Posted tagged ‘america’

Marxistoid Economists Consider Historically Bankrupt Radical Left Saviour of Greece

June 19, 2017

In view of the ruinous policies of Syriza, and its completely inept negotiations with the European Union, that since its advent into power two and a half years ago is economically, and politically destroying the country, our two economists, Yanis Varoufakis and James Galbraith, who were so vocal is supporting the Marxist party of Syriza, are presently no longer unanimous in their stand toward it. While Varoufakis is a vehement opponent against Syriza and pours profuse vitriol over its leadership, Galbraith, remains totally numb and tuned out. It is for the above reasons that I’m republishing this article that was written four years ago. I hope the readers of this blog will find it of some interest.

Fair is foul, and foul is fair, /Hover through the fog and filthy air (Witches of Macbeth chanting their cursing ditty)

By Con George-Kotzabasis— July 04, 2013

In their article published in the New York Times  on June 23, under the title “Only the Left Can Save Greece”, the two politically ‘pinkish’ economists teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, James Galbraith (the son of the famous John Galbraith) and Yanis Varoufakis, argue that neither America nor Europe should fear an ascension to power of the Left wing party of Syriza in Greece on the contrary, they should applaud it, as a government of the left would reverse the defective policies of the European Union that have been so destructive to the Greek polity and to its people as well as to many other European countries.

The two economists were shocked at the closure of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) and denounced the Samaras government for its authoritarian and undemocratic action, of depriving Greeks of a public service of information and entertainment that was invaluable to them. The government however closed the public broadcaster temporarily and planned to replace this cesspool of administrative corruption, opacity, and cronyism, for which each Greek household had to pay a levy of 50 Euros per year, with a new public broadcaster not run by the government but by personnel chosen on meritocratic criteria and professionalism that would upgrade the service provided to Greek viewers and at a cheaper price.  Galbraith and Varoufakis, in their support of this corrupt and inefficiently run public entity  and demand of its reopening, found a kindred political ally in the leader of the Marxist party of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, who had committed himself to re-open with all its personnel intact if he became prime minister. Tsipras’ crocodile tears for the public broadcaster, which in the recent past had condemned as being the mouthpiece of the extreme right, exposed his blatant political opportunism in this U-turn from hate to love for ERT. But they found him also to be an invaluable ally to their economic proposals of how to lift Greece out of the crisis. .

Galbraith’s and Varoufakis’ solution to the crisis springs from the growing of a hundred blooming flowers in the luxuriantly prodigal Keynesian garden. Their package of Keynesian remedies consist of “a kind of European equivalent of America’s post-crisis Troubled Asset Relief program; an investment and job program; and a European initiative to meet the social and human crisis by  strengthening  unemployment insurance, basic pensions, deposit insurance, and the expansion of core public institutions like education and health.” Notice, that all of these remedies are to be financed by  government and taxes from private enterprises. How then government can finance all these things when its coffers are empty and depend on European loans to pay for primal services such as schools, hospitals, and public servants, and when private enterprise has no incentive to function or remain in an unstructured economy that has been for many years inimical to it? And the two economists do not make  a pip about the necessity of private foreign and domestic investments that are the only economically sustainable and viable investments that can initiate growth and economic development that are the sine qua non that will pull Greece out of the crisis. And that these investments can only be made under the incentive  of structural economic reforms that are favorable to private enterprise, and strict fiscal policies that perforce can only be accomplished by hard measures which are inevitably painful to the general populace.

Since neither the political color nor the gray matter of Galbraith and Varoufakis were able to convince serious politicians and economists in the Euro zone, or Greece, of the correctness of their Keynesian mirage as a solvent to the European and Greek crisis, they found in the fiasco leadership of Syriza, of Tsipras, the intellectual salvation of their by now withered flowers of their Keynesian remedy. (This speaks volumes about the value of their proposals in that they found their support and cerebral salvation in the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Greek left.) Tsipras bereft of any tenable economic policies, and rationalizing this vacuity in policy making by populist rhetorical denunciations of the policies of the Samaras government, eagerly embraced the policies of Galbraith and Varoufakis, which ideologically are cognate to his own as a ne plus ultra government interventionist himself, thus giving to his own policies some sort of academic prestige from this ‘south of the border’ economists that he is unable to get from more serious experts in the profession. (But beggars cannot choose.)

