Monday, December 10, 2012

It is Time America Realizes that it Cannot Negotiate with God

I'm republishing the following piece that was written on September 2008 in view of the continued intransigence of the Iranian theocracy not to stop its development of a nuclear bomb.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In the latest talks between Iranian representatives and the five permanent UN Security Council (SC) members plus Germany last Saturday in Geneva, the chief negotiator of Iran reading from a written text rejected the package that was offered to Iran by Javier Solama, the special envoy of the European Union. Already less than an hour of the talks, Keyvan Imani, a member of the Iranian delegation, casted his doubt over the talks saying, “suspension- there is no chance for that,” in reference to the SC demand that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment. He also downplayed the presence of William Burns in these talks, –which the international media overplayed as being a “bend” in Bush’s diplomacy toward the Iranians in its up till now refusal to participate in any direct talks with the latter—saying that “he is just a member of the delegation.”

Meanwhile, Saeed Jalili, the chief negotiator of Iran, evading the issue of suspension and tongue in cheek indulged himself in literary allusions using a simile to describe diplomacy’s glacial motion as being like a beautiful Persian carpet that moves slowly as it is made and ending with a beautiful result. It’s beyond doubt that the six superpower delegates wouldn’t mind treading and romping on that beautiful Persian carpet, but some of them might be more concerned about the ugly things slowly but surely are clawing on that carpet, such as nuclear weapons, than its ‘aesthetic’ beautiful pattern.

The Iranian delegation also attempted to outsmart their Western and Chinese counterparts in the ‘photogenic stakes.’ They suggested a photo in which Saeed Jalili and Javier Solama will be in front shaking hands and the six superpower delegates standing behind them providing the background. The five Security Council members plus the German one gave this suggestion of the Iranians the short shrift it deserved.

It’s time for America and its allies to realize that they are dealing with an unappeasable, irreconcilable, and duplicitous enemy. Moreover an enemy who unshakably and truly believes that he is implementing the non-negotiable agenda of God. In such situation only a war premised diplomacy threatening Iran’s theocratic and military leadership with obliteration has a chance to create a fissure within the regime, at least among its more moderate elements, ousting the Mullahcracy and replacing it with a regime that would accept the demands of the international community. Only when America places its lethal armaments on the carpet of Iran with the threat that they are going to be used if the latter persists in its intransigency, will the deadlock of conventional diplomacy end. In the event that the theocratic regime continues to walk and talk the path of ‘martyrdom,’ then America and its staunch allies will have no other option but to adopt Cato’s strategy. Delenda est Carthago.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rescue of Greece is Hanging on a Wedding Gift

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The political debutantes of the Democratic Left under the foolish, unimaginative, and weak leadership of Fotis Kouvelis will everlastingly be condemned for their choice, at this critical moment for Greece, to dance ton choro tou Zalongou and take Greece along in their plunge to the precipice. Their dogged stance on the issue of the ergasiaka (working relations), when it is crystal clear that the IMF is determined not even to contemplate or countenance any back-down on them, is highly imprudent and especially most dangerous to the cohesion of the three-partite Samaras’ Government that is so vital in overcoming the economic and political crisis of the country. Yet the impresario of this tragi-comedy, Fotis Kouvelis, is not unwilling to sacrifice on the altar of a “wedding gift” the resuscitation of Greece from its economically comatose state. Ludicrously for the Democratic Left, the imperative rescue of Greece is hanging on a clause of working relations that grants to workers a wedding gift.        

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Obama The Jilted Bride

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Obama’s diplomatic engagement with Iran is a jilted bride. The groom in the form of President Ahmadinejad or the Taliban, and the recalcitrant fanatical Muslims in general, will never walk the aisle of diplomacy and Obama will be the jilted bride, who will keep inviolate his immaculate political virginity. It would be highly dangerous for America and the rest of the free civilized world to have such a politically naive and weak president for another four years in the White House.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Zeroing in on the Enemy Within

By Con George-Kotzabasis

I’m republishing this article written on July 2005 and published originally on my blog Nemesis as a result of a report of the Australian today that all five of the arrested would-be terrorists were regular prayers at the Preston Mosque in Melbourne where the Mufti of Australasia Sheikh Fehmi Naji el-Imam presides. Also as a result of the violent Islamist demonstration in Sydney on the pretext that a video made in the USA by a Coptic Christian insulted their prophet Mohammed. In this demonstration Muslim children between the ages of four and eight were carrying placards that demanded the beheading of infidels.

It’s about time that Australia lost its innocence, so it will not fall a victim to the cunning, deceitful, and sinister foe of Muslim fanatics who are in our midst. As I’ve been writing since September 11, a terrorist attack by the enemy within the metropolises of Western civilization was always on the cards, as the bombings in Madrid and London have exemplified. Insightful and responsible governments must no longer shilly-shally about what is to be done, against this imminent internal threat of holocaustian dimensions that is embedded in the West.

The Government must immediately pass emergency legislation (even retrospective legislation) that would enable it, either to deport or jail fundamentalist imams, and all their suspect fanatical recruits. One must have no illusions. All bearded Muslims are potential terrorists. It’s the “emblem” by which they proudly display and flaunt their belief in fundamentalist Islam– such as Sheik Mohammed Omran from the Brunswick mosque who propagates openly or by stealthy means the ideology of fanaticism among his ten thousands followers, and praises the acts of terror as being fully justified against the infidels of the West and their governments that are fighting terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, to prevent, and nip in the bud, any possible backlash that could arise among Muslim communities in support of these imams, such legislation should encompass that anyone who supports these imams, would also be liable for deportation.

Furthermore, this emergency legislation should eschew the intricacies and procrastinations that are involved in legal due process, so it could deport these imams and their recruits post haste. Additionally, the Government should immediately cease all funding to Muslim schools, unless the latter introduced in their curricula a no-leaks-assimilation to the mainstream culture of Australia, where the families of the children who attend these schools have freely chosen to settle in. Under no circumstances should these schools and mosques continue to nourish themselves on the teat of government largesse in the name of multiculturalism. The majority of Muslims do not believe in multiculturalism, as they are inveterate monoculturalists believing that their culture is superior to any other culture, and they sneeringly laugh behind the back of multiculturalism while they use the latter for their own sinister purposes. It’s timely that the Government put an end to this joke that is played upon Australians, by abandoning the disastrous policy of multiculturalism, to paraphrase John Stone. Even the most fervent supporters of multiculturalism in Europe, especially in the Netherlands after the murder of the film-maker van Gogh by a Muslim fanatic, are presently considering its abandonment.

Australia presently, is involved with its allies in a total war against global terror. Total war by definition is an unconditional, no holds barred war not only against a mortal enemy, but also against all the allies and supporters of the latter, such as the regime of Saddam Hussein was. Nations which profess to be involved in a total war, such as the U.S.A and its allies claim to be against global terror, cannot avoid from exercising the imperative and remorseless demands of such a war against their enemies. No nation can claim that it’s fighting a total war against an enemy whilst leaving a lethal fifth column among its midst. And no nation can claim that -by an even astronomical increase in the resources of security against terror – it can effectively protect its citizens from a terrorist attack, without at the same time destroying and uprooting the source of terror, the madrassas – wherever they happen to be in the East or in the West – which breed these fanatic recruits of terror.

