Address to the Former Chief Justice of The High Court of Australia

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In view of the prevention of terrorists attacks targeting main public centres in Melbourne during Christmas, I’m publishing the following address that was delivered by me, at the private chambers of Sir Harry Gibbs (former Chief Justice of The High Court of Australia) on December 14, 2002, who as Chairman of The Samuel Griffith Society presided over its annual general meeting.

 Mr. President,

I’m aware that the issue I’m raising is not directly related to the charter of our society. But because our way of life, our values and the lives of our citizens are under threat by a deadly network of fanatic terrorists, and because these values are written and reflected in the Australian Constitution, our society as a defender of the latter, cannot avoid from being embroiled in this war against terrorism and its state sponsors.

As in all wars, beyond the human and material mobilization of a nation, the moral and spiritual mobilization of its people is just as important, if not more important. I strongly believe that in the latter mobilization, our society can play a significant and important role.

Recently, there has been a cravenly and ignominious attempt to disarm the country of its strength from effectively confronting this terrorist threat. A secular and sacred chorus have sung an ode in praise of disloyalty and pusillanimity, as the best means of defence against terrorism. Four former prime ministers (Whitlam, Fraser, Hawke and Keating) a Governor General (Bill Hayden) and a motley of religious prelates, disseminated their nihilistic wisdom to the people of this country, as to whether Australia should support the United States in a war against Iraq. Their pronounciamento of No to War, was remarkable for its poverty of thought, for its lack of historical insight, and for its richness in levity. In the latter case this was demonstrated bizarrely by Mr. Keating, who in a tongue-in-cheek interview on channel 10, stated that while we should keep our important alliance with the USA, we should not support the latter in its war against Iraq. In his own inimitable words, he remarked, that a “clever nation—read a clever government under his premiership—could have its-own-cake-and-it eat—too.” Such a proposition is of course based on the assumption that the other party, in this case the USA government, is so stupid, that it would be willing to fall victim to Mr. Keating’s con-man diplomacy and would gratify his penchant of having his cake-and-eating-too.

But despite the lack of seriousness and frivolity of these ideas, propagated by this prominent group of court-jesters, it would a mistake to underestimate the great damage these ideas would make on the moral fibre and on the fighting spirit of the country. It is for this reason that this sophistry of these intellectual usurpers, must be countered and exposed for its spiritual and moral bankruptcy. It would be a historical and political folly to allow these political and religious romantics, the nipple-fed intellectuals of academe, and the populist media, to monopolise, dominate, and debase the debate on the war against terrorism. I believe that our society can play a pivotal role in counter-balancing this monopoly and exposing the brittleness of the arguments of this caricature of statesmanship.

Mr. President, I’m aware of the paucity of the material resources of our society. But this should not be a reason why the wealth of its intellect, imagination, and moral mettle, should lay fallow in these critical times.                

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gravitational Force that Pulled European Nations into a Black Hole

Government intervention always wills the good and works the bad.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The European Union’s sovereign debt crisis was neither an act of fate nor an act of a free self-dependent man but an act of deluded ideology whose sails were blown by the long-lasting winds of government dirigisme, i.e., intervention, and welfare dependency. Once again it was the work, the social engineering, of the bien pensants in the form of a state directory of planning that would put a floor of security for the masses and protect them from falling into abject economic privation that was always, according to their thinking, the omnipresent and inevitable result of the unjust, harsh, and unequal regime of the capitalist competitive free market. The trouble was that this floor was made out of straw and at the first jump of an economic crisis–whose seeds were planted by government intervention,  loose monetary policy and low interest rates–would open a gaping hole through which this security would disappear and drown in a massive pool of unemployment and poverty.

