Charles Maurice de Talleyrand
In the age of global terror only Churchillian statesmen imbued with the wisdom and fearless spirit of the goddess of war Minerva can save Western civilization
I'm republishing this paper written in 2007 as the intellectual prattling know-all elite continue to disparage and malign George Bush for his decision to invade Iraq.
A response by Con George-Kotzabasis to:
All the President’s Enablers by Paul Krugman
The New York Times July 20, 2007
The fundamental principle of power and of any political activity is that these should never be any appearance of weakness. Niccolo Machiavelli
The eminent professor of economics Paul Krugman who ditched his solid professorial chair for the ephemeral glitter and celebrity status that accrues from being a peer pundit of The New York Times, ridicules George Bush, in his latest article, of a misplaced confidence that verges to a “lost touch with reality”. Confident to bring in Osama dead or alive, confident toward the insurgents “to bring it on”, confident that the war will be won, when the latest report of the National Intelligence Estimate is so gloomy about the prospects in Iraq and the war against al Qaeda that would make even the most optimistic of Presidents to have second thoughts about his policy, but not George Bush. Krugman states, “thanks to Mr. Bush’s poor leadership America is losing the struggle with al Qaeda. Yet Mr. Bush remains confident”. Such a stand “doesn’t demonstrate Mr. Bush’s strength of character” but his stubbornness to prove himself right despite the grim reality.
But Krugman saves his main grapeshot to fire it against the Republican doyen Senator Richard Luger and General Petraeus both of whom he considers to be the “smart sensible” enablers of the President. He argues that while Senator Luger knows, and indeed, acknowledges, that Bush’s policy in Iraq is wrong, he nonetheless is not prepared to take a strong stand against it. And he cleverly in anticipation of the September report of General Petraeus that might be favourable to the situation on the ground as an outcome of the surge, he launches a pre-emptive strike on the credibility of the general by quoting extensively from an article the latter wrote in the Washington Post on Sept. 26, 2004, whose assessment about Iraq at the time was overly optimistic if not completely wrong. In the article the general wrote, “that Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously” and “are displaying courage and resilience” and “momentum has gathered in recent months”. It’s by such implied non sequiturs that our former professor attempts to discredit General Petraeus. Just because he might have been “wrong” in the past it does not follow that he would be wrong also in the future. And Krugman caps his argument by saying that because of these “enablers” of the President, “Mr. Bush keeps doing damage because many people who understand how his folly is endangering the nation’s security still refuse, out of political caution and careerism, to do anything about it”.
But how serious are these strictures of Krugman against the President and his so called enablers? Let us first deal with the optimism of Bush and his confident statements about the war in Iraq and the struggle against al Qaeda. Krugman is lamentably forgetful that when the President committed the U.S. to take the fight to the terrorists he stated clearly and unambiguously that this would be a generational struggle. And in this long war against al Qaeda and its affiliates and those states that support them, he was confident that America would prevail. Hence all the confident statements of Bush were made in the context of a long span and not of a short one as Krugman with unusual cerebral myopia made them to be. His argument therefore against the President’s optimism and confidence, which he ridicules with the pleasure of one “twisting the knife”, is premised on a misperception. Moreover, did Krugman expect that the Commander-In-Chief of the sole superpower not to have expressed his hopefulness and confidence to the American people, when they were attacked so brutally on 9/11, that the U.S. in this long war would prevail? And is it possible that our pundit to be so unread in history and not to have realized that in all critical moments of a nation’s existence it’s of the utmost importance that its leaders rally their people against a mortal threat with statements of hope and confidence, as Winston Churchill did in the Second World War, that the nation would be victorious against its enemies? Would Krugman have the President of the United States adopt the gloom and doom of the so called realists as a strategy against al Qaeda, its numerous franchises, and the rogue states that support them by sinister and covert means?