As I’ve written in my book titled, “Unveiling the War against Terror: Fight Right War or Lose the Right to Exist”, the times are not for irresolute and Hamletinesque leaderships. Historians will aver that George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard, by their limpid awareness of what is at stake in this war against global terror, and by taking the firm and remorseless measures against this mortal foe, have entered the club of statesmen. In this historic clash between Western civilization and the terrorist barbarians, this triumvirate of statesmanship must now deal ruthlessly and remorselessly, by taking and exercising ‘the stern laws of necessity’, to quote the great historian Edward Gibbon, against the enemy, that lurks like a poisonous snake, within the gates of civilization.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Attack on Iran: Two Strategic Strikes one Waiting in the Wings

I'm republishing the following article, that was written on August 2008, in view of the latest position of Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic Studies, whom, The Washington Post pundit, Charles Krauthammer, praises for giving "the sagest advice," on Iran's development of nuclear weapons. Cordesman instructs that the USA should "ostentatiously let Iran know about the range and power of our capacities how deep and extensive campaign we could conduct, extending beyond just nuclear facilities to military industrial targets, refineries, power grids and other concentrations of regime power," in other words, the total annihilation of Iran's theocratic leadership. This is exactly what my article suggested four years ago, as you will see.

By Con George-Kotzabasis reply to:
The Lies Of Hiroshima Are The Lies Of Today
By John Pilger
On Line opinion, August 14, 2008
The historical fact is, which Pilger deliberately brushes over so he can make his intellectually disingenuous and moral argument, that the fear at the time was that the Germans might get the bomb first not that “Russia was our enemy,” quoting misleadingly General Groves, who was in charge of the Manhattan Project. Roosevelt had an amicable relationship with Stalin and believed their two countries after the war could reach a modus vivendi and indeed, cooperation. Moreover, the head of the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer, and some of its other scientists, was a financial supporter, if not a clandestine member, like his brother, of the Communist Party of the USA, and hardly would have taken the directorship of the project if the bomb was to be used “to browbeat the Russians,” as Pilger claims.
The intelligent errors of the CIA and all of its European counterparts in their estimates that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction, Pilger cleverly transforms them into lies, appealing to the conventional wisdom of the hoi polloi, so he can do his own disinformation in regards to Iran’s covert planning to acquire nuclear weapons, by dubbing it also as a lie, manufactured by the “discredited CIA-sponsored Iranian opposition, the MEK”, according to him, so he can give credibility to his own lies.
For what strategic reason would the US and its ally Israel attack Iran, whilst the former is involved at the moment in two long wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, other than the great threat that a nuclear Iran would pose to the region and to the strategic interests of the one and to the existence of the other? Whom the US would have “to browbeat” by letting loose from their silos their nuclear missiles against Iran, other than the latter?
In my opinion, if Iran is going to be attacked either by the US or Israel or both the strategic planning of the attack would be made up with two strikes. The first one would be to attack Iran with a devastating “rain” of conventional weapons that would target not only its nuclear plants but also its civilian, military, and religious leadership with the aim of decimating them. If however, its triangular leadership miraculously escapes its destruction and retaliates either against the naval and land forces of the US or Israel or any of the other Gulf States, then such retaliatory action by Iran would call a second strike executed either by Israel or the US with tactical nuclear weapons. And it’s in this dual strike, if it becomes evident to the Iranian leadership of American or Israeli determination and resolve to use their powerful armaments against Iran, that a real possibility exists of a palace revolt among its leadership that would oust the radicals and replace them with moderates who would be prone to accept the international community’s demand that Iran ceases the enrichment of uranium.
Over to you

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Greek Professor Disparages Newly Elected Government

The play is the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King Hamlet

By Con George-Kotzabasis
A brief ‘playful’ reply to Professor Varoufakis’s post on his blog of the 18thof July followed by his guilt-ridden counter-reply.

Why are you associating, even thinly, this‘ponzi’ scheme that was consummated between May 2009 and January 2011 with the newly elected tri-partite government of Antonis Samaras? Why are you‘carpingly’ searching to find faults in the present government and crave to be the Italian submarine commander  to torpedo and sink the Elli (in the 1930’s an Italian U-boat sunk the Greek cruiser Elli in the harbour of Tinos), the Samaras’ government, in the midst of its Herculean and admirable efforts just began to salvage Greece from its present tragic predicament? Is it because all you are concerned with is that with the failure of government you will be able to illustriously tell your friend Yannis Stournaras (the present Finance Minister), I told you so!

ProfessorVaroufakis says,

When a scandal surfaces it is the government and justices of the day that have a duty and obligation to investigate. Mr Samaras and his cabinet have a golden opportunity to confirm your trust and hope in them. Will they take it?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Statesmen Lead their People from Darkness to Enlightenment

What actually decides is our character   Jose Ortega y Gasset

By Con George-Kotzabasis May 10, 2012

Surprisingly, you are profoundly pessimistic, not to say nihilistic, about Antonis Samaras, who is the greatest politician appearing on the political firmament of Greece since Eleftherios Venizelos. Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare, endowed with that rare combination of high intellect, imagination, stupendous moral strength, and economic insight, which he proved by his prediction of the disastrous policy of austerity, encapsulated in the first European Memorandum as a remedy to Greece’s dire economic peril, without economic resurgence.

Statesmen are not responsible for the ignorance and political immaturity of their people. They try to lead even in a vacuum of understanding among their people about the real dangers their country is facing. The tragedy of Samaras was that his clear and sagacious policies were not able to overcome and trump the ignorance of a large part of the electorate about the real dangers that were threatening Greece, especially in a state of akyvernisia (Lack of government).

As a physicist you must know the fate of Galileo and how difficult it is to nullify ignorance. And your quote of Christopher Hitchens in your blog gives me the sense that you are aware of this difficulty. To wish therefore for Samaras removal, seems to me not only unjust but also politically immoral. And to hope that the leader of Syriza, AlexisTsipras, a staunch votary of Hugo Chavez, that he will change his inveterate leftist populist position of anti-Europe led by Germany, is to indulge in wishful thinking.

In moments of a great crisis, statesmen have the obligation and responsibility to lead their people from darkness to enlightenment and imbue them with indispensable hope about their immediate future, so they can overcome the crisis.   

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Diplomatic Peregrinations in the Holy Land of a Lacklustre Strategist

By Con George-Kotzabasis October 7, 2011

The “lion” appointed by President Obama to the office of Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, who purportedly is defending America and the West from deadly foes, in his latest visit to the Middle East is advising Israel, from his Olympian heights, ‘to take risks for peace.’ This advice, however, is redundant, superfluous, and otiose and Prime Minister Netanyahu has every reason to reject and oppugn such crass “displaced” advice. Israel had already taken risks in the past with no benefit accruing to it, least of all peace. It had withdrawn from Gaza and re-settled its citizens within the borders of Israel with the result that Gaza was taken over by the terrorist organization Hamas and Israel had to defend itself from a rain of rockets fired by the militants of Hamas; and it had likewise withdrawn from South Lebanon only for the latter to be taken over by the other blade of the terrorist scissors Hesbollah, that also started firing rockets against Israel forcing the latter to invade South Lebanon to protect its citizens from being killed. Israel had taken all these risks for peace. But what did it get in return, a deluge of rockets. What other risks Secretary Panetta has in mind for Israel that would bring the up till now eluding peace to the Middle East? For the Israelis to wait until Hamas and Hesbollah load the tips of their rockets with nuclear devices supplied in the near future by Iran? And what precautions and preventive measures the U.S. is taking to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

The answer to these questions lies in the further advice that the Secretary of Defence is giving to Israel. He tells it not to take “lone” action against Iran in its threat to develop nuclear weapons. Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal, he says, is the responsibility of major nations taking concerted diplomatic action. But this is a “Looney” policy that the Secretary is recommending to the Israelis. It has been tried so many times in the past and it has failed resoundingly. The Islamist regime is not going to change course in its determination to possess nuclear weapons by a truckload of diplomatic carrots but only by an “armada” of bristling porcupines that will pierce its thick skin. Diplomacy can succeed with the Iranian regime only if it is accompanied by the explicit threat of arms.

