Defeat Not Degrade ISIS Correct Strategy

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Brief reply to: An Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) First Strategy

By Robert Bunker Small Wars Journal August 30, 2014

One has to make a clear distinction between real existent hostility (ISIS) and potential hostility (by other uncertainly defined actors), so one has to be decisive in one’s choice which hostility to confront first. Robert Bunker is correct in stating, “an Islamist state has to be considered more dangerous than a secular autocratic state.” The latter is “ideologically bankrupt” whereas the former because of its “spiritual ideological component” has “a very real expansionist potential” and therefore is “more dangerous.” According to this logic therefore, one has primarily to confront and ELIMINATE this danger emanating from ISIS and not merely weaken the latter for the purpose of maintaining it as a force that would prevent other forces inimical to the United States from filling the “political and institutional vacuum” left by the decimation and total defeat of ISIS. First, ISIS in its short reign, other than verbally and ceremonially as true believers of the Koran, has hardly established a “political and institutional” framework that with its ousting would be occupied by other belligerent and hostile forces. The area upon which its so called Caliphate was established, from which thousands of people fled to save their lives, will once again, with the total defeat of ISIS, revert back to its original occupiers, Syrians, Kurds, and Iraqis, who with the exception of Syrian supporters of Assad, the latter two groups are hardly enemies of the USA.

The defeat of ISIS by American airpower and by forays of its Special Forces and its allies of Kurds and Iraqis on the ground will be a decisive blow to all Islamist terrorists, including those of al Qaeda. And it will put an end to the flow of its recruits from internal and external sources. I would suggest therefore that to achieve this great victory one must adopt the strategy that will defeat and eliminate ISIS and not the strategy that will degrade and weaken it.

The Samaras Government and the Frivolous Populist Chattering of the Media Harlots

By Con George-Kotzabasis August 20, 2014

The Greek economic crisis has brought on its heels a moral and intellectual crisis and “prostitution” of its media. The Fourth Estate in Greece has been transformed into a “red-light” district where a populist seraglio of colorful journalistic harlots has assembled to hustle their “quickies.” Only with few exceptions, such as Babis Papadimitriou, whose analyses of current economic events in Greece are illustriously admirable and an example for imitation, most of the media spoke persons and journalists in Greece are wallowing in the putrid waters of populism and from that position are publishing their disheartening, gloomy, and misleading comments about the economic and political situation of the country. But while it is easy to please and mislead the hoi polloi it will not be easy for these commentators to erase the mark of shame that they have self-inflicted upon themselves and their intellectual integrity.

To the incomparable achievements of the Samaras government in restructuring the economy, making it more competitive and freeing it from the dead weight of the public sector–which was a major cause that had brought Greece to the precipice of default and its citizens close to absolute poverty–that were the prerequisites for keeping the country within the European Union and with the latter’s financial help saving it from economic collapse that would have thrown its people, for at least a generation, into the hungry fangs of poverty, the Greek media, almost in toto, has not emitted one word of praise toward this remarkable performance of the government.

This accomplishment is unprecedented in the history of nations, that in a short period of two years any political leadership was able to accomplish and salvage their countries from bankruptcy. The Greek media, however, did not make one twit about this great accomplishment. On the contrary, it criticized the government, and often condemned it, of being responsible for the immiseration and economic suffering of its people, and of being the puppet of the European political elite, especially Chancellor Merkel of Germany. In a chorus of tragicomedy its commentators reproached and blamed the coalition of the Samaras government for accepting and implementing the austere policies of the second Memorandum, that were imposed by the European Commission as a condition for Greece’s continued financial assistance by the former, as being the cause of the calamitous economic blight that has scourged a major part of the population in the last two years. However in this prejudiced and populist castigation of the government by the media analysts, they studiously ignored the fact that the real culprits for this economic disaster were the leaders of past governments who had created a false and unsustainable economic prosperity, fuelled by loans and debts and passing the latter to future generations, and by creating a gargantuan flabby and totally inefficient public sector for the purpose of ensconcing their political clientele in leisurely unproductive jobs at the expense of the public purse. Hence, it was not the Memorandum that had brought the economic crisis and the level of unemployment to stratospheric heights, but the imprudent and foolhardy policies of past governments that led the country to the brink of insolvency that had brought the Memorandum with its inevitably austere remedies, and just as inevitably some errors in its policies, but which were tragically essential for Greece’s economic recovery. As is often the case throughout history, nations and men/women in great dangers can only be saved by the most severe measures.

The Samaras government did not flinch before this formidable responsibility and carried this hard task with the characteristic moral strength and intellectual astuteness of its leader. It surmounted the mountainous populist waves that a petty and completely incompetent, and by now, a historically obsolete amalgam of ex-communists and socialists, who compose the Opposition, Syriza, stirred among the populace with the aim to get rid of the government. And despite the fact it had the unions and its strikes on its side and using them as a battering-ram to overthrow the government, nor the fact that the media in general took a neutral stand and did not decry this disgraceful and dangerous action of the Opposition that would lead to the political destabilization of the country and would put in jeopardy all the successes of the government in pulling the country out of the crisis, the Opposition failed ignominiously in its goal.

