Understanding Greece’s new foreign policy towards the Arab world: Instrumentalisation, balancing, and emerging opportunities
Despite Greece’s centrality in Eastern Mediterranean history and politics, the evolution, characteristics, and rationale behind the country’s relations with the Arab world have yet to be identified. This article examines post-World War II Greek foreign policy towards the Arab world across four key periods (1945–80; 1981–89; 1990–2018; and 2019 onwards). It builds on a historical institutionalist approach to argue that Greece’s relationship with the Arab world has remained a pillar of the country’s diplomatic strategy, albeit instrumentalised in terms of Greece’s two main foreign policy goals in the post-World War II era: maintaining the country’s Western orientation and navigating the vicissitudes of Greek-Turkish relations. Thus, the Arab world has traditionally been approached by Greek policymakers in a profit maximization manner that sought to either amplify Greece's relationship with Western powers or respond to Turkish initiatives in the region. Aiming to provide the first systematic overview of Greek diplomatic strategy towards the Arab world, the article highlights the importance of path dependence in evaluating Greek foreign policy initiatives towards the Middle East. It also seeks to contextualize Greece's current attempts to forge a proactive role across the region by providing necessary historic nuance and a comparative perspective. © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.