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'Moderating' Role of Papandreou

April 14, 1985

Robert Toth's important article (March 25) on Eastern Europe analyzes how Hungary, East Germany and Romania are exerting a moderating influence on the Soviet Union. Because Soviet nuclear weapons in their midst are making them the target of Western nuclear weapons, those three countries are seeking to dampen the escalating arms race between the East and West, and to reverse the division of their continent into the mutually hostile NATO and Warsaw Pact camps.

Naturally, we approve of this "moderating" role of the small Eastern European states within the Warsaw Pact group. But how many of us realize that Greece under Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou is seeking to play precisely the same "moderating" role within the NATO camp?

This explains Papandreou's support for the denuclearization of the Balkans and of other European regions, his questioning of both the NATO and Warsaw Pact alliance systems, and his opposition to both martial law within Poland and economic sanctions against Poland.

Washington favors moderation within the Warsaw Pact camp but not within NATO. This explains why Turkish Prime Minister Torgut Ozal was dined and wined in our capital, while Papandreou is being vilified as "slippery" and "unprincipled."

It also explains why State Department spokesman, Alan Romberg, issued this inexplicable statement on Oct. 19, 1984: "The United States values its friendship with Greece and has made clear its desire for good U.S.-Greek relations. What is needed, frankly, is a similar approach by the Papandreou government."

So we are being asked to believe that the most powerful country in the world is asking for the friendship of one of the smallest and most vulnerable countries, and is being spurned! This is a bit too much to swallow. More plausible is the proposition that when it comes to small European countries seeking a modicum of self-determination, Washington favors sauce for the goose but not for the gander.


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