Antonis Samaras, like Theseus, is finding Greece’s way out of the labyrinth of its economic crisis while the Greek media inexorably demeans itself by polluting its readers and viewers in a rancid flood of populist biased misleading comments and information, that puts the great accomplishments of the government and its exit from the crisis at an immense menacing risk.

I rest on my oars:Your turn now!

Recruiting Muslims to Team Australia Harder than Recruiting them to Terrorism

By Con George-Kotzabasis August 10, 2014

Reply to ‘Recruiting Muslims to Team Australia’ by Waleed Aly

The Age, August 8, 2014

 

Waleed Aly, since his acquisition of celebrity status by his prominence, but not cerebral pre-eminence, on the screens of the ABC and the pages of The Age, has prudently hidden his past implicit, if not explicit, support and justification of Muslim terrorism, although in his above piece on the Fairfax press could not as prudently conceal his crypto justification of the holy warriors of Jihad. In his attempt to turn the “short bow” of the government’s new counter-terror laws into a ‘long bow’ of the connection between section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and counter-terrorism—despite the fact that the government ultimately dropped its amendments, unwisely in my opinion, to section 18C on the false assumption that they would be communally and nationally divisive—he exposed himself, not only to a fallacious argument by not taking in consideration that in the long fight against terror one also has to be able freely to criticize the religion, as interpreted by its radical imams, from which the ideology of jihadism emanates, but also revealed himself as an insidious espouser of Jihad by trying to conceal the connection of 18C and counter-terrorism.

The defeat of terrorism is ineluctably twofold, since it is an engagement both in the field of battle and in the realm of ideas, of criticism and counter-criticism. Hence, free expression is an indispensable and necessary ‘weapon” against the devotees of terror. The dumping, therefore, by the Abbot government, of the amendments to section 18C of the Act in the name of the interests of ‘national unity’, is an action of shallow thinking whose unwitting egregious constrain of free expression is a serious error that will gravely weaken the government’s fight against terrorism.

Waleed Aly with his tinsel pop idol status is not squeamish and has no reservations in entering and delving in the abstruse rarefied affairs of philosophy. He insists, that ‘to draw a…connection between 18C and counter-terrorism requires a long bow. But the…attempt to do so (by the government) has intriguing philosophical consequences’ (M.E.). He claims that by this connection, ‘the government is implicitly accepting the social dimensions of terrorism.’ The latter, ‘gathers around feelings of alienation and social exclusion; that intelligence flows best from communities that feel valued and included rather than surveilled and interrogated. This…accords with the best research we have on the psychology of radicalisation and effective counter-terrorism policing.’ But what are these real ‘social dimensions,’ and not the fabricated ones, of Waleed Aly, that are endeavouring to put the blame for terrorism on Western societies whose discriminatory conduct toward Muslims is the cause of their alienation and exclusion, according to Aly? Why this same “discriminatory conduct” to other migrants, such as Chinese, Hindus, and southern Europeans, has not alienated them to the same degree and induced them to become terrorists? Aly in his studious endeavour to shift the blame oddly disregards, or rather hides, the fact, that this ‘alienation’ and ‘social exclusion’ on the part of most Muslims is voluntary and is an outcome of their culture and religion, which according to them is by far superior to Western culture and Christianity, and therefore makes them repugnant to adopt the principles of Western culture or integrate into it; as such assimilation would entail for them the replacement of their superior culture with an inferior one. He also ignores and overlooks the fact that a great number of the perpetrators of terror come from well-to-do families and are mostly well educated. The leader of the suicidal squad of 9/11 was the son of an Egyptian teacher and was educated in a Western university, and the terrorist, who had failed to blow-up Heathrow airport in London, was a medical doctor, who, when he was arrested called Allahu Akbar, God is Great, not to mention others. These people were hardly alienated and excluded by Western societies as all of them received their degrees from western universities. What recruited them to terrorism was their deep hate of Western societies and its Great Devil, America, a hate that was incubated in Mosques and Muslim schools by fanatical imams and teachers, respectively. These are the roots of terrorism, and not the specious psychology of Waleed Aly that connects the “radicalisation’ of Muslims to discriminatory exclusion and alienation by Western societies, as a result of his poverty of thought or his sinister and clandestine espousing of terrorism.