Indeed, the liberal’s and The New York Times’ “Bush derangement syndrome…has spread” not only “to former loyal Bushies”, to quote Krugman , but to more than two thirds of the American people thanks to this ignominious coterie of all the President’s disablers of the liberal establishment, and its pundits, like Paul Krugman. The paramount duty and responsibility of the media, being the Fourth Estate in the political structure of a democratic society, at a time when a nation faces and confronts a great danger from a remorseless and determined enemy, is to morally mobilize and rally its people behind their government and their armed forces that are engaged in war. In the present defensive pre-emptive war--the latter as a result of the nature of the enemy and his potential to acquire nuclear weapons--that has issued from the aftermath of 9/11 and the cogent convincing concerns of the Bush administration of a possible nexus in the near future between al Qaeda and its sundry affiliates with rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction and nuclear ones, and the portentous and abysmal danger this would pose not only to the U.S. but to the world at large, the media has a “sacred” obligation to unite the American people behind its government of whatever political hue. No errors of judgment or mishandling the planning of the war by the Bush administration can excuse the media from abdicating from this historical responsibility.
There is no fogless war and no one can see and perceive and measure correctly all its dimensions. And the frailty of human nature further exacerbates this inability. But no Churchillian confidence in one’s actions and strategic acumen throws the towel because of mistakes. One corrects one’s errors and keeps intact his resolution to defeat the enemy with a new strategy. (And one has to be reminded that the greatest scientific discoveries have been built on a pile of mistakes.) It would be an indelible obloquy to one’s amour propre to even consider that these uncivilized obtuse fanatics, and seventy-two virgin pursuers, could come close to conceiving a strategy that would defeat the know-how and scientific mastery of Western civilization and its epitome the United States of America. Only a lack of resolve of its politicians and its opinion-makers, as a result of their fatal embrace with supine populism, appeasement, and pacifism, could lead to such shameful and historic defeat.
America at this critical juncture of its historical and Herculean task to defeat Islamofascism in a long, far from free of heavy casualties, painstaking arduous war needs a wise, imaginative, and resolute political and military leadership that will overcome all the difficulties and imponderables of war and will strike a decisive lethal blow to this determined suicidal enemy. The new “Surge” strategy of the resolute Bush administration implemented by that “superb commander”, according to his troops, General Petraeus, seems to be accomplishing its objectives. Two prominent and vehement critics of Bush Michael O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of The Brookings Institution who had accused the President of mishandling the war, after an eight-day visit in Iraq talking to high officials now believe that we are fighting in “a war we just might win”. And Petraeus, like a stronger Atlas, is pushing the rise of the sun of victory in the up till now dark sky of Iraq. Hence, the courageous actions and sacrifices of U.S soldiers in Iraq are not wasted and will be written with adamantine letters in the military annals. At this momentous noteworthy victory all the President’s and the nation’s disablers will be cast into the pit of ignominy by history.
I rest on my oars:your turn now
With the terrorist attack in Boston and the capture of one terrorist human rights lawyers are readying themselves to render to the captured terrorist the Miranda enactment that gives him the right not to talk to the police. It is for this reason that I'm republishing this article written in 2009.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Supreme Court judge Bernard Bongiorno, who is presiding over the biggest terror trial in Australia of the twelve radical Muslims (The “Dirty Dozen” bombers) who were allegedly preparing themselves to be holy martyrs in their jihad against Australia by killing innocent civilians, has been persuaded by SC (Senior Counsel) of the defendants, Jim Kennan and Mark Taft, that the alleged terrorists are being treated inhumanely by the authorities and are in a state of mental collapse.
Before we go into the ruling of the judge I think it would be appropriate to know few things about the two SC of the accused,. Jim Kennan, and MarkTaft. The former was a minister in the Kane and Kirner Labor governments in Victoria who held the portfolios of Attorney General and Transport in the mid-eighties. Melbournians will remember the Tramways Union strike in 1989 when trams had blockaded the metropolitan streets of Melbourne for more than a month preventing commuters coming into the city and threatening many small shops with bankruptcy. The strike lasted that long only as a result of Kennan being a weak minister as well as of the incompetence and languid state of his advisors. One example which I remember vividly, was his press secretary watching the Commonwealth Games with his feet on his desk whilst John Halfpenny ( the then Secretary of The Trades Union Council), who was leading the strike, was besieging with his goons the minister and threatening the livelihood of many small shop keepers. At the end of the strike, Jim Kennan was removed from the Ministry of Transport and was placed back to his Attorney General’s position. And Bernard Bongiorno was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court by the Brack's Labor government in 2000. ( Birds of a feather flock together.)
