Reply to American who Blames US Policies for Irruption of Terror

I’m republishing this short piece that was written on March 2008, as some people still continue to blame the United States  for the irruption of Islamist terror.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

This is no time for populist politicians like Obama, nor, could I say, for “aureole” New York Times commentators like Paul Krugman, who are attempting to bait the electorate’s hate of the Republicans. But for politicians with mettle, sagacity, and visual clarity and imagination to deal with the stupendous issues that America faces in a very dangerous world that emanates from the great Islamist threat. It’s for this reason that John McCaine is Napoleon’s “voila une homme”.

It’s an easy intellectual escape, when one is devoid of arguments, or should I say when one is replete with hackneyed arguments, to dub one’s interlocutor’s points as being a “straw man”. You still see war and great dangers emanating solely from states, and you cannot see, due to lack of imagination and historical perspective, those “stateless” invisible enemies who operate both from within and from outside the countries they are attacking are even more dangerous, especially when, the rapid technological development accelerates and consummates their possibility of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and indeed, nuclear ones, and which they will use with fanatic glee against the infidels of the West and the “Great Satan” America. Further, your contention that Republican policies created terror is your own real straw man. It’s America’s unprecedented success in the history of mankind in the fields of the economy, science, technology, and cultural and political power and its status as the sole superpower that has created the envy and also the hate of many people of the world against it, especially of people with retarded cultures and chiliastic religious beliefs. Residing in countries of corrupt and authoritarian governments, and as a result of this they have been left behind in the race of economic development and tend to scapegoat America for all their ills. Policies are objectively evaluated geopolitically and morally only within the context they are made. Hopping in bed with ugly and murderous regimes was an unenviable choise that the U.S. perforce had to make during its confrontation with a powerful planetary enemy, such as the Soviet Union had been. Sure enough, some of these policies alienated many people, but the end result was to save the world from the most brutal of all regimes in the history of mankind, Communism.

There is no costless freedom. And often one has to pay a high price for its keep, politically and morally, not to say bloodily. Thucydides tour de force History of the Peloponnesian War, clearly depicts the intricacies of geopolitics and the unholy alliances nations have to make to prevent their downfall.

Your Opinion on this issue…

 

Advertisements

Reply to American To Miss Opportunity for Rapprochement with Iran Will Have Big Consequences

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.

 

Obama The Jilted Bride

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Obama’s diplomatic engagement with Iran is a jilted bride. The groom in the form of President Ahmadinejad or the Taliban, and the recalcitrant fanatical Muslims in general, will never walk the aisle of diplomacy and Obama will be the jilted bride, who will keep inviolate his immaculate political virginity. It would be highly dangerous for America and the rest of the free civilized world to have such a politically naive and weak president for another four years in the White House.

Obama Plays the Rich Pay Tax Card amidst the Poorness of his Stewardship

By Con George-Kotzabasis—February 18, 2012 campaign, obama,

In his State of the Union address President Obama has abandoned the “hope and change” of his past presidential campaign and replaced it with “equality and fairness” for his future one. How is he going to accomplish the noble values of equality and fairness, by changing the tax code that would severely tax the incomes of the rich; by organizing watchdog agencies that would round-up Wall Street miscreants; by sending the seals to capture Chinese DVD pirates; and by compelling students to stay in high school until the age of 18? The former community organizer-enforcer that threatened bankers in his Chicago days with law suits if they were unwilling to provide loans to non-creditworthy borrowers, is now to enforce the rich to put their pound of flesh on the tax scale weighing at least 30% of their income, according to the “Warren Buffett Rule.” It is by such measures that the physically sprightly moving president will bring with Mercurial speed to the door of every ordinary American the goodies of “equality and fairness.”

Obama cannot run on his record—he barely mentioned in his Union address Obamacare and the stimulus, his major but questionable legislative achievements-but only on a re-run of new false promises. Equality and fairness cannot be achieved by minor legislative measures that he proposes but only by major ones, such as tax reform and entitlement reform, the core measures that would spawn the seeds for the growing of those noble values. The first generates social equity plus economic efficiency, and the second generates social justice plus debt reduction. It is by economic efficiency and debt reduction that the vital spirits of capitalist entrepreneurship will be incentivized and in turn set in motion the productive process that will increase the wealth of society and by spreading it to a greater number of people will reduce inequality and unfairness among Americans.

The taxing of the rich will bring negligible revenue for Obama to accomplish his grandiose scheme of equality and fairness. On the contrary it will sterilize the vital spirits of entrepreneurs and stifle capital investment, especially in conditions of recession, hence retarding economic growth, and indeed, deepening the slump, as Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in his rebuttal of Obama’s State of the Union address.  Therefore Obama’s proposal to tax the rich is another seductive but false promise, like his past promises, by which he is attempting once again to mislead and delude Americans that by taxing those who earn more than a million and by ‘barking’ against Wall Street greed he will create a socially fairer America.

