"A statesman should move beneath heaven as if he were placed above it."

Posts tagged ‘statesmanship in action’

Pure Marxism and Lack of Strong Leadership Will Ruin Tsipras Government

Trust those who seek the truth; beware of those who claim to possess it. (Paraphrasing a German dramatist)

Marxists, like God, are omniscient and possess the truth by the Mandate of Heaven, so it is useless to argue against them.

. By Con George-Kotzabasis –May 28, 2015

The inevitable unravelling of the Marxist Government of Syriza will not only be an outcome of its barren stand in its negotiations with Troika and atavistic economic policies, but, also, of its weak leadership. A Marxist led government indispensably requires a centre of power dominated by a strong leader. This absolute requirement is palpably missing in the radical government of Syriza. Its Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, does not hold an indisputable unchallenging dominance in this centre of power due to his effete leadership. The seismic plates of leadership, therefore, continuously move under his feet to the different Marxist factions and personalities of the Party, of whom all in an agonistic rivalry contend for the ever-eluding purity of Marxism whose possession would place the crown of leadership on their head. But since no one in the event can possess the purity of Marxism as by its nature is a disembodied spirit, this agitation among its rivals nonetheless places the government in a chaotic situation, that in the absence of strong leadership, a Tower of Babel rises whose ministers contradict each other and even the Prime Minister. An example of this is Tsipras’s support of the privatization of a public entity and the blatant refusal of the minister in charge of this area to accept this privatization. In such a situation when the reins of a radical government are not in strong hands, its ministers tend to do their own thing as each one of them boastfully professing to have the manifest Marxist destiny to represent and lead the proletariat. (And who could challenge the sundry ministers in their claim to such destiny other than a strong leader?)

Hence, in such conditions where all the factions of Syriza chaotically compete for the mantle of pure Marxism, Lenin’s Democratic Centralism, consisting of a Central Committee and a Politburo, on whose apex sits one person invested with supreme power, is replaced by a politically cacophonous and multi-active polycentrism whose lack of control and direction, in default of strong leadership, not only makes a mockery of democratic centralism and Lenin, but also, more gravely, engenders inexorably a failed state.

Not that Syriza is in want of all the trappings of a Bolshevik state. It has all the corollaries of democratic centralism, such as a Central Committee and a Politburo, which it names a Political Secretariat to eschew any resonance to Stalinism, but it ludicrously lacks the sinewy ruthless leadership material at the centre of power that is the sine qua non of a Bolshevik Party. So it is not surprising that all its methods of how to handle the Memorandum, that has been imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as a condition of Greece of being continued funded during its financial crisis, have been in shambles and lack coherence. While Tsipras, and a substantial part of the Ministers Council, show a willingness and a predisposition to make the necessary compromises in their negotiations with the Troika that will convince the latter that the Greek government will implement the austerity policies of the Memorandum and make the necessary structural reforms that will make the country competitive and lead it in the short term to solvency (As the Samaras Government was in the process of achieving), the radical Left Platform of Syriza refuses adamantly to make these compromises and constructs a “strategic breach” with the Euro zone and a return to the drachma. But even in the event that the Government clinches an agreement with the Troika early next month–there is a great doubt whether the Tsipras Government will be able to implement and materialize these structural reforms in the face of dogmatic and strong opposition by the faction of the Left Platform and the client Unions of the public sector–the Government will be just as doomed. Hence, this political and ideological chasm between the top leadership of the Party and its major faction, the Left Platform, is unbridgeable and will remain so as a result of the non-existence of strong leadership.

Tsipras is no Lenin. The latter realizing that the first socialist policies of the Bolsheviks by 1921 were failing, immediately replaced them with the New Economic Policy that was capitalist oriented giving people more freedom to produce and trade, he imposed this capitalistic policy upon the Party by dint of his strong unchallenged leadership and thus saved his government from obliteration. Tsipras on the other hand with his feeble weak leadership is unable to impose upon the recalcitrants of his Party the policy that will save both his government and the country. The Tsipras Government is a mad house whose “interns” all think they are Lenin and practise the ruthless and callous policies of the “great” man, breaking eggs to make omelettes, to paraphrase Lenin.