The other SC Mark Taft was a member of the Communist Party following the footsteps of his father Bernie Taft, who, as the Victorian Secretary of the Party dissolved it in 1991 in the wake of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But he dissolved the Communist Party not for the purpose of expressing his political mea culpa for the millions of peoples who were slaughtered by the Leninists doctrinaires Stalin and Mao, but for the purpose of conceiving its bastard sibling the Socialist Forum hoping that its members would become an influential part of the left of The Labor Party. In the latter goal the older Taft succeeded completely, while the younger Taft as a member of the executive of the Socialist Forum and as one of its foremost ideologues, second only to his father, was ideologically grooming many members of the left of the Labor party, among whom were the present Minister of Finance, Lindsay Tanner, and the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of the Rudd Labor Government. Now that both SC Jim Kennan and Mark Taft have abandoned the heavy burdens of the public sector, which for both of them were a total failure, and have chosen to be lured by the entrepreneurial temptations of the private sector and gratify themselves with its rich tastes, they decided to open their appetite for the latter with the “aperitif” of being the defenders of the “Dirty Dozen”, in Australia’s biggest terrorism trial. But enough of this minuscule biographical diversion of our two attorneys of defense, and let us now deal with the “unprecedented “ruling of the presiding judge of the trial.
Justice Bongiorno being a practical judge and not an ivory tower one, was not satisfied of being convinced merely by the “theoretical” pleadings of the two SC that the defendants were treated inhumanely by the authorities, especially when they were shackled hand and foot while they were transported from prison to the Court locked in the steel compartments of the prison vans, and wanted to test this allegation in a practical way. So when he visited Barwon prison where the twelve were being held he had himself locked up in “the small steel compartment…in one of the prison vans… to get a better understanding of their treatment”. Convinced now “beyond a reasonable doubt” by his own “travailed” experience during his own “transportation” to Barwon prison that the alleged would-be terrorists were treated by the authorities brutally and inhumanely he issued his ukase to the latter that unless they stopped this “intolerable” treatment of the prisoners his honor would “suspend the hearing indefinitely and consider releasing the men on bail”.
Victoria’s Department of Corrections under this hovering threat expeditiously responded positively to the Jupiterian ruling of Justice Bongiorno and implemented most of his directions. In doing so it negated the possibility that some of the twelve defendants would jump bail and break away from the “forceps” of Australian justice and disappearing in a Muslim country. But it did so paradoxically at the expense of the Judge. As it deprived his Honor of the honorific that Muslims, moderate and radical alike, at least in Australia, would have bestowed on the Justice as an indelible sign of their gratitude for this service, i.e., giving the opportunity to their co-believers to escape from the unjust Australian terrorist laws, by replacing their traditional greeting of Salam with Bongiorno, for ever after.
What was most interesting and amusing moreover, was the forensic evidence of the psychiatrists whose painstaking analysis had found the defendants to be psychologically and mentally disturbed—as if people who were prepared to kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent people for their messianic goals and in chase of the seventy-two virgins were not already incurable cases of mental disturbance–and “believed that their condition would deteriorate as the trial progressed”. Needless to say Justice Bongiorno was deeply influenced by this forensic evidence extracted from the “psychiatrist’s couch” and was a decisive element in his “extraordinary”, to quote him, ruling.
Thus we will be told as an entertaining and jovial story, that the twelve bearded fanatics who were “toying” with ideas how to blow up Australians, now that they are standing before the bar accused of planning this atrocity they have metastasized themselves into mere “naughty boys” playing among the skirts of the “libertine” legal profession and claiming from the loose garments of the latter their human rights.
Bongiorno Australia:Have a nice day
I rest on my oars: Your turn now.
A reply to Professor Varoufakis on his proposal of a recycling mechanism from countries with surpluses in his talk to the OECD.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The working of a recycling mechanism from countries that are in surplus would primarily need the physical stature of Professor Varoufakis, that is, lean efficient competitive economies with no wastage baggage and lean governmental apparatuses. Most economies, however, of southern Europe are in a state of pathological obesity in both regards and thus are being unfavourable turfs for surplus countries to plough their money in them. For the wheels of the recycling mechanism to start therefore, it would be necessary to fundamentally restructure the economies and governments in the former case, on the ethos of a competitive market economy, and on the latter, by removing the destructive policies of government intervention and excessive regulation in the sphere of private enterprise. Only countries free from the deleterious effects of un-competitiveness and government dirigisme and replete with entrepreneurial dynamism acting within a private enterprise system can be favoured to be the recipients of the manna of the recycling mechanism.
