I’m republishing this short piece that was written on May 10, 2012, for the readers of this blog.
What actually decides is our character Jose Ortega y Gasset
By Con George-Kotzabasis May 10, 2012
Surprisingly, you are profoundly pessimistic, not to say nihilistic, about Antonis Samaras, who is the greatest politician appearing on the political firmament of Greece since Eleftherios Venizelos. Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare, endowed with that rare combination of high intellect, imagination, stupendous moral strength, and economic insight, which he proved by his prediction of the disastrous policy of austerity, encapsulated in the first European Memorandum as a remedy to Greece’s dire economic peril, without economic resurgence.
Statesmen are not responsible for the ignorance and political immaturity of their people. They try to lead even in a vacuum of understanding among their people about the real dangers their country is facing. The tragedy of Samaras was that his clear and sagacious policies were not able to overcome and trump the ignorance of a large part of the electorate about the real dangers that were threatening Greece, especially in a state of akyvernisia (Lack of government).
As a physicist you must know the fate of Galileo and how difficult it is to nullify ignorance. And your quote of Christopher Hitchens in your blog gives me the sense that you are aware of this difficulty. To wish therefore for Samaras removal, seems to me not only unjust but also politically immoral. And to hope that the leader of Syriza, AlexisTsipras, a staunch votary of Hugo Chavez, that he will change his inveterate leftist populist position of anti-Europe led by Germany, is to indulge in wishful thinking.
In moments of a great crisis, statesmen have the obligation and responsibility to lead their people from darkness to enlightenment and imbue them with indispensable hope about their immediate future, so they can overcome the crisis.No comments
I’m republishing this small piece that was written on October, 2012, for the readers of this blog.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
“Scariest stories ever written about contemporary America” is the story that makes some of the political toddlers of The Washington Note to run and cover themselves under their bed sheets. Sans political wisdom, sans political and historical insight, and hence, sans cognitive and intellectual legitimacy they attempt to analyse the world shaking event of 9/11 and the Administration’s protagonists response to the crescent shaped bolt that appeared over the blue sky of America with their childish fears. And for fear to be effective it must have its bogey apparitions. So we have Cheney, Addington, and Bolton wrapped up with white sheets in the middle of the night scaring the bejeesus out of the liberal intelligentsia with their nefarious schemes of “a massive expansion of presidential power” starting an “illegitimate war,” creating “a system for spying on American citizens…sanctioned torture”, and “pushed official secrecy to unprecedented levels.” The critics of Cheney, Addington, and Bolton never learning the abc and never reaching the omega of statecraft are shocked to see and it’s beyond their comprehension that in moments of national crises the expansion and concentration of presidential power is the sine qua non of strong political leadership and a necessary but temporary measure to protect a nation from malicious lethal enemies, both external and internal.
All the above measures that Steve Clemons highlights were instigated by the Vice President solely for the protection of America. It was an unenviable task and it could only be performed by the strong. One must not forget that in hard times only the hard men/women prevail. And Cheney, Addington, and Bolton will be panoramic figures in American history for their political and strategic insight, strength of character, and their indefatigable efforts to shield the United States and the West from the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The present politically negative stand of Pasok to the Samaras government introduction of the payment of twenty-five euros for medical treatment in public hospitals for those who can afford to pay it is utterly unwise and politically reprehensible and condemnable as it could destabilize the coalition government of New Democracy and Pasok. The latter must realize that its political fortune and éclat is tied up solely with the success of the Samaras government in pulling the country out of the crisis and by putting it on the trajectory of economic development and hence to the gradual reduction of unemployment, and not on any ephemeral gains, on the polls. In the event which is most unlikely that the electorate will not render to Pasok the justified plaudits for the economic success of the government, history will pass the ultimate judgment and write in golden letters the prudent participation of Pasok in the formation of the Samaras government as its ultimate contribution toward saving Greece from economic and political catastrophe.
This stupendous success of the Coalition Government will erase all other parties, from Syriza to the Golden Dawn, from the electoral map and will be their Nemesis for their sinister and perfidious populist policies that shamelessly deceived a sizeable part of the people by their totally false promises and completely screwball inapplicable policies. Only New Democracy and Pasok will reap the fruits of this tremendous success that had prevented Greece from falling into the abyss of disaster. It is for this reason that Pasok must immediately cease its adverse stand toward the twenty-five euro payment whose raison d’etre is the restructuring of the medical system so it can render better services to its more indigent patients.