The cause of the ruin of the Tsipras Government is located in Alexis Tsipras himself. But the great tragedy for the Greek people, who in a lapse of prudence elected Syriza into power, will be that while Tsipras ruins his government, at the same time he will be wrecking and ravaging Greece for at least a generation.

I rest on my oars: your turn now.

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Greece: A Government of Contrived Smiles behind which Attempts to hide Incompetence

By Con George-Kotzabasis–January 02, 2015

Not only the ideologically antiquated and totally irresponsible and hasty announcements of the ministers of the new government, that led to the collapse of the Greek stock exchange and the stratospheric rise of interest rates, but also their body language, as shown in their performance before TV cameras, exposed with ridicule their witless incompetence. The Minister of State, Nikos Pappas, interviewed on Mega TV, was trying in despair to evade and not to answer the questions of the two interviewers and to cover the poverty of his arguments behind endless contrived smiles.

More gravely, but also more comically, the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, in the press conference held in Athens last Friday with the head of the European Union (EU) Jeroen Dijssebloem, with tongue-in-cheek and with supercilious righteousness was elaborating with complacent fabricated smiles the ‘perfectly remedial’ counter proposals of the Tsipras Government that would end the crisis to the presumably destructive austerity program of the EU that according to the government was exacerbating it. A program however that aimed, and apparently was succeeding, as indeed did in Ireland and Portugal, in pulling Greece out of the crisis, as recent economic statistics were indicating and serious international commentators were averring. Varoufakis in his last answer to the question of a journalist, in a bravura theatrical performance, described the Troika, the representatives of the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank, as being “rotten in its foundations” and the Greek Government would not negotiate with it but only directly with the heads of these three institutions. Dijssebloem sitting next to the Greek minister listening to the translation from Greek to English had a look on his face as if he couldn’t believe his ears. Varoufakis on the other hand had lost all his pompous confidence and showed in his movements and facial expression that he was unsure whether he had said the right thing or not. Totally riveted in his self-doubt and diffidence he seemed like a little child that had lost its way. But the crown of thorns that was placed by Dijssebloem on the head of Varoufakis came when the latter proferred his hand to the former and receiving a contemptuous cold handshake and hearing in bafflement at the same time the head of the EU whispering to him that what he said “was a big mistake.” At the end of this grandiloquent thespian performance by the minister of finance, just before the curtains fell, Varoufakis’ body language showed the depth of his confusion and perplexity and his attempt to hide them behind contrived artificial smiles.

It is by such stuff and political buffoonery that the Tsipras Government will remedy all the ills that the ‘evil’ Troika brought to Greece. This government of a medley of Marxists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists posit a great danger to the country as it plans to implement the by now defunct nostrums of its ideology, such as the expansion of the public sector, the nationalization of banks, airlines, ports, and electric and water services, the unbridled extension of the State, a highly regulated business sector, hence, replanting all the poisonous seeds into the soil of Greece that brought a blighted crop of economic bankruptcy.

As to Syrizas’ stand toward to the EU and the IMF, it will either stiffen it and thus lead the country to tactless insolvency and back to the drachma, or it will blink before the sharp sighted Europeans and will be forced to renege, and reverse, all the bombastic promises it made to the people before the elections. Indeed, Syriza will pour so much water in its wine and make it so tasteless that will turn all the people, who so frivolously believed its false promises and lies and voted for it, into teetotallers.

When Syrizas’ charge of the light brigade against the European Union, ‘armoured’ with its chimerical infeasible proposals will be made ‘mincemeat’ by the descendants of the Knights of the North, the romantic riders of Syrizas’ leadership will be compelled to dismount their wistful ideological hobbyhorses for the sake of holding on to power. But the latter also will be an illusion. As the Tsipras Government has failed to convince the EU of the correctness and feasibility of its economic proposals, likewise it will fail to have the support of the Greek people for policies, which preordain, as the collapse of communism, the destruction of Greece.

