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

Posts tagged ‘statesmanship’

Marx and his Modern Reincarnation Continue to be Hotbed of Gross Errata

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The following is a very brief reply to professor of economics Kostas Lapavitsas, and former member of Parliament with the Party of Syriza, to his thesis, that Greece can achieve its national sovereignty only by going back to its own currency, i.e., the drachma, delivered at the Ithacan House, Melbourne, on April 15, 2016. The three first paragraphs were omitted from my response as I assumed regrettably wrongly, that the time allotted to the questioners at the meeting would be too short and hence I did not include them.

Professor Lapavitsas, allow me to make a short comment before I come to my question, as at the start I want to point out what I believe to be the roots of your erroneous proposition.  

Dialectical materialism even in its modern reincarnation of neo-Marxism, which you espouse, is a hotbed of gross errata, not to say terata (monsters), and hence a fallacious doctrine.

Yet the ghost in the machine of Marxism, despite its irreparable breakdown, continues to churn-out apparitional panaceas for the ills of global capitalism. One such quack panacea is your own proposition.

My question is: Show us one country in the world hit by absolute poverty, which, your implied return to the drachma entails, that by adopting your proposal has achieved national sovereignty and kept it; If you cannot show us such a country, then your proposal is a mirage, a will-o’-the-wisp, an occult fancy.

But what is more worrisome is that you are asking the Greek people, after the botched Tsipras-Varoufakis experiment, to be also the guineapigs to your own theoretical experiment which has hardly better odds of success than the Varoufakian one.

National sovereignty is the result of prosperity not of poverty.

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Suspicion toward Muslim Women Hidden behind Veil of Victimisation

The following is a would be reply to Dr. Shakira Hussein’s talk at Readings in Carlton, on March 15, 2016, with the title “From Victims to Suspects”…, which I was not allowed by the chairperson to elaborate, as she considered my questions hostile and uninteresting towards Muslim women.    

In the mad world of the Taliban, ISIS, and suicidal Islamist terror, it is not difficult for sane people to become “paranoiacs”.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

You are attempting to hide suspicion behind the veil of victimisation whose presumed agent is Islamophobia. The real agent, however, is your own religion that classifies women in comparison to men as second–rate beings.

As long as Muslim women cannot attain true femininity and banish the burqa and the hijab, symbols of their absolute bondage to Muslim male supremacy and its sex morals, they will have a cloud of suspicion hanging over them. As most Muslim men, if not open supporters of Jihad, are at least justifying the actions of Jihadists, since they believe unswervingly that all actions, no matter how atrocious, against the Great Satan America and all other Western Nations that are in league with it and are responsible for all the ills that have been fallen upon Muslim countries, are justifiable. A very thin line separates justification from Jihad and it takes only one step to be on the other side. And since Muslim women are submissive and docile to their men, they have to abide to the beliefs and actions of the latter. Hence, potentially, they can become active participants in this Holy War against the West. Hence, there are solid grounds for suspicion.

Only Muslim women who have the moral and intellectual fortitude, like the brave and great Somalian, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, to renounce and liberate themselves from the rigid tenets of the Koran can remove the shadow of suspicion that are enshrouded in. And no professed adherence to Multiculturalism and human rights can bail out either Muslim men or women from this suspicion. What human rights would the devotees of the Koran give to the offspring of Satan? And don’t reply to me with the platitude that you can make distinctions among the people of the Western world. For how can you distinguish good infidels from bad infidels?

Syriza: Merrymaking While in Opposition Follymaking While in Government

America celebrates The Fourth of July as the day of independence of a great nation; Greece remembers The Fifth of July as the day of ignominy and gross stupidity of an abject nation, fallen from its former illustrious and glorious history, that voted “No” in the referendum and thus opened the door to the exit of Greece from the European Union and its entrance to the drachma.

