The Blog

Selling Cyprus

How does an island nation convince a superpower that it matters? With good food, good wine, and the truth.

12:00 AM, Apr 24, 2002 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In other words, their time is running out. Which is good news for Cypriots. And yes, good news for the United States. To have Cyprus join the EU would be to have lasting stability in a region that has fallen into chaos. The island can serve as a communications center for counter-drug operations (we actually have a DEA agent in Nicosia--was that a secret?). And it could be a strongpoint when it comes to counter-terrorist measures--for both surveillance and reconnaissance. Don't forget, the British still have two key military bases on the island.

All in all, things are looking up for Cyprus. But getting attention and staying in the headlines is what matters most. Which also means nonstop meetings, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners--a PR extravaganza. Their strategy is working not because people like me are easy to persuade using gastronomic tactics, but because the Cypriot story is a simple story of right and wrong with clear, moral choices to be made. It's a story that just needs to be heard.

"I need a favor from you now," said Christofias at the breakfast meeting. "Keep Cyprus alive." And alive and well it is, with supporters from every corner coming to its defense--from the Heritage Foundation warmly receiving President Vassiliou to Christopher Hitchens writing a history of the island and the justice it deserves. Rare to see those two names in the same sentence. Must have been the Commandaria.

Victorino Matus is an assistant managing editor at The Weekly Standard.