Posted tagged ‘coalition’

Greece:What to Do with Missed the Mark Politics of Coalition Partners?

June 7, 2013

By Con George-Kotzabasis May 3, 2013

The Samaras’ Government, like Atlas on his back, is carrying and attempting to transform and move Greece’s awesome heavy burden of unprecedented economic insolvency, since the ending of the Second-World-War, onto the stage of economic recovery and development. By succeeding in this most difficult enterprise it will also justify the positive, against the negative, economic remedies formulated in the second Memorandum by the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the so called Troika, for the purpose of saving Greece from economic catastrophe, and thus simultaneously enhance the credibility, and indeed, the survival of the EU as an institution of crucial influence and guidance in world affairs.

In this call to national salvation three politically and ideologically disparate parties 0f New Democracy, Pasok, (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and the Democratic Left (Demar) decided to form a coalition government whose main goal was to keep Greece within the European Union and salvage the country, with the financial help of the latter, from economic bankruptcy that would have devastated the standard of living of the major part of the population and would have brought a proud nation to the status of indigence and economic despair for at least a generation. The two leaders, of Pasok and Demar, Evangelos Venizelos and Fotis Kouvelis, respectively, seeing the prodigious dangers the country was facing, raised their height to these dire circumstances and wisely decided to stand hand in hand with an ideological opponent, that is, the liberal conservative party of New Democracy and its leader Antonis Samaras, for the purpose of saving Greece from this imminent catastrophe. Hence the two leaders of the left put their ideological reputation and the future viability, and, indeed, the existence of their parties at immense risk by their decision to support a government led by Samaras, their erstwhile conservative opponent, and tie themselves and their parties to the fortunes of the latter, that is, whether the Samaras’ government will succeed or not in pulling the country out of the crisis and start the economic development that is so vital in overcoming the terrifying economic difficulties that Greece countenances at the moment.

There are grounds to make one believe that Greece economically and politically might be at a turning point. The Samaras government after succeeding in convincing its European partners, in exceedingly difficult negotiations, to provide the funds Greece needed, to ignite its economy and place the country on the path of development, under less onerous terms of the bailout than the initial ones the Europeans were demanding. This was a great success and a great achievement of the government and demonstrating at the same time its virtuoso skills in the art of negotiations.

The government announced last month that it had beat its budget targets for 2012. Finance Minister Stournaras claimed that the government was close to achieving a primary surplus—the budget surplus before taking into account payments on the debt—this year that would deliver, according to the mutual agreement of the parties, a further package of help from the Euro-zone.  Employment statistics also showed, that within the span of the last two months the number of workers hired exceeded by nearly nine thousand the number of workers dismissed for the first time since the crisis. Furthermore, the recapitalization of the banks was on track and bound to be consummated in the next few weeks and the spigots of liquidity were therefore ready to be opened that would provide the private sector the funds for investment. Last week, the president of the National Bank stated that levels of liquidity are progressively established and 10 billion Euros could flow into the real economy. And already 50% of one thousand of small and large private enterprises announced that they were preparing to start investing within the current year. The internationally renowned telecommunications company Nokia is planning to establish a branch in Athens that would employ hundreds of highly skilled technicians and could become a magnet that would attract other foreign corporate giants to the country and thus by their presence would provide a continuous economic confidence for the country’s future. The Task Force of the European Commission last week issued favourable reports that the Greek economy was about to be re-ignited although it warned the government that small businesses had been dried of funds and their future operations were at risk. Also the credit ratings agency Moody’s estimated that Greece would have a positive rate of growth in 2014, after five years of negative growth.

Thus we see that there are ample encouraging signs that Greece might be at the crucial point of overcoming the crisis. It is most important therefore that the two parties, Pasok and Demar, that support the Samaras government, must first take note of these auspicious indices and that the current measures of the government are putting the country on the axis of economic development, and second, must not jeopardise this favourable situation by rigidly sticking to their parties position on other issues, such as labor relations and on the restructuring of the public sector, which are contrary to the overall current policy of the government and could endanger the economic progress the latter is making in overcoming the crisis.

The coalition partners must become fully aware that their political viability is tied up not with the sacred ideological position these parties hold on a variety of issues, contra the neo-liberal position of New Democracy, and pushing these toward their consummation, at this critical juncture whose primary goal is the salvation of the country, is a most imprudent diversion from the main goal. On the contrary, their political future is tied up with the success of the Samaras government in pulling the country out of the crisis. The electorate will not remember them and will not elect them for being pure to their ideological position but for their pragmatic support of a neo-liberal government that saved Greece from economic oblivion and mass poverty. In the event the Samaras administration fails in this complex immensely difficult and great task would likewise totally discredit and everlastingly condemn and cast to political oblivion both Pasok and Demar for their support of this failed government, no matter how favorable the former have been on other minor issues, in comparison to the major issue, that are dear to the hearts of the many. Their responsibility to the country and to themselves therefore lies in their pragmatic assessment of the policies of the government beyond ideology as to whether they are better placed to extricate the country from the crisis.

