Grexit would have profound (although not equally distributed) geopolitical consequences for all sides involved. Even if Greece were to leave the eurozone but remain in the EU, the country’s contribution to various common endeavors would be quite limited, at best.
First, Greece has one of the EU’s most sensitive external borders in the context of immigration. Effective border management would be beyond the capabilities of a bankrupt country.
Second, a healthy Greece, either as a party to a dispute or as a balancing actor between Albanian and Slavic populations in the Western Balkans, can play an important stabilizing role in the region.
Third, further reduction of defense expenditures and military capabilities would negatively affect Greece’s participation in NATO and EU missions.
Fourth, Greece’s privileged relationship—of varying degrees—with Israel, the Arab world, Iran, Russia, and China could allow it to play the role of an additional Western bridge in turbulent regions.And finally, an ostracized Greece would be vulnerable to non-Western great-power penetration.
So a new Greece could certainly be a valuable partner for the EU, as well as for the United States and NATO, in regions of critical importance for European and transatlantic security and interests. Greek political leaders should step up to the challenge and take advantage of the country’s opportunities.
This article was published on Carnegie Europe.