By Con George-Kotzabasis—July 07, 2015

On last Sunday’s Referendum on The Fifth of July, sixty-one percent of politically and economically illiterate, not to say ignorant, Greeks, voted a “proud” and “dignified” “No” to the EuroGroup’s proposals, thus putting a noose around the neck of the nation, and celebrated this victory by dancing frenetically and entranced in Syntagma Square Zorba dances as if by putting a noose around someone’s neck was a festive occasion. And they did this in the background of closed banks, pensioners mass queuing to get a small part of their pensions, depositors unable to get a preferential amount of cash from their accounts, businesses unable to make transit payments on the exchange of goods and services, tourism, the major export of Greece, decimated by tourist cancellations. All this therefore leading to a free fall of the economy with the prospect of leading the latter to a catastrophic end with innumerable business enterprises closing, the present level of unemployment rising from 1.5 million to three-to-four million, engendering shortages of food and medicines, and with the ghost of the returning drachma–and thus absolute poverty of the country–looming over the head of Greece. Not since the launching of the Sicilian Expedition in 415 B.C. by the fatal decision of the Athenian General Assembly, that according to the great historian Thucydides was the stupidest decision ever taken and which was the cause of the ignominious and irretrievably annihilating defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, has a democracy, as has been shown in last Sunday’s referendum, taken such a ludicrously irrational and fatuous decision on such a crucial question as whether the country should stay within the European Union or not.

Syriza while in Opposition in a crescendo of populism, ‘caressing’ promises, and purported macho stand against the Troika whose Memorandum of austerity, which according to the emotional fulminations of Syriza was humiliating and offending the pride and dignity of Greeks and leading to no end to the economic crisis, promised to the Greek people that by negotiating implacably and strongly with its European partners it would extract an economically better and dignified deal from the latter that would lead the country out of the crisis.

Of course all this merrymaking of Syriza was vacuous and wishful thinking, topped by a mountain of shameful lies, and never had a chance of being realized; it was never grounded on pragmatism and was bound to crash, like a house of cards, at the first touch with reality. The Greek people, however, irate and disgusted with the austerity measures of the Samaras government, but oblivious of the fact that these necessary measures were pulling the country out of the crisis, as stated by serious economic analysts world-wide, ratings institutions such as Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s, as well as top-of-the-branch European politicians, were enraptured with the demagogy of Alexis Tsipras and became prone and willing to take a ride on the carousel of merrymaking provided by Syriza, that made by a magic wand hard things easy. Hence, on the 25th of January they elected the hardline left of Syriza in government.

Once in power Syriza revealed the inner lineaments of its nature and politics. It was a mixture of political immaturity, administrative incompetence, and hardline leftist ideology. A dangerous cocktail for anyone to hold in one’s hand at any time, especially when one steers among rocks the ship of state. This was illustrated by its two major players, Alexis Tsipras, and Yanis Varoufakis, respectively as prime and finance minister, who both of them, unlike God Who dares not to play dice, to paraphrase Einstein, gambled the fortune of the country in one throw of the dice and lost, as events showed down the track. But the hoodwinked politically innocent people along with the nipple-fed intellectuals aka “useful idiots,” to quote Lenin, still continued to throng as guests the merry party of Syriza in government and still believed the fairy tales of these two political spivs, Tsipras and Varoufakis, that by the strong stand of the Greek negotiators they would force their European counterparts to give in and provide Greece the tailor made program that was sewed up by these two spivs. The Europeans, of course, in their professionalism, would never accept the economically irrational and hare-brained demands of the Greek finance minister Varoufakis. Instead, they compelled the government, on the 20th of February, to sign and pledge itself to the implementation of the second Memorandum extant but which the government shilly shallied and refused to implement thus losing all trust and credibility in the eyes of the Europeans.

This is why the result of the Referendum has no impact in the thinking of the leaders of the European Union as they have lost all trust and have no confidence in the Tsipras government. On the contrary, as already seems likely, they will impose the most severe measures in the third coming Memorandum as an ironclad condition of Greece remaining in the Eurozone. Thus the trumpeted argument of the Tsipras government and its ministers that a “No” vote in the referendum would be a strong negotiating weapon, proved to be a paper sword in the hands of Tsipras, as is currently shown in his negotiations with his counterparts in the European Union.