The Eurozone’s one dimensional foundation of monetary union without banking and fiscal union could not sustain the European edifice in the long run with the differentiating regime of taxes, social benefits, and pensions that existed among its constituent states. The proliferation and prodigality of unsustainable Entitlement Economies, which have been the characteristics of the welfare states of Europe especially in the south, could not have been continued without cracking the economic underpinnings of the Eurozone. Also, the European Central Bank’s enabling of low risk premiums on interest rates of government debt, encouraged Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland to go on an orgy of borrowing and overspending. The inevitable outcome was a stampede of budget deficits that were unsustainable and the eventual loss of all credibility in the financial markets that the afflicted States would be able to pay back their debts and thus the shutting out of the latter from the global financial lending pool.

Since no private person would hazard to lend money to states lassoed in sovereign debt the only alternative left was for the richest countries in the Eurozone, such as Germany, to become the lenders and continue to finance the former for their economic survival. But such help would be given under very severe terms encapsulated in strict Memoranda to the receiving countries with the stipulation that the latter would adopt and implement stringent austerity measures that would decrease substantially government expenditure, would restructure and reform their economies making them more competitive, and privatizing public enterprises, whose inefficiency and lack of a diligent working ethos can only be sustained by a continuous expensive staple of government subsidies.

These austerity measures, however, whose formulators have been the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, the so called Troika, are forcefully rejected by the people of those countries who for decades have been inured to the social and economic comforts and benefits engendered by the reckless spending of their governments, and are refusing to accept any cuts to these benefits even when some are aware that the latter can no longer be provided since the governments’ coffers are empty and the convenience of funding these benefits by borrowing, as they have done in the past, is no longer available due to their nation’s sovereign debt. Moreover, these austerity measures initially had not being complemented with policies of economic development and thus led to the worsening of the economic conditions of those countries that adopted them, such as Greece, leading to unprecedented massive unemployment by the closure of large and small business enterprises and to the smashing of the middle class which is the cornerstone of free societies.

This situation is dangerously engendering the fragmentation of social cohesion in those countries and giving rise to political parties of the extreme right and left, coming out of the foam of waves of violent demonstrations that imminently threaten democracy. A latest illustration of this danger are the attacks by petrol bombs and other incendiary devices by hooded youths of anarchists and extreme leftists in Greece against the homes of outspoken journalists, offices of the governing coalition of New Democracy, Pasok, and the Democratic Left, and the burning of Bank’s ATMs. And of particular significance are the attacks on journalists, which are a blatant violation of free speech and a sinister attempt to intimidate them from expressing their opinion about events and criticizing politicians of Syriza, the official opposition, of whom obviously the fire carrying mobs are its ardent supporters.

This will be the tragic legacy of European big government and its ill-considered, indeed, destructive intervention in the processes of the free market that for at least two centuries have delivered prosperity and an unprecedented increase in the standard of living of the masses; as the socialist politicians from Francois Mitterand to Jaques Delors–the architects and enforcers of the European Monetary Union that forced Germany to succumb and pay the price of the unity of west and east Germany as demanded by France–and their present disciples of  etatisme are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden egg, i.e., the unimpeded free market, and by doing so unconsciously and unwillingly are generating and  unleashing the brutal forces of fascism and leftist directorates of totalitarianism on the landscape of Europe.

To avoid this slide to the hell of totalitarianism only the rise of statesmen who “can act beneath heaven as if they were placed above it” is consummated. The fiscal and balance of payments crisis can only be remedied by substantial cuts in government spending and the euthanasia of big government, and by the privatization of debt ridden public enterprises–that are the last strongholds of obtuse and doctrinaire unions– and by the freeing of private enterprise to pursue profit by competition and entrepreneurial creativity and dynamism, respectively. These ‘bitter’ remedies can only be administered by statesmen of the calibre of Lee Kuan Yew and Antonis Samaras. The latter, indeed, might not only be the progenitor of the Greek Renaissance but also the paradigmatic leader of other European politicians to imitate for their own European Renaissance. The Newtonian apple that will stop the European ‘discord’ that currently threatens the demise of the EU will fall to the gravitational force of such statesmanship.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

Greek Professor Disparages Newly Elected Government

The play is the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King Hamlet

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A brief ‘playful’ reply to Professor Varoufakis’s post on his blog of the 18th of July followed by his guilt-ridden counter-reply.

