Issue 2, Winter 2018
The Greek Division in Cyprus (1964-68) and the Role of Great Powers
In 1964, a Greek military force, which became known as the Division, was sent to Cyprus in response to a decision made by the Greek government to protect the island from the potential implementation of the Turkish decision to invade. By early 1968, the last soldiers of the Division had returned to Greece. This article examines the reasons for the mission and the withdrawal of the Division, as well as its reception by the Great Powers in their strategic calculations for the Eastern Mediterranean in the historical context of the Cold War.
Cyprus 1974: Strategic Assessment and Military Strategy
The Cyprus problem has been for Greece one of the main issues of concern and dispute versus Turkey since 1955. Initially, Greece presumed that the issue could be resolved through diplomatic means and never, in fact, devised any pertinent long-term strategy. During all subsequent crises, namely those of 1964, 1967 and 1974, Greece hesitated or turned out unwilling to intervene militarily in Cyprus. In 1974, specifically, the military regime overthrew the Makarios regime by coup d’état, without any serious strategic assessment and with actually null awareness of the international environment. The following Turkish invasion surprised Greece at all levels, which had neither strategy nor action plan. From July 20th until August 16th 1974, Turkey was executing operations in Cyprus while Greece was just watching, unable to react, fearing the breakout of all-out war with Turkey. A few of the problems that arose then have still not been resolved.
Airpower and Cyprus: “How Far Away Cyprus Lies?”
The expediency of supporting operations in Cyprus in 1974 from the point of view of airpower and assault by air of selected targets still remains a point of friction. The Greek intervention to “resolve” the Cyprus problem was almost certain to lead to a Greek-Turkish war, so every point of view should take into account this exceptionally serious parameter. War is a very serious matter to be examined excitedly and any objective approach should be based on real facts. The Air Force in 1974 was tremendously unprepared for war, as was the case for the other branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces, and the responsibilities lie with those who caused this situation, and especially those who, by military or political mantle, decided on the fate of the nation. Cyprus lies indeed far away for a country like Greece. The air and military capabilities of supporting operations in Cyprus and at the same time in the Aegean and Thrace were minimal in 1974, and are still inadequate today. Buttressing the security of Cyprus cannot be currently a grand strategic goal of Greece alone. If the political will of both states is truly there, the sincere cooperation of the two countries is highly required.
Does Cyprus Lie Far Away? Greek Naval Strategy for the Eastern Mediterranean
Does Cyprus lie that far away after all? One answer is that Cyprus lies as far as we choose it to be. If it is consciously understood that Cyprus and the security of Cypriot Hellenism constitutes a Vital National Interest and not a transcendent concession to the Greek Cypriots, then Cyprus will cease to be so far away. This paper proposes a series of required defense and security measures at the National Strategy and the National Military Strategy level in order to focus on the appropriate Naval Strategy of our country. The fundamental Naval Strategy proposal for the expected Maritime Theater of Operations includes changes in both the Structure of Forces and the Armed Forces Command Structure. These changes are based on the reinforcement of jointness and the exploitation of both geography and technology in order to make it possible for the Armed Forces (Greek and Cypriot) to acquire the ability of conducting simultaneously conventional joint operations and asymmetric operations throughout the Maritime Theater of Operations. The paper also provides a general assessment of the priorities for the implementation of the proposals, as well as a rudimentary idea of how to finance them.
Cyberattacks as a Means of Strategy
The use of new technologies and new methods has always been a crucial element in the historical evolution of war and hence of strategic thinking. Can cyberspace and the possibilities it offers integrate into any of the existing strategic concepts? Or does the digital character of cyber-operations reduce the usefulness of cyber actions as strategic tools? In any case, cyberspace is a reality, and therefore in the modern environment we have to take into account both its possibilities and its constraints. Contemporary policy and decision-makers may need to delve into strategic thinking and discover ways to subsume it to cyber-operations by extending its scope to encompass the new dimension of cyberspace.
Issue 1, Winter 2017
Kondylis and Victory in a Greek-Turkish War
Greece has a disadvantage vis-à-vis Turkey regarding the “geopolitical potential”. In the case of a Greek-Turkish war Kondylis considers that a Greek military victory is feasible under four conditions: a. Occupation of Turkish territory b. concentration of Greek forces b. Concentration of the Greek forces in a decisive space and time c. Fire power capable of covering the totality of Turkish territory and mainly d. the ability to launch a first (massive) strike taking the enemy by surprise. The first strike is totally integrated in the operational conduct of war. It constitutes a very important element as part of an active defensive strategy, which when properly conducted and leveraging the totality of the parameters of national power, could lead to victory.
Suicide from Fear of Death – The Preventive Use of Force as Political Choice in Contemporary International Environment: The Case of Small States
The preventive use of force and predominantly of military one is not something new in the international system but on the contrary is as old as war itself. It is a fact that international actors always waged war for various reasons including prevention. The appearance of non-state actors and of new threats after 9/11, lead to the reexamination of the concept of preventive war. The predominate tendency was to challenge the existing – until then- moral and legal frame, which was considered non-realistic and restrictive. The fear was that a potential extensive slackening of this frame would cause the excessive use of this form of war from the great powers. For small states the preventive use of force remains a difficult political choice with a preferable alternative, the use of non-military force in countering future threats. In any case the political choice of using preventive force remains at the disposal of state leaders provided its rational use.
National Power and the First Strike from Metaxas to Kondylis
Power has been a fundamental concept in international politics, from Thucydides’ time until today. Kondylis, as an adherent of the realpolitik, ascertains the disparity between Greece and Turkey with respect to the factors of national power. The measurement of national power, though, is not a mere sum of measurable indices. Concerning national power, other factors also come into play and how a country utilizes its power is a complex enterprise. In relation to Turkey, Greece possesses particular geographic advantages. The first strike is counted among the more interesting elements which Kondylis introduced to the Greek strategic discourse. His analysis of preemptive strike and preventive war is of theoretical, as well as of practical interest. Preventive war against Turkey was considered as a choice by Greece during 1913-14, when the famous Metaxas’ plan for the seizure of the Hellespont was devised. Although it was not eventually implemented, it was rather not very likely to succeed. However, those aspects are still useful for contemporary strategic problems.
From “Northern” to “Eastern” Threat: The Withdrawal of Greece from NATO’s Integrated Military Structure and the Revision of Its Strategic Doctrine
The Turkish invasion in Cyprus the summer of 1974 resulted to the revision of the Greek defense policy, which after WWII was oriented in confronting the “Northern” threat in the frame of Cold War confrontation and the participation of Greece in NATO. The mild reaction to the Turkish invasion from NATO led the Greek government to the withdrawal from the alliance’s integrated military structure and in an effort to balance the Turkish threat via the strengthening of national military power. Despite the change in the prioritization of external threats, the inability of securing alternative “security providers” within the western camp, the revival of Cold War confrontation in the end of the 1970’s and the effort of Turkey to take advantage of the absence of Greece in the Aegen Sea, led the Greek government into the reintegration to the alliance in 1980.
The Concept of Strategic Culture
Strategic culture refers to the sum of beliefs, mindsets and behavior patterns of a collective entity, geographically positioned and with common historical experience. It is based on the hypothesis that every collective entity thinks and acts with different way regarding matters of strategy influenced from its history, its geographical environment and a number of tangible and non-tangible factors. One can encounter factual problems to the analysis and documentation of every strategic culture, which derive from the philosophical character of the concept. Despite the methodological problems, the study of strategic culture offers a valuable framework of understanding of the strategic interaction and enriches the way of thinking of those who are required to make critical decisions.