Many predicted and hoped that Barack Obama would unilaterally rush to the defence of Greece on all issues that it considers of geostrategic relevance.

In reality, although an Obama administration would consider a Greece-US alliance relevant and would make every effort to upgrade the existing alliance, it would not pick and choose between Greece and her neighbours.

What is now certain is that the Republican alternative would have been a disaster.

The ball is in Greece’s court, it is up to Greece to demonstrate why it merits an upgrade in its relationship with the US.

First and foremost, Greece must demonstrate that it is serious about its position in the Southeastern Mediterranean and that it has its own plans and initiatives.

That it does not rely on what the US will do, or react to what the US does.

Greece simply does not appear to have such initiatives. It has erroneously followed a course of “we will make the US decide between us and them.”

That is no longer tenable in a world where interests of individual states must be supported by mechanisms of that state and not rely on proxies to accomplish.

Obama’s message is clear: The US will not act in a proxy capacity in favour of Turkey, Greece and other Balkan countries. It will follow its interests and partner accordingly.

Greece has not upgraded its defence doctrine to demonstrate seriousness in defending its territory.

It does not take its NATO commitments seriously and even makes excuses for not participating in programs and missions that are in the collective interest.

Greece has not upgraded its media image worldwide and it has not invested in its own infrastructure in a manner that is non-political.

Sadly, it relies on the advice of internal advisors and think tanks that continue to believe that the US can act as a Greek proxy, or that Greece must be a puppet of some aspect of US policy in the region.

To its credit, the most successful accomplishment of the current government is its tenacity in bringing to reality the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and South Stream gas pipeline projects.

These projects demonstrate seriousness in intent, independence in policy and an expansion and upgrade of alternative alliances and interests.

It is critical that Greece realise these projects and realise them soon.

The regime in Ankara is now intent to dominate the energy and trade routes of the Near East, as well as to act as a “peace broker” in regional conflicts.

The vision of Turgut Ozal is now state policy under the concept of “neo-Ottomanism”. Greece cannot undercut this new reality and should not, but it is critical that Greece develop an alternative democratic strategy based on business, commerce and energy interests.

Russia is a crucial partner that cannot be sacrificed for small or perceived benefits. Greece must also prove that it is capable of harnessing the power of its Diaspora in an intelligent manner.

The current mechanisms are failures.

It must look elsewhere for role models that are successful. The Turkish mobilisation of its American diaspora is incredible in scope and breadth and success. And this perhaps can be a model upon which to realign the Greek Diaspora.

This means abandonment of the old mechanisms and actors and the engagement of US opinion via objective and “non-Greek” media, think tanks and academic centres.

It will be difficult given the special interests developed over 30 years between certain Greek-American actors and the political establishment in Greece, but without this clean break, Greece will continue to decline in image and reputation in the US.

One must look in the mirror and ask why Barack Obama should partner with Greece and in what context.

The context is not, “because we are better than A, B, C”, but because “Greece is offering to be a serious and committed partner for A, B and C”.

The messages from Speckhart and Clinton provided the outline but it rests on Greece to demonstrate understanding and initiative.

Nick Giannoukakis is the Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh USA, and regular contributor to the Hellenic Electronic Centre from where this opinion piece first appeared.