It is also erroneous on his part to believe ‘that intelligence flows best from communities that feel valued and included rather than surveilled, suspected and interrogated.’ The truth is that in free societies all communities are ‘valued and included,’ and Muslims are no exception to this principle and there is hardly any evidence of discrimination against them. The surveillance and interrogation is an outcome of past and imminent terrorist actions as broadcasted by terrorists themselves. It would be gigantically foolish to take these ominous threats not seriously. The government has a huge responsibility to protect its citizens from the fanatical death squads of Islamist terror. It must take relentless and most severe measures to protect Australians from future actions of terror that could kill thousands of them in shopping malls and football grounds. The threat of Muslim fanatics to kill in the future thousands of Australians is an act of war. It is therefore incumbent on the government to enact emergency legislation, as in war, to deprive the right of all Australian jihadists, who had fought in Syria and Northern Iraq to establish a caliphate, to return back to Australia by annulling their passports. As a return of these fanatics back to Australia will incalculably pose a menacing threat to the country and to the lives of its citizens. It would be fanciful and inane to think that once these fanatics return to Australia they will be remorseful and repent about the atrocities they committed on their adversaries in Syria and Iraq and declare their mea culpas for the beheadings on which their rudimentary Caliphate was established.

The Abbot government is beholden therefore to reconsider its withdrawal of the amendments to section 18C if it is prepared to seriously confront the future threats of terror on its soil, because, as I have argued above, free expression is a decisive weapon in the government’s arsenal against terror. This it must do even if the chances of these amendments to pass the Senate are slight. And if the Greens and the Labour Opposition chose to oppose these amendments they will reveal themselves as being derelicts of their duty to protect Australia and playing havoc with the security of the country and the lives of its citizens. The palmy days of Team Australia and its complacency are rapidly ending, as Islamist fanatics are recruiting to terrorism.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now.

 

 

Barbarians Inside the Gates

The following paper was written on October 9, 2004. It’s republished here as a result of the ominous events occurring in the north-west of Iraq and the capture by fanatic Islamists of Mosul and their proclamation of a Caliphate. It is noteworthy that many of its jihadists are citizens of the USA, UK, Europe, and Australia

By Con George-Kotzabasis 

A deadly Trojan horse has been placed in the midst of the metropolises of Western civilization and, like Troy, is threatening its destruction. Throughout Europe, North America, and Australia, the belly of this deadly Horse is already bursting open delivering and unleashing a horde of fanatic barbarians on the cities of the civilized world, whose holy agenda decrees the wiping -out of Western institutions and their open, tolerant and free societies, and the genocide of their peoples by the fire of Allah’s hell.This is the nightmare scenario that countries of the economically developed and free world are facing as a result of their humanitarian and generous, but replete with folly, immigration policies that allowed such vast numbers of mostly unassimilable Muslim immigrants with ‘exponential’ birth rates, to become permanent residents and citizens of their countries. (In the Netherlands almost one third of children under the age of thirteen are Muslim. No wonder that the great Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis argues, that “Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century”.) As inexorably, not an insubstantial number of these Muslims of the diaspora will become terrorist – fodder for the likes of bin Laden, as Mohammed Atta, the Western educated ringleader, as well as so many other terrorists who have been also educated in Western universities, as the murderous group of 9/11 has shown, whose terrorist cell was hatched in Hamburg Germany. This is especially so for many young unemployed Muslims in the West, who have been brought up within the strict confines of their rigid religion and who are therefore psychologically more susceptible to the calls of their fundamentalist imams for a Jihad against the infidels, making them therefore prone to become martyrs in this holy war against them. Hence the terrorist barbarians are not at the gates of civilization but inside its gates.

September 11 was a wake up call to all governments of the democratic world to the mortal threat that Muslim fundamentalists posed to their peoples. However, despite the exploding sound of this call, only a few governments are willing to recognize this great danger -whose gathering dark clouds teeming with lightning bolts are hovering over the cities of the world threatening their peoples with total annihilation -and stand-up against it. Apparently, only a handful of them have the intellectual capacity, imagination, and historical insight to perceive this great danger, and the resolve and moral mettle to take the necessary relentless measures and actions to prevent this catastrophe of biblical proportions from happening. America, Britain, Australia, Italy, Poland and the thirty other countries who have deployed their armed forces to fight global terror in Iraq under their politically and morally strong and historically savvy leaderships, will be acknowledged and renowned by history as the countries that saved Western civilization from this lethal attack by this horde of fanatically necrophilous barbarians. The no quarter given, relentless retaliation of these governments to this existential challenge of global terrorism to the civilized peoples of the world, will be totally justified by future historians, as has been the stand of those nations who fought against Nazi and Communist totalitarianism and who made the necessary and stupendous sacrifices to save the world from these two regimes of evil in the Twentieth century.