Serious economic analysts both within and outside Greece are forecasting that the country by the end of 2014 will be out of the economic crisis as a result of the painful but necessary austerity measures that the Samaras government had taken, by reducing the public sector that impeded economic growth, by privatizing public corporations, and by making the economy more competitive and entrepreneurial. Hence the prudent policies of the Samaras government would draw foreign investment into the country that in turn would lead to the resurgence of the economy and for the first time in six years 2014 would show, according to economic predictions, a fiscal surplus and a small growth of 0.5 in Gross Domestic Product.
Needless to say political stability is a prerequisite for starting a spree of investment. Pasok by foolishly shaking this stability for electoral interests apparently seems to be unaware that by doing so it hinders and discourages indigenous and international entrepreneurs from making any investments that are so vital for the economic recovery of the country.
It is this great achievement of the government in pulling Greece out of the crisis that Pasok in an unprecedented conduct of political frivolity could jeopardize by refusing to pay a twenty-five euro fee for treatment in a public hospital, which could bring about the collapse of the Samaras government.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
A reply to Bruce Wilder, suggesting default for Greece and Italy as the remedy for their economic crisis.
In serious discussion it is wise to enter it carrying a sieve in one’s hands to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Your crystal clear “efficient calculating machine” that would implement your proposal of default, would be no other than a wise, brave, imaginative, and humane technocrat. So what exactly you have against technocrats? They are OK if they adopt your plan and only transported to Hades in toto for their ‘mortal sins’, if they don’t! Default was and is always an option. The distinguished economist Deepak Lal and exponent of the Austrian School of economics, long ago suggested such a schema. Lucas Papademos and Mario Monti, Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy respectively, both presumably have this option in their arsenal to be used as a last resort if everything else fails. But before they use this ‘nuclear’ option, they must try, and be given the right by all objective analysts and commentators, to resolve this economic crisis by ‘conventional’ means that could avoid a default which would open a big hole in their countries GDP and throw their people into pauperization for decades to come.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Professor Vrasidas Karalis of Sydney University, the translator of some of the books of Patrick White, has come to bury the condottieri of multiculturalism—I won’t call them warriors as that would give a worthy name to an unworthy cause—that are still fighting ingloriously and in an enfeebled state to resuscitate a concept that has been in a comatose state since the late eighties, when Slav Macedonians were burning Greek churches and when more recently, fanatic jihadists in pursuit of the seventy-two virgins, I must say, a chimerical, an eluding chase, they will never find them, were planning to kill thousands of Australians in football grounds and in public malls. It is in such a deadly milieu that the multiculturalists are attempting, in a futile and full of zealotry effort, to breathe life into a ghost. And in spite of the fact that the founding father of multiculturalism, professor Jerzy Zubrzycki, expressed explicitly his doubts about the viability of multiculturalism in the face of this tidal wave of atavism. Also, Gareth Evans, serving at the time as minister of communications, said to me in a phone conversation, that these conflicts between Slavs and Greeks, Serbs, Croatians and Bosnians spelled out the burial of multiculturalism.
It is a great fallacy to postulate that cultures have an amicable disposition and can live in a peaceful state of coexistence with each other without conflict. History has shown pellucidly that cultures, on fundamental issues are irreconcilable, and are in a permanent state of antagonistic competition and the stronger and more successful always subdue and supplant the weaker and less thriving. The Romans appropriated the higher culture of the Greeks and the German tribes, who were fighting the Romans were, in turn, absorbed by the higher culture of the latter.
No less a figure than Karl Marx, many of whose supporters today are puzzlingly upholders of multiculturalism, expressed, with characteristic force and eloquence, the inequality of cultures and the irreversible proclivity of the more powerful, in terms of intellectual, scientific, economic, and political success, to overwhelm and vanquish the weaker and less successful in the realm of human development and freedom. Without for a moment supporting or pleading his ideology, I would like, if you allow me, to paraphrase the great man: The elemental force of capitalism and its great culture would sweep away, on a vast scale, the dead weight of traditions and cultures that riveted their peoples to the obfuscation, ignorance, and bigotry of a hoary past.
After this long, but I believe relevant diversion, let us return back to the thesis of Professor Karalis. In a well structured argument delivered with panache, vivacity and wit, Karalis cogently argued, that with the ascendance of the Liberal-National Party to power in 1997, and the immediate dismantling of multiculturalism by the Howard government and the weak reaction of the ethnic communities to this dismantling, especially the Greek that was the avant-garde of multiculturalism, demonstrated clearly that the major part of these communities in a short duration were absorbed by a process of osmosis to the values and mores of a global, cosmopolitan Australian society. In his own words, the ethnic communities were incorporated within the political, economic, and cultural institutional framework of the Australian society. And he asks the question, is there still any reason to advocate multiculturalism as a nation-building policy or as a political project for the future? His answer is decisively negative.