Indeed, the policies of Tsipras have their source in a variegated coterie of Marxists getting their inspiration from the flashing pan of Marxism, as the rising sun of the latter has long ago disappeared from the astral constellation of the universe, never to rise again. Tsipras, as a true believer of the great man, Karl Marx, attended the Marxist organised Subversive Festival of Zagreb in Croatia last March, which was likewise attended by both Galbraith and Varoufakis. Indeed, the former announced with pride his attendance of the Festival, in a lecture he gave to socialists in the German Parliament last week, where the gladiators of the great imperator Karl Marx had gathered together from all over the world and rushed into the arena of the Amphitheatre of Zagreb, with nets in one hand and swords in the other, to fight and slay the wild animals of capitalism, which their predecessors in the socialist camp, even better armed with technological weapons, had failed to slay. Moreover, Tsipras was an aficionado of Chavez and had visited Venezuela last year with the hope of getting financial help  from its president with an implied commitment of making Greece a protectorate of Venezuela, if not the European Venezuela. And yet Galbraith and Varoufakis in their political naiveté write in their article in the New York Times that the Americans have nothing to fear from a Syriza government.

Galbraith and Varoufakis, like the witches of Macbeth cursing the Samaras’ government as foul, undemocratic and authoritarian, slavishly implementing the dictates of the European Union, and as economically incompetent, are predicting its downfall while stirring the pot of their quackish remedies which nobody will ‘buy’ other than Tsipras. Meanwhile, Samaras wisely, assiduously, and decisively is transforming Greece within the short span of one year by an unprecedented series of structural reforms that are increasing competition–Greece is in the 22 position internationally for the first time–reducing the bureaucracy, especially its inefficient part that was an obstacle to investments, and planning to make it more efficient on meritocratic standards, changing the economic milieu by making it friendly to business and investments, and leashing the arbitrary and ruinous power of unions which for many years had prevented foreign investments in the country. Moreover by his virtuoso performance in the negotiations with the European Union and the IMF, Samaras  has blunted some of the austerity measures that have been a major factor in obstructing the re-igniting of the economy and artfully polishing these measures that will put Greece on the track of development. He was able to convince the leaders of the EU to provide Greece with extra funds for employment programs that will materialize by the beginning of 2014, more resources from the European Bank of Investments so they can be ploughed into small and medium sized businesses. He has started building Autobahns that have created 25,000 new jobs and he has enticed the economically hard thinking Chinese government to invest 350,000 million Euros in the port of Piraeus thus making it the entreport of commerce between south-east Asia and Europe. ( The European Council announced that the port of Piraeus will be named as the capital port of Europe for 2015.) Also the Chinese are interested in making more investments in the infrastructure of the country, especially in its railway network by which they will transport their goods into Europe. But the most important and greatest achievement of the Samaras’ government up to this moment has been the building, through Greece, of the conduit by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will convey natural gas from Azerbaijan to the heart of Europe. TAP will invest the huge amount of 1.5 billion in Greece and will generate 12,000 jobs by 2014 in the country. This, according to one authority in the energy industry, has been the personal accomplishment of Samaras who in his visit of Azerbaijan and meeting with the Prime Minister of the country three weeks ago, convinced the latter that it would be more efficient and economically cheaper to build the conduit through Greece instead of through Bulgaria and Romania, a project which the international consortium backing it was favorable to win, and lost it only, with the intervention of Samaras. Furthermore, this enormous investment, behind which one of its investors is the global gigantic company BHPBilliton, engenders confidence to other investors that Greece is about to pull itself out of the crisis, and hence, encourages and attracts more investments into the country and thus will increase employment which is one of the major challenges of the government.

The government under the statesmanship of Samaras is determined to pull Greece out of the crisis and not to squander the sacrifices Greeks had to make for the economic, political, and cultural Renaissance of the country. The great, fair achievements of the Samaras government, in an unprecedented short span of time, are depicted and cursed as foul by the two Marxistoid economists, James Galbraith and Yannis Varoufakis. Ignominy, loss of intellectual honor, is of no concern to them.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now 

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Will America Rise from its “Comatose” State?