The above argument is reinforced by the two historical examples in Professor Varoufakis’ presentation where he shows that the Americans at the end of the Second World War recycled the major part of their surplus to Germany and Japan, the two countries that were renowned for their economic efficiency and technological feats and operating within the private enterprise system, and the second, when China and the oil producing countries of the Arab peninsula recycled their surpluses to America on the basis of the same principle, that is, of economic prowess and competitiveness. In neither case were these surpluses recycled to “Africanized” economies. Likewise, why European countries, such as Germany, that are in surplus, should recycle the latter to the economically sclerotic countries of the south unless the latter engaged in a radical restructuring of their economies that initially would be followed with a lot of pain as Greece presently shows with the radical changes that are taking place in its economy under the robust and imaginative Samaras government? It is easy to talk about the misanthropy of the elites but what about the misanthropy of those politicians of the left, such as Andreas Papandreou, who for years created a false prosperity for their peoples without telling them of the heavy price and suffering they would have to pay for it and the great crisis that they would be engulfed in?
Can Professor Varoufakis envisage that the great foundational changes that are required, so the recycling river of funds will inundate those countries that are at the bottom pit, can occur without pain? Is the Heracletian profound maxim that out of “great discord rises the greatest harmony” to be negated by the votaries of the “dismal science”?
Guest (Xenos) says,
Incorrect, in every way and on every level.
Per capita, Greece received more than any other country from the Mashall Plan and other forms of financial assistance from the USA. Germany andJapan received the most because (a) they were the largest countries lined up to receive funds, and (b) because they had been decimated by the war. It had nothing to do with your homespun nonsense about “Africanised countries” — whatever you think those might be.
Your speech is nothing more than empty rhetoric and has no relation to historical reality or economic analysis.
Greece was a special case due to the civil war and the threat of a communist take-over and the fact that America replaced Britain as the plenipotentiary of Greece and its protector from communism. And it goes without saying that part of the reason why funds flowed to Germany and Japan was their devastation. But the major reason was that the Americans wanted to create a locomotive of economic development in these two regions and that is why they chose Germany and Japan renowned for their past economic prowess. Professor Varoufakis himself in his presentation makes it quite explicit that China invested its surplus in the United States precisely because of the latter’s high competitiveness (M.E).
The following article was written on September 2010. It is republished here for the readers of this blog hoping they will find to be of some interest.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The 'unanimous rejection and repudiation of terrorism... and commitment to work within the laws of Australia', by the Muslim leaders who attended the Meeting on 23 of August 2010 in Canberra, must now be used by the Howard government as a "jump-start", to a "summit" of hard, but not foolhardy, action, that would effectively protect Australia from those fundamentalist Muslims and their followers in our midst, who pose an ominous and a grave threat to the security of our country.
Notwithstanding the support of the six principles, drafted at the Meeting, by the Muslim leaders, the government must not "manure" and water any illusions that these leaders will be able to do anything 'effective' against those fundamentalist imams and deflect them from continuing to push their radical-fanatic agenda among their followers, albeit this time, cautiously and stealthily, so they can avoid from being seized by the arm of the law. Fanaticism has the spots of the leopard on its back. And as one cannot change the spots of the latter, it would be the "summit" of folly to believe that the Muslim "summiteers", by exercising reason and persuasion, could change the nature of fanaticism embodied in these imams. This much was conceded by the Prime Minister himself, who in his riposte to the journalists as to why he had not invited radical Muslims to the Meeting, said that it would be impossible to change the views of fanatics by persuasion. And the evidence is overwhelming that no amount of reasonable arguments can persuade these fanatics to change their views, as despite the flood of concrete evidence to the contrary, they still believe that Osama bin Laden was not behind the attack on 9/11. Even some moderate Muslims believe that bin Laden was not the culprit. And, like the fanatics, they believe in all kinds of Americano-Jewish "twin" conspiracies, such as for example, that the Jews had foreknowledge of the attack, and that was the reason why they had not turned up for work on the day of the attack on the twin towers.