Professor Karalis not only buried multiculturalism, but also inadvertently, fully justified the position and prognostications of the historian Geoffrey Blainey and that great Australian John Stone who both of them expressed, almost fifteen years ago, for which they were pilloried and maligned by the leftist intelligentsia, that multiculturalism was the design of historically ignorant politicians who could not perceive that at a critical moment would collide with Australian culture and would never recover from this crash. And the death knell for multiculturalism sounds presently in all European countries–especially in the context of Islamist terror–which had also so naively and un-historically adapted it as the elixir that would induce different cultures and peoples to love each other. They had forgotten that amity and congeniality could only issue from the sharing of common fundamental values that give the opportunity to all to succeed in the endeavours of daily life and to fulfil their ambitions according to their individualistic proclivities. It is the great culture of capitalism and its free enterprise system that provides these invaluable principles that lead to the comity of nations and peoples and eradicate, to a high degree, deadly conflict.
I rest on my oars:your turn now2 comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
It will have even bigger consequences if it succeeds by wishful thinking. Rapprochement in itself is meaningless unless there is clear and unambiguous understanding and agreement between the parties about the conditions of such rapprochement. It would be a mistake to deduce from the rhetorically conciliatory statements of President Rouhani that Iran has abandoned its desire to acquire nuclear weapons. And to differentiate himself from the holocaustian statements of his predecessor, Ahmadinejad, is hardly an indication that the new regime is repudiating its clandestine goal to develop a nuclear weapon. Only if Rouhani allows open and rigorous inspections in all areas of Iran where Western intelligence cogently suspects the secret development of a nuclear weapon will the experts be convinced that Iran has changed tack in regard to its nuclear arsenal.
It is more probable, because Rouhani perceives a weak president in the United States, he will be exploiting that weakness to achieve Iran’s historic and Islamic aim to enter the nuclear club by persuading Obama about the peaceful purpose of Iran’s nuclear build-up. Rouhani is aware that Obama needs and desires a suspension of tensions so he will have the excuse to take all options off the table and thus as an incompetent and effete president tranquilize himself by false hopes. And Rouhani and his advisors know, that this détente can be achieved on promissory notes that will never be cashed. Thus by providing Obama the confidence that he can come to a reasonable agreement with Iran, Rouhani achieves two diplomatic goals. (1) He defers USA action from resolving speedily and decisively the issue of nuclear weapons by creating the euphoria that this matter can be resolved by prolonged negotiations, a dilatoriness that Obama is most happy to accept as he desires to push the hard options, if they are needed, in the future ahead with the hope that they will never be used, and which also suits Rouhani perfectly as it will give Iran more time to achieve its strategic goal to build the bomb. And (2) weakening Israel’s resolve to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear installations, if other Western states are found to be wanting in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear armaments, by isolating Israel from its major ally, the USA, and from other Western nations, and thus making it more difficult for Israel to strike.
It is for this reason that Clemons should be more restrained in his optimism of the opportunity of reaching a rapprochement with Iran when a more sinister and malign opportunity could be hidden behind the apparently benign talk of Rouhani.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The globe-trotting Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis who flies around the world on other peoples money to spread his Cassandra doomsday scenarios about the European Union and especially of Greece, in his latest preoccupation, deviously and exuberantly praises the leader of the opposition Alexis Tsipras for his speech before an assembly of Austrian Social Democrats in Vienna. Well that he is doing so, since the speech is a copycat of his own ideas as encapsulated in his Modest Proposal as well as in other of his writings, and therefore his praise of Tsipras, in the event, is an ungracious self-praise of himself. He has kept silent as to the authorship of the speech and to the questions of some of the commentators on his blog whether he wrote it, he doesn’t answer yes or no. He answers his questioners with an obfuscating one word that the speech is “verbatim,” but he doesn’t explain of what and of whose text it is verbatim of, hence his deviousness. But even if it is true, which is highly unlikely, that our professor is not the writer of the speech, then the latter cannot be anything else but a complete plagiarism committed by Tsipras of Varoufakis’s ideas and thoughts.
The following is a brief reply to Professor Varoufakis, which was sent to his blog for publication, but he refused to publish it.
Professor Varoufakis, you are displaying your intellectual bankruptcy by becoming the ventriloquist to Tsipras’s speech. To allow a mediocrity such as Tsipras to be the propagator and presenter of the ideas of your Modest Proposal and other of your own writings, not only shows the self-demotion you inflict upon yourself unconsciously, but also, your narcissistic temperament urging you to exhibit your intellectual wares to wider audiences by any means, even by vendors of disreputable standing.