It is for this reason that in this process of the Renaissance of Greece, under the wise and strong leadership of Antonis Samaras, the cohesion of these partners in the salvation of the country is of unaccountable importance. Thus for Pasok and Demar not to miss the mark is to realize that the failure or success, in this uniquely historical venture of saving Greece, will determine their political viability in the future and not their ideological hues on secondary issues.

I rest on my oars:your turn now

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War Cannot be Won if its Commanders are Hostages to Politics

March 12, 2012

Dear readers of  this new blog,

I’m republishing this proposal sent to President Bush as Washington politicians are presently attempting to micro-manage the war.

Con George-Kotzabasis

The following was written on April 11, 2004 and was sent to President Bush on the same date. It’s republished now, as the Bush administration is forging a new strategy for Iraq that hopefully will be victorious against the murderous insurgents.

Dear Mr. President,

The present armed insurgency, threatening to become a general insurgency against your forces in Iraq, unless its momentum is promptly nipped in the bud, of Shiites and Sunnis against the Coalition, threatens to put off balance your whole strategic project for Iraq and the Middle East in general, which would have tremendously negative effects on the war against global terror. Needless to say therefore, the stakes are infinitely high.

At the present moment these fanatic thugs are fighting your forces under the misperception that they have the “upper hand” in this confrontation. It is for this reason therefore, that any conciliatory move your Authority in Iraq will be making toward the insurgents will be perceived by them to be a sign of weakness by your side. A current example of this is the ceasefire in Fallujah, that Paul Bremer was probably compelled to declare as a result of pressures put upon him by some members of the Interim Governing Council (IGC). This was done to presumably give the opportunity to diplomatic palaver to resolve some of the issues that are contested between, in my judgement, irreconcilable opponents. These talks are bound to fail, as you will confront the hardened positions of these fanatics, which arise from their false belief that they will be bargaining from a strong position, that will be totally incompatible with your military plans against the insurgents, and therefore will be rejected by your side.

It is neither surprising nor unreasonable, that some members of the IGC have condemned your military actions in Fallujah and have opted for negotiations with the insurgents. What is unreasonable however, about the stand of the IGC – which apparently does not have political and military strategists among its members – is the futility, except as a public relations stunt of doubtful value, of these negotiations on the core issues between the belligerents, and the loss of valuable time that could be expended instead by your military commanders in putting, urgently and immediately, a stop to the momentum of the insurgency that threatens to engulf the whole country.

Paul Bremer therefore, has the responsibility to awaken these members of the IGC from their somnambulistic illusions, and spell out to them the high stakes involved, which can only be resolved by the use of major military force by the Coalition. However, despite these negative aspects of the ceasefire in Fallujah, it can be used positively by enabling women and children to evacuate the town, hence saving them from becoming collateral casualties from a future attack by your forces.

The paradigm of Vietnam has shown conclusively that your brave commanders and troops could not win a war that was politically restrained, as to the appropriate kind of weapons used against their enemies, by the hands of “micro-politicians”. In any major critical military engagement, military considerations should have the upper hand over political considerations. Certainly, the overwhelming military response of your forces against the insurgents will have local and international repercussions and will spark a “wildfire” of protests against your Administration. But despite this, the priority of the military over the political must not be modified and must prevail. It is the price that statesmanship must pay.

Moreover, what is of the utmost importance in this conflict is to inflict such a deadly blow on the insurgents in selected towns of Iraq, from which they will never be able to recover. It is not enough to capture or kill them in small numbers, but to do so in the largest number possible. Their capture or killing en masse, will have a powerful psychological effect upon other insurgents in other towns, and will irreparably breakdown their morale and their fighting spirit. To achieve this goal, you Mr. President, as Commander-in- Chief, must direct your commanders on the ground to use the weapons that would inflict this devastating blow on the insurgents. That means that incendiary bombs, and the “daisies cutter” be used as a last resort against the insurgents, whose total defeat is so pivotal to your historic project in Iraq and to the war against global terror.

Sure enough, as I said above, there will be multiple political repercussions on a world scale. But one has to be reminded that wars are won or lost by military actions not by political repercussions. It is a terrible situation to be in for a Commander-in-Chief, but the question for free, open, and civilized societies, is to be or not to be. It is by such tragic and historic burdens that your leadership and Tony Blair’s are weighed with presently. But the mantle of statesmanship falls on Churchillian shoulders.