Archive for February 2012

Iron Ladies Never Die they Just Continue to Show the Way

February 29, 2012

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 9, 2012

In a hostile world only the strong have the right to indulge in hope. Thucydides

Ah, that memorable, fascinating, admirable, and politically insightful and intrepid subject, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, that challenges almost all of contemporaneous political leadership that is scrambling on all its fours–with some notable exceptions such as Lee Kuan Yu, of Singapore and Antonis Samaras, of Greece–from Obama to Zapatero to Merkel and Sarkozy, who  instead of standing on the shoulders of political giants, like Thatcher, to command events, they have been overwhelmed and overcome by them.

The characteristic spending profligacy of Labour socialist governments over a number of years, and the excessive borrowing and inflation that resulted by the latter’s policies that brought the UK into economic stagnation gave Margaret Thatcher the opportunity to win the election in 1979 with a sizable majority. Her victory would bring not only the transformation of British politics but would also spawn, with a small astute coterie of others, the seeds of a profound change on the political landscape of the world. Further, by re-introducing forcefully the idea of privatization as a dynamic concept among the economic detritus left by Labour’s deficit-laden nationalization of industries, she would place the country on the trajectory of economic efficiency and generation of wealth for the benefit of all Britons.  To open markets to the world she abolished all exchange controls on foreign currency five months after coming to power. The UK from being the poorest of the four major European economies in 1979 became by the end of ten years under Thatcher’s stewardship the richest among them. In a series of economic policies packaged by Milton Friedman’s and Frederick Hayek’s monetarist theories, Britain’s GDP grew by 23.3% during this period outpacing that of Germany, France, and Italy.

However, to accomplish the latter goal, she would have to confront the power of unions decisively, which, in a ceaseless campaign of strikes and imprudent and irrational demands were ruining the British economy. In 1979, at the apex of union power, Britain had lost 29.5 million working days to strikes, whereas at its nadir, under the robust stand of Thatcher and her strong blows against it that led to the defeat of unions, in 1986, the figure of lost working days was 1.9 million. The Moscow trained communist Arthur Scargill, secretary of the Mining Unions, had unleashed in 1984-85 a myriad of strikes with the aim to obstruct the Thatcherite pro-market reforms that would put Britain on the roller skates of economic prosperity. By the end of that year that shook the foundations of British industry and broke the morale of some of her Cabinet members–that prompted Thatcher in a memorable quip to say to them, “You turn if you want to. The lady is not for turning.”—the red flag became a trophy alongside the Argentinian flag in her collection of victories, as Arthur Scargill conceded his defeat.

In international affairs she questioned Kissinger’s policy of détente toward the Soviet Union as she believed strongly that Communism should not be accommodated but overcome. For this implacable stand the Soviet Army’s newspaper Red Star christened her the “Iron Lady.” Together with President Reagan, she planted the diplomatic dynamite under the foundations of the Soviet empire that would eventually bring the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Lenin’s benign Marxist dream that had turned back to its true nature as a nightmare of Gulags and Killing Fields.

Thatcher in the 1980’s fiercely opposed the European economic and monetary integration. To her the European construction was “infused with the spirit of yesterday’s future.” In the kernel of this construction laid the central “intellectual mistake” of assuming that “the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy.” And she was prophetic to the current events and crisis of Europe when she argued that German taxpayers would provide “ever greater subsidies for failed regions of foreign countries,” while condemning south European countries to debilitating dependency on handouts from German taxpayers.” She concluded, “The day of the artificially constructed mega-state is gone.”

However, no statesmanship is without its warts. In 1986 prohibition of proprietary trading went out; the separation between commercial and investment banks was abrogated; and ‘casino banking’ took off, which without these changes would not have happened. Her critics accused her of promoting greed which she personally abhorred. Also, the introduction of the poll tax on adult residents was most unpopular among Britons and sparked the Poll Tax Riots on March 31, 1990, that instigated an internal coup against her that ousted her from her premiership.

Margaret Thatcher entered number 10 Downing Street with her strong character and astute political perceptiveness with panache that destined her, like all great statesmen, to “walk beneath heaven as if she was placed above it,” to quote the seventeenth-century French political philosopher, Gabriel Naude. She will enter the ‘gate of heaven’ not as the frail distracted old woman, as she was depicted in the film made by Phillida Lloyd, but as the iron lady who will never die and continue to show the way.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…              

 

Surrogates of Obama Must not Pass

February 17, 2012

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

Reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:

Obama Surrogate Fires Back

By Andrew Lebovich

Washington Note, June 18, 2008

For Andrew Lebovich to post his fire cracker after the smoke that has been emitted from the intellectual ashes of Dr. Susan Rice’s argument how  Obama’s plan will stop the support of extremists as a serious argument, reveals clearly what a crowd of political dilettantes are attempting to enter the corridors of power and hence crowding out statesmanship.

Dr. Rice’s contention that Obama’s plan will “dry up support for extremists…by upholding at home the values that we preach abroad, even with respect to terrorists and extremists”, is riddled with historical and psychological ignorance and by the fact that she does not know thy enemy and therefore can only be laughed out of serious political debate. The supporters of the extremists and the latter themselves have their own apocalyptic Allah-made values and they don’t give a hoot about the values of the infidels as preached or practiced. Their only concern is to destroy these values thus obeying the orders of their God. If this is the plan of Obama as a new diplomatic strategy if he became president to defeat terrorism, then this diplomacy is destined to be an abject failure and will lead with mathematical precision to the shipwreck of his strategy against global terror to the detriment of the American people and the civilized world.

The correct strategy how to defeat the extremists and to deprive them of their support is already foreshadowed in Iraq, by defeating them in the field of battle, as is being done by the new strategy of general Petraeus, one deprives the extremists of both recruits and supporters. This is why the extremists in Iraq are now using and deploying children and women with Down syndrome as a result of the drying up of recruits. As I’ve argued seven years ago only by depriving the terrorists of their successes by capturing and killing them can one defeat them decisively. And the first signs that this is happening presently is in Iraq. An withdrawal thereforefrom Iraq at the threshold of a U.S. victory, as pledged by Obama, will be the ultimate stupidity executed by a Commander-in-Chief and an ignominious chapter in American history, surpassing the defeat in Vietnam. And it will be considered by the jihadists to be a great success and thus encourage droves of recruits into the arms of al Qaeda and its afilliates. Obama and his surrogates must not pass!

 I rest on my oars: Your turn now