Leon Panetta has the sinews of a lamb disguised under the skin of a lion. His peregrinating debut in the Holy Land and his attempt to bring, as the “envoy” of the also weak President Obama, Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table will prove to be an abject failure, like all the previous efforts of his predecessor Senator Mitchell, also appointed by Obama. As we have predicted, the Obama presidency is a circus of underperforming political tyros, both in the international and domestic arena and more and more Americans are realizing this and are becoming disenchanted with Obama’s performance. The “sprightly colt”, who won the race to the White House with overwhelming support only two and a half years ago, is presently underwhelmed and is conceding to be the underdog in the 2012 elections. (See Obama’s interview with George Stefanopoulos on the ABC.)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Egypt: Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

In view of the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I'm republishing the following essay that was written in February 2011, that foreshadowed and tried to prevent by a proposal of mine the fall of the country to radical Islam, for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis February 08, 2011

Swallowing victory in one gulp may choke one.

Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S. ‘invasion’, has a great potential of strengthening this paradigm and spreading it to the whole Arab region. The dominoes that started falling in Iraq under a democratic banner backed by the military power of the Coalition forces are now falling all over the Arab territories dominated by authoritarian and autocratic governments. The arc that expands from Tunisia to Iran and contains all other Arab countries has the prospect and promise of becoming the arc of Democracy. But Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty in physics also and equally applies to politics. For one cannot predict, especially in a revolutionary situation, and more so, when it is combined with fledgling and immature political parties that is the present political configuration in Egypt as well as of the rest of the Arab world due to the suppression of political parties by their authoritarian regimes, whether the dominoes will fall on the side of Democracy or on the side of Sharia radical Islam. This is why the outcome of the current turmoil in Egypt is of so paramount geopolitical importance. And that is why the absolute necessity of having a strong arm at the helm that will navigate the presently battered State of Egypt toward the safe port of Democracy is of the utmost importance. Contrariwise, to leave the course of these momentous events in the hands of the spontaneous and totally inexperienced leaders of the uprising against Mubarak is a recipe of irretrievable disaster. For that can bring the great possibility, if not ensure, that the dominoes in the whole Arab region will be loaded to fall on the side of the extremists of Islam. And this is why in turn for the U.S. and its allies in the war against global terror, it is of the uttermost strategic importance to use all their influence and prowess to veer Egypt toward a Democratic outcome.

One is constrained to build with the materials at hand. If the only available materials one has to build a structure in an emergency situation are bricks and mortar he will not seek and search for materials of a stronger fibre, such as steel, by which he could build a more solid structure. Presently in Egypt, the army is the material substance of ‘bricks and mortar’ by which one could build a future Democratic state. It would be extremely foolish therefore to search for a stronger substance that might just be found in civil society or among the protesters of Tahrir Square. That would be politically a wild goose chase at a time when the tectonic plates of the country are moving rapidly toward a structural change in the body politic. The army therefore is the only qualified, disciplined organization that can bring an orderly transitional change on the political landscape of the country. Moreover, the fact that it has the respect of the majority of the Egyptian people and that it has been bred and nourished on secular and nationalist principles, ensures by its politically ‘synthetic nature’ that it will not go against the wishes of the people for freedom and democracy, that it will be a bulwark against the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it will be prepared to back the change from autocracy to democracy, if need be, with military force and thus steer the country away from entering the waters of anarchy and ‘permanent’ political instability that could push Egypt to fall into the lap of the supporters of Allahu Akbar.

The task of the army or rather its political representatives will be to find the right people endowed with political adeptness, experience, imagination, and foresight from a wide pool of political representation that would also include members of the old regime who will serve not only for their knowledge in the affairs of state but also as the strong link to the chain of the anchor that will prevent any possibility that the new political navigation of the country will go adrift. The former head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman will play a pivotal role in this assembly of political representation which will not exclude members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is of vital importance however is that this new political process will not be violently discontinued from the old regime. While room will be made to ensconce the new representatives of the people to government positions, this will not happen at the expense of crowding out old government hands. The only person that will definitely be left out will be Hosni Mubarak and some of his conspicuous cronies. And Mubarak himself has already announced that neither he nor his son will be candidates in the presidential elections in September. The call of the Tahrir Square protesters to resign now has by now become an oxymoron by Mubarak’s announcement not to stand as president in the next election. Further it is fraught with danger as according to the Constitution if he resigns now elections for the presidency must be held after sixty days. That means a pot- pourri of candidates for president will come forward without the people having enough time either to evaluate their competence nor their political bona fide and might elect precipitatingly without critical experience and guidance a ‘dunce’ for president, an Alexander Kerensky in the form of Mohamed Al Baradei, that will open the passage to the Islamic Bolsheviks. To avoid this likely danger I’m proposing the following solution that in my opinion would be acceptable to all parties in this political melee.

The Vice President Omar Suleiman as representative of the armed forces, to immediately set up a committee under his chairmanship that will comprise members of the variable new and old political organizations of the country, whose task will be to appoint the members of a ‘shadow government’ whose function in turn will be to put an end to the protests that could instigate a military coup d’état , to make the relevant amendments to the constitution that will guide the country toward democracy, and to prepare it for the presidential elections in September. The members of this shadow government will be a medley of current holders of government that would include the most competent of all, Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister, who was sacked by Mubarak as a scapegoat, and of the old and new political parties that emerged since the bouleversement against Mubarak. The executive officer of this 'government in the wings' will be Vice President Suleiman, who, with the delegated powers given to him by the present no more functional president Mubarak will be the real president during this interim period. Finally, the members of this shadow government will have a tacit agreement that their political parties will support candidates for president in the September elections who were selected by consensus among its members.

The ‘establishment’ of such a shadow government might be the political Archimedean point that would move Egypt out of the crisis and push it toward democracy.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prattling Guru Detaches from Iranian Turmoil

I'm republishing the following piece for the readers of this blog.

The Iranian Election is Their Issue, Not Ours By Steve Clemons The Washington Note June 16, 2009

A short reply: By Con George-Kotzabasis

For a political animal like Steve his Pontius Pilate stand that the Iranian election is “not our business” is astonishingly amusing. But I suppose saying this with a grin on his face in his TV interview is because he has no answer to the argument that Bush’s hard policies might have influenced the educated classes of Iran in their revolt against Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, as Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary of George Bush stated.

Even if Ahmadinejad won the election fairly, the fact remains that now as a result of the election the extant split prior to the election between the modernist forces and the antediluvian ones is exacerbated. What is imponderable, and lingers in the province of Nostradamus, is whether this fissure of Iran’s society between these two forces will bring an internal ‘modernist’ change or an open dictatorship of the Mullahs and the military, as their only way to survive from this tsunami of dissent against them.

As for Dan Kervick, another luminary of The Washington Note, in his desire to present himself as an imaginative thinker he foolishly delves in ‘Rumsfeldian unknowns,’ which excellently illustrate the vaudevillian streak in him. His comment that there might be “anti-democratic” forces that would aim to “overturn” the democratic election is a laughable fiction. The forces that want to “overturn the result of the election” are doing so because of the perception that Ahmadinejad stole the election, not because they could be “anti-democratic.”

Friday, June 8, 2012

Radical Left Experiments its Policies Using Greeks as Guinea Pigs

The jarring interests of reason and piety [read ideology] Edward Gibbon

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The radical left party of Syriza, led by its green horn, tongue in cheek, know-all adventurist leader Alexis Tsipras, armed with the omniscient Marxist ideology and holding with devotional piety the rosary of communism in both hands, is experimenting its policies using Greeks as guinea pigs. Against all reason and hope, it persists and is determined, if after June 17 it comes to be the new government, one-sidedly to denounce and repudiate the European Memorandum without risking the country’s exit from the Eurozone. Unable to see through the nebulous clouds of their ideology, the materialist Marxists cannot see the reality as embodied in the clear expressions of all European leaders, representing to a high degree the wishes of their constituents respectively, and high technocrats, that such denunciation of the Memorandum would immediately lead to the cessation of all financial help to the stricken country and to the latter’s inevitable return to the drachma and absolute poverty with catastrophic results to the standard of living of the majority of the population. This economic and social break-down of the country would spark a social war of all against all that would crack the foundations of democracy and on whose ruins would be built a fascist state, either of the left or of the right.