 

DESPITE US ERRORS AN WITHDRAWAL IS UNTENABLE

Even if one concedes that serious mistakes have been made by the Americans post March 2003 after the defeat of Saddam, which was part and parcel of the war against global terror, such as indiscriminately disbanding all Iraqi military units, and not dealing with the incipient insurgency of urban terrorists last April by using overwhelming force against it and nipping it in the bud, instead of ceasing their military offensive, as they did in Fallujah, and passing the control of that city to a former Iraqi general, who proved to be completely inept in disarming the insurgents. The strategic goal of the military planners against the insurgency, should have been the prompt and devastating defeat of the insurgents in this city, either by their mass capture or mass annihilation, which would serve as a deadly example to all other insurgents in other hot-bed provinces in Iraq, with the high probability that this would have led to their complete demoralization and surrender, as I had suggested in a previous paper of mine last April, which was sent to the U.S. Embassy in Canberra. (It seems now that the Pentagon is using exactly this strategy, as the capture of Samarra by American and Iraqi forces and the elimination of the insurgents, has shown.) As the outcome of this erratic implementation of the Pentagon’s military plan, by starting an offensive against the insurgents and then stopping it halfway before achieving its goals, Iraq has now become “the crucible of global terror”, to quote Tony Blair. This is the glaring fact that all governments who have committed themselves to fight global terror are presently confronting.

To turn tail and run now from Iraq would not be merely foolish, it would be the greatest military error against the war on terror, as it would deliver a tremendous victory to the terrorists on a global scale. It would reinforce in the minds of the terrorists, as the withdrawal of US forces from Beirut and Mogadishu had done, as a result of the casualties Americans had suffered in these two cities, by presidents Reagan and Clinton respectively, that America and other Western nations lack the resolve to stand-up to them and fight, and will induce them to be even more lethally aggressive against the ‘cowardly’ West. Hence the critics and opponents of the war, who blame the Bush administration for exacerbating terrorism in Iraq and call for the US withdrawal from Iraq, are purblind and cannot see that such action would be the greatest error that one could commit against the war on global terror. It would surpass by a great order of magnitude all the mistakes that the Pentagon committed in Iraq. If indeed the opponents of the war are right, that the US incursion of the country and the overthrow of Saddam has strengthened and intensified terror in Iraq, then the reasonable course for nations who believe that there is no other alternative but to fight and defeat this global menace, would be for these nations to deploy their armed forces in Iraq and inflict a deadly blow on global terrorism, by defeating the insurgents decisively. Or if they are unwilling to spill the blood of their own soldiers, they should at the least support morally and politically the soldiers of the nations, i.e., the American – led coalition, who are brave enough to sacrifice their own lives in the cause of global security and freedom.

This would be the wise course to follow, to correct the mistakes of the Americans, instead of aggravating and compounding these mistakes, by running away from Iraq, and in spite of these errors (in all wars errors are made ), to unflinchingly support America in this historic and deadly confrontation with these medieval barbarians, whom only America’s military might can defeat comprehensively, among all other nations in the world.

 

THE ENEMY WITHIN

But the war against global terror and Muslim fanaticism will not be won, unless the governments who have pledged themselves to fight global terror also deal with and tackle the cunning and deceitful enemy that lies within their borders. To carry out this far from easy task, these governments have to realize that they can no longer be tolerant, on the basis of laws of non-discrimination on religious grounds, to the breeding grounds of terrorism that entangle, ivy-like, the edifices of Western cities, i.e., the mosques and Islamic schools, of whom a minority of, but highly influential, imams and teachers, preach hate against the mores of Western civilization and of their peoples, inciting young Muslims to enlist in a holy war against the Great Satan, America, and on all other nations that embody the cosmopolitan values of Judeo-Greco-Roman civilization.

The cardinal question therefore is, how to sterilize and make barren the breeding grounds of terrorism that are ensconced in the cities of the West whose deadly offspring are the enemy within. Since the idea of repatriation and resettlement by means of a monetary incentive for millions of Muslims, who have now made their home in Western countries, is no longer feasible – fathered by that prophet of British politics Enoch Powell, who in his Birmingham “Rivers of Blood” speech on April 20 1968, clearly and ominously predicted the deadly conflicts that would arise between Britons and British citizens of colonial background who had settled in England, and who with prescience had opposed the so called humanitarian immigration policies of both Labor and Conservative governments – one has to consider other lines of action. One of them would be the immediate cessation of funding these mosques and schools by governments, unless the former adopt in their curricula a primary undiluted course of ‘no leaks’ assimilation for their students to the mainstream culture of the nation that they have chosen freely to live in, and put an end to all ‘traffickers’ of the disastrous policy of multiculturalism, which with mathematical precision divides a nation. Another one would be the swift passing of special, indeed emergency, legislation that would make it easier for the police and for the relevant government officials to jail or deport, radical imams and teachers who propagate, either openly or cunningly and insidiously, a holy war against the West. Furthermore, to attenuate and diminish the high birth rate of Muslim families, governments should introduce a policy of negative incentives, which could stop this high birth rate such as paying to all families of the nation, children’s allowances up to the number of four children. Any children born beyond that number would not be entitled to any allowances. Nor would any allowances be paid to children born from a second marriage, whose fathers or mothers already have four children from their previous marriages. This measure would bring the birth rate as close as it is possible to the common standard of Western societies and to the ethos and aspirations of motivated modern nuclear families. It would also stop the ‘racketeering’ of phony separations and single motherhoods, whose deliberate purpose is to abuse and defraud the system of family payments, and whose side – effect is, the perennial continuation of voluntary unemployment among this group of men and women. 