P.S. I know you don’t have the guts to publish my comment, but at least I’ll get the pleasure that YOU read it.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Barack Obama was, is, and will remain an appeaser of radical Islam, as it is a constituent part of his weak character and more dangerously of his effete leadership. Like a fearful child he avoids his fears by hiding his face under the bed-sheets. This is clearly illustrated by his fudging of the word “jihadist” with its inherent fanatical murderous action –which he fears to admit– by changing it to the less fearsome one of “workplace violence,” his description of the Fort Hood massacre, whose jihadist perpetrator Dr Nidal Hasan was sentenced to death today. It is by such changes and meaningless laughable words within the scenario of terrorism that the commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation purports to fight the existential threat that radical Islam poses to Western civilization. A black comedy ham is the occupier of the White House.No comments
By Con George-Kotzabasis—June 24, 2013
At last, Kevin Rudd, after swallowing a double dose of Viagra he is entering the ‘seraglio of reality’ that you can only stop the boats carrying asylum seekers not by a policy of immaculate conception, as he has done in the past when he repudiated and displaced Howard’s Pacific Solution, but only by forcefully violating the ‘hymen’ of this intricately difficult problem and giving birth to a hard line policy that will decisively stop illegal migrants from entering Australia. His deal with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to resettle refugees in the latter is a masterstroke that will achieve this up till now elusive goal.
This is a craftily made disincentive that will comprehensibly deter asylum seekers from reaching the shores of Australia by boat, since they will know beforehand that they will be send to New Guinea for perpetual settlement. And with the barrage of advertisements that the Rudd government is preparing that will make explicit the new government policy to would-be refugees and by implicitly conveying to them the inimical environment in which they will be residing, this will erase any incentive attempting to enter Australia by paying people smugglers when their dangerous and expensive passage over the sea will take them not to the social and economic paradise of Australia but to the hellish socio-economic conditions of the dangerous land of PNG. And the veracity of the appalling and dangerous environment in which refugees will be placed is being ironically corroborated, willy-nilly, by all their ‘humanitarian’ supporters, like David Marr, and defence lawyers, who have already in their shrill shouts denounced Rudd’s announcement as “a day of shame” for Australia depicting in dramatic terms the great dangers that refugees will be facing in this hellishly bad setting once they are settled in PNG. After refugees becoming cognisant of the infernal conditions in which they will be living in, by these statements of their own supporters too (thus all the fans and backers of asylum seekers will find themselves being redundant and deprived of their libidinal pleasure by showing their heart on their sleeves, by their own ironic contribution to the stopping of the boats), who of the illegal migrants would be willing to pay a smuggler to be transported by Charon to the Hades of PNG and not to the paradisiac land of Australia?
Beyond any doubt, if the Rudd government will retain to the end the strength and acquire the determination to implement this hard line policy and there are no insurmountable legal challenges to it will exultantly succeed in this endeavour to protect the borders of Australia. And Kevin Rudd from a weak politician will be metastasized into the Roman god Terminus who guarded the boundaries of the republic by the force of arms. But if he is going to avoid from embarrassing the Roman god, he must tear the veil of pretence that covers the ugly features of this new policy and hails it as being humanitarian by arguing fatuously and emotionally that it will save lives by preventing boat people from drowning. Indeed, he will save them from drowning at sea but only by drowning them on dry land, in the socially cesspool of Papua New Guinea. Thus, his ‘humanitarianism’ will be swallowed in the whirlpool of his own hard line policy. Mockingly, he himself has already admitted that his new policy on illegal migrants has all the hard features of a porcupine—to use a metaphor. And the reason he has adopted this porcupine is, other than winning votes, to prevent boat people coming to Australia.
In his by now double replication of “me-tooism”of John Howard—the first time he professed to be willing to imitate Howard, as dyed in the wool conservative, in economic policy, this time he is doing it on border protection—he is out-distancing the latter in his hard line, like a galloping horse running next to a mule. And if he doesn’t lose his balance riding this winning stallion over the rough ground of politics, which so many times before enfeebled his policies by making them captive to populism, he will triumphantly pass the winning post and stop the boats.
I rest on my oars: your turn nowNo comments
If the Prime Minister Of Greece is a madman wanting elections will his two partners in Government Venizelos and Kouvelis also voluntarily wear the straitjacket and join him in madness instead as sane men preventing the election by a reasonable compromise on their part and thus save Greece from catastrophe?
