. Then, all of a sudden, only a week later, Lefkosia changes her mind offering a far-fetched pretext. Undoubtedly, such an inconsiderate decision deals a serious blow to the integrity, competence and professionalism of our leadership. Would it be far-fetched to infer the Cypriot government deliberately descends to this humiliation for the sake of serving American ambitions? This sad incident militates against the declared multi-dimensional foreign policy concept of the Cypriot government. Probably for someone in charge in Lefkosia it is more important to be praised by this or that Senator or the new US ambassador.

Would the common Cypriot in the street trust this mono-dimensional West-oriented foreign policy or a more balanced multi-dimensional one, through which neither Moscow, nor any other pole of power, is ignored? With the lessons of recent history in their minds, we would argue that Cypriot people undoubtedly favour a more balanced approach in our foreign relations passing the message that we are masters of ourselves.