This past weekend, Kyriakos Mitsotakis was elected prime minister of Greece. Like his father, former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis, he is a conservative in a society addicted to the opium of populist socialism.
To call socialism an opiate is to be too kind. It is a poison, and to watch it slowly kill my ancestral homeland is painful. When I would vacation in Greece in days gone by, my Greek friends would find my anti-socialist rants amusing. I was, after all, a patriotic American conservative from the Mitsotakis family.
But it's not so funny anymore. Many of the jobs Greeks seek are outside Greece. Some young Greeks learn skills that they would need to work abroad — English and German language skills, technologies, and medicine. Otherwise, there is the tourism sector — and not much else.
There is always the option to go to one of the public universities in Athens, but students would have to put up with the full-time anarchist presence there. Police are not allowed on university grounds, so anarchists throw firebombs and attack people, and then retreat back into their state-sponsored sanctuaries.
Anarchists and their criminal companions have taken over entire neighborhoods, and the recent leftist government just looked the other way. Many of the officials in former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's SYRIZA party were once street rabble themselves, and they have the support of the street rabble parties of other European countries. SYRIZA had a cruel way of taunting the Mitsotakis family by granting many weekend furloughs to imprisoned Marxist terrorists — including the November 17 terrorist who murdered Pavlos Bakoyannis, my cousin's brother-in-law.
Kyriakos was elected with a promise to change all of that. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, he "pledges to cut tax rates — to 20% on businesses in two years from 29%, and on lower individual incomes, while slashing property taxes. He’s also promising a major round of deregulation. ... Mr. Mitsotakis recognizes that fiscal stability requires strong economic growth — and now he has persuaded voters."
Furthermore, to fulfill his promise to restore law and order, Kyriakos appointed Michalis Chrysochoidis (known as the "Terrorist Hunter" for his work in hunting down and capturing the November 17 terrorist leadership) as citizen protection minister. "Security is the greatest asset. Without security, democracy rots. We are here to work with all our strength to build a feeling of security for citizens," he said upon accepting his appointment. "All people should feel that their neighborhood belongs to them."
Back in 1992, Leslie Gelb wrote in The New York Times about the foreign policy of Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis. Gelb wrote: "The conservative Mr. Mitsotakis is the most pro-American Greek leader in a very long time. He consummated a controversial naval base agreement with the U.S. He recognized Israel and got tough on terrorism." The foreign policy of his son will likely be the same, with even more urgency now that Turkey has moved into Moscow and Iran's orbit.
President Donald Trump called Kyriakos on Tuesday. According to the prime minister's office, "Mr. Mitsotakis told Mr. Trump that the priority of the new Greek government is to fight bureaucracy and stimulate investment."
It won't be easy. But, God-willing, Kyriakos may turn things around and bring a new day to Greece.