By Con George-Kotzabasis—June 19, 2013
The leaders of Pasok and the Democratic Left (Demar) Venizelos and Kouvelis will go down in Modern Greek history as the comedians Laurel and Hardy (in Greek o hondros kee o lignos) who in their stolid persistence and politically wrong and unimaginative stand to save the wasteful and non-transparent public broadcaster ERT, were willing and determined to accomplish this great feat by destroying Greece. Never in the annals of Greek history will one find politicians who were prepared to sacrifice, to use a metaphor, Acropolis on the altar of a hovel. This would have been exactly the result of the doltish populist stunt of Venizelos and Kouvelis to save ERT if Andonis Samaras with the extraordinary resiliency characteristic of a statesman had not provided speedily a compromise that prevented the fall of his government and the transportation of Greece by the Charon Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, into hades, since the likely outcome of a new election would bring Tsipras into power whose untenable, puerile, and wild policies would ruin the country for at least a generation. The major points of the compromise are: (a) the immediate formation of a governing committee that would preside over the prompt re-opening of a temporary ERT until a new TV-Radio public broadcaster is set up operating with fewer numbers of employees. (b) The appointment of a special minister chosen either by Pasok or Demar, or by both, for the setting up of the new public broadcaster. (c) The adoption of processes that would ameliorate the coordination of the three parties regarding political agreements and their implementation. (d) The reshuffling of his Ministry in the beginning of July and the appointment of new people into ministerial positions coming from the three parties. These points of compromise fall into the order-baskets of Pasok and Demar and presumably will defuse the detonating atmosphere that has been created by their demands that could blow up the Coalition Government.
In one year, the Samaras government in a bout of sagacious and bold policies, that were regrettably and inevitably painful to the Greek people, was able to put Greece on the trajectory of economic development as all top European politicians and technocrats, serious economic commentators acknowledged and rating agencies such as Standard Poor’s and Finch favourably appraised, that Greece by the end of 2014 would have a positive growth in GDP. Interestingly, this assessment was also acknowledged by the two partners in the coalition government, Pasok and Demar, which clearly indicated that the policies of the Samaras government were on the right track and pulling Greece slowly but surely out of the crisis and therefore were supported by the two parties up to the hilt. Thus their prudent and brave decision on June 2012 to support and be part of a government of the centre right, with the aim to save Greece from a dire and horrendous bankruptcy that would have plunged the people into an abject and perishing poverty for decades, was paying off, as the saving of Greece would lead its people to applaud and glorify Pasok and Demar for their political nous to participate in this historical task, with the corollary that this great achievement would shoot the electoral prospects of the parties to the sky.
But tragically, or rather farcically, Venizelos and Kouvelis in their politically infantile support of the administratively corrupt and opaque ERT and in their prevention and vetoing of Samaras, in his attempt to cleanse the Aegean Stables of the public broadcaster, in the name of inveterate democratic institutions– as if the closure of ERT was unconstitutional and an act of authoritarianism by the Samaras government—are threatening the cohesion of the fragile tripartite coalition and thus by leading to its fracture will be sweeping away, by an action of unprecedented stupidity, all the achievements that have the great potential of pulling the country out of the crisis. And as I said in a previous article few days ago, the fall of the Samaras government instigated by this foolish stand of Venizelos and Kouvelis would not only lead to the electoral destruction of their parties, but also, to the destruction of Greece. As new elections would elevate the extreme left Opposition Party Syriza into power whose antediluvian votaries of Marxism under the leadership of Tsipras will be configuring the historically discredited policies of socialism that in their final knock will be opening the doors to totalitarianism. This will be the ignominious political legacy of Pasok and Demar if their leaders continue to persist in their fatuous demand about ERT that could bring the fall of the Samaras government and its catastrophic consequences.
Venizelos and Kouvelis with a remarkable twist in logic are blaming Samaras for creating the crisis in the tripartite government and claim that the incandescent speech of the latter at Nauplio—which obviously burned to ashes the arguments of the protagonists of ERT—that exposed the administrative rottenness of ERT and criticized severely its two intransigent supporters without naming them, also propagated sotto voce and implied the possibility of new elections that nobody wants other than Syriza and accuse him that he would be solely responsible for placing the country to this extreme danger. This accusation is however ludicrous, because, if Samaras led the country to the polls, first, he would fulfil the wishes of Syriza, and second, he would commit himself political harakiri. Moreover, if this accusation was true, as a result of Samaras’ lapse into uncharacteristic stupidity, then the responsibility would fall on Venizelos and Kouvelis to exercise their statesmanship and make the necessary compromises toward the Samaras government and avoid a poll that would be so dangerous to the country. Such is the stuff and tasks of statesmanship; but it is beyond the vision and competence of Laurel and Hardy leadership.1 comment