Undoubtedly, these harsh measures will raise a hurricane of protests from Muslim organizations of the diaspora and from Muslim states. This will be followed by a chorus of international lawyers and of the liberal intelligentzia from the well-heeled countries of the West, who will denounce these measures as brutal and heartless to poor families, viciously racist, and chauvinistic, striking a terrible blow to democracy and opening the way to an authoritarian state and even worse. But this soft potpourri of legal and intelligence gnomes are unwilling to recognize, and it might be beyond their depth, that the grossly mistaken immigration policies of the nations of the West are now coming to haunt them with their destruction. And the only way to prevent this destruction is for the governments of these nations to take tragically severe measures to correct this gross mistake of past governments that now threatens their peoples with extinction, either by weapons of mass destruction or by the upshot of demographics.

 

DEFEAT OF TERROR LIES IN ITS LACK OF SUCCESS

One must recognize that the terrorists are technically educated barbarians, with PC’s in one hand and with the distorted fragments of the Koran in the other – who consider it to be the only fountain of knowledge – lacking the open- mind of a universal education; unread in the great writings and literature of all peoples and of all ages; mentally untouched by their rich Arab culture, literature and philosophy; unread in the great philosophical writings of Al-Farabi, who placed rationality above the revealed truth of the Sharia nor in the equally brilliant writings of Ibn-Sina (Avicenna ) and of Ibn-Rushid (Averroes ), who both placed human reason above religion, and of Omar Khayyam, who never believed in Providence or in any other World but this one, valuing the sensual pleasures of this world as the fill to the brim of life. Being ignorant of the existence of this great Arab intellectual treasure, that was an essential element of the cornerstone of Western civilization and of the Italian Renaissance, their minds locked in the fanaticism of fundamentalist Islam and its death-cult, they have no respect for any other peoples’ religions except their own. Instead they zealously believe that the followers of all other religions are destined to go to hell and only Muslims will enter the gates of infinite paradise, especially if they are anointed by martyrdom. It is of such stuff that these implacable enemies of Western civilization are made.

Confronting such suicidal fanatics, who fervently believe that the West and its Great Satan, America, are responsible and culpable for all the ills that have befallen upon Muslim countries; determined to destroy this source of evil by chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, as soon as they are in their possession, the political leaders of the West, and especially of America, are deprived of any soft options and are forced to take on the hard option of the “unsheathed sword”
The art of diplomacy, the laudable deliberations of the United Nations for peace making, which could be effective when one deals with a rational foe, are totally ineffective when one confronts an irrational enemy, whose only ‘rational’ communication, in his hearing, is with God. That is why the academics who teach their students the ‘management’ of terrorism by a diplomatic demarche as the only rational way to counter and thwart it, rather than war, which is so costly in human and economic terms and without making certain its defeat, are not only starry-eyed, but also debar themselves from the disciplines of politics and of war strategy. Management presupposes and involves rational processes, which to the terrorists is terra incognita, and therefore with algorithmic precision is bound to fail.

But wherein lies the answer to this conundrum of how to defeat global terror and its state sponsors? History’s edict provides the clear and indefeasible answer to this intricate issue. When a nation fights a swarm of religious fanatics, depriving these fanatics of the ability to launch successful operations against their enemies is the most effective way to defeat them, as the terrorists, being no longer successful in their attacks against the West and in their attacks against the American-led coalition in Iraq, will find the “mouse of doubt” implanted in their hearts (a doubt whose epiphany will reveal to them, that after all they might not be in God’s favor) gnawing, slowly but surely, at their belief that they are the instruments of Allah. This, in itself, will compel them to abandon their cause.

And this is why the successful outcome of the war in Iraq for the U.S. – led coalition and the introduction of democracy to its ravaged people, is of such vital importance. The decisive defeat of the terrorist insurgents will unfold a dawn of a bright future for the people of Iraq, and also commence the beginning of the quick end of global terror.

I rest on my oars:your turn now

 

 

 

Greece: The Indecisive Voters Will Determine the Result of the Elections

By Con George-Kotzabasis May 17, 2014

On the 18th and 25th of May respectively, Greeks will be voting in the country’s municipalities and prefectures, and for the European Parliament. According to all polls, the contest between the major parties of the Coalition Government of New Democracy/Pasok and Syriza will be very close, and apparently the indecisive voters, who comprise 12% of the electors, will determine which of the major parties will win the elections.

In my opinion, the majority of this indecisive section of the electorate will cast their vote in favour of the Samaras Government and thus the latter will be the winner of the triple elections. My reasoning is that if this part of the electorate was inclined and had a strong feeling to protest against the government, for the harsh measures the latter had to implement, it would already have shown this inclination by intimating to the pollsters that it would vote for the Opposition Party of Syriza. It seems therefore to me that the undecided voters are more concerned about the political stability of the country and the slow but robust steps that the Samaras government is taking in pulling the country out of the crisis, which all serious international observers acknowledge and most economic indicators show, and thus will vote for the security the government accomplished in keeping Greece within Europe, than the insecurity the Opposition Party of Syriza represents with its dangerous and foolhardy policies that could lead to the ousting of Greece from Europe and to the economic catastrophe of the country.