Greece’s Electoral Theodicy: The Worst of all Possible Worlds

Those “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” The Greek middle classes, who, with inimitable stupidity, voted for the multi-factional neo-communist party of Syriza, deserve their fate. Like Hitler’s Nazi party in 1933, a communist party has taken power in 2015, not through revolution, not through the bullet but through the ballot of a moronic electorate that fell victim to the blandishments of populism.

Con George-Kotzabasis January 25, 2015

7.30 pm Greek time

On Wise Vote of Undecided Hangs Hope of Greece

The conjunction of dreaming and ruling generates tyranny.

Michael Oakeshott

By Con George-Kotzabasis January 22, 2015

All the pre-voting polls show that the radical party of Syriza leads the liberal party of New Democracy by three to four percentage points up to this moment. This is because a sizable part of the electorate has been gravely wounded by the austerity measures of the Samaras’ government that were necessary for Greece’s economic resurgence, and therefore has been easily duped by the populist spurious promises of Syriza in its fixed-all campaign that will presumably pull out the country from the quagmire of austerity. If there is no reversal of this lead of Syriza in the next few days, then this party of neo-communists by taking power will throw the country into the vortex of economic destruction and bankruptcy, as a result of their barren, sinister, and deadly ideology, whose consequences will plunge Greeks into mass poverty and political enslavement for at least a generation.

This intransigent Marxist ideology is readily encapsulated in the  preannounced inflexible and inexorable hard stand of Syriza’s position toward the negotiators of the Troika, i.e., the lenders of Greece, by threatening to repudiate and shred basic tenets of the second Memorandum that had already being agreed by the Greek government and its European partners. The latter have made it limpidly distinct that any action by a future Greek government that would imperil fundamental clauses of the Memorandum, could lead to the cessation of funds going to Greece that are so vital for the economic stability and resurgence of the country, and indeed its survival. Hence any unyielding rigorous stand on the part of Syriza’s negotiators with the European Union would lead to the economic rigor mortis of the country. Therefore, the elections of Greece next Sunday are tragically Shakespearian, “to be or not to be.”

Is there a force that could prevent this tidal wave of Syriza from destroying the country? My answer is in the affirmative. It is the force of intelligence that is embodied in that part of the electorate that has not decided as yet for which party to vote next Sunday. The major part of this undecided part of the voters consists of former supporters of New Democracy who are grievously angered with the policies of the Samaras government but who nonetheless perceive the small improvement in the economic magnitudes that have been accomplished by these policies in the short span of two and a half years since New Democracy was elected. It is inconceivable to imagine that these voters will let fly the one bird that they have in their hand for the two birds in the bush promised by Syriza. Nor could one imagine that this middle class would cut their nose to spite their face and vote for the neo-communists. It is on the wise vote of the undecided part of the electorate that hangs the hope of Greece. The return of New Democracy into the government benches under the insuperably strong and astute leadership of Andonis Samaras will ensure that Greece will overcome all obstacles to its economic recovery. In times of severe crises only the strong and intelligent can indulge in hope.

Australia must Protect itself from Home-Grown Terror

In view of  the siege in Sydney by an Islamist terrorist and its tragic end by the killing of two hostages, I’m republishing the following paper that was written on September, 2005. 

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The anti-terror laws proposed by the Howard government, have brought in their wake the civil libertarians’ nightmares – that these laws will destroy civil liberties, freedom of speech and assembly, and eventually and irreparably erode the values of our democratic state. The nightmarish shadow of ASIO and its spooks will forebodingly spread and pervade all parts of our society, and no institution or person will be safe from the horrid intrusions of its ghostly agents. Hence, according to the libertarians’ ‘apparitional’ thinking, the offspring of these laws will be a police state.

But how real are these ugly images -read as concerns of the civil libertarians -beyond the tarot cards of their predictions, and what is the probability that they could change the democratic fabric of our society so drastically resulting in people losing their civil liberties? It’s in the adversarial response of the critics to these proposed anti-terror laws, that the answer to the above question lies.