December 5, 2016

In view of Trump’s Victory at The Elections, I’m republishing the following discussion between me and an American 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

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 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 wimpish politicians from positions of power will the political narrative reassert its legitimacy.

RCMoya says

kotzabasis

October 01, 2008 07:26 AM

Thanks for the points. Interesting thoughts.First, I’d be careful in praising the ‘unassailable historical paradigm’ of capitalism and free markets. That has never really been the case elsewhere in world–including Japan and Europe, and definitely not in the third world–and yet that has not stopped those countries from reaping the benefits of a globalised economy. Simply put, capitalism may have been successful–it is–but it is not the case that completely ‘free markets’ have played a central role in the enrichment of advanced economies. That was probably the result of a misleading analysis (an altogether too cheery one at that) of Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’–which has monumentally failed more than once since the 1980s.

Second, Europe may have been an American vassal in the early parts of the Cold War–and yet still managed to create economic structures that were different from the United States. Britain, France and Germany have had distinct economic approaches–and that’s to say nothing of more interventionist Scandinavia–and in all of these countries (save for the UK) the post-war years were considered an extraordinary period of growth.You’re probably right that we’re now re-entering a period of political and cultural competition between states. I think this is a good thing, though it’ll take some time for Europeans to get used to the idea of a weaker America.Your third point is probably concedable…though only to a point. The ‘best and the brightest’ only go to America because of its perceived economic vitality. Take that away and there’d be less of a reason to head over. Also, buying into the ‘Americans are so entrepreneurial’ myth is rather problematic–because some European states, for example, have a greater slice of the economic pie coming from small and medium-sized business owners than America, land of the corporate shopper, has. Maybe it’s the contrary situation at present: maybe Europeans have ‘stifled’ entrepreneurialism here…and in any case releasing it would help, not hurt it.

I’d warn that nothing lasts forever, that nothing is ever guaranteed; if America’s financial system DOES go under even further America’s future role as a power would be substantially jeopardised.Your last point starts off well…until you reveal your partisanship. The Democrats certainly don’t have a monopoly on forceful politicking, to their detriment. I would argue that their greatest weakness is in their ‘social democracy light’-style of policies.Yet, all the perceived ‘strength’ in the world hasn’t made the belligerence of the Reagan-Bush-Republican era any more palatable to the world–and, in fact, has in the longer-term probably weakened America considerably.Strength alone cannot substitute for pragmatism, intelligence and good policy.

Kotzabasis says

OK, but you have to answer the intruding historical questions under what economic system Japan and Europe developed and which was the motor of the globalised economy? One would be silly to say that capitalism is an ‘absolute monarch’ and free markets are the ‘Sun King’ of economic development. But we are talking here about basics and not the sometimes necessary state intervention which has been merely, if you allow me to use this metaphor, a changing of an occasional punctured wheel (excepting the present situation) of an omnibus that has been running quite well for a long time on all rough terrains.

And you have to be consistent with your own logic, if you accept the reality of a globalized economy, as you do, which was the offspring of a long gestation starting in the 1980s, how can you imply at the same time that this globalized economy was begotten by the “monumental” failure of the 1980s? The question of Europe is what cemented more the “economic structures” of Europe. Was it the working spirit of capitalism or the working spirit of socialism? And if a mixture of both is your obvious answer, I’ve to remind you that mixtures are not equal and on the scales of economic development capitalism continues to ‘tilt the scales’ in its own favour contra socialism, and that also applied to your economic model in Europe. Perceptions do not have a long life and for more than a hundred years now America continues to attract the best and the brightest on its shores. So its economic vitality must have more solid grounds than perceptions. Again you are inconsistent with your own logic; if the best and the brightest are in America, as you concede, then your “Americans are so entrepreneurial” cannot be a “myth”.

Needless to say “nothing lasts forever and… ever guaranteed” since man’s fate is to live and cope in a world of uncertainty.Lastly, I’m surprised that you consider my judgments on person’s characters, in this case of Pelosi and Obama, and on political parties as being partisan. Under your criterion only a person who made no judgments would be absolutely impartial. The facts are that the Democrats have cut their sails to the populist wind and are running their campaign on the emotional hate and animadversions many Americans have for the Bush administration and by association the Republicans. “Pragmatism, intelligence and good policy are the offspring of strong genes.