Moreover, their hopefulness that the European Union is bluffing and would not dare to turn the financial tap off as such a move would lead to the mutual destruction of Greece and Europe, is a Fata Morgana in view of the fact that all these leaders and technocrats have put their credibility and reputation on the line in regard to the exit, not to mention the other obvious fact that all the Wall Streets, and banks of the world, and evaluative institutions, such as Standard and Poor’s, and Moodies are showing on their financial electronic screens the great possibility of a Greek exit and are making preparations for it. To consider, as Syriza does, that all these political, technocrat, and financial actors are engaging and participating in a grand bluff against Greece, in regard to its exit from Europe, is to be a fugitive from one’s senses; and to ventilate such an idea among the Greek populace, is a gigantic falsehood.

The economic programme of Syriza as presented by its leader Tsipras on May 31, promises a horn of plenty to Greeks with the government’s coffers empty. It promises higher wages, higher pensions, and an extension of unemployment allowances from one to two years, an expansion in the employment of public servants, and full employment in a dateless future, without however indicating where it will find the funds to implement the above measures. Nor does it compute their costs, according to an admission of a prominent economist of Syriza itself. This is unprecedented in the history of electoral campaigns, as pointed out by Antonis Samaras, the leader of New Democracy, when a political party presents its economic policies to the electorate and admitting at the same time that they have not been costed.

This is a populist bag of gifts that only a Santa Claus could deliver to longing and credulous children. Syriza claims falsely that the expenses of these outlays for the above measures will be covered by taxing enterprises, ship-owners, and people on higher incomes, without however specifying the height of these incomes, and by imposing a levy on seven-hundred-thousand households with a net of 2,000 euros. In the present dire recession that the country is in and where enterprises can hardly show even modicum profits in their balance sheets, and where people with higher incomes have been inflicted by a cut of 50% in their salaries(Professor Yanis Varoufakis who teaches economics at Athens University and whose salary was cut by 50%, fled Greece and went to the United States), the claim of Syriza that it will have the funds from these sources to implement its promises, is a swindle of gargantuan magnitude of the Greek people. Moreover, this impossibility of funding its measures from these sources leads to the suspicion, as again pointed out by Samaras, that Syriza has a hidden agenda to impose taxes on ordinary people’s bank deposits and on private property.

Furthermore, Syriza pledges to reverse all previous commitments to privatization and go back to state ownership of all companies that were going to be privatized, and hence continue the increase of bureaucratization, thus bringing back to life all the deadly worms that in the past gnawed and eroded the economic foundations of the country that brought it to its present calamitous state. Also in its foreign policy it commits itself to exit from NATO and seek a new alliance in South America, with such countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua, which, with mathematical precision would lead to the ‘Cubanization’ of Greece as well as leave the country geopolitically defenceless. But this is not surprising since many of Syriza's higher echelons are strong votaries of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Hugo Chavez; birds of a feather flock together.

Syriza’s economic and political manifesto is a draft of dangerous irresponsibility and naivety, doctrinal dogmatism and blindness, and swashbuckling political adventurism at its best. With its policies, the fate of Greece’s future generations will be played on the green tables of a casino with Alexis Tsipras playing high stakes poker--which, according to a latest interview he gave on American television, he loves--with other people’s money, and all he has to lose is Greece’s future.        


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Antonis Samaras Will Save Greece from Ominous Catastrophe

By Con George-Kotzabasis May 20, 2012

Professor Varoufakis I don’t share your conclusion that the next election will be as “inconclusive” as the previous one. Already there are signs, and my strong belief is, that Syriza, the radical left party, will be a big loser on June 17 and its fickle flip-flop and slipping, as adumbrated by some recent statements of its chameleon leader Tsipras, from its original position of denouncing the Memorandum--by which it boosted its electoral results--and by replacing it with its gradual revision, that essentially is no different from the position of New Democracy (ND) and Pasok, will clearly expose it to the electorate as being blatantly inconsistent and fraudulent and therefore no longer trust it as a serious-minded party that could get Greece off  the hook, especially when its political dilettantism, thoughtless and dangerous policies would push Greece out of the Eurozone. Also to consider, as you do, that New Democracy’s and Pasok’s anti-austerity stand is “rhetoric,” is to be a fugitive from reality, especially in the case of Samaras who was the only politician both in Greece and Europe from early on May 2010, to denounce austerity measures as barren without rekindling the economy and led ND not to vote in Parliament the first Memorandum which embodied these infelicitous measures.

Syriza could not have been taken seriously by anyone with a serious disposition in politics, and Varoufakis, who so egregiously supported it prior to the May 6 election, should have known better. All of its leaders, breast-fed by Stalin, Trotsky, and Mao, are habituated and stuck to the nostrums of communism that have been built on sand and have been washed away by the sea long ago. The socialist Pasok, with its preposterous economic policies and political ‘sins’of the past and deep-rooted corruption, has lost all credibility among the populace, and therefore is unable by itself   to get the country out of the crisis. All the other parties with their ‘certified insanity’, and I would include in this group Syriza, are Napoleons locked up in mental institutions.

Ergo, my choice is the much maligned Antonis Samaras who since his incumbency as leader of New Democracy two-and-a-half years ago has demonstrated magnificent qualities of leadership in political and economic insight, in resiliency and swiftness of approach to the critical issues—an example of this was the rejection of the first Memorandum and the forced acceptance of the second in circumstances when Greece was at the edge of the abyss and had to be saved--in his unflappable determination to convince the European leaders that austerity without growth would fail, and in his brilliant success in persuading them of the correctness of his argument and thus opening  the second Memorandum to the necessary modifications that would include growth. Samaras is gifted with high intelligence and a strong character without the big ego  that considers le tout c’est moi, to paraphrase Louis XIV, that often negates the strength of character, and he is the only  Greek leader who has better than a chance to pull Greece out of the crisis.            

Friday, May 18, 2012

Radical Clerics Have Support of Increasing Sections of Muslim Communities

I'm republishing the following piece for the readers of this blog.

Federal Plan to License Clerics an Absurd Measure Bound to Fail

By Amir Butler The Age—January 9, 2006

A brief response: Con George-Kotzabasis

Amir Butler, of the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network, has let the cat out of the bag. He argues in his article, ‘that it would then be an unwelcome and unfortunate intrusion on freedom of religion for the Muslim Advisory Council (set up by the Australian government) to interfere’ with ‘those religious …clerics,’ who ‘continue to enjoy the support of increasing sections of the Muslim community’, and who are selected…on the sectarian tastes of their constituency.’(M.E.) (He is talking here about radical fundamentalist leaders and imams).

He may reproach the intrusions of the Muslim… Council, but he must be, as presumably a moderate Muslim, in full support of the “intrusions” of ASIO, since he is against terrorists, among those radical leaders and imams and in those increasing sectarian sections of the Muslim community, who as followers of the former could be the hotbeds of home-grown terror. The fact however that he is unwilling to do so doesn’t in itself indicate that either “moderate” Muslims are in fear confronting the radicals and their increased number of supporters or are their silent and surreptitious defenders?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In the Thunderous Sky of Greece a Lightning Bolt of Creative Destruction is about to Strike the Country

By Con George-Kotzabasis April 27, 2012

History has shown that at critical moments, in countries of advanced and high culture, men of stupendous ability, imagination, foresight, and fortitude, sprang, like phoenixes from the ashes, to salvage their countries from mortal threats. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from the barbarian Persian invasion, is one example, the other is Charles Martel, who at the battle of Poitiers stopped the barbarian Muslim invasion from conquering Europe. In our modern contemporaneous times, Greece, on the verge of being devoured and crashed by the ‘hungry fangs’ of default and economic poverty, is just as promptly to be saved by a modern-day Periclean statesman, Antonis Samaras.