Another central feature of his Union address was the praising of the armed forces for their solidarity and discipline, with which they achieve their great missions, and using them as a template to be adopted and imitated by all Americans, so they too can accomplish their aims in their pursuance of building a more prosperous and equal America. It is good to see the anti-war Obama extolling the virtues of the military and making them a model for the United States. But he overlooks the fact that the virtues of war are not applicable to, and are not, the virtues of civil peace. The qualities of solidarity and discipline are a prerequisite in war for defeating an enemy; but are an obstruction in search of knowledge that enhances techno-scientific economic development. Copernicus and Galileo had to break the disciplinarian regimen of the Catholic Church to make their breakthrough to their great scientific discovery. Great minds and their discoveries do not flourish in the restricted practices of solidarity and discipline but in the spiritual freedom that has no constraints.

One can hardly think that Obama is ignorant or unaware of this distinction. Therefore one must deduce that the admiration of Obama for the military virtues is only a post sop to the warriors of Iraq and Afghanistan, whom before he became president and in the initial stages of his presidency, consider them to be inept and useless in their fight against Islamic terror, and whom he would replace with his soft power policy and highfalutin diplomacy which completely failed to entice either al Qaeda or the Taliban, as well as the regime of terrorist sponsoring Iran, to come to the negotiating table. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The respect of President Obama for the military is shown in his latest proposal of cutting the army by 100,000; by the delayed production of helicopters and stealth jets; and by the elimination of one-tenth of the Air Force’s tactical fighter squadrons. And the savings of these cuts in a budget of over a trillion dollars will be for this year 4.5 billion dollars. It is by such tricks that Obama proposes to reduce the budget spending of the government while at the same time truly reducing the hard power of America that is the sine qua non  in its security and stability, and, indeed, of the rest of the world in our very dangerous times. As for being praised for killing bin Laden what else could he do, once he was informed by the CIA that a highly placed al Qaeda subject was living in the compound with the possibility that this subject might be bin Laden himself, other than sending the seals to kill him? The American electorate would have never forgiven him if, having this knowledge, he had done nothing.

Obama failed in his stewardship as president, due to his wont to imitate the social democratic policies of Europe—Obamacare was his top example—internally to improve the economy and reduce markedly unemployment, and externally in his foreign policy to effectively constrain the rogue states of N. Korea and Iran from continuing their belligerent threats toward the U.S. and the rest of the West, and in particular preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The latest proposal by Iran to participate in negotiations to discuss its nuclear programme is a ruse on its part with the purpose to check Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities and thus saving its nuclear bomb that is rocked in its cradle. And the Americans according to the statement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have accepted with alacrity this Iranian proposal without any preconditions. Thus the Iranians have rolled out the Persian carpet of diplomatic deception and subterfuge for the Obama Administration to walk on.   Further, Obama in his attempt to “reset the button” with Russia has been effectively aborted, as exemplified by his inability to persuade the latter either in the case of Libya or Syria not to use its veto in the Security Council. It is for the purpose of covering all the above failures that Obama plays the rich pay tax card amidst the poorness of his stewardship, and in his goal to win a second term by cunningly deceiving Americans once again.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…

Iron Ladies Never Die they Just Show the Way

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 9, 2012

In a hostile world only the strong have the right to indulge in hope. Thucydides

Ah, that memorable, fascinating, admirable, and politically insightful and intrepid subject, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, that challenges almost all of contemporaneous political leadership that is scrambling on all its fours–with some notable exceptions such as Lee Kuan Yew, of Singapore and Antonis Samaras, of Greece–from Obama to Zapatero to Merkel and Sarkozy, who  instead of standing on the shoulders of political giants, like Thatcher, to command events, they have been overwhelmed and overcome by them.

The characteristic spending profligacy of Labour socialist governments over a number of years, and the excessive borrowing and inflation that resulted by the latter’s policies that brought the UK into economic stagnation gave Margaret Thatcher the opportunity to win the election in 1979 with a sizable majority. Her victory would bring not only the transformation of British politics but would also spawn, with a small astute coterie of others, the seeds of a profound change on the political landscape of the world. Further, by re-introducing forcefully the idea of privatization as a dynamic concept among the economic detritus left by Labour’s deficit-laden nationalization of industries, she would place the country on the trajectory of economic efficiency and generation of wealth for the benefit of all Britons.  To open markets to the world she abolished all exchange controls on foreign currency five months after coming to power. The UK from being the poorest of the four major European economies in 1979 became by the end of ten years under Thatcher’s stewardship the richest among them. In a series of economic policies packaged by Milton Friedman’s and Frederick Hayek’s monetarist theories, Britain’s GDP grew by 23.3% during this period outpacing that of Germany, France, and Italy.