Marxistoid Economists Consider Bankrupt Left as Saviour of Greece

July 24, 2013

Fair is foul, and foul is fair, /Hover through the fog and filthy air (Witches of Macbeth chanting their cursing ditty)

By Con George-Kotzabasis— July 04, 2013

In their article published in the New York Times  on June 23, under the title “Only the Left Can Save Greece”, the two politically ‘pinkish’ economists teaching at the University of Texas at Austin, James Galbraith (the son of the famous John Galbraith) and Yannis Varoufakis, argue that neither America nor Europe should fear an ascension to power of the Left wing party of Syriza in Greece on the contrary, they should applaud it, as a government of the left would reverse the defective policies of the European Union that have been so destructive to the Greek polity and to its people as well as to many other European countries.

The two economists were shocked at the closure of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) and denounced the Samaras government for its authoritarian and undemocratic action, of depriving Greeks of a public service of information and entertainment that was invaluable to them. The government however closed the public broadcaster temporarily and planned to replace this cesspool of administrative corruption, opacity, and cronyism, for which each Greek household had to pay a levy of 50 Euros per year, with a new public broadcaster not run by the government but by personnel chosen on meritocratic criteria and professionalism that would upgrade the service provided to Greek viewers and at a cheaper price.  Galbraith and Varoufakis, in their support of this corrupt and inefficiently run public entity  and demand of its reopening, found a kindred political ally in the leader of the Marxist party of Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, who had committed himself to re-open with all its personnel intact if he became prime minister. Tsipras’ crocodile tears for the public broadcaster, which in the recent past had condemned as being the mouthpiece of the extreme right, exposed his blatant political opportunism in this U-turn from hate to love for ERT. But they found him also to be an invaluable ally to their economic proposals of how to lift Greece out of the crisis. .

Galbraith’s and Varoufakis’ solution to the crisis springs from the growing of a hundred blooming flowers in the luxuriantly prodigal Keynesian garden. Their package of Keynesian remedies consist of “a kind of European equivalent of America’s post-crisis Troubled Asset Relief program; an investment and job program; and a European initiative to meet the social and human crisis by  strengthening  unemployment insurance, basic pensions, deposit insurance, and the expansion of core public institutions like education and health.” Notice, that all of these remedies are to be financed by  government and taxes from private enterprises. How then government can finance all these things when its coffers are empty and depend on European loans to pay for primal services such as schools, hospitals, and public servants, and when private enterprise has no incentive to function or remain in an unstructured economy that has been for many years inimical to it? And the two economists do not make  a pip about the necessity of private foreign and domestic investments that are the only economically sustainable and viable investments that can initiate growth and economic development that are the sine qua non that will pull Greece out of the crisis. And that these investments can only be made under the incentive  of structural economic reforms that are favorable to private enterprise, and strict fiscal policies that perforce can only be accomplished by hard measures which are inevitably painful to the general populace.

Since neither the political color nor the gray matter of Galbraith and Varoufakis were able to convince serious politicians and economists in the Euro zone, or Greece, of the correctness of their Keynesian mirage as a solvent to the European and Greek crisis, they found in the fiasco leadership of Syriza, of Tsipras, the intellectual salvation of their by now withered flowers of their Keynesian remedy. (This speaks volumes about the value of their proposals in that they found their support and cerebral salvation in the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Greek left.) Tsipras bereft of any tenable economic policies, and rationalizing this vacuity in policy making by populist rhetorical denunciations of the policies of the Samaras government, eagerly embraced the policies of Galbraith and Varoufakis, which ideologically are cognate to his own as a ne plus ultra government interventionist himself, thus giving to his own policies some sort of academic prestige from this ‘south of the border’ economists that he is unable to get from more serious experts in the profession. (But beggars cannot choose.)