It is on this principle alone, 'once a fanatic always a fanatic', that the government must now enact the no "legal niceties" foolproof no loopholes legislation that would prevent, effectively, fundamentalist imams and teachers in Islamic schools, from teaching their doctrine of hate against America and Western nations, and from propagating - by craftier and more devious means, instead of doing this openly and with tongue in cheek as they have done in the past - a holy war against those nations and their peoples, who are fighting global terror in Afghanistan and in Iraq. (And it is precisely for this reason-the fighting of global terror- that countries engaged in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have become targets of terrorists. And not as second rate and rationally shallow commentators, a la Kerry O'Brien and Tony Jones of the ABC, to mention only the most prominent ones in this country, who assert that these countries, and Australia in our case, have become terrorist targets because of their alliance with the U.S. and because of being co-occupiers with the latter in Iraq. These countries and America would not have been in Iraq, if the latter had not been an integral part of global terror, and especially now, when it has become the front-line of global terror. It is the ultimate contradiction on the one hand to agree, as most of these pundits do, that the countries of the free world have no other alternative but to fight global terror, which is a war sans borders and unlocalised, and then to refuse to fight it in the crucible of terror that Iraq has now morphed into.)
The government must realize, that only by legislating a "Sword of Damocles" over the heads of these dangerous fanatics that would deport them to the countries of their origin --if not jail them in this country for treason, if they happen to be Australian citizens--even by stripping them of their Australian citizenship, in the case that they are officially Australians. This can be done by retrospective legislation, in order to carry out their deportation, if they blatantly violated or violate the pledge they have made to their Australian citizenship. Thus, will it be able to protect Australia, to the highest degree possible, from home-grown terrorism.
In the enactment of this legislation protecting Australia, the Howard government must be consistent with the logical position of its foreign policy, as expounded by the Prime Minister himself. He made it crystal-clear, that if a country's terrorists in our region threatened the security of Australia by weapons of mass destruction, and the government of such a country was unwilling or impotent to prevent such an attack, then Australia would be forced to launch a pre-emptive raid to stop such an attack upon Australia. The Prime Minister cannot do less in regards to the internal enemy that also poses an imminent and lethal threat to the security of our country. The anti-terrorist legislation therefore, that the government is preparing to take, must also comprise the pre-emptive wherewithal, that would abort an attack on our country by home-grown terrorists. If the Prime Minister is willing and prepared to take the greater risk of invading and violating the borders of a sovereign nation to protect Australia, why then cannot he take the lesser risk, of uprooting and "destroying" the enemy within, which is the inalienable sovereign right of Australia, as it would be equally the right of any other nation in the same situation, to protect its people from an enemy attack?
Australia is at war! It has committed its brave soldiers, its sons and daughters, to fight a treacherous fanatical enemy in Afghanistan and in Iraq who is engaged in global terror, and whose goal is no less than the establishment of a block of Islamo-fascist states in the region, that would ultimately threaten the existence of Western civilization. It would be the acme of folly, of historic dimensions, that while Australia is engaged with its allies in such an existential war, that its government would allow a more than possibly operational fifth column of treacherous fanatics in the meantime, to stab Australia in the back. Such a folly, if it were to happen, would be registered in the annals of history as unforgivable and as inexcusable. It would irremediably demean all the sacrifices that our soldiers had made in fighting this war, and it would put an inerasable stain of moral feebleness and political incompetence, upon the up- to- now admirable leadership of the government on the war on global terror.
The Prime Minister, being fully aware of the real stakes of this war against global terror, who, with historical insight, moral fortitude, and political acumen, decided to commit Australian troops to fight it, must not now be squeamish about the necessary force of the legislative measures that must be commensurate to the great threat that is posed by home-grown terrorism. The political leadership of the free world is now at the crossroads of leading from the front or leading from behind. If, as some leaders of the West, such as Chirac, Schroeder, and Beazley - not to leave out our own crop - have decided to lead from behind, pushed by the stream of populism, these leaders will be everlastingly condemned by history, for their intellectual dishonesty, and political opportunism. Those leaders, such as Bush, Blair and Howard, who have decided to lead from the front, against the stream of populism, will be for ever and ever renowned by future ages for their indomitable spirit, that saved Western civilization from these terrorist barbarians.
ECRASEZ L'INFAME DE TERORRISME
I'm republishing this short piece that illustrates the diplomatic scarcity in international relations that is the inexorable feature of the Obama administration.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Steve Clemons and Ben Katcher are using the ‘shamanistic’ art, the art of a conjurer, to turn the limits of imagination into “the limits of American power.” The “aborted attempt” of the Obama administration to “persuade the Israelis to enact a “settlement freeze”, has nothing to do with US power limits but with lack of imagination and political insight on the part of Obama and the State Department not to foresee the political implausibility of trying to impose such a doltish demand on the Netanyahu government. It’s a dismal failure of policy and not a limit of American power as Clemons and Levy in their conjurers’ role aver.
