John Sitilides is Principal at Trilogy Advisors LLC, specializing in government relations and international affairs. Delivering exclusive geopolitical risk reports, webinars, webcasts and related products and services to institutional and retail clients, he is a professional speaker at investor and business conferences, and before government, military and intelligence community audiences on geopolitics and the business impact of global affairs and American politics. Under a U.S. government contract since 2006, Sitilides is the Southern Europe Regional Coordinator at the Foreign Service Institute, the State Department’s professional development and diplomacy academy for American foreign policy professionals
We are in front of an unprecedented global crisis that will not just affect people’s daily lives and relationships but will redefine them. After the pandemic of Covid-19 I would like you to describe us how you see the world the day after the virus. So, the day Nο1, as consider the professional life and if the systemic banks have already organized a rescue plan b in cooperation with IMF, European Community and all the collaborated government’s-countries. What will be the role of United States in this? What about our country? Greece just recovered from a 10 years economic crisis… What is your estimation about the economic future in Greece?
We are entering the next world, based upon the ravaging human and societal after-effects of virus that begun from Wuhan throughout the world and the devastation of entire economies based on government ordered and enforced contractions. We should expect significant disruptions to key aspects of the globalized commercial system of the past three decades, reshaped by the collapse of Soviet communism in the 1990s and the financial empowerment over the past three decades of Chinese communism. China has publicly declared an ambitious agenda of global dominance by 2049, the centennial of the establishment of Communist Party rule over the Chinese people. It will be met by the coordinated response of Western advanced economies furious at Beijing for enabling and spreading the virus worldwide and depriving other countries of the information they needed to defend their own societies against the pandemic. The United States will launch a long, gradual and determined policy of strategic disengagement from China in areas of critical health, defense, energy, transport and other industries vital to securing a resilient economy in the face of a future pandemic or other external threat. Similar endeavors will likely be undertaken in Canada, Europe, India, East Asia, Australia and key economies in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Just as Europe, will need to seriously reconsider the wisdom of selling significant stakes in more than a dozen strategic ports to Chinese interests, Greece will need to recalibrate its growing reliance on Chinese investment through the Cosco port in Piraeus with its broader NATO and European Union obligations to provide for a common defense and democratic prosperity. All allied and partnered democracies have a shared interest in promoting mutual security and economic well-being, an easier goal to achieve during periods of stability and growth. The pandemic responses are a stark reminder that in times of crisis, the first order of every sovereign government is the well-being of its own citizens within its own territory, after which like-minded countries can more effectively coordinate their efforts to defeat common foes, whether those are economic recessions, hostile militaries or microscopic viruses.
Why is the Euro-bond so important, for the cohesion and economic existence of the EU, and what would be the meaning for Greece, but also for America as well? As we have seen so far, the model of unification of different economies under the auspices of the EU and exclusively Germany like a leader economic force was not so successful as planed! Many South countries with agriculture policy and capacity they are sinking in economic depth and the people are really suffering under this unmeasured pressure. If Italy finally, will decide to abandon the European Union with an Italian exit, do you think that the constancy of E.U will be in danger? Many European countries have their production bases in China and Turkey as well. In the wake of the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus and the ban on transportation, will the economic landscape change and affect both, the transmitter and the receiver, in global commodity transactions?
The future of European solidarity, either formally within European Union institutions or informally as fiscal, monetary, political and cultural variations, are increasingly manifested, will be uncertain for some time to come. Northern European countries insist that existing institutions, such as the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, the European Stability Mechanism and their existing instruments first be deployed to assist countries most deeply impacted by the pandemic, such as Italy and Spain. Those afflicted countries respond that the horrific effects of the pandemic on their respective societies and economies are too massive and profound for a bureaucratic “business as usual” response. They insist on an emergency response commensurate to the unprecedented socio-economic conditions within their borders and eventually across many more countries in Europe. This debate reflects the deeper splits within the European Union since the 2008 financial crisis and Brussel’s unwittingly destructive response to economic depression within Greece of the past decade, leading to a global loss of confidence in the Euro as an exchange currency and the near-ejection of Greece from the block (Capital Control) in 2015. Further instability within the European Union was exacerbated by Berlin’s disastrous decision to open its border to hundreds of thousands of Syrian, Middle Eastern and South Asian migrants and refugees, without any prior consultation with its EU partners. That decision was the strongest catalyst for the 2016 Brexit vote and laid the foundation for increasingly illiberal policies to take root in Hungary and Poland. The Wuhan virus pandemic will be the third great shock to the European system in just over a decade and the cleavages it has wrought may be the greatest challenge to ever face Brussels since the creation of the European Union.
