As it comes closer to gaining power in Greece, the anti-establishment Syriza party that once advocated a pullout from NATO and expulsion of the U.S. Navy from a base in Crete is moving toward the foreign-policy mainstream.
Syriza is sacrificing its more revolutionary ambitions to the overriding goal of getting better terms for Greece’s economic aid package. With the party holding a slim lead in the polls for the Jan. 25 election, even Syriza’s commitment to rolling back European sanctions on Russia is in question.
“The flagship of their policy is debt relief, and their main preoccupation will be domestic,” said Eirini Karamouzi, a lecturer in contemporary history at the University of Sheffield. “There’s no bargaining chip for Greece right now to lead on the main foreign-policy fronts.”
A party wishlist from mid-2013 rails at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Israel, promises to yank Greek troops from overseas missions and align more closely with Russia and China -- all to strike a blow at the “neoliberal” European Union and “imperialist” U.S.
Now the insurgent party’s leaders are retreating from the rhetorical barricades. It’s a shift witnessed already in the economic sphere as Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras stresses a commitment to fiscal prudence. Greek government bond yields that soared last year at the prospect of a Syriza government have since declined as the threat of exit from the euro was seen to recede.