Why are you associating, even thinly, this ‘ponzi’ scheme that was consummated between May 2009 and January 2011 with the newly elected tri-partite government of Antonis Samaras? Why are you ‘carpingly’ searching to find faults in the present government and crave to be the Italian submarine commander to torpedo and sink the Elli (in the 1930’s an Italian U-boat sunk the Greek cruiser Elli in the harbour of Rhodus), the Samaras’ government, in the midst of its Herculean and admirable efforts just began to salvage Greece from its present tragic predicament? Is it because all you are concerned with is that with the failure of government you will be able to illustriously tell your friend Yannis Stournaras (the present Finance Minister), I told you so!

Professor Varoufakis says,

When a scandal surfaces it is the government and justices of the day that have a duty and obligation to investigate. Mr Samaras and his cabinet have a golden opportunity to confirm your trust and hope in them. Will they take it?

Former Secretary of State Equates Politics of Hamas and Israel

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A reply to: …on Israel-Palestine Conflict by Steve Clemons

Washington Note June 21, 2009

 “Absolutists on both sides need to be overcome” which Steve obviously agrees with this statement of former Secretary of State James A. Baker. This statement however ravages the truth by its direct reference of a ‘political equivalence’ between Hamas and the Netanyahu government. No Israeli government ever governed on behalf of the minority absolutist interests of the religious fanatics of Israel unlike Hamas which governs Gaza in the interests of its millenarian goals. It’s like saying that Republican governments, such as the former Bush administration, governed on behalf of the narrow interests of the religious right and not for the general interests of the United States.

If this is the quality of strategic thinking that the four eminent persons of Carter, Baker, Scowcroft, and Brzezinski, are offering to the Obama administration for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict then such advice will be a repeat performance of past failures as it rises from the lowest ebbs of their strategic ‘cogitations.’

And Steve will be found to be completely wrong if he thinks that the new turbulent situation in Iran might ‘force’ the Khatami-Ahmadinejad regime to change its policy toward its Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist surrogates. Steve in his misplaced realism does not realize that Iran will never abandon its pawns as long as it engages in its power-play in the region whose goal is domination.

Obama’s Plan for Withdrawal Replaces Living Victorious Strategy with Dead Strategy

By Con George-Kotzabasis

 Obama is no leader but a pretender! The sentence in the first paragraph of his Op-Ed in the NT on July 14, 2008, says it all. “The phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated,” which he trumpeted before the surge, he continues to consider as being wise in conditions when the surge has been successful in subduing the insurgency and decisively defeating al Qaeda in Iraq (his goal), and the Iraqi government meeting 15 out of the 18 benchmarks set up by Congress.

Further, he fabricates a grand fiction when he states that “nearly every threat we face-has grown.” If this was true one would have expected that America would have been attacked at least once since 9/11. And he distorts the real goal of the surge which was to win the war, and inevitably that would involve some strain in the overall number of U.S. military forces, and not because, the reason why he opposed the surge, it would not ease “the strain on our military.” Did Obama expect to win a war without perforce some strain on the military?

Obama’s op-ed is redolent with hypocrisy and cant to justify his pro-surge position, and to transpose this position in the new situation of a victorious war in Iraq as continuing to be politically and strategically viable is laughable. It is no less than the attempt of someone to resuscitate a dead carcass which unceremoniously is fit for burial and to give it a ‘second life’ in the overwhelming liveliness of victory.

Obama’s plan for withdrawal rides on the ignorant and obtuse brain-wave of populism that is against the war justified to an extent by the initial mistakes of its strategists in the conduct of the war. But now that these mistakes have been addressed and corrected by the new strategy of the surge which is defeating the insurgency, for Obama to stick to his populist promise to pull out U.S. troops from Iraq within two years in this new situation, is to lead from the tail and not from the front the American people.