In the early 1980’s, with the advent of Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government in power, which proved to be the destructive force that brought Greece to its present catastrophe, that immediately started implementing the serial economic crime of a policy of deficits, the country entered the vicious circle of government spending without economic development. By the early 90’s it was glaringly clear that the debt of the country was reaching astronomical heights that would lead it to the precipice of default and bankruptcy. In 1994, Constantinos Mitsotakis, the former prime minister of Greece, in a prophetic speech in Parliament, predicted that the economically crass and thoughtless policies of Pasok would send Greece as a mendicant to the International Monetary Fund to spare it from pauperism. Andreas Papandreou himself was shocked when at a sober moment glanced at the unfathomable debt that the country was in, as a result of his dirigisme economic policies. It was in his presence when his minister of finance Kostas Simitis remarked, in an accusatory and pungent phrase, that this was “the revenge of the economy.”

The false prosperity that had engulfed Greece turned a sizable part of its population to indulge in the charms and seductions of dolce vita at the expense of government largesse. A whole generation of Greeks had been spoiled and became kaloperasakides (the easy life of prodigally good-timers) under the perpetual munificence of the State. In such a social situation the New Democracy party, though imbued with the precepts of The Austrian School of economics versus Keynesianism, and realising, as its leader Constantinos Mitsotakis did, that the country was approaching in a rapid pace the edge of insolvency, had its hands politically manacled and could not implement decisively and with celerity, and with the necessary degree required, policies of economic restraint that would have prevented the transformation of Greece into a mendicant status, since there did not exist even a small constituency on the political landscape of Greece that would contemplate, least of all accept, policies of austerity. The Greeks had been ‘pathologically’ conditioned to the ‘benefits’ accruing from big government, introduced by Andreas Papandreou, and any attempt to small government by any party in power or any opposition propagating  such an idea, could neither hold or win government. Who would give up the ‘free tans’ in sunny Greece that so profusely and generously the State was providing? And who would give up the cushy and loafing jobs in the public sector that the party boys and girls of Pasok and New Democracy were enjoying and relishing? This is the point from which the economic tragedy of Greece had started and would continue to its tragic end.

Thirty years of frivolous public spending brought debt-to-GDP ratio of 120%. Since October 2009 when the son of Andreas Papandreou, George, became prime minister and implemented measures of severe austerity as directed from Brussels in the first memorandum, debt reached 168% of GDP. With the continued recession of the country for the fifth year, Greece lost 16%--18% of its GDP since 2009.

From early 2010 the Opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, few months after his election as leader of the New Democracy party, was warning the Papandreou government of the danger that the austerity measures without economic recovery would lead the country into recession. But his was a lone voice in the wilderness. And for his bold and insightful decision to oppose and vote against the first memorandum replete with the leaden heaviness of austerity that would sink the Greek economy as it did, he was vehemently reprimanded both from within and outside the country. The Economist magazine severely criticised him for his stand against the memorandum but only to lament its critique two years later and concede that Samaras was right. Likewise, Chancellor Merkel and many European ministers with whom Samaras had quarrelled and pointed out to them that austerity measures without rekindling the economy would not resolve Greece’s problem but would make it more abstruse and harder to crack. It took two years for the top brains of Europe to realize that the austerity pills that they were forcing into Greece’s mouth to remedy its ills would have the effect of poisoning its body. (In two years of the severe austerity of the Memorandum, as we indicated above, Greece increased its debt to GDP by a great amount and lost a substantial part of its Gross Domestic Product as enterprises closed and unemployment ravaged the country.) And in turn, like The Economist, admitting that Samaras had won the argument, as all Europeans now are calling for economic recovery and development, supplemented by austerity measures that are necessary, as the way to restore a country’s economic strength.

The May 6 Elections of Greece Crucial for the Future of the Country

The impending election that has been called by the interim government of Lucas Papademos for May 6 is of momentous significance for the future course of the country. Greeks will be called to be partisans of the hard climb to the peak of Mt Olympus from where the sun of hope will rise once again over Greece or be partisans to a free fall in a long twilight of despair. The first is the thunderous call of the New Democracy Party under the Gulliverian and imaginative political leadership of Antonis Samaras, and the second is the deathlike mute call of a congeries of small parties from the left and the right led by Lilliputian politicians. These politically ‘pigmyfied’ parties, among which is the Communist Party, have no policies of rescuing Greece from its woes, except policies that would lead to the exiting from the European Union and return to the drachma that would lead in turn to the absolute poverty of the country, deliberately drop the curtain on all hope on Greece as their sole aim is to sordidly profit politically by their investment in hopelessness.
The socialist party, Pasok, the main opponent of New Democracy, although on the side of hope, even under the new leadership of Evangelos Venizelos, is totally discredited, as it has been the party that led Greece to its present catastrophe by a bout of unbelievable and unprecedented economic and political mistakes, that Venizelos himself was involved in and responsible, during the last two years that was in government. Moreover, the latest decision of the High Court of Greece to apprehend and charge a former luminary of Pasok and right-hand man of Andreas Papandreou, the founding father of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Akes Tsohatzopoulos, his wife and daughter, and some of his relatives, with bribery and corruption and with being the receiver and beneficiary of millions of dollars as paid commissions, during his tenure as minister of defence, from German and Russian companies to which he had authorized major assignments and projects of his department, has indelibly marked Pasok as venally corrupt;  particularly when its present leader Venizelos, at the initial investigations of Tsohatzopoulos, with the stentorian voice of the lawyer, that he is, was defending and exculpating from any knave dealings, and with the usual catch-all alibi of the typical politician,  that the “accusation against Tsohatzopoulos was politically motivated.” Hence, inconceivable political incompetence and culpability, and unfathomable corruption on the part of Pasok, will be two major themes that will dominate the elections and which will ineluctably lead to new lows in the polls for the socialists.

In this critical economic and political setting that the country is in and the looming threat of the breaking of social cohesion, Samaras is asking the Greek people to give New Democracy the “auto-dynamism,” by a majority of votes in the elections, so he can have his hands untied to govern the country with decisiveness and clear uncompromised policies that would put Greece on the trajectory of economic recovery and development. He argues cogently, that in the present political situation of Greece when consensus about the necessary economic policies among parties of how to regenerate the economy of the country is absent, a coalition government--which is the designated position of Pasok and according to the polls at this moment the desire of a majority of the electorate--will be politically impracticable, and more importantly, would not drag out the country from its peril but would further engulf it into profounder depths; as one could not govern effectively a country in a crisis and gradually bring it out of it  by being compelled to make compromises to one’s political partners, but only by a well-defined plan and decisive and prompt action to implement it without compromises, by a leader who has a strong mandate from the electorate.

Samaras believes, and reasonably hopes with the confidence of a statesman, that during the electoral period and closer to election date, there will be a dramatic shift of voters toward polarized positions, once the crucial issues of the country are spelled out clearly and without lies to the people by New Democracy and by foreshadowing the practical economic policies backed by real numbers that would put Greece on the track of economic recovery, there is a great chance that the majority of Greeks will give New Democracy a strong mandate to govern on its own for the benefit of all Greeks and for the salvation of the country.
Samaras contended long ago, that only through a clear strong authorization given to him by a majority of the people he would be able to radically change Greece. For real economic development entails not only good policies and incentives but a transformation in the views and customs of people toward such development. He puts great emphasis on the value of human capital and entrepreneurship as the prerequisites for the economic recovery of the country. That is why he has promised to re-legitimize private enterprise and effort that for many years now has been delegitimized in the country by communist-led unions, to whom profit has been, as always, the devil-incarnate of the capitalist free market.