Indeed, the policies of Tsipras have their source in a variegated coterie of Marxists getting their inspiration from the flashing pan of Marxism, as the rising sun of the latter has long ago disappeared from the astral constellation of the universe, never to rise again. Tsipras, as a true believer of the great man, Karl Marx, attended the Marxist organised Subversive Festival of Zagreb in Croatia last March, which was likewise attended by both Galbraith and Varoufakis. Indeed, the former announced with pride his attendance of the Festival, in a lecture he gave to socialists in the German Parliament last week, where the gladiators of the great imperator Karl Marx had gathered together from all over the world and rushed into the arena of the Amphitheatre of Zagreb, with nets in one hand and swords in the other, to fight and slay the wild animals of capitalism, which their predecessors in the socialist camp, even better armed with technological weapons, had failed to slay. Moreover, Tsipras was an aficionado of Chavez and had visited Venezuela last year with the hope of getting financial help  from its president with an implied commitment of making Greece a protectorate of Venezuela, if not the European Venezuela. And yet Galbraith and Varoufakis in their political naiveté write in their article in the New York Times that the Americans have nothing to fear from a Syriza government.

Galbraith and Varoufakis, like the witches of Macbeth cursing the Samaras’ government as foul, undemocratic and authoritarian, slavishly implementing the dictates of the European Union, and as economically incompetent, are predicting its downfall while stirring the pot of their quackish remedies which nobody will ‘buy’ other than Tsipras. Meanwhile, Samaras wisely, assiduously, and decisively is transforming Greece within the short span of one year by an unprecedented series of structural reforms that are increasing competition–Greece is in the 22 position internationally for the first time–reducing the bureaucracy, especially its inefficient part that was an obstacle to investments, and planning to make it more efficient on meritocratic standards, changing the economic milieu by making it friendly to business and investments, and leashing the arbitrary and ruinous power of unions which for many years had prevented foreign investments in the country. Moreover by his virtuoso performance in the negotiations with the European Union and the IMF, Samaras  has blunted some of the austerity measures that have been a major factor in obstructing the re-igniting of the economy and artfully polishing these measures that will put Greece on the track of development. He was able to convince the leaders of the EU to provide Greece with extra funds for employment programs that will materialize by the beginning of 2014, more resources from the European Bank of Investments so they can be ploughed into small and medium sized businesses. He has started building Autobahns that have created 25,000 new jobs and he has enticed the economically hard thinking Chinese government to invest 350,000 million Euros in the port of Piraeus thus making it the entrepot of commerce between south-east Asia and Europe. ( The European Council announced that the port of Piraeus will be named as the capital port of Europe for 2015.) Also the Chinese are interested in making more investments in the infrastructure of the country, especially in its railway network by which they will transport their goods into Europe. But the most important and greatest achievement of the Samaras’ government up to this moment has been the building, through Greece, of the conduit by the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) that will convey natural gas from Azerbaijan to the heart of Europe. TAP will invest the huge amount of 1.5 billion in Greece and will generate 12,000 jobs by 2014 in the country. This, according to one authority in the energy industry, has been the personal accomplishment of Samaras who in his visit of Azerbaijan and meeting with the Prime Minister of the country three weeks ago, convinced the latter that it would be more efficient and economically cheaper to build the conduit through Greece instead of through Bulgaria and Romania, a project which the international consortium backing it was favorable to win, and lost it only, with the intervention of Samaras. Furthermore, this enormous investment, behind which one of its investors is the global gigantic company BHPBilliton, engenders confidence to other investors that Greece is about to pull itself out of the crisis, and hence, encourages and attracts more investments into the country and thus will increase employment which is one of the major challenges of the government.

The government under the statesmanship of Samaras is determined to pull Greece out of the crisis and not to squander the sacrifices Greeks had to make for the economic, political, and cultural Renaissance of the country. The great, fair achievements of the Samaras government, in an unprecedented short span of time, are depicted and cursed as foul by the two Marxistoid economists, James Galbraith and Yannis Varoufakis. Ignominy, loss of intellectual honor, is of no concern to them.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now 

It is Time America Realizes that it Cannot Negotiate with God

December 10, 2012

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

Is Clemons Serious a Muslim President In America in Our Times?

