Knee-jerk reactions against the USA

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From the time of British statesman Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, it has been common knowledge that in diplomacy there are no enemies and friends, only interests.

This is a rule everywhere apart from Greece, if we trust opinion polls.

According to a poll carried out by GPO during US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Athens earlier this week, 74.8 percent of Greeks believe their country should oppose economic sanctions against Iran. A similar number of those polled, 73.8 percent, believe that such an anti-Iranian initiative would be detrimental.

And these figures are not the result of a special love of Greeks for Iran. Indeed, we saw no such support for the Iranians when Saddam Hussein bombarded them with chemical weapons some 20 years ago.

Mindful of previous polls, one can safely conclude that the above results are indicative of an acquired aversion to the Americans (that has existed since the Greek Civil War). Indeed, the majority of Greeks are never really for any one side in matters of international diplomacy; they are generally against the USA.

Notably, the dispute between the international community and a theocratic state wishing to acquire nuclear weapons is being reduced by the media into a US-Iranian conflict.

Most Greeks believe that only the USA, and possibly also Israel, is opposed to Iran's nuclear armament. This is incorrect. Europe is united in its opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is only in Greece that these voices of protest are underestimated - possibly because we believe that only the US outlook carries any weight.

KATHIMERINI English Edition,28/04/2006