The point d’appui upon which the critics of these laws rest their case is fear. But a one-sided fear – the fear that these laws will deprive us of our freedoms – that totally disregards the other greater fear posed by the terrorists, which will deprive us of our lives. Thus, the libertarians’ protection of freedom is the protection of the freedom of the dead.

Let us however be more gentle with their claims, and attempt to examine them historically and rationally as they stand. They claim that the anti-terror laws will be implemented in an unfettered and shadowy way – without oversight or legal scrutiny by parliament or any other relevant authority – by ASIO and other security agencies against suspect terrorists and without the latter having recourse to the normal judicial processes that are part and parcel of a just state. They also claim, that these laws “can be used to deal with a range of issues beyond terrorism” and hence open the backdoor to a police state. Furthermore, they are unprecedented in their sweep, such as “preventative detention of suspects”… stripping them of their citizenship and deporting them, “legal powers akin to wartime than peacetime”. John North, the President of the Law Council says that “these laws may bring us in danger of capitulating to terrorists, because they would have achieved their objective”. Maybe we should capitulate to weakness and not pass these laws and hence get bombed, which is the ultimate objective of the terrorists. This seems to be less of a danger to Mr. North. And they assert that there is no certainty that these laws will be effective in preventing a terrorist attack in Australia.
(The quotes above are from Cameron Stewart, The Australian, 17 September 2005.)

This is no more than an ardent attempt by the civil libertarians to demolish the rationale and effectiveness of these laws by employing, as above, subterfuge, legal and philosophical abstractions and scarecrows to make their case. They are unwilling to use concrete historical evidence to make their argument (maybe because such evidence would have been detrimental to their claims) or reason, since the premise of their position is founded on the emotion of fear.

IN TIMES OF WAR LAWS MUST CHANGE

All democratic nations in times of war in the past had to pass legislation that enforced censorship and the detention of suspects propagating and promoting seditious action. And the laws issuing from such legislation had to be applied rigorously against any suspects who could organise themselves into a fifth column within a country at war. But the historically conclusive evidence is that in democratic societies as soon as the war ended, these laws ceased to apply and once again society returned to its former normal state. Undoubtedly, during the application of these laws, mistakes and indeed, abuses were made and some individuals apprehended or incarcerated were entirely innocent. But the scale of the operation and application of these injunctions were so great that it would have been impossible to execute them without making in some cases mistakes and errors of judgment. No human action on any gigantic scale, as for example in war, can ever be error-free. To expect that one could achieve one’s goals on such a wide range without human fallibility playing an acting role, both in the mental and moral spheres, is to expect a play about the Fall of Man without any human actors, but only angelic ones, in it.

The human condition is a state of irremediable imperfection. But despite this grim fact, the evolution of human nature has not stopped at its amoebic stage. In the irreversible Darwinian process of the survival of the fittest, the human species had to continuously develop new and more perfect means for its survival. Although these means were far from perfect in a divine sense, they were good enough for its earthly existence. The anti-terrorist laws are in this category of ‘good enough’.

Australia, being at war, has no other option but to take these less than perfect hard measures that have a high probability of protecting its citizens from a home-grown terrorist attack. However, the premise upon which any wise legislation or enactment of laws rest, is that these laws must be commensurate to the threat (s) that emanates from illegal action. For example, if there is a spate of housebreaking, parliament has to legislate the appropriate, but not too-harsh laws that could deter this criminal activity from occurring – by jailing the culprits for a short time. If on the other hand, like New York few years ago, when a spate of robberies and murders were occurring which posed a greater threat to the residents of a city than housebreaking, the government would have to pass harsher laws, if it seriously wanted to prevent these ‘deadly muggings’ from happening, such as those with the ‘zero tolerance’ passed by the former mayor of New York, Guiliani. Furthermore, because of haphazardness and uncertainty, which is the shadow of all human action, one can never be sure that any laws passed will be completely effective in deterring people from engaging in illegal activities. Nonetheless, despite this ineradicable element of chance that is implanted in all laws, no government can eschew or excuse itself from the responsibility of taking the appropriate punitive measures that have a high probability of being successful against criminal conduct. (A clear example of this were the zero tolerance laws that were enforced in New York. At the time there was a volcanic eruption of protests from civil libertarians that these laws were inhumane, unjust, and ignoble, and that they would be totally ineffective as a deterrent to crime. Their success however, in substantially diminishing crime within a short time, proved its critics to be totally wrong.)