The comedy of the rise of Syriza by the Aristophanean basket into the clouds of an ideal government is rapidly turning into an Aeschylean tragedy. The same audience that will joyfully be clapping the Aristophanean comedy will sorrowfully wailing and crying when it will be staged as an Aeschylean tragedy. Pride riding high always precedes the inevitable falling.

I rest on my oars: your turn now

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Return of Troika to Athens to Consummate Negotiations with Greek Government a Compulsion

By Con George-Kotzabasis November 19, 2014

The Greek Opposition and the media in general by demonizing The Memorandum with its austere measures that has been imposed upon Greece by the Troika, i.e., the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF, as a condition for the flow of funds from the latter to the Greek Treasury for the purpose of saving the country from insolvency and gradually placing it on a trajectory of economic recovery, has made it impossible for anyone to reasonably argue, or even to imply, that this necessary austerity, after a mindless profligate spending by previous governments that sunk Greece into an unfathomable debt and debarred it from the financial markets and threw it into an unprecedented spin of economic crisis since the ending of World War II, would generate beneficent results and would pull the country out of its economic crisis.

History has repeatedly shown that countries in critical situations, almost like a law of nature, give rise to extraordinary men/women of stupendous wisdom, mettle, and will power that saved their nations from destruction. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from Xerxes’ despotism and his barbarian myrmidons, Lincoln in the American Civil War, and Churchill in World War II, are outstanding examples. Likewise in contemporary Greece from the ashes of its economic holocaust, a phoenix, in the figure of Antonis Samaras, had risen to salvage the country from its tragic economic mess. In the short space of two years the Samaras government accomplished an unprecedented feat, that no other government in the world was ever able to consummate, i.e., to draw the country from the edge of a precipitous calamity and place it by gradual firm steps on the solid ground of inchoate economic recovery. This was achieved by a series of structural reforms that made the country more competitive, and by painful cuts in the budget that generated for the first time a primary surplus in the current year, after many years of budget deficits that was the embedded malaise of the policies of previous governments and were the major cause that pushed Greece into bankruptcy. Also, for the first time after forgetting, but not forgiving, many years of negative growth, the country’s GDP in 2014 has increased by 0.7%, and unemployment has decreased from 28% to 25.9%, in the same year, and is estimated to decrease to 25% by the end of 2014.

It is because of these achievements of the Samaras government, that I believe that the TROIKA will be compelled to back down from its severe and apparently unyielding demands, in its impending negotiations with the Greek government in a few days, and will render a positive review of the policies implemented by the latter as stipulated in the Memorandum, which is the sine qua non of Greece’s exit from the strictures of the Memorandum by the end of 2014. It is inconceivable that the TROIKA will persevere with its hard position and put in jeopardy these successes of the Samaras government, that after all, emanated from their own austerity measures that were contained in their own directives as designated in the Memorandum. The TROIKA cannot be so foolish as to throw a spanner in its own works! Hence, the nonsensical fear, that has been so gloomily and frivolously fanned by the Greek media that the TROIKA will continue its hard-line toward the government and place in predicament, and waste, all the sacrifices Greeks had made to turn their country into a modern economy and fecund with prosperity, will dissipate with the softening and compulsion of the Troika to withdraw its hard stand.

I rest on my oars: your turn now.