Despite the early warnings from the records of Italy and the recent example of China’s Wuhan, we have seen President Trump has shown slow reflexes before to take more strict measures, or do you think it was his priority first to organize the health care sector? Was USA good prepared in front of a pandemic case? We see, of course, the superhuman efforts that have being made, both by the US government and by the people themselves. The country was declared to an emergency situation. Despite the tragic moments that the country of America is experiencing from the pandemic, do you believe that it will finally proceed with the issuance of the new dollar, until the end of April, as has recently been announced in the American media? What does this mean for both the US economy and the world economy?
President Trump was the first world leader to take decisive and substantive action to protect his country from the COVID-19 virus, when travel from China to the U.S. was nearly completely shut down in late January. His critics in the United States and worldwide attacked President Trump’s policy as ‘racist,’ ‘xenophobic’ and ‘bigoted.’ History will recognize his action one of the most important in protecting the American people, slowing the spread of the virus that was inevitably going to permeate American society and signaling to the leadership of most of the advanced industrialized interconnected world. From Washington’s perspective, there is significant blame to cast for the lack of full preparedness. Both the Bush and Obama Administrations failed to properly address pandemic preparation and to replenish inventories that were used to address natural disasters over the previous twenty years. It is also human nature to not fully prepare for the massive consequences of an unimaginable event such as this COVID-19 virus pandemic. No country was prepared in any meaningful way for how easily this deadly virus would transmit, as well as the speed and depth with which it has devasted the health of its victims. One can legitimately argue that the February response at the federal level in Washington was uneven. That would necessarily include federal health experts who earlier stated there was no need for great concern, then reversed course as they understood their initial errors. It must include the World Health Organization that feared Beijing’s rulers more than they did a global pandemic, which they denied had occurred until well after it was a fact. President Trump was focused on reassuring investors and markets, so that the country and the world did not face premature calamity as experts with little accurate data from China attempted to advise how best to proceed. While the COVID-19 virus was spreading outside of China, the Congress was impeaching President Trump, who would be ultimately acquitted. The impeachment process was led by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who should have at that time been alerting his fellow Members of Congress and the nation to the virus threat instead. The federal government has been assisting state governments to respond as effectively as it is able given the devastation in certain parts of New York City and other American epicenters. The good news is that the government response today far exceeds that of under the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 500,000 Americans and perhaps 50 million people worldwide. Most political, business and civic leaders have an extraordinarily new appreciation for the destructive power of a deadly virus and that understanding will shape the next world of government, finance and society for many years to come.
John Sitilides is Principal at Trilogy Advisors LLC, specializing in government relations and international affairs
Regarding the banking system, what is your opinion; Will it withstand this unprecedented form of crisis that is at the gates or will it collapse? What are the most likely scenarios? Will the infamous Domino Effect in the economy and society follow? The only sure thing is that there will be an increase in unemployment and therefore a strong reaction from the citizens. Is it time for the faceless economic tycoons of multinational giants to react to the benefit of the people? Because what’s the point of losing customers if they lose their purchasing power, which is the driving force behind the market? So finally, what will we have a completely collapse or an economic reset?
The major financial markets and indices seems to have relatively stabilized as of early April, after the initial plunges in mid-March when the imminent severity of the government-ordered contractions became apparent and the future was clouded by grave uncertainty. The debate among finance executives, central bankers and economists will intensify in the weeks ahead as to the strongest and most enduring fiscal and monetary policy remedies to the near depression drops in GDP in almost every major industrialized economy. That will be coupled by the best-intended legislative initiatives from political leaders across the ideological spectrum regarding the reduction of skyrocketing unemployment rates towards a trajectory that approximates pre-pandemic levels as quickly as is practical. We will also see a re-routing of global supply chains as part of the necessary planning for greater national economic resilience among the world’s most prosperous nations. These post-pandemic policy responses will also be shaped by forces too granular for any political or business leader to shape – and that is the wonder of the free –market system. The modern global economy is far too complex, comprised of billions of consumers each making highly individualized ordering, purchasing and utilization choices – for any grand planners to reasonably believe they can control or manipulate with any assurance of success. The near-term future of finance, banking and investment – private and public – will be shaped by significant experimentation, based on the most effective possible cost-benefit analyses, followed by repetition where successful and replacement or alternatives where unsuccessful. As history dating back to ancient civilizations makes clear, mankind often advancing by studying past errors and taking all steps possible to avoid those in the present and future. Human nature is unchanging and we will likely see this happen throughout most of the world in the months and years ahead. The goal in Washington will be to restore the powerful and resilient U.S. economy and maintain the foundation for long-term growth, where it stood just weeks ago in mid-February before the COVID-19 virus began to blaze its devastating American and global paths.
The world is undergoing rapid and tremendous changes in the post-Cold War era. Greece is a geopolitical player in world affairs because of its location and the alliances that has make the last years. According to studies has a lot of nature wealth as consider the first raw sources, the first sources of energy are uranium, oil, precious minerals, bauxite and it holds a special strategic position in the Mediterranean as well. We see the changing expansion of Turkey that used even people to invade from the borders of Evros in Greece and then in Europe. Shouldn’t the great powers consolidate Turkey and make turkey to stop the policy of manipulation throw media? In a potential Turkish attack, how do you think America should react? With diplomacy as always, since USA is a good partner of both Greece and Turkey or by protecting the rules for international peace.