The present high unemployment of more than 20% Samaras contends, will not be reduced by mere lower labour costs which already have been decreased by 15% in the private sector while the tax burden on the latter has increased by 50% and energy costs by 450%. Even if Greeks worked for free no one would hire them with such high taxes and energy costs. Samaras in his Zappeio III speech few days ago declared that he would cut corporate tax to a flat rate of 15%, sharply cut pay-roll tax, lower personal income-tax to 32% maximum, and reduce taxes substantially on fuel and tourism. This would harden rampant tax evasion and would unleash the creativity of the private sector and hence commence the gradual reduction in unemployment. He also announced, that he would increase the lowest pensions to 700 euros per month--that were reduced drastically by the second Memorandum under the austerity measures--and would increase the endowment of families with many children which would not only correct an injustice inflicted upon these two weak sections of society but would also have favourable economic consequence as they  would increase consumer demand, which is so important in rekindling the economy, as both recipients of this government assistance spend their money in consumer goods. He would do these two things without increasing public expenditure and hence worsening the deficit, but by cutting government wastage that is so massive and profligate in the State’s spending. Further, he will provide incentives to private enterprise in areas where Greece has almost unchallengeable comparative advantage, i.e., in the merchant marine sector, ship building, and tourism; and in the production and merchandise of olive oil and other agricultural goods by the local producers themselves, not by foreign ones as is the case presently, whose development in all the above sectors will vitally affect the resurgence of the economy. He also proposes to provide incentives to entrepreneurs to exploit the rich mineral resources of the country and to give priority to find and tap the vast natural gas deposits under the Aegean Sea, by declaring the Greek AOZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) that could transform the export dynamic of Greece. He intends further, to reverse the present dryness of liquidity in the country by proffering amnesty from any legal penalties to those who withdrew their cash holdings from Greek banks during the height of the crisis and deposited them overseas once they bring them back to the country; and also by immediately paying back the 6.5 billion euros that the government owes to domestic enterprises; these two measures would increase the liquidity of the banks and hence their ability to provide loans to the private sector, especially to small businesses, that are the backbone of the country’s economy. Moreover, the re-capitalization of the banks, Samaras argues, will enable them to borrow funds at low interest rates from the European Central Bank, that were set up by it last December, which would be used to put Greece on the track of recovery and economic development.

It is by this method of supply-side economics, as that wunderkind Alders Borg the Swedish Finance Minister illustrated for his own country that Greece’s economy will rise again. The necessary austerity measures stipulated in the new Memorandum that Greece has to implement must be accompanied by the rejuvenated “animal spirits” of private enterprise. Samaras, consistently has been saying for the last two years that “we need a recovery to jump-start the economy,” and in conditions of recession austerity measures cannot stimulate the economy but on the contrary sink it deeper into stagnation.
The vision and plan of Samaras is to plant radical changes on the whole landscape of Greece. In his Zappeio speech he adumbrates constitutional changes that would separate the three branches of government the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary and thus prevent a member of parliament from being a minister, which has been in the past a malignant link of political corruption and has bestowed ‘asylum’ to members of parliament for their malfeasances. He pledges to bring changes to educational institutions that would reclaim the proud heritage of Greece that tragically has been eroded by the cultural relativists of a left coterie of pseudo-intellectuals and led to the disconnection of many young Greeks from their great cultural origins. He also promises to take drastic measures against illegal migrants, whom he calls “unarmed invaders” of Greece that under the soft immigration policies of Pasok they have occupied the main centres of cities, and remove them to provincial hostels until their eventual expulsion.  Another important commitment of Samaras is to transform the bon vivant ethos of many Greeks, which up till now its tab has been picked up by the government, into a creatively productive one. On the new green tree planted by New Democracy, the singing cicadas will be replaced by fecund working bees. As Samaras is fully aware that sustainable economic development cannot be accomplished without transformative changes in the thinking and the mores of the people, especially of the younger generation.

Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare. He is endowed charismatically both with a high intellect and remarkable moral strength along with the will and determination—all the stuff out of which statesmen are made--to change all things in Greece. But whether this lightning bolt of creative destruction will strike Greece or not depends on the strong mandate that he needs from the people. If Greeks do not fail, at this critical juncture, from fulfilling their historical duty to render to New Democracy a majority of seats in Parliament, then Antonis Samaras, in turn, will consummate the cultural political and economic Renaissance of Greece.

Hic Rhodus hic Salta

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama Plays the Rich Pay Tax Card amidst the Poorness of his Stewardship

By Con George-Kotzabasis—February 18, 2012

In his State of the Union address President Obama has abandoned the “hope and change” of his past presidential campaign and replaced it with “equality and fairness” for his future one. How is he going to accomplish the noble values of equality and fairness, by changing the tax code that would severely tax the incomes of the rich; by organizing watchdog agencies that would round-up Wall Street miscreants; by sending the seals to capture Chinese DVD pirates; and by compelling students to stay in high school until the age of 18? The former community organizer-enforcer that threatened bankers in his Chicago days with law suits if they were unwilling to provide loans to non-creditworthy borrowers, is now to enforce the rich to put their pound of flesh on the tax scale weighing at least 30% of their income, according to the “Warren Buffett Rule.” It is by such measures that the physically sprightly moving president will bring with Mercurial speed to the door of every ordinary American the goodies of “equality and fairness.”

Obama cannot run on his record—he barely mentioned in his Union address Obamacare and the stimulus, his major but questionable legislative achievements-but only on a re-run of new false promises. Equality and fairness cannot be achieved by minor legislative measures that he proposes but only by major ones, such as tax reform and entitlement reform, the core measures that would spawn the seeds for the growing of those noble values. The first generates social equity plus economic efficiency, and the second generates social justice plus debt reduction. It is by economic efficiency and debt reduction that the vital spirits of capitalist entrepreneurship will be incentivized and in turn set in motion the productive process that will increase the wealth of society and by spreading it to a greater number of people will reduce inequality and unfairness among Americans.

The taxing of the rich will bring negligible revenue for Obama to accomplish his grandiose scheme of equality and fairness. On the contrary it will sterilize the vital spirits of entrepreneurs and stifle capital investment, especially in conditions of recession, hence retarding economic growth, and indeed, deepening the slump, as Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in his rebuttal of Obama’s State of the Union address.  Therefore Obama’s proposal to tax the rich is another seductive but false promise, like his past promises, by which he is attempting once again to mislead and delude Americans that by taxing those who earn more than a million and by ‘barking’ against Wall Street greed he will create a socially fairer America.

Another central feature of his Union address was the praising of the armed forces for their solidarity and discipline, with which they achieve their great missions, and using them as a template to be adopted and imitated by all Americans, so they too can accomplish their aims in their pursuance of building a more prosperous and equal America. It is good to see the anti-war Obama extolling the virtues of the military and making them a model for the United States. But he overlooks the fact that the virtues of war are not applicable to, and are not, the virtues of civil peace. The qualities of solidarity and discipline are a prerequisite in war for defeating an enemy; but are an obstruction in search of knowledge that enhances techno-scientific economic development. Copernicus and Galileo had to break the disciplinarian regimen of the Catholic Church to make their breakthrough to their great scientific discovery. Great minds and their discoveries do not flourish in the restricted practices of solidarity and discipline but in the spiritual freedom that has no constraints.

One can hardly think that Obama is ignorant or unaware of this distinction. Therefore one must deduce that the admiration of Obama for the military virtues is only a post sop to the warriors of Iraq and Afghanistan, whom before he became president and in the initial stages of his presidency, consider them to be inept and useless in their fight against Islamic terror, and whom he would replace with his soft power policy and highfalutin diplomacy which completely failed to entice either al Qaeda or the Taliban, as well as the regime of terrorist sponsoring Iran, to come to the negotiating table. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The respect of President Obama for the military is shown in his latest proposal of cutting the army by 100,000; by the delayed production of helicopters and stealth jets; and by the elimination of one-tenth of the Air Force’s tactical fighter squadrons. And the savings of these cuts in a budget of over a trillion dollars will be for this year 4.5 billion dollars. It is by such tricks that Obama proposes to reduce the budget spending of the government while at the same time truly reducing the hard power of America that is the sine qua non  in its security and stability, and, indeed, of the rest of the world in our very dangerous times. As for being praised for killing bin Laden what else could he do, once he was informed by the CIA that a highly placed al Qaeda subject was living in the compound with the possibility that this subject might be bin Laden himself, other than sending the seals to kill him? The American electorate would have never forgiven him if, having this knowledge, he had done nothing. 