          

Defeat Not Degrade ISIS Correct Strategy

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Brief reply to: An Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) First Strategy

By Robert Bunker Small Wars Journal August 30, 2014

One has to make a clear distinction between real existent hostility (ISIS) and potential hostility (by other uncertainly defined actors), so one has to be decisive in one’s choice which hostility to confront first. Robert Bunker is correct in stating, “an Islamist state has to be considered more dangerous than a secular autocratic state.” The latter is “ideologically bankrupt” whereas the former because of its “spiritual ideological component” has “a very real expansionist potential” and therefore is “more dangerous.” According to this logic therefore, one has primarily to confront and ELIMINATE this danger emanating from ISIS and not merely weaken the latter for the purpose of maintaining it as a force that would prevent other forces inimical to the United States from filling the “political and institutional vacuum” left by the decimation and total defeat of ISIS. First, ISIS in its short reign, other than verbally and ceremonially as true believers of the Koran, has hardly established a “political and institutional” framework that with its ousting would be occupied by other belligerent and hostile forces. The area upon which its so called Caliphate was established, from which thousands of people fled to save their lives, will once again, with the total defeat of ISIS, revert back to its original occupiers, Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqis, who with the exception of Syrian supporters of Assad, the latter two groups are hardly enemies of the USA.

The defeat of ISIS by American airpower and by forays of its Special Forces and its allies of Kurds and Iraqis on the ground will be a decisive blow to all Islamist terrorists, including those of al Qaeda. And it will put an end to the flow of its recruits from internal and external sources. I would suggest therefore that to achieve this great victory one must adopt the strategy that will defeat and eliminate ISIS and not the strategy that will degrade and weaken it.

War on Terror: Issuing from Culture of Fear or Danger of Ominous Attack

I’m republishing the following article that was written on November 2011

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The respectable and cerebrally sharp Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security advisor to president Carter, mounts an intellectually and strategically disrespectful argument, in the Washington Post on March 25, 2007, that the war on terror has created a culture of fear in America, and has a pernicious impact on American democracy and its psyche, and on US standing in the world. He contends, that the war in Iraq, could never had gained the congressional support it got, without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Further, that terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare. And he caps his contention by stating, that the war on terror “defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies”, and also creates a “sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger”.

It’s apparent that Brzezinski’s points are instigated by his experience of the Cold War era and Soviet communism–of which he was an exemplary acute observer and had identified clearly the dangers emanating from Soviet expansionism–and it’s precisely for this reason that are completely inapplicable to the undeclared “Hot War” that fanatical Islam is waging against the USA and the infidel West generally. To replicate the policies that were successful in eroding Communist power and finally casting it into the waste bin of history and apply them to an “ unidentified”, shadowy, religiously inspired fanatic enemy is not merely a lapse of historical nous but a totally inept and faulty strategy against such a foe. The fact that Communism was a limpidly identified enemy and precisely dangerous, was the cause that united the countries of the West and rallied them to stand behind the leadership of the USA. In contrast, it’s precisely because our present “presumed enemies” are lacking a “geographical context” that makes them nationally unidentifiable and hence an “imprecise danger”, is the reason that disunites Western countries and makes them reluctant, if not inimical, to stand behind the American leadership and strategy against global terror. Moreover, a false and unimaginative sense pervades many European countries that they are not equally endangered by global terror, like the USA is, and that they can wriggle themselves out of this danger by not engaging in the war against it and indeed, by appeasing the Islamic fundamentalists.

Further, Brzezinski’s psychology does not pass muster with the 9/11 portentous event. The latter was not, as he argues, the “psychological linkage” between its “shock” and the “postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction” that led to war and which “had gained congressional support”, but the reasonable reaction of the Bush administration, or for that matter of any historically responsible administration, to a future ominous and more devastating attack by terrorists armed with WMD, and indeed, with “portable” nuclear weapons, supplied by rogue states such as Saddams’, on the United States. The war on terror, therefore, did not create “a culture of fear in America” (E.A) as he contends, since this fear was an instinctual fear on the part of Americans of the great danger hovering over their lives in the aftermath of 9/11. This was illustrated by the fact that nearly ninety percent of Americans initially supported both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and this was the basic reason why it was also almost unanimously endorsed by congress. Hence, Brzezinski’s contention that this culture of fear had a pernicious impact on American democracy and on America’s psyche is baseless. Not to mention the fact that a culture does not spring up like a crop at the first droplet of rain. His culture of fear therefore is nothing else but a figment of his exuberant imagination.