In the Thunderous Sky of Greece a Thunderbolt of Creative Destruction is about to Strike the Country

Greece, after its forced exile, four years ago, from the international financial markets, has returned, this week, back to them with aplomb to reap the confidence of the markets of its future economic development. In 2010, Greece, by numerous prominent economists and analysts and top economic journals, such as the Economist, was sentenced to death for its economic maladies that had brought the country into bankruptcy. This dire and calamitous situation however was overturned by the advent of Antonis Samaras as prime minister in June 2012, who, by selecting a constellation of bright stars as ministers, was able to accomplish by his strong and sagacious leadership, in the short space of two years, this reversal of misfortune that had engulfed the country as a result of the ill-fated fiscal policies of past governments. This achievement is unprecedented, as no country in the world was able to transform itself from the brink of economic ruin to economic recovery in such a short time. In the annals of economic history this illustrious outcome will be registered as the economic miracle of Greece.

The following paper was written on April 2012 and is republished for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis December, 2012

The most respectable German newspaper Handelsblatt, proclaimed Antonis Samaras as the greatest European politician for the year 2012. At the same time the illustrious former Foreign Minister of Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher, also praised Samaras in glowing terms as the politician, who after admitting his own mistakes and the disastrous economic policies of Greece that brought the latter to the brink of insolvency, brought the country with remarkable celerity and unsurpassable decisiveness on the right course that would rekindle the economy and lead the country toward economic development. Goldman Sachs is predicting that in the next 10 years Greek GDP will increase by 30%. The rating agency Moody’s increased the financial status of Greece by six points.

”Things grow at the right time, i.e. the right moment and the right perseverance. ‘For’, as [the German poet] Holderlin said, ‘the mindful God abhors untimely growth’ “

Martin Heidegger

 

History has shown that at critical moments, in countries of advanced and high culture, men of stupendous ability, imagination, foresight, and fortitude, sprang, like phoenixes from the ashes, to salvage their countries from mortal threats. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from the barbarian Persian invasion, is one example, the other is Charles Martel, who at the battle of Poitiers stopped the barbarian Muslim invasion from conquering Europe. In our modern contemporaneous times, Greece, on the verge of being devoured and crashed by the ‘hungry fangs’ of default and economic poverty, is just as promptly to be saved by a modern-day Periclean statesman, Antonis Samaras.

In the early 1980’s, with the advent of Andreas Papandreou’s socialist government to power, which proved to be the destructive force that brought Greece to its present catastrophe, that immediately started implementing the serial economic crime of a policy of deficits, the country entered the vicious circle of government spending without economic development. By the early 90’s it was glaringly clear that the debt of the country was reaching astronomical heights that would lead it to the precipice of default and bankruptcy. In 1994, Constantinos Mitsotakis, the former prime minister of Greece, in a prophetic speech in Parliament, predicted that the economically crass and thoughtless policies of Pasok would send Greece as a mendicant to the International Monetary Fund to spare it from pauperism. Andreas Papandreou himself was shocked when at a sober moment glanced at the unfathomable debt that the country was in, as a result of his dirigisme economic policies. It was in his presence when his minister of finance Kostas Simitis remarked, in an accusatory and pungent phrase, that this was “the revenge of the economy.”

The false prosperity that had engulfed Greece turned a sizable part of its population to indulge in the charms and seductions of dolce vita at the expense of government largesse. A whole generation of Greeks had been spoiled and became kaloperasakides (the easy life of prodigally good-timers) under the perpetual munificence of the State. In such a social situation the New Democracy party, though imbued with the precepts of The Austrian School of economics versus Keynesianism, and realising, as its leader Constantinos Mitsotakis did, that the country was approaching in a rapid pace the edge of insolvency, had its hands politically manacled and could not implement decisively and with celerity, and with the necessary degree required, policies of economic restraint that would have prevented the transformation of Greece into a mendicant status, since there did not exist even a small constituency on the political landscape of Greece that would contemplate, least of all accept, policies of austerity. The Greeks had been ‘pathologically’ conditioned to the ‘benefits’ accruing from big government, introduced by Andreas Papandreou, and any attempt to small government by any party in power or any opposition propagating  such an idea, could neither hold or win government. Who would give up the ‘free tans’ in sunny Greece that so profusely and generously the State was providing? And who would give up the cushy and loafing jobs in the public sector that the party boys and girls of Pasok and New Democracy were enjoying and relishing? This is the point from which the economic tragedy of Greece had started and would continue to its tragic end.

Thirty years of frivolous public spending brought debt-to-GDP ratio of 120%. Since October 2009 when the son of Andreas Papandreou, George, became prime minister and implemented measures of severe austerity as directed from Brussels in the first memorandum, debt reached 168% of GDP. With the continued recession of the country for the fifth year, Greece lost 16%–18% of its GDP since 2009.

