Visiting US Senator Robert (Bob) Menendez spoke of the long-standing and strong ties between his country and Greece, in an address at the Acropolis Museum on Thursday night, and underlined, “Rest assured, I have stood and will stand by Greece through all times.”
Invited by the Greece 2021 Committee, in the context of the Greece in 2040 Forum, Menendez was introduced by the committee’s president, Gianna Andelpoulos-Daskalaki, who outlined the senator’s role as head of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee and his steadfast support of Greece and Cyprus.
In an address interspersed with quotes on Greece and its commitment to independence and democracy, Menendez referred to Greece’s celebrations of its centennial since the War of Independence against the Ottoman Turks. The struggle had provided inspiration to Americans, who supported Greece materially, diplomatically, and in person. The historic ties between the two people were key to the long-term relationship of the two countries, he noted.
After taking a moment to refer to the explosion at Kabul airport, where those injured include American soldiers, Menendez focused on the values of democracy, and how these had sustained the relationship between Greece and the United States. He twice referred to himself as a son of Cuban immigrants who never dreamed he could become one of 100 senators, and expressed the wish that Greek democracy comes to his land of ancestry also.
Frequently referring to democracy and its values, he recalled the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and noted ” it reminds us that we can never take these values for granted.”
Menendez spoke of the challenges the world faces today, and said that in his three decades as a senator, “never do I remember so many challenges to the future in the free world, at the same time.” He named among them the epic battle against a deadly pandemic, the existential threat of climate change, and the threat to the rule of law and international order. Naming China, Russia and Turkey as aggressive nations that did not share these values, he said that democratic nations must work together to challenge them.
In particular, he mentioned that “Greece is an ideal partner for the United States” and called its leadership exemplary in Europe, in its leading role in dealing with climate change, supporting clean energy and technology and innovation. “Greece and Cyprus are linchpins of democracy in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said, and the US will leverage the tripartite partnership of these two with Israel. He asserted he is committed to championing the tripartite partnership, as he is to the completion of the US-Greece Defense Partnership Act of 2021.
The two countries’ destinies have been linked and will always be connected, based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law, he reiterated, and said “Greece is on the cusp of a great and exciting future,” and the relationship between the two countries was never stronger. “We have come so far in such a short time,” he said of the US-Greece relationship, “and there are no limits to what we can do together.”