Further he sublates to use a philosophical term, he assimilates the terrorist who is a real entity into a “technique of warfare”. Averring that terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare. Who then is the enemy? Is he a disembodied being who uses this technique?  Can one separate an enemy from the war technique he uses? And is the US led coalition in Iraq that is trying to deprive the terrorists of the wherewithal of this technique, i.e., factories that manufacture car bombs and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), not fighting an enemy? The fact is that the terrorist who is the mortal enemy of civilians knows only this technique and uses it effectively and lethally to achieve his goals, in the case of fanatic Muslims, against the Great Satan America and the infidels of the West.

He also states that the war on terror has tarnished the US standing in the eyes of the world. But is this surprising when so many people in the world, and especially in Europe, wrongly believe and presuppose that it was American policies toward the Middle East and ultimately its “adventurism” in Iraq that fomented and increased global terror? What people under such gargantuan misconception would be congenial to US involvement in the war against global terror? And especially when US actions are perceived to be unilateral and lack the backing of other major nations and the UN? Is it conceivable that under such misperception–not to mention the serious tactical errors committed on the ground in Iraq by US strategists in the aftermath of Saddam’s defeat that justified to a certain extent the wrath of the critics of the war–that America would not have eroded its standing and tarnished its reputation? Besides, who would expect that a powerful nation such as the USA, especially being the sole superpower, in conditions of world peace when nations are not threatened by another superpower and are in no need to be protected by the US as in the past, would have the respect and affection of the rest of the world and not the enmity and hostility that rises from the curse of envy against the great and the powerful?

By all historical standards the war against global terror in the wake of 9/11 was fully justified and prescient in its aim to prevent a future ominous and much more devastating attack on the United States by terrorists, who would use weapons of mass destruction and indeed nuclear ones in their irreversible goal to destroy the Great Satan. And if America could be attacked so easily by al Qaeda and its affiliates then European nations that are saturated with Islamic fifth columnists and activated jihadists would be sitting ducks.

It’s this great existential threat to America and Western civilization that has prompted the US to mobilize its military might and its brave soldiers in a long war against global terror. But in spite the clarity and awareness of the Bush administration about the real stakes of the war, it made a grave psychological error with devastating consequences to its overwhelming public support of the war by deflecting the invasion of Iraq which was quintessential to the defeat of global terror to the issues (a) of finding the elusive weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and (b) building democracy in Iraq. When these two issues had apparently foundered and were at the same time associated with the difficulties the US led-coalition countenanced in suppressing the insurgency, the war ineluctably lost its popularity among the US electorate, and reached the levels of unpopularity of the Vietnam War. The American electorate didn’t give a damn about whether WMD would be found or not, everyone believed at the time that Saddam was in possession of them, nor had they a modicum of interest in building democracy in Iraq. What they were concerned with was their security, and on this basis they were prepared undeviatingly to support the war both in Iraq and Afghanistan and to endure the pain and sacrifices that it would entail. This was the stupendous blunder that the Bush administration had committed. By substituting the war in Iraq as an essential part of global terror with building democracy in Iraq, it lost the support of the American people in the face of the arduous and tough difficulties of the war.

However, notwithstanding the serious errors of the Bush administration its original war plan to fight al Qaeda, its affiliate bodies, wherever they raise their hydra’s head, and the rogue states that support them, remains historically unblemished and is a tribute to the strong leadership of the triumvirate of Bush, Blair, and Howard. This was a historic decision, to stand up and fight the religious fanatics that threatened the viability of Western civilization and its freedom. And not to fall to the historically and politically naïve and supine blandishments of the nipple-fed liberal intelligentsia that terrorism and its state sponsors, like the Soviet Union, could be contained or that their Allah anointed grievances could be negotiated. It’s for this reason that the judgment upon Bush, Blair, and Howard, not to mention the indomitable, but so maligned by the media, Vice-President Cheney, whether their stand against global terror and their involvement in the Iraq war was right or not, will be made by history and not by political opportunists and leadership pretenders, such as Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and our own, Kevin Rudd.

