New Greek TV met up with former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.and current Dean of the Fletcher School Admiral Stavridis at a Book Signing at the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, and asked him a few poignant questions.
Admiral James Stavridis is an American of Greek descent born and raised in Florida, who spent more than 35 years on active service in the United States Navy. Admiral Stavrides served for seven years as a four star admiral including nearly four years as the first navy officer to be the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO. After retiring from the navy, Admiral Stavrides was named Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 2013.
Admiral Stavridis currently serves as the US NavaI Institutes chair of the board of Directors and has written many articles on global security issues and is the author and co-author of several books. His recent book “The Accidental Admiral” offers an intimate look at the challenges he faced during his time of directing NATO operations.
During his tenure as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during a very formative time, cyber attacks was what worried him most with China, Russia, North Korea being very active in this zone, as well as cyber criminals.
Nowadays, the main difference, in terms of threats to NATO is Russian aggressiveness in the Ukraine. For Admiral Stavridis NATO should focus on Russian aggressiveness.
In terms of US policies and involvement, Stavridis believes isolationism does not work in the current global environment. For him, as an educator, it is crucial to encourage the US government to work across the private sector and harness its power. Ii is incredibly crucial for the government to foster innovation. He also believes that nowadays there is a much more fluid situation in the work environment that people need to adapt to, as well as harness the ability to master new technology.
Stavridis believes that it would be a very challenging time for Greece and the Euro Atlantic cooperation if there was a Grexit, or worse, there might be fallout for NATO. He believes that partners should collectively work very hard to keep Greece in the EU.
In terms of Turkey being less of a willing ally in the war against ISIS, Admiral Stavridis
cautioned that we are witnessing the beginning of the application of force by Turkey against ISIS. “The thing to watch is whether the Turks are willing to put forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq. If they don't they will not be able to significantly “move the needle” on this operation. We must encourage more Turkish participation,” he said adding that he will continue pressing for this.
In terms of an “imperial” Iran that he has voiced concerns over, the Admiral believes in a need for the US to work with allies in the region, strengthen Israel, and work with Sunni Gulf states, mainly Saudi Arabia. If this is done, he believes, there is a good chance of containing Imperial Iran. This he thinks will be difficult especially if the deal goes through and Iran receives 100-150 bln in sanctioned funds.
In terms of the waves of immigration hitting Greece and southern Europe, Stavridis believes that the EU should act as a union helping frontline states like Greece and Italy. Support from Europe financially and with aid workers to support these populations over time guaranteeing the security of EU borders, is his remedy.
As for immigration towards the USA, he noted that the US adjusted well to former immigration waves from Europe The greatest gift of the US is its ability to absorb new populations, confident it sill continue to do so, he believes.
Among his unforgettable experiences and memories from his tenure as NATO chief, he mentioned the 28 nations together undertaking missions together, the friendships he formed across countries and cultures, the joy of living with his family in Europe, and the sense of creating security in the world.
Yet there is that part of him that is undoubtedly Greek. In his military thought, ancient Greek military norms that included self-sacrifice, an egalitarian approach to military operations, and determination against overwhelming odds, shaped much of his vision.
On a personal level, the optimism of Greeks, their love of life, their acumen, and their gregariousness have shaped his whole outlook of life.
And what would the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and current Dean of the Fletcher School have done if he hadn't taken up a career in the military? He would have become... a chef. As he revealed he cooks every day having grown up in a Greek kitchen.