As for Daniel Levy’s ”asymmetries of power,” WigWag’s post is instructive and unassailable in its historical logic. All defeated nations in wars were due to asymmetries of power.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
The present position of Evangelos Venizelos the leader of Pasok that the government to be formed on June 18 must include Syriza in a coalition of other parties so that it can presumably deal more effectively with European leaders in regard to the necessary modifications of the Second Memorandum, is to repeat the stupendous error of the Democratic Left, under the pusillanimous leadership of Fotis Kouvelis, when it too had placed the same pre-condition after the May 6 election. The present profound crisis of Greece needs a functional government with united policies and realistic and decisive leadership that can pull the country out of the crisis and not a government of factions whose deep differences of how to handle the negotiations with the European Union would inevitably lead to intestine fights and to the collapse of such government that would seriously exacerbate the crisis. Thus the pleading for a wider coalition as Venizelos proposes will result with mathematical precision to a dysfunctional government irretrievably incapable of handling the crisis.
Professor Varoufakis, let us hope that the New Year is a year of corrections of past mistakes, mea culpas and success. With the more than possible policy success of the Samaras Government in 2013, it seems to me that your “invincible summer,” policy wise, is a will-o-’the-wisp and will turn out to be your ineffable “winter of discontent” as a result of the political and economic triumph of Antonis Samaras in pulling Greece out of the crisis, and your dire predictions of the hopelessness of Greece, as the present government continues, according to you, to implement, without creative revision, the dead end policies of the European Union and the IMF, which have been so destructive to Greece.
A reply to a criticizer who lambasted me for the above comment on Professor Varoufakis.
It’s not in my character to insult anyone and least of all our morally and mentally robust Professor Varoufakis. You are confusing “no quarter will be given” criticism with insults; the typical confusion of an effete person delving in critical matters or in intellectual discourse. As to the rest of your comment, it’s wise to take the advice of Wittgenstein and stay silent. The same applies to all other comments to my riposte to Professor Varoufakis.
“The evil doctrine, the armed forces at the disposal of those professing the doctrine, and the sympathisers (M.E.) with the doctrine in other lands constitute one united threat which must be met by force”. Edmund Burke, (Writing on the French revolution, and of the English citizens who supported it either in word or deed.)
In a battle between flaming (M.E.) fundamentalists and mute moderates, who do you think is going to win? Irshad Manji Muslim writer
The above two quotes apply to all the naive simpletons of this thread who search in vain for moderate Muslims in a religion that is irreversibly replete with hate against all infidels. And the comparison of moral equivalence they attempt f9ypto make between Christian and Islamist fanatics shows their prodigious ignorance of history and that they are fugitives from reality. Christianity never threatened another civilization with fanatical suicide-bombers. It's Islam that does so in an era of nuclear weapons and WMD. It's this lethality which distinguishes Muslim fanatics from Christian fanatics and the great dangers that the former carry and hide around their midriffs which are incomparable.
The hackneyed terms of 'Islamophobes'and 'Muslim haters’ that the Islam sympathisers use to discredit their opponents is a defence reaction on their part for their inveterate doltishness and inanity which bars them from the course of reason.
I'm republishing the following piece that was written on September 2008 in view of the continued intransigence of the Iranian theocracy not to stop its development of a nuclear bomb.
By Con George-Kotzabasis
In the latest talks between Iranian representatives and the five permanent UN Security Council (SC) members plus Germany last Saturday in Geneva, the chief negotiator of Iran reading from a written text rejected the package that was offered to Iran by Javier Solama, the special envoy of the European Union. Already less than an hour of the talks, Keyvan Imani, a member of the Iranian delegation, casted his doubt over the talks saying, “suspension- there is no chance for that,” in reference to the SC demand that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment. He also downplayed the presence of William Burns in these talks, –which the international media overplayed as being a “bend” in Bush’s diplomacy toward the Iranians in its up till now refusal to participate in any direct talks with the latter—saying that “he is just a member of the delegation.”