Obama failed in his stewardship as president, due to his wont to imitate the social democratic policies of Europe—Obamacare was his top example—internally to improve the economy and reduce markedly unemployment, and externally in his foreign policy to effectively constrain the rogue states of N. Korea and Iran from continuing their belligerent threats toward the U.S. and the rest of the West, and in particular preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The latest proposal by Iran to participate in negotiations to discuss its nuclear programme is a ruse on its part with the purpose to check Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities and thus saving its nuclear bomb that is rocked in its cradle. And the Americans according to the statement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have accepted with alacrity this Iranian proposal without any preconditions. Thus the Iranians have rolled out the Persian carpet of diplomatic deception and subterfuge for the Obama Administration to walk on.   Further, Obama in his attempt to “reset the button” with Russia has been effectively aborted, as exemplified by his inability to persuade the latter either in the case of Libya or Syria not to use its veto in the Security Council. It is for the purpose of covering all the above failures that Obama plays the rich pay tax card amidst the poorness of his stewardship, and in his goal to win a second term by cunningly deceiving Americans once again.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…                            

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Will America Rise from its "Comatose" State?

I’m republishing the following post, that was written on October 3, 2008, for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis
A reply to a very clever American Open Salon
The Global Credit Crunch and the Crisis of Legitimacy-September 30, 2008
By RCMoya612

RCMoya, after your excellent and resplendent analysis I feel, if I captiously quibble about few points, like a bat squeaking in the dark. First, inequality might have “continued its forward march” but I would argue that it did so on a higher level of general economic prosperity in America following the up till now unassailable historical paradigm of capitalism and free markets that has made the poor ‘richer’ in relative terms, as the distinguished economist Amartya Sen has contended.
Secondly, America’s “hectoring and ignoring” has its counterpart in Europe and in other continents whose countries were strong allies of the US during the Cold War but with the collapse of the Soviet Union have reappropriated their independence both geopolitically and culturally and expressing this in their own hectoring and ignoring against America, thus continuing the irreversible law of the political and cultural competition of nation-states.
Thirdly, I would argue that as long as America continues to be the centripetal force attracting the “best and the brightest” to its shores and not stifling the Schumpeterian spirit of entrepreneurship and “creative destruction”, it will be able to rise again even from the ashes of a comatose state and will continue to be in the foreseeable future the paramount power in world affairs.
And fourthly, the rejection by Congress of the funding plan that would have a better chance than none to prevent the economy from collapsing was inevitable in the present political climate where reason cannot compete with populist emotionalism and when a swirl of weak politicians, like Nancy Pelosi, and, indeed, Barak Obama, are its ‘slaves’. Only by cleaning out these wimp politicians from positions of power will the political narrative reassert its strength and legitimacy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bob Carr Sails his Intellectually Floatless Plot in Mountainous McGuinnes' Sea

With the announcement of Prime Minister Julia Gillard  that  senator-designate Bob Carr will be appointed to the foreign minister portfolio, I'm republishing the following article for the readers of this new blog. The article makes it glaringly clear the second rate foreign minister Australia will have with Bob Carr's elevation to the Ministership.

By Con George–Kotzabasis

The intellectual lightness of former premier Bob Carr’s critique of Paddy McGuinnes lies in the opening of his article published in The Australian, on January 30, 2008., ” ‘Don’t get too close to that crowd of Quadrant’, instructed Paddy McGuinnes…The year …is fixed in my memory as 1976 or 1977, when I was an employee of the Labor Council of NSW”. ( A period when the latter was employing standover goons from the Sydney underworld to bash and threaten the lives of left-wing members of the Labor Party, and which McGuinnes dubbed as the right-wing thuggish Labor Council of NSW.) As if this statement of McGuinnes in 1976-77, would be the ‘fixed’ Gospel truth about Quadrant from which McGuinnes would never deviate with the passing of time. Carr claims that “Quadrant’s anti-communism was too unfashionable for him.”[McGuinnes] As if the latter was picking his political “fashions” from the ‘cat walks’ and designs of other conservatives and was intellectually incapable of designing his own anti-communism, which he did, and during his journalistic career brilliantly articulated and exhibited.

Carr claims that “McGuinnes contribution was a different one” and “deliciously counterproductive”, which the Labor party relished. He was the Godfather of the three deadly sins that would cast the Howard government into the political abyss of Hades: Climate change denial, support for George W. Bush in Iraq, and loss of workers’ rights. “For ten years, whatever Howard did or said he would be supported by a group of columnists…none more bottled-up angry with Labor than McGuinnes”. This was Howard’s “Praetorian Guard”. And “when the electorate wanted Howard to ratify Kyoto and wind back the commitment in Iraq, the symbiotic link with Praetorians made it impossible for the emperor to shift”. It was this attachment of Howard to the orthodoxies of the Praetorians “that did him in”. Carr caps his argument by saying that “McGuinnes and his allies had won their man for their program, but their program had lost Australians”. And “McGuinnes was haunted by ghosts… Women from the Push days, his Labor Party buddies from the past, above all the imaginary leftists who seemed to occupy a large part of his mental space”.

Well let us deal with Carr’s argument about Paddy and Howard’s Praetorian Guard that “did him in”. The three issues that presumably ousted the Howard government, i.e., climate change, the war in Iraq, and WorkChoices were present during  Kim Beazley’s tenure as opposition leader without in any way increasing his polls against Howard , So there must have been other factors that brought the Coalition government down that Carr hardly even attempts to probe. And all the pre-election polls had shown that at least the two issues of climate change and the war, scarcely made any ripples in the calm lake waters that the electorate was paddling its canoe. The issues that led to the defeat of the former government did not emanate from the “program” of McGuinnes and his allies, but from a number of tactical mistakes made by the Coalition prior and during their lackluster electoral campaign and its inability to cut Rudd’s populist wings that would make the pigeon land, in the guise of an eagle, on the Lodge.

On the two pivotal issues of security and economic management, on which the Coalition had no peers in the political spectrum and was politically unassailable, the Howard government failed to concentrate the mind of the electorate. Instead of making these two issues the axis upon which the safety and continued economic prosperity of the nation depended, it squandered this political capital it had in its hands by ‘hoarding’ the first, that is, by keeping silent about the great importance of the security of the country during the electoral campaign¬—and considering that the war in Iraq was being won by the Coalition of the willing with hardly any Australian casualties, which was vital to the security of the West, the reticence of this fact was politically astonishing---and by treating the second, i.e., economic management, as a ‘safe haven’ in the electorate’s mind and a safe protectorate that could not be ‘stolen’ by the me tooism economic conservatism of  Kevin Rudd.

Rudd owes his victory to the humdrum desires--that had nothing to do with the war or climate change--of Howard’s battlers and to the self-employed tradesmen, both groups drenched with middle-class conservative values. Once Kevin 07 established in the minds of these two groups his economic conservatism coupling this with his promises of lower food and petrol prices as well as ending the ogre of Work Choices, which the unions’ advertising campaign successfully managed to depict, then Rudd was bound to win the race, as the unbreakable momentum of all the polls had shown during the long campaign, without steroids.