November 21, 2011

By Con George-Kotzabasis

And at the end a reply by Steve Clemons of the Washington Note

If Obama, a non-Muslim, has a Muslim advisor and America has a Muslim Ambassador to the UN then the corollary to this is, if Clemons follows his logic rigorously, that America whilst is engaged in a mortal fight with Muslim extremists in a long war, could also have a moderate Muslim, like Zalmay Khalilzad, as president.

Is Clemons, as the impresario of the liberal left, staging a burlesque comedy of American politics, hoping the hopeless, that it will have box office success in the present circumstances? (Read the November Congressional elections.) But I guess it’s a great virtue and “knightly” intellectual bravery to be optimistic in the most pessimistic circumstances.

Dear Kotzabasis — In this presidential race, we have had competing the first viable female candidate, the first African-American candidate, and the oldest to ever to run as his party’s nominee — This is historic. Yes, if we had a Muslim president, a gay president, an Asian-American president, a Jewish president, a Hispanic president — in our future….America would be well off I think if the person in question could prevail over the challenges of the day.

Thanks much for your attention, which is always dramatic, and appreciated.

best, steve clemons

America: Cinderella and her Ugly Sisters

April 29, 2011

The following paper was written on June, 2003, and published in my book Unveiling The War Against Terror, on May, 2004. It’s republished here hoping that the readers of  Bright Thoughts… will find it to be of some interest.                    
             
By Con George-Kotzabasis 

Once upon a time, the curiosity, intrepidity, and adventurous spirit of the descendants of a cosmopolitan civilization of Judeo-Greco-Roman origins, discovered a new continent that would grow in time, on the “downside” of Eden, economically, politically, culturally, and morally, into the most beautiful and fairest of her sex. But like all creatures who are made ‘in the prodigality of nature’, she would ineluctably attract, and be victim to, the jealousy, envy, and hate of the  “ugly” world. Thus, the American Cinderella, at the peak and bloom of her economic, political, military, and cultural power, would draw upon herself the wrath and jealousy of her ugly sisters. This is in short the story, of the vicissitudes and the fate of the American Cinderella in a hostile, enviable, and unequal world.        

It is a stupendous fallacy, and tendentious to believe, that America is hated for its so – called economically exploitative policies, and its arrogant foreign policy, both of which, according to its critics, obstruct and prevent nascent nations from also basking under the sun of economic prosperity and political freedom. On the contrary, the main cause for this resentment against America by these nations, as well as by those with pretensions of global power, such as Russia, France, and Germany, which no longer perch on the top branch of the tree of political power, is the overwhelming and unassailable power that America exercises in the economic, political, military, cultural, and scientific spheres, over the rest of the world.

 It is for this reason therefore wrong to premise, that only by changing these so called reprehensible and objectionable policies toward the less privileged nations and turbulent spots of the world, will America be able to stop the waves of hate from crashing against its shores. That ostensibly the emollient to hatred lies in benign actions. Such analysis of the situation, however, is monstrously superficial and deeply faulted. The hatred against America has its roots in the curse of envy. As America’s conspicuous eminence in the above named spheres, like Veblen’s conspicuous consumption, gives rise to envy among all peoples and nations, who cannot at this stage emulate it.

There is nothing unique or unprecedented throughout all history, that strong civilizations have always distended and expanded their dominance by battering old and opening new frontiers. All dominant powers exercised and demonstrated this dominance in vigorous and often violent ways.  Not only in their unquenchable desire to conquer new lands, but also, when they had to defend their vital interests and their domain from the threatening incursions and forays of potential deadly enemies. And just as often this violent action, or resort to arms by these powers, was unilateral and preemptive. The Greek historian Thucydides, in his depiction of the dialogue between the Athenians and the Melians, gives a tour de force instruction about the reality of political and military power, i.e., the weak must submit and pay tribute to the strong, because if the weak were in the same position as the strong, they would have also done the same thing.       

It is the softening of the brain, and not of the heart, that will not concede and accept this reality of power. Moreover, no civilization or nation which possesses such power but is squeamish in using it, will   be able to prevail against its competitors or enemies and eventually, like a lion who is no longer capable to roar, will lose this power and  will cease to be preeminent among nations. And there is no example in history, that a civilization or nation that possessed such power, voluntarily abdicated it. It could only lose it in a clash with a stronger civilization or nation than itself.  

