It is one of the many lessons that we should have drawn from our more remote and recent history.
In our region, nationalist salvos are impermissible, just as complacency is unpardonable. The combination of the two is even more dangerous.
A member of the government has taken to sabre-rattling towards Turkey, while another underestimates the actions and behaviour of the Turkish leadership.
This is exactly what is happening during this critical period for Greek-Turkish relations, and it is attributable to two cabinet members, whose portfolios touch on national issues.
While the defence minister has been plunging into the murky waters of a self-interested exploitation of patriotism, the foreign minister appears to be downgrading the real threat that Recep Tayyip Ergogan’s Turkey represents today.
The one minister, representing the nationalist right, is at one extreme, and the other at the other extreme.
The synthesis of extremes, unfortunately, does not lead to a middle ground. The extremes are a flip flop, which in foreign policy can have dramatic repercussions.
The prime minister should know this, as he has the last word in determining foreign policy and in coordinating his ministers. It is he who must solve the problem, before it is too late. For the time being, in the words of Cavafy, “all three harm Syria equally”.