From early 2010 the Opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, few months after his election as leader of the New Democracy party, was warning the Papandreou government of the danger that the austerity measures without economic recovery would lead the country into recession. But his was a lone voice in the wilderness. And for his bold and insightful decision to oppose and vote against the first memorandum replete with the leaden heaviness of austerity that would sink the Greek economy as it did, he was vehemently reprimanded both from within and outside the country. The Economist magazine severely criticised him for his stand against the memorandum but only to lament its critique two years later and concede that Samaras was right. Likewise, Chancellor Merkel and many European ministers with whom Samaras had quarrelled and pointed out to them that austerity measures without rekindling the economy would not resolve Greece’s problem but would make it more abstruse and harder to crack. It took two years for the top brains of Europe to realize that the austerity pills that they were forcing into Greece’s mouth to remedy its ills would have the effect of poisoning its body. (In two years of the severe austerity of the Memorandum, as we indicated above, Greece increased its debt to GDP by a great amount and lost a substantial part of its Gross Domestic Product as enterprises closed and unemployment ravaged the country.) And in turn, like The Economist, admitting that Samaras had won the argument, as all Europeans now are calling for economic recovery and development, supplemented by austerity measures that are necessary, as the way to restore a country’s economic strength.

The May 6 Elections of Greece Crucial for the Future of the Country

The impending election that has been called by the interim government of Lucas Papademos for May 6 is of momentous significance for the future course of the country. Greeks will be called to be partisans of the hard climb to the peak of Mt Olympus from where the sun of hope will rise once again over Greece or be partisans to a free fall in a long twilight of despair. The first is the thunderous call of the New Democracy Party under the Gulliverian and imaginative political leadership of Antonis Samaras, and the second is the deathlike mute call of a congeries of small parties from the left and the right led by Lilliputian politicians. These politically ‘pigmy’ parties, among which is the Communist Party, have no policies of rescuing Greece from its woes, except policies that would lead to the exiting from the European Union and return to the drachma that would lead in turn to the absolute poverty of the country, deliberately drop the curtain on all hope on Greece as their sole aim is to sordidly profit politically by their investment in hopelessness.

The socialist party, Pasok, the main opponent of New Democracy, although on the side of hope, even under the new leadership of Evangelos Venizelos, is totally discredited, as it has been the party that led Greece to its present catastrophe by a bout of unbelievable and unprecedented economic and political mistakes, that Venizelos himself was involved in and responsible, during the last two years that was in government. Moreover, the latest decision of the High Court of Greece to apprehend and charge a former luminary of Pasok and right-hand man of Andreas Papandreou, the founding father of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Akes Tsohatzopoulos, his wife and daughter, and some of his relatives, with bribery and corruption and with being the receiver and beneficiary of millions of dollars as paid commissions, during his tenure as minister of defence, from German and Russian companies to which he had authorized major assignments and projects of his department, has indelibly marked Pasok as venally corrupt;  particularly when its present leader Venizelos, at the initial investigations of Tsohatzopoulos, with the stentorian voice of the lawyer, that he is, was defending and exculpating from any knave dealings, and with the usual catch-all alibi of the typical politician,  that the “accusation against Tsohatzopoulos was politically motivated.” Hence, inconceivable political incompetence and culpability, and unfathomable corruption on the part of Pasok, will be two major themes that will dominate the elections and which will ineluctably lead to new lows in the polls for the socialists.

In this critical economic and political setting that the country is in and the looming threat of the breaking of social cohesion, Samaras is asking the Greek people to give New Democracy the “auto-dynamism,” by a majority of votes in the elections, so he can have his hands untied to govern the country with decisiveness and clear uncompromised policies that would put Greece on the trajectory of economic recovery and development. He argues cogently, that in the present political situation of Greece when consensus about the necessary economic policies among parties of how to regenerate the economy of the country is absent, a coalition government–which is the designated position of Pasok and according to the polls at this moment the desire of a majority of the electorate–will be politically impracticable, and more importantly, would not drag out the country from its peril but would further engulf it into profounder depths; as one could not govern effectively a country in a crisis and gradually bring it out of it  by being compelled to make compromises to one’s political partners, but only by a well-defined plan and decisive and prompt action to implement it without compromises, by a leader who has a strong mandate from the electorate.

Samaras believes, and reasonably hopes with the confidence of a statesman, that during the electoral period and closer to election date, there will be a dramatic shift of voters toward polarized positions, once the crucial issues of the country are spelled out clearly and without lies to the people by New Democracy and by foreshadowing the practical economic policies backed by real numbers that would put Greece on the track of economic recovery, there is a great chance that the majority of Greeks will give New Democracy a strong mandate to govern on its own for the benefit of all Greeks and for the salvation of the country.