However, to accomplish the latter goal, she would have to confront the power of unions decisively, which, in a ceaseless campaign of strikes and imprudent and irrational demands were ruining the British economy. In 1979, at the apex of union power, Britain had lost 29.5 million working days to strikes, whereas at its nadir, under the robust stand of Thatcher and her strong blows against it that led to the defeat of unions, in 1986, the figure of lost working days was 1.9 million. The Moscow trained communist Arthur Scargill, secretary of the Mining Unions, had unleashed in 1984-85 a myriad of strikes with the aim to obstruct the Thatcherite pro-market reforms that would put Britain on the roller skates of economic prosperity. By the end of that year that shook the foundations of British industry and broke the morale of some of her Cabinet members–that prompted Thatcher in a memorable quip to say to them, “You turn if you want to. The lady is not for turning.”—the red flag became a trophy alongside the Argentinian flag in her collection of victories, as Arthur Scargill conceded his defeat.

In international affairs she questioned Kissinger’s policy of détente toward the Soviet Union as she believed strongly that Communism should not be accommodated but overcome. For this implacable stand the Soviet Army’s newspaper Red Star christened her the “Iron Lady.” Together with President Reagan, she planted the diplomatic dynamite under the foundations of the Soviet empire that would eventually bring the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Lenin’s benign Marxist dream that had turned back to its true nature as a nightmare of Gulags and Killing Fields.

Thatcher in the 1980’s fiercely opposed the European economic and monetary integration. To her the European construction was “infused with the spirit of yesterday’s future.” In the kernel of this construction laid the central “intellectual mistake” of assuming that “the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy.” And she was prophetic to the current events and crisis of Europe when she argued that German taxpayers would provide “ever greater subsidies for failed regions of foreign countries,” while condemning south European countries to debilitating dependency on handouts from German taxpayers.” She concluded, “The day of the artificially constructed mega-state is gone.”

However, no statesmanship is without its warts. In 1986 prohibition of proprietary trading went out; the separation between commercial and investment banks was abrogated; and ‘casino banking’ took off, which without these changes would not have happened. Her critics accused her of promoting greed which she personally abhorred. Also, the introduction of the poll tax on adult residents was most unpopular among Britons and sparked the Poll Tax Riots on March 31, 1990, that instigated an internal coup against her that ousted her from her premiership.

Margaret Thatcher entered number 10 Downing Street with her strong character and astute political perceptiveness with panache that destined her, like all great statesmen, to “walk beneath heaven as if she was placed above it,” to quote the seventeenth-century French political philosopher, Gabriel Naude. She will enter the ‘gate of heaven’ not as the frail distracted old woman, as she was depicted in the film made by Phillida Lloyd, but as the iron lady who will never die and continue to show the way.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…              

 

Abandoning the Field of Battle for Diplomacy is to Admit Defeat

I’m republishing the following for the readers of  this blog.

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

By Zbigniew Brzezinski  Washington Post, March 30, 2008

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

This is old fogy strategic thinking on the part of a former National Security advisor. For any nation that is already fighting its enemy by means of military operations to abandon the latter and open instead the door of negotiations and diplomacy, as Brzezinski proposes, is to admit defeat, as one would have to negotiate now with a more emboldened and confident enemy from a position of weakness. In such conditions of military “surrendering”, especially to a religiously inspired fanatic enemy, it would be utterly foolish to consider and believe that such a nation, in this case America, could achieve any of its initial goals through diplomacy, other than its conditions of “surrender”, is to make a mockery of the art of Talleyrand

And to accuse McCaine that he proposes for Iraq 100 years of war “until victory”, is a blatant and shameful lie and stains indelibly the intellectual integrity of Brzezinski.

Clausewitz and Involvement of Military in Politics

I’m republishing this piece for the readers of this blog.

In Presidential Sweepstakes McCain Sees Stars

By William M. Arkin

Washington Post December 19, 2007

A response by Con George-Kotzabasis

If Clausewitz’s dictum is correct that ‘war is the continuation of politics by other means’, then Arkin’s “dictum” that ‘the military…stays out of politics,’ is a caricature of reality.

I am using Clausewitz’s dictum to illustrate that one cannot separate war from politics if the military arm which is engaged in hostilities is going to be successful in defeating an enemy. Politicians to make the right decisions about a war must rely for their concrete data on those engaged directly in war, i.e., the military, even if these data could be influenced by the beliefs and values of the latter. Therefore the “rule” that decrees that the military should not be involved in politics, as Arkin argues, is an oxymoron.

It’s a farcical rule and goes against the grain of all experience. A perfect admittance of this reality was the questioning of General Petraeus by Congress, of the former’s military report on Iraq, when its democrat representatives, and indeed, many from the media and the anti-War movement, like MoveOn org, accused Petraeus of being involved in politics, since they all considered his report of being politically biased as it purportedly supported the policy of the Bush administration on Iraq.

Ironically, the critics of Petraeus while upholding the fiction that the military should not be involved in politics were admitting at the same time that the general’s military report was influencing politics. As indeed it should have done. Where else politicians would get their information so they could make their judgment about the policies that are needed for the conduct of war?

It’s absurd! One cannot put the political beliefs and values of the military in general, and of its commanders in particular, that inevitably flow into the political process, in the straitjacket of an unrealistic rule that ordains that the military stays out of politics.