Just as motorists are often confused over which lane to choose on the highway, ending up driving down the middle (and causing unnecessary hardship to others), so, too, are Cypriot politicians, due mainly to a clear absence of national policy and strategy.
Two significant events in the past week are proof of this measure of indecisiveness, or at least, the inability to stay on a single course, probably the Achilles’ heel of dealing with our national problem.
The historic visit by US Vice President Jo Biden was generally well accepted, although with a measure of disappointment as nothing new was offered on the political front and Washington was probably testing the waters to see what Ankara’s reaction would be. Truly, despite the pointless “will he, won’t he” of the VP’s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot community leader, Turkey’s foreign policy architect Ahmet Davutoglu praised Biden’s visit and sounded reassuring that his government would continue to support all peace efforts, as if it has done so at all, so far.
The fact that Cyprus’ status was “upgraded”, as commented by politicians and media alike, is a bit demeaning. There was never an issue of Washington not accepting the Republic of Cyprus for what it is, but the problem has always been with Turkey, on which the US is reluctant to impose.
The game changer is not the reopening of Famagusta and the confidence building measures, as much as the discovery of oil and gas deposits in Cyprus and Israeli waters and what role, if any, Turkey would play in the export of these resources, if they are to head west and decrease Europe’s reliance on Russian energy supplies.
The second big event was the election for the new European Parliament and subsequently the next Commission President.
Once again, we seem to have missed the big picture, which is the future of the EU and what role, if any, Cyprus could have to effect any change. Similarly with the US, the game changer in this case is, again, our newfound energy resources and how this could be supplied to energy hungry Europe, where economic growth is expected to recover over the next few years.
The debates on television, public arguments and columns of wasted articles looked to blame the other side for whatever ills have hit us, with few talking about the future and barely a handful apologising for the mistakes of the past, simply to regain the public trust, if nothing else.
It was clear that we have no national policy and strategy and now is the time to decide: where do we truly stand on Russia/Ukraine, the U.S. and the rest of Europe?
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