Posted tagged ‘politics’

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.

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

Euthanasia of the Presidency under Obama

December 8, 2011

By Con George-Kotzabasis

President Obama is placing the vibrant presidency of the most powerful nation in the world in the hands of the practitioners of euthanasia as if America were in the agony of its death throes. Cynical about America’s global political and military power, cynical about its ability to win the war against its deadly and irreconcilable enemy, cynical about its peoples’ steadfastness and determination to wage war against the fanatical hordes of Islam that threaten America’s heartland, cynical of its European allies’ resolution–under indomitable and sagacious US leadership–to fight the same war, and cynical of the capacity of the best professionally trained armed forces in the world, i.e., the American, to defeat an impromptu organized group of terrorists, who bereft of cool strategic nous in comparison to its ‘infidel’ opponents, are impulsively fighting the Great Satan and all the other little Satans of  the West  with the fanatical cry of Allahu Akbar,  President Obama has chosen, due to this inveterate cynicism and to his guileful and odious politics as we shall  see further down, most imprudently strategically and politically and sans amour propre to retreat from the battlefield, with macabre geopolitical consequences for America’s prestige as a superpower, and take cover behind a no longer fortress America.

As we predicted early in 2009, during the long gestation of the president’s ‘new strategy’ for Afghanistan which under the pretence of giving serious consideration to the request of his senior commander in Afghanistan General McChrystal to increase the troops by 40,000, he dithered his decision not however for the purpose of how to win the war but for the purpose of weighing the political costs that would accrue to him if he had accepted the advice of his general. And when finally he made his decision, he increased the troops by 30,000 while handing to his National Security team a memo setting the strict terms that this increase included the July 2011 start date for a US troop withdrawal. Hence, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, whilst his brave soldiers and astute generals were spilling their blood in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan fighting the Taliban with the aim of defeating them, all he was thinking about were the political costs that would bear upon him as a result of his apparent greater involvement in the unpopular war. So Obama’s ‘serious’ and long deliberations before he made his decision had nothing to do with a new strategy, emanating from his status as Commander-in-Chief, to defeat the Taliban but had everything to do with his status as political shyster who was only concerned about his polls.

The increase of troops by 30,000 was strategically meaningless as it had not the aim of defeating the enemy since it merely served Obama’s political rationale of not seeming to be weak on war while at the same time placating the anti-war crowd by announcing the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan. What strategist of any substance would increase his forces in the field of battle only to withdraw them without inflicting upon his enemy a mortal blow? And what kind of leader would place an increased number of his soldiers in danger and continue a war that he thinks is unwinnable when his main purpose was to withdraw them from such war, why would he have increased them in the first place if he was planning to withdraw them if not for his concealed ill-design to dupe the American people, to present himself as both a war president and a peaceful one? In reality of course, Obama is neither of these but a political Shylock who demands his pound of flesh from his troops fighting in Afghanistan in order to play his despicable politics at home so he can placate both those Americans who support the war and those who are against it.

From Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Charles Martel, to Napoleon all strategies had a clear and unique goal, to defeat the foe. Only President Obama, who as the most repulsive of political manipulators is wantonly sacrificing the interests of the nation to his own narrow political interests, is disgracefully and timorously traducing this irreversible principle of war and turning himself into a cartoonist mockery as Commander-in-Chief of a great nation.

Afghanistan during Obama’s political campaign was a “war of necessity,” that presumably was neglected by President Bush, and a war that must be won. But according to Bob Woodward’s new book titled Obama’s Wars, this is no longer so.Obama is quoted as saying, “This needs to be a plan about how we are going to handed it off and get out of Afghanistan.” And the outcome of the policy review and its long deliberations was the offspring of “political considerations,” according to a State Department official. Obama himself reportedly said to Senator Lindsey Graham, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party” on the issue of Afghanistan. General Petraeus felt so affronted by White House demands for an exit strategy at all costs that he told his aids, “They are f…king with the wrong guy.” Another senior general said that the announcement of the withdrawal by President Obama, gave “sustenance to the Taliban.” Moreover, the policy review has engendered serious divisions within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council, and the Defense Department and between American and Afghan officials. Jim Jones, the National Security adviser, calls the ‘bosom’ advisers of Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel variously as the “mafia” the “campaign set” and the “politburo.” And General Petraeus has dubbed Axelrod as the spin artist in residence, and I would add the spin-master who can win elections and lose wars. 

These revelations of Bob Woodward are toxic to Obama’s presidency and threaten to unleash a spate of resignations of top echelons of the Administration. In short, the presidency at this critical moment of national security and war is in a state of disarray. And no matter how he is going to re-arrange the musical chairs of his sinking presidency after losing the better performers, the future ones that will occupy them will be the worst performers that he could get. No one of sterling qualities, of the best and the brightest, will have an inkling to join an intellectually, politically, morally, and strategically bankrupt administration and be branded everlastingly with such an ignominiously failed presidency. Obama by debasing the ‘political currency’ of a great nation will become the victim of Gresham’s Law. The bad and base currency of circulating officials that will bid for the positions of the Administration will drive the good and golden currency of officials out of circulation for these posts. Hence Obama’s future administration will be filled by political parvenus, professional opportunists, and Cagliostro like political impostors and all ‘playing their tunes’ under the master conductor of spin. Such an outcome will seriously undermine America’s prestige and éclat as a superpower. It will infernally endanger the vital interests of the nation and its security by enticing its mortal enemies to attack it, as they see that the rudder of America in the rough seas of the world is in the hands of an incompetent and weak president. The question is whether Americans will allow this to happen and whether they will have the intelligence and courage to use all means to halt him in his tracks and thus put an end to Obama’s ‘Directorate’ of social democracy which is ‘terrorizing’ America and to prevent at the eleventh hour the euthanasia of the presidency.

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

Defection of Gaddafi’s Foreign Minister Presages Collapse of Regime

August 23, 2011
The following short piece that was written on April 1, 2011, predicted the present collapse of the Gaddafi regime.
 
 NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril April 01, 2011

By Sean Kay The Washington Note

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Sean Kay’s NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril, is politically inept and has already been overcome by events. As we had predicted, the end result of a decisive military intervention by Western powers would be to bring the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. Now the degringolade of the regime is imminent. This is clearly foreshadowed by the defection of foreign minister Moussa Koussa, a close collaborator of Gaddafi and a former director of Libyan Intelligence to boot, that sets the example for other high officials of the regime to follow.

 Who would be a better qualified person than a former director of Intelligence to read correctly the vibes and disposition of the Libyan people toward the regime, and more importantly, the latter’s inability to suppress the bouleversement against it, and hence induce Mr. Koussa, for these reasons, to abandon the doomed sinking ship of Gaddafi?