Howard’s campaign strategists committed the error of thinking that they could take the wind off the sails of Rudd first by a profligate and luxurious spending, and secondly, by tampering with the Work Choices legislation with the aim of making it more palatable to the electorate, and in the process bungling it, which instead of making it acceptable to the latter it created the strong impression of Howard’s guilt about Work Choices as being an anti-working class measure and hence generating a great distrust of Howard. From this point on whatever Howard was saying was falling on deaf ears and no monetary offers lining the pockets of the electorate would change the latter’s choice to have a go with Rudd. Indeed, “the electorate had moved”, to quote Carr, and ‘de-latched’, from Howard not because of Kyoto and the war in Iraq, as Carr claims, but because of the failure and inability of the Coalition’s strategists to expose the falsity of Rudd’s so called “new leadership” and to take the wind off the sails of  his bloated populism, as it’s written in Kevin Rudd’s stars that his “new leadership” will be led by the weathervane of populism.

Carr ends his tirade against McGuinnes by stating that the latter "was haunted with ghosts…above all the imaginary leftists who seemed to occupy a large part of his mental space”. As if he himself and the left in general, were free of their own ghosts planted in their dragons’ teeth by that great intellectual landlord absentee from history Karl Marx, class struggle, the proletariat, capitalist exploiters, the universal man, who would work during the day, play the harp in the afternoon, and write and “practice” poetry during the night. Not to mention its more modern up to date fads such as "make poverty history” in countries such as Africa where political corruption is rife and when one gets on the sleaze racket of a governmental position it becomes a way of life and where a free rein of insatiable cleptocracy reigns.

Just-in-time news, Bob Carr has drowned…It was never wise for lake swimmers to swim in the mountainous sea of Paddy McGuinnes.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Is the European Central Bank the Shy Bride of Lender of Last Resort?

By Con George-Kotzabasis—December 1, 2011

It goes without saying, that merely a new European treaty, as proposed by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, no matter how strong its teeth, will not resolve the crisis. But the solving of the crisis might lie in a fecund combination of new rules to be observed strictly, and new bold economic measures, including the ECB as lender of last resort. And Mario Draghi’s hesitation might only be a ruse. His guise of being the shy bride of decisive intervention might only be a pretension, and he may surprisingly shock everybody by sprightly stepping boldly and marrying the groom of lender of last resort. This unexpected nimble move from shyness to boldness will be a powerful incentive to rally the markets behind the Eurozone. And one might not dismiss lightly that “magic” and a Deus ex machina might have a role in this tragic play. 

P.S. Since the above was written, Mario Draghi lowered the discount rate of the ECB to 1% and distributed to European banks nearly 500 billion euros to lend to their customers. This is equivalent of using the instrument of lender of last resort by the ECB although doing this by roundabout means and not in a formal manner. And apparently this bold and imaginative initiative of the ECB has stabilized the European markets.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gareth Evans Doctrine of Bonhomie in International Relations

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 24, 2012

Gareth Evans the former minister of Foreign Affairs and presently Chancellor of the National University in Canberra, in an article published in The Australian, on December 26, 2011, under the title Peaceful Way in a World of Grey, argues that a confrontational approach is rarely the best means of tackling serious issues. He contends “that Manichaean good vs evil typecasting, to which George W. Bush and Tony Blair were famously prone…carries two big risks for international policymakers.” The first risk is that such thinking restricts the options of dealing optimally “with those who are cast as irredeemably evil,” and the second is by seen the world in “black-and-white terms” engenders “greater public cynicism, thereby making ideals-based policymaking even harder.” To strengthen these two points he uses the “debacle,” according to him, “of the US-led invasion of Iraq…should have taught us the peril of talking only through the barrel of a gun to those whose behaviour disgusts us” (M.E.), while conceding that “sometimes threats to civilian population will be so acute as to make coercive military intervention the only option, ( M.E.) as with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.” Conversely, as a non-confrontational smart benign diplomacy he uses his own negotiations “with the genocidal butchers of the Khmer Rouse,” that were “acutely troubling, personally and politically, for those of us involved,” but which “secured a lasting peace in Cambodia.” He caps his argument by saying that one must see the world beyond the “two dimensions, economic and geostrategic,” and add a third: “every country’s interest in being, and being seen to be, a good international citizen.” (M.E.)

This is not Fukyama’s The End of History but the re-writing of history, and distorting it to boot, on a grand scale. Evans by a divinely made eraser rubs out all evil from the pages of history. But let us respond to his points in sequence. It is obviously true that for a policymaker to see the world in black-and-white terms would be utterly wrong. But likewise, to see the world solely in grey colours without the colour of blackness casting its evil shadow in most human affairs is to paint the world in the colours of wishful thinking. The task of statesmanship is to see the world not with the eyes of the ‘good citizen’ but with the piercing eyes of the political scientist who perceives the nucleus of evil that potentially exists in all human action motivated by ideology or extra mundane religious beliefs. It is to identify and separate the irreconcilable from the inconsolable enemy and act commensurably to the dangers issuing from these two substantially different foes.

The attacks on 9/11 were not the attacks of “good international citizens” but of evil ones driven by eschatological divinely directed goals. Bush and Blair promptly and insightfully recognized that they were facing a deadly irreconcilable enemy that could not be mollified by any ‘benevolent’ actions they could take toward him—they were already depicted by this foe as “Great Satans”—but had to be completely defeated in the battlefield. Further, astute strategy would not allow such an irreconcilable foe to become stronger but to defeat him while he was still weak and hence at less expense in human loses and materiel. The invasion of Iraq had this aim, to prevent the nexus of fanatic terrorists with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear ones supplied deliberately or inadvertently by rogue states rigidly belligerent against America and generally the West. In the aftermath of 9/11 no statesman could underestimate the possibility of such a great threat consummated by nuclear weapons that would annihilate their people. As the success of one such attack against a western metropolis would be the ultimate incentive for Alahu Akbar terrorists to become serial users of WMD and nuclear ones against the West and its Great Satan America. And this can be illustrated comparatively and plainly by the success of the first car bomb that brought in its wake a succession of innumerable car bombs used by the terrorists against their enemies.

Indubitably, the invasion of Iraq would have been a “debacle,” due to serious tactical errors American strategists committed during the initial stages of the occupation, such as the disbanding of the Iraqi army that fuelled the yet to come insurgency, if it was not for the Surge that under the savvy new strategy implemented by General Petraeus, had not turned a potential defeat into real victory. A victory, moreover, that planted the seeds of democracy in Iraq and by establishing a nascent democratic state there soon became the catalyst that disseminated the ethos of freedom and democracy among the masses in the region and the great potential this entails for all the countries in captivity to brutal and authoritarian regimes. And one must bear in mind that the Arab Spring is the legitimate offspring of the American gate crashing of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the transplanting of democracy in Iraq made in the U.S. However, one must not be unaware of the great dangers that could lie in wait in this transformation of democracy among those countries whose peoples in considerable numbers are imbued with the religious fervour of Islam, that Islamists, like Hamas in Gaza, could attain political power through the ballot box. And developments in Egypt after the fall of President Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood and extreme Salafists gaining a majority of seats in Parliament at last week’s election, are not encouraging for those sections of Egyptian society that believe in individual freedom and democracy.

There is, moreover, a fundamental inconsistency in Gareth Evans’s argument when he supports military intervention in the case when civilians are killed or threatened to be killed by an authoritarian regime, like Muammar Gaddafi’s, but not when civilians are killed and are threatened to be killed in their hundreds of thousands in the future by fanatic Islamists as it happened in New York and Washington. Lastly, his mentioning of Cambodia and the negotiations with the Khmer Rouse, in which he was directly involved, that brought a “secured a lasting peace” with the backing of “good old-fashioned containment and deterrence,” as a triumph of reason over bellicosity, he overlooks the fact that the Pol Pot regime by the time of the negotiations was already removed from power as a result of being defeated by Vietnam militarily in 1979, and existing as a weak resistance movement in West Cambodia.  

It is by such a collage of diplomatic misapprehensions and awkward inconsistencies that the former minister of foreign affairs attempts to breathe life into his narrative of “a good international citizen” and the “cause of human decency” and insert it into the maelstrom of human conflicts often ensuing from Caesaro-Papist sinister ideologies. The doctrine of bonhomie in international relations can only be indulged over a café latte.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…