And in American history Obama, if he ever became president,  will be everlastingly cursed for being the only Commander-in-Chief who ignominiously and doltishly withdrew his magnificent brave soldiers from a war at the threshold of its victory. Can you imagine President Lincoln after the Battle of Gettysburg ordering General Ulysses Grant to withdraw his troops from the field of battle and stop pursuing the army of Robert Lee whose ultimate defeat, at astronomical cost of men and materiel on both sides, led to the end of the civil war? Obama is making a mockery of the great tradition of wise, intrepid American presidents. He was wrong in his prediction that the surge would fail, wrong in his assessment that Iraq is not presently the frontline of global terror and al Qaeda, and wrong in his strategy to pull out U.S. troops from a war that the latter are winning. On this score alone, he does not deserve to be the Commander-in-Chief of a Great Nation.

Over to you

Obama’s Oxymoronic Proposal to Parley with Sponsors of Terror

Hypocrisy On Hamas By James P. Rubin, former assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration

Washington Post, May 16, 2008

A brief reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Two years is a long time in the life of terrorism! Rubin by giving us the answer of McCain to his question of two years ago that the latter was prepared to talk to Hamas and accuse him therefore with hypocrisy can only do so by disregarding this elementary fact. In these two years Hamas has not even shown a propensity to give the Palestinian people “security and a decent life and decent future” nor “democracy”, to quote Rubin (which incidentally was the rider of McCain’s answer.), and continues to engage unappeasably in violence and terror while it’s in government. In such conditions it would be oxymoronic now for any politician, such as Obama suggested and McCain denounced, to open the door of negotiations with a terrorist government while the door of the war on terror has not closed.

Strategically, politically, and morally, it would not only be dull-witted but also close to treachery for any government that has committed its armed forces to fight global terror at the same time to even hint that it is willing to start negotiations with rogue governments that back and continue to be inflexible in their support and sponsorship of terror.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Comparing Dick Cheney to Ahmadinejad

Iran’s Leadership Battles

By Steven Clemons Washington Note, October 16, 2007

A reply by Kotzabasis and a counter reply by Clemons to the latter’s  comparison of Cheney to Ahmadinejad in his piece to the WN ending it with the phrase ‘the “Dick Cheney of Iran”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’.

Steve, to print this shameful quote that compares Cheney to Ahmadinejad to please the political Scarlet O’Haras who follow you, shows that you have entered a redlight district willing to prostitute your scholarly reputation for a “scarlet” coin.

Steve said,

kotzabasis — thanks for your note though your attacks on some of my posts are as robust as some of my attempts at metaphorical comparison. seriously though, i do realize that some would be taken back by the comparison of ahmadinejad and cheney. some in the u.s. government — who are friends of mine — have told me as much about their discomfort with that comparison.

How they are dramatically similar is that both have been declining in relative influence and both see political gain in the increasing tension and potential collision between iran and the u.s. to some degree, ahmadinejad and cheney are able to help each other regain some influence in their respective countries.

What fascinates and worries me is that whereas political factions fighting it out in the US administration — or even in Iran — is nothing new, what is new is that you have such weight on both sides of the equation. bob gates is battling cheney. and maybe — wings of iran’s political establishment are battling rogue elements of the al quds force and ahmadinejad.

In that sense, I think that the comparison is apt — but i recognize and ‘respect’ your alternative take.

Thanks for sparring a bit with the blog. i do enjoy reading your commentary and understanding your take on many of these issues.

all the best,

Kotzabasis said,

My dear Steve, I’m always perplexed that a noble person like you stoops at times to the ugly passions of hoi polloi. But Marcel Proust is always relevant.

My best wishes too.

steve clemonsPosted by Steve Clemons at October 22, 2007 10:28 AM