Samaras contended long ago, that only through a clear strong authorization given to him by a majority of the people he would be able to radically change Greece. For real economic development entails not only good policies and incentives but a transformation in the views and customs of people toward such development. He puts great emphasis on the value of human capital and entrepreneurship as the prerequisites for the economic recovery of the country. That is why he has promised to re-legitimize private enterprise and effort that for many years now has been delegitimized in the country by communist-led unions, to whom profit has been, as always, the devil-incarnate of the capitalist free market.

The present high unemployment of more than 20% Samaras contends, will not be reduced by mere lower labour costs which already have been decreased by 15% in the private sector while the tax burden on the latter has increased by 50% and energy costs by 450%. Even if Greeks worked for free no one would hire them with such high taxes and energy costs. Samaras in his Zappeio III speech few days ago declared that he would cut corporate tax to a flat rate of 15%, sharply cut pay-roll tax, lower personal income-tax to 32% maximum, and reduce taxes substantially on fuel and tourism. This would make harder rampant tax evasion and would unleash the creativity of the private sector and hence commence the gradual reduction in unemployment. He also announced, that he would increase the lowest pensions to 700 euros per month–that were reduced drastically by the second Memorandum under the austerity measures–and would increase the endowment of families with many children which would not only correct an injustice inflicted upon these two weak sections of society but would also have favourable economic consequence as they  would increase consumer demand, which is so important in rekindling the economy, as both recipients of this government assistance spend their money in consumer goods. He would do these two things without increasing public expenditure and hence worsening the deficit, but by cutting government wastage that is so massive and profligate in the State’s spending. Further, he will provide incentives to private enterprise in areas where Greece has almost unchallengeable comparative advantage, i.e., in the merchant marine sector, ship building, and tourism; and in the production and merchandise of olive oil and other agricultural goods by the local producers themselves, not by foreign ones as is the case presently, whose development in all the above sectors will vitally affect the resurgence of the economy. He also proposes to provide incentives to entrepreneurs to exploit the rich mineral resources of the country and to give priority to find and tap the vast natural gas deposits under the Aegean Sea, by declaring the Greek AOZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) that could transform the export dynamic of Greece. He intends further, to reverse the present dryness of liquidity in the country by proffering amnesty from any legal penalties to those who withdrew their cash holdings from Greek banks during the height of the crisis and deposited them overseas once they bring them back to the country; and also by immediately paying back the 6.5 billion euros that the government owes to domestic enterprises; these two measures would increase the liquidity of the banks and hence their ability to provide loans to the private sector, especially to small businesses, that are the backbone of the country’s economy. Moreover, the re-capitalization of the banks, Samaras argues, will enable them to borrow funds at low interest rates from the European Central Bank, that were set up by it last December, which would be used to put Greece on the track of recovery and economic development.

It is by this method of supply-side economics, as that wunderkind Alders Borg the Swedish Finance Minister illustrated for his own country that Greece’s economy will rise again. The necessary austerity measures stipulated in the new Memorandum that Greece has to implement must be accompanied by the rejuvenated “animal spirits” of private enterprise. Samaras, consistently has been saying for the last two years that “we need a recovery to jump-start the economy,” and in conditions of recession austerity measures cannot stimulate the economy but on the contrary sink it deeper into stagnation.

The vision and plan of Samaras is to plant radical changes on the whole landscape of Greece. In his Zappeio speech he adumbrates constitutional changes that would separate the three branches of government the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary and thus prevent a member of parliament from being a minister, which has been in the past a malignant link of political corruption and has bestowed ‘asylum’ to members of parliament for their malfeasances. He pledges to bring changes to educational institutions that would reclaim the proud heritage of Greece that tragically has been eroded by the cultural relativists of a left coterie of pseudo-intellectuals and led to the disconnection of many young Greeks from their great cultural origins. He also promises to take drastic measures against illegal migrants, whom he calls “unarmed invaders” of Greece that under the soft immigration policies of Pasok they have occupied the main centres of cities, and remove them to provincial hostels until their eventual expulsion.  Another important commitment of Samaras is to transform the bon vivant ethos of many Greeks, which up till now its tab has been picked up by the government, into a creatively productive one. On the new green tree planted by New Democracy, the singing cicadas will be replaced by fecund working bees. As Samaras is fully aware that sustainable economic development cannot be accomplished without transformative changes in the thinking and the mores of the people, especially of the younger generation.

Samaras is “framed in the prodigality of nature,” to quote Shakespeare. He is endowed charismatically both with a high intellect and remarkable moral strength along with the will and determination—all the stuff out of which statesmen are made–to change all things in Greece. But whether this lightning bolt of creative destruction will strike Greece or not depends on the strong mandate that he needs from the people. If Greeks do not fail, at this critical juncture, from fulfilling their historical duty to render to New Democracy a majority of seats in Parliament, then Antonis Samaras, in turn, will consummate the cultural, political, and economic Renaissance of Greece.

Hic Rhodus hic Salta

Statesmen Lead their People from Darkness to Enlightenment

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. Samaras is doing just this.