This indeterminacy and unpredictability of all human laws, unlike the physical laws of gravity, in regards to their success against lawbreakers, is moreover augmented, to the highest degree when a government has to legislate laws against a ‘consortium’ of religious fanatics whose mode of operation has the speed and randomness of quicksilver and whose goal is the destruction of civilised society by the barbaric and ruthless use of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones, against it. The legislators of these laws that could forestall such lethal terrorist attacks must be aware that all such attacks in the eyes of these fanatics are ‘pushed’ by the breath of Allah. Hence, the most impossible action(s) fantastically imagined, in the context of such apocalyptic fanaticism, becomes an alarming reality. Muslim fanatic terrorism, has no rational concrete political or social goals, despite its propagandistic pronouncements to the contrary, which are merely a fig-leaf of their real intentions, but only the eschatological goal of destroying decadent Western civilisation. In such circumstances, laws that could be effective against criminal activity would be totally ineffective against zealots who are guided solely by the laws of God. Hence, one of the most fundamental elements of law, the deterring factor, is completely useless against these fanatics. And this is the reason why the government has to legislate a new generation of laws that would have a chance to be effective against god’s outlaws.

In the passing of such legislation however, one has to make a distinction between hardcore terrorists and would-be terrorists. The latter have not reached the point of no return of the fanatics. And either because of fear of what would happen to themselves or to their families, they could be constrained by laws, from entering the gates of hell of active terrorism. This is why the anti-terror laws must be composed of both a ‘safe-haven’ and a ‘purgatory’: a safe-haven for those Muslim fundamentalists that can be promptly rehabilitated, and a purgatory for those inveterate and pathological fanatics, whose ‘rehabilitation’ can only be accomplished, if ever, inside the gates of Infinite Paradise.

To the raw suspect recruits of would-be terrorists, the applied laws must have provisions that they are not going to be treated too harshly, thus leaving them an opening, a safe-haven, to rescue themselves from the relentless squeeze of the vice of the law that would apply to the hardcore fanatics, either as suspects of being active terrorists or as suspects who propagate and incite terrorism – as some of the fundamentalist imams and teachers in Islamic schools do among their followers. To these imams and mentors who actively or by intent engage in seditious activities and the incitement of a holy war against ourselves and our allies, who are also waging war on global terror, the purgatory of deportation, detention, and imprisonment should remorselessly apply. This is where the deterring factor of the law lies against these votaries of fanaticism -in the concrete rigorous harsh application of the laws against them and not in their abstract state as a threat.

This clear distinction of how to deal with the hardcore fanatics in contrast to their greenhorn recruits, has the great potential to sever the association of the latter from the former, and hence ‘dry’ the pool from which the fundamentalist mentors of a holy war against the West get their recruits. And by ‘deporting’ and ‘clinking’ their perfidious activities the government will effectively disable them from continuing to be the incubators of terror in this country.

The government must not be constrained by any ‘legal-niceties’ or illusions in the enactment of the anti-terror laws. The latter must correspond to the great threat that external and home-grown terrorism pose to the country. And the curtain has fallen on all discussions, deliberations, and debates about the causes and ideological roots of terrorism. When someone is ready to stab you to death, you don’t restrain his action by parleying with him about the causes that made him an assassin. This is the time for action. The government must take no heed of the animadversions and subterfuges of the civil libertarians. All their assertions are no more than a marivaudage, a sophisticated banter, about this grave and deadly serious issue. In its enactment of these anti-terror laws, it must be solely governed by its historical duty to ordain this imperative legislation to protect Australia.

I rest on my oars: your turn now.

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