I rest on my oars:your turn now.                 
   

The Samaras Government and the Frivolous Populist Chattering of the Media Harlots

By Con George-Kotzabasis August 20, 2014

The Greek economic crisis has brought on its heels a moral and intellectual crisis and “prostitution” of its media. The Fourth Estate in Greece has been transformed into a “red-light” district where a populist seraglio of colorful journalistic harlots has assembled to hustle their “quickies.” Only with few exceptions, such as Babis Papadimitriou, whose analyses of current economic events in Greece are illustriously admirable and an example for imitation, most of the media spoke persons and journalists in Greece are wallowing in the putrid waters of populism and from that position are publishing their disheartening, gloomy, and misleading comments about the economic and political situation of the country. But while it is easy to please and mislead the hoi polloi it will not be easy for these commentators to erase the mark of shame that they have self-inflicted upon themselves and their intellectual integrity.

To the incomparable achievements of the Samaras government in restructuring the economy, making it more competitive and freeing it from the dead weight of the public sector–which was a major cause that had brought Greece to the precipice of default and its citizens close to absolute poverty–that were the prerequisites for keeping the country within the European Union and with the latter’s financial help saving it from economic collapse that would have thrown its people, for at least a generation, into the hungry fangs of poverty, the Greek media, almost in toto, has not emitted one word of praise toward this remarkable performance of the government.

This accomplishment is unprecedented in the history of nations, that in a short period of two years any political leadership was able to accomplish and salvage their countries from bankruptcy. The Greek media, however, did not make one twit about this great accomplishment. On the contrary, it criticized the government, and often condemned it, of being responsible for the immiseration and economic suffering of its people, and of being the puppet of the European political elite, especially Chancellor Merkel of Germany. In a chorus of tragicomedy its commentators reproached and blamed the coalition of the Samaras government for accepting and implementing the austere policies of the second Memorandum, that were imposed by the European Commission as a condition for Greece’s continued financial assistance by the former, as being the cause of the calamitous economic blight that has scourged a major part of the population in the last two years. However in this prejudiced and populist castigation of the government by the media analysts, they studiously ignored the fact that the real culprits for this economic disaster were the leaders of past governments who had created a false and unsustainable economic prosperity, fuelled by loans and debts and passing the latter to future generations, and by creating a gargantuan flabby and totally inefficient public sector for the purpose of ensconcing their political clientele in leisurely unproductive jobs at the expense of the public purse. Hence, it was not the Memorandum that had brought the economic crisis and the level of unemployment to stratospheric heights, but the imprudent and foolhardy policies of past governments that led the country to the brink of insolvency that had brought the Memorandum with its inevitably austere remedies, and just as inevitably some errors in its policies, but which were tragically essential for Greece’s economic recovery. As is often the case throughout history, nations and men/women in great dangers can only be saved by the most severe measures.

The Samaras government did not flinch before this formidable responsibility and carried this hard task with the characteristic moral strength and intellectual astuteness of its leader. It surmounted the mountainous populist waves that a petty and completely incompetent, and by now, a historically obsolete amalgam of ex-communists and socialists, who compose the Opposition, Syriza, stirred among the populace with the aim to get rid of the government. And despite the fact it had the unions and its strikes on its side and using them as a battering-ram to overthrow the government, nor the fact that the media in general took a neutral stand and did not decry this disgraceful and dangerous action of the Opposition that would lead to the political destabilization of the country and would put in jeopardy all the successes of the government in pulling the country out of the crisis, the Opposition failed ignominiously in its goal.

Antonis Samaras, like Theseus, is finding Greece’s way out of the labyrinth of its economic crisis while the Greek media inexorably demeans itself by polluting its readers and viewers in a rancid flood of populist biased misleading comments and information, that puts the great accomplishments of the government and its exit from the crisis at an immense menacing risk.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now!