Greece Could Provoke New Balkan War

The opinion-page article ``Macedonia: Europe's Finger in the Dike,'' May 9, which has recently stirred so much controversy among Greek readers, does not go far enough in its condemnation of the Greek government.

The ruling party of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, sensing an opportunity to capitalize on anti-Macedonian sentiment among many Greek voters, has made unreasonable demands on the Republic of Macedonia. Why dispute a name that has been in use on that territory for thousands of years, or a flag that was used by a long-dead race of ancient Macedonians, or in order to gain stricter assurances of nonaggression from a weak, little state that couldn't possibly threaten Greece militarily?

The only conclusion an outsider can draw is that ancient symbols and old grudges have proved useful in the race for Greek political power. However, it is equally clear that a new Balkan war, which could have very far-reaching consequences, may result from Greek irresponsibility.

Thus far, President Clinton has refused to put pressure on Greece to lift its economic embargo against the Macedonian Republic due to the influence of the powerful Greek lobby in the United States. This sort of political expediency poses grave dangers.

I hope Mr. Clinton may yet realize that the risk to his political career, in this case, is even greater if he allows Greek irresponsibility to lead to a new war over a destabilized Macedonia. Michael Seraphinoff, Greenbank, Wash.

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