In the present historical juncture with the rise of fundamentalist Islam and its terrorist death squads which threaten the stability, if not the viability, of the nations of Western civilization, especially of America, which is the embodiment, the “cosmopolis” of this civilization, the latter as a strong nation, inevitably has to take up the cudgels and defend itself and the world from this deadly menace. No nation or civilization, imbued with a modicum of amour propre and pride for its achievements, would allow itself to succumb, without fighting back with all its vigor and might, to a dangerous thrust of a horde of barbarians. And one must be reminded, that only America, among all other nations, has the technological wherewithal, the military power, and will, to confront and defeat terrorism and its state sponsors on a global scale. Furthermore, the defeat of global terrorism is pivotal on a war on two fronts. Whose critics, among which are Simon Crean and Kevin Rudd of the Labor Opposition, so simplistically and lamentably fail to see or acknowledge. One cannot decisively defeat terrorism without simultaneously fighting and defeating its state sponsors. Both, the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and against Saddam in Iraq, had this strategic aim. Which regrettably, was not spelled out lucidly and publicly, either by the Pentagon or the White House. And the destruction of the regimes of the Taliban and of Saddam, were, also, part of a quintessential process of ‘creative destruction’, to use the immortal phrase of the great Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, for the countries’ future economic and political development.                                                                                     

The war against terrorism however, is not solely the responsibility of America. Because apparently it seems the latter is the main target of the terrorists. It is just as well the responsibility of all the free nations of the world. To replicate the American isolationism of the 1930s, during which the ominous dark clouds of Nazism hovered all over Europe, as the Labor Opposition has done by its statements that Australia should concentrate its forces in the region, when the terrorists have only one region in their deadly sight, i.e., the free world, is to ‘have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing’, to quote Talleyrand. Labor’s stand on this grave issue is totally out of joint. While it is in full agreement that Australia must fight global terrorism, it is calling at the same time that its armed forces should stay within the bounds of the region. Apparently, political senility is the disease that is decrepitating the Opposition on this vital issue. Thus by definition, making it completely unqualified to govern the country in these critical times.

As for the calophonous, cheerful cries, of the not so intelligent cosmopolitan liberal intelligentsia, to make love not war, they unimaginatively forget that only because America has fought and is fighting necessary wars, that it is by the “grace of America”, that the peace-loving of the world can indulge in their predilection for the gratifications and pleasures of the boudoir. Moreover, they conveniently forget, that it was “peccant” America that saved the world from the twin miasma of Nazism and Communism, which threatened to intern and engulf the world in its monstrous death camps and gulag archipelagos.

America as the sole super-power has the moral, political, and historical responsibility to defend the institutions and mores of Western civilization from this mortal threat posed by Muslim fanaticism. As the American political commentator Robert Kagan has brilliantly argued, in the ‘anarchic Hobbesian world where international laws and rules are unreliable’, Immanuel Kant’s   ‘Perpetual Peace’, can only be achieved by America decisively and relentlessly exercising its mighty power against these deadly foes of life, peace, and freedom. And whilst in such exercise, it is wise to have allies from both old and new Europe, to win this war not only in the battlefield, but, also, in the interlocutory of diplomacy, at the same time, America must not allow itself to be trapped in the power plays and procrastinations of its fickle allies, as are played out in the security council of the United Nations. To quote another political theorist Michael Glennon, ‘states pursue security by pursuing power. Legalistic institutions that manage that pursuit maladroitly are ultimately swept away ‘. (Foreign Affairs May/June 2003.)

The security of the free world which is presently threatened by the baneful and atrocious attacks of al Qaeda and its affiliate bodies spread all over the globe, can only be accomplished by America using its military power preemptively and unilaterally, if that is necessary, against these mortal foes.  America, as the embodiment and protector of Western civilization and freedom, has no other alternative but to respond to this challenge of terrorism with all its might. The ghastly specter of fanatic terrorism will not be exorcised by saintly incantations nor by sprinkling with oil its stormy waters. And as no great nation can escape its own destiny, America has no choice but to exercise its military power against this reign of terror, with the wisdom that applies in a Hobbesian world of bellum omnium contra omnes.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now…