In recent years, Greece’s geopolitical stature has risen substantially, based upon several great strategic shifts in southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa. Greece joined with Israel, Egypt and Cyprus to form a new energy alliance to extract and supply Europe and other regional markets with Eastern Mediterranean natural gas. Russia is once again a Middle Eastern power for the first time in nearly fifty years, with air and naval bases in Syria and military partnership with Iran. China has established its first overseas military base at the mouth of the Red Sea and has conducted naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean region. Turkey’s foreign policy has undergone an increasingly anti-NATO, anti-Western shift since the 2013 Gezi protests, accelerated after the failed 2016 coup against President Erdogan and consolidated by the purchase of military hardware from Russia that is non-interoperable with NATO systems and that threatens U.S. and Western military technology dominance. At the same time, the Greek economy has weathered the most severe European downturn in decades and was moving in a healthier direction until the pandemic struck. Prime Minister Mitsotakis acted immediately and aggressively upon the first reported COVID-19 virus cases in Greece to enact physical distancing guidelines and shut down travel from those countries most affected by the pandemic. Greece’s tourism industry, comprising about 20% of GDP, will likely suffer pronounced losses beginning this summer. The ongoing migrant crisis, with tens of thousands in densely populated camps, poses a strategic challenge to government efforts to contain the spread of the virus among the Geek citizenry. Greece has also undertaken one of the most creative approaches inside the EU to shoring up its economy, focused on digital solutions to the public and private sector woes that will help transform the country from technology laggard to leader after this crisis will have passed. Despite the pandemic, Turkey to date continues to aggressively assert navigational freedom in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, in a military posture that asserts drilling rights near Greece’s EEZ, denies Greek legal sovereign rights near Crete, Kastellorizo and other islands, and tests Greek air force responses to violations and transgressions near and above Aegean islands regularly. NATO and EU member countries are primarily focused on containing their internal virus emergencies, potentially weakening their will to defend Greece in the event of a military confrontation. Going forward, Turkey’s burgeoning COVID-19 virus emergency, poorly managed at the outset and now stressed with one of the fastest-growing infection rates in the world, will consume President Erdogan with domestic urgency to protect Turkey’s economy and society – and to protect his own rule from another coup attempt in the event of an economic collapse.
We change regularity-reality due to the conditions that we are facing at the moment. New words, like Tele-work, tele-education enters in our lives. Surely, we have all made a lot of mistakes in relation to the fauna and flora of the planet that hosts us. It’s a great opportunity to rethink our existence and our role as human beings. It is indisputable that when we ‘ll return to our lives, we ‘ll reconsider the whole aspect of our behavior. I would like you to tell me how you reacted of hearing about COVID-19 and all these deaths as a human being, as an expert on geostrategic developments and as a family man. What were your first thoughts?
From human, family and neighborly perspectives, the first order of tragedy regarding this pandemic is the horrific scale of suffering, among those departed from this life today and in the months and years to come and also the afflicted who may experience post-viral brain, heart and lung complications. From a geostrategic perspective, there is a level of criminal atrocity to be assigned to the Chinese Communist Party. Rather than take responsible and essential steps to prevent the spread when scientists first reported the virus in Wuhan in November 2019, or possible earlier, local, provincial and national Chinese officials instead sought to immediately cover it up internally and lie internationally. They may have feared embarrassing party elders and endangering the party’s reputation and ability to maintain absolute control over 1.4 billion Chinese citizens’ lives. The complete incompetence, irresponsibility and potential criminality of Communist Party officials have endangered the entire world for years to come and there will be strong calls internationally that Beijing pay trillions of dollars in restitution to countries that have suffered greatly under this preventable contagion. China’s peaceful rise in the 1990s and 2000s was abandoned after the 2008 financial crisis and especially under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping. Since 2012, Beijing has adopted a highly nationalistic, military aggressive and diplomatically punitive approach to its foreign relations, at great harm to its Asian neighbors and to multilateral institutions that have been rendered feckless, such as the World Health Organization, or irrelevant, such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration, whose South China Sea ruling Beijing ignores with international impunity. The next world will be reordered within a more competitive, adversarial and openly hostile arrangement between China and both its diminished number of partners as well as vigorously resolved coalition of Western nations that recommit to advancing the rule of law, democratic free-markets systems, respect for human rights and individual liberties, as well as official transparency, good governance and the sharing of best practices. In its failed effort to conceal and bury the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the Chinese Communist Party may have unwittingly launched the eventual decline of an otherwise great Chinese nation, depriving their billion-plus population of a quality of life they deserve to enjoy along with billions of men and women in every corner of the world.