Meanwhile, Saeed Jalili, the chief negotiator of Iran, evading the issue of suspension and tongue in cheek indulged himself in literary allusions using a simile to describe diplomacy’s glacial motion as being like a beautiful Persian carpet that moves slowly as it is made and ending with a beautiful result. It’s beyond doubt that the six superpower delegates wouldn’t mind treading and romping on that beautiful Persian carpet, but some of them might be more concerned about the ugly things slowly but surely are clawing on that carpet, such as nuclear weapons, than its ‘aesthetic’ beautiful pattern.
The Iranian delegation also attempted to outsmart their Western and Chinese counterparts in the ‘photogenic stakes.’ They suggested a photo in which Saeed Jalili and Javier Solama will be in front shaking hands and the six superpower delegates standing behind them providing the background. The five Security Council members plus the German one gave this suggestion of the Iranians the short shrift it deserved.
It’s time for America and its allies to realize that they are dealing with an unappeasable, irreconcilable, and duplicitous enemy. Moreover an enemy who unshakably and truly believes that he is implementing the non-negotiable agenda of God. In such situation only a war premised diplomacy threatening Iran’s theocratic and military leadership with obliteration has a chance to create a fissure within the regime, at least among its more moderate elements, ousting the Mullahcracy and replacing it with a regime that would accept the demands of the international community. Only when America places its lethal armaments on the carpet of Iran with the threat that they are going to be used if the latter persists in its intransigency, will the deadlock of conventional diplomacy end. In the event that the theocratic regime continues to walk and talk the path of ‘martyrdom,’ then America and its staunch allies will have no other option but to adopt Cato’s strategy. Delenda est Carthago.
I rest on my oars: Your turn now
Professor Varoufakis, we have crossed swords before several times on your website but no blood was spilt. Your thesis delivered with panache was highly interesting, provocative, fascinating, and alluring, but from a negative point of view. Like an exotically seductive woman flaunting dissolutely her charms but refuses to be seduced. You likewise refuse to see or acknowledge that your proposition is made-up from a selectivity of facts and by leaving other facts out you let your guard down as these neglected facts will release the Aeolian winds to demolish your argument in one wind gust. The fact is that there are many countries within Europe that are not in crisis, such as Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Luxemburg, Austria, and Finland, not to mention others. My question therefore is why the European and global crisis did not also embroil these countries in it as well, as it did with Greece and other southern European countries? Why the general predatory capitalist practices of the dominant countries of the Eurozone affected only some countries of the EU and not others?
The reality is that government dirigisme and its ill-fated profligacy of over spending on borrowed funds was the cause of the crisis that engulfed those countries of the south, and especially Greece, within the whirlpool of sovereign debt. The virus of the malaise did not have exogenous origins, as you wrongly suggest, but originated from the mal-practices of socialist governments and followed inevitably by conservative ones—how else could they have a chance to be elected in government?—with their fatal predilection for big government, and Greece was the example par excellence.
But as we all know a crisis is a developmental process and during its course the remedies applied to it particularly when they are wrong can exacerbate it instead of curing it. And as you correctly point out austerity without economic growth, especially in conditions of continued recession, is a recipe of disaster, as the statesman Antonis Samaras also pointed out two years ago. But it is a grave mistake to confuse the cause with the remedy and to build one’s case on the wrongness of the cures, as encapsulated in some of the policies of the two Memoranda imposed by the European lenders upon Greece, as the cause of the crisis in Greece.
In my judgement therefore your thesis that the crisis in Greece has exogenous origins and not endogenous ones is totally wrong and highly misleading. You are peddling shoddy goods wrapt-up in the dignified robes of academe hoping to make an easy but intellectually disrespectful sale. And the strength of your argument can be measured by the kind of opponents you have had in your debates up till now. None of them were real opponents and all of them were fellow travellers sailing with the compass of your ideological position. I remember when you met a real opponent to your thesis you banned him from your website, and I was rather surprised at the time that with your Kazantzakian character you would have debarred someone expressing opposing views to your own. But it is easy to be right when you hear only your own voice.
Also, your recycling theory from countries with surpluses to countries with deficits is in my opinion fundamentally flawed. What prudent investor would invest on a seat in the Titanic? Most of these countries that have incurred those bottomless deficits were and are economically uncompetitive and this was the primal reason why they were embroiled in this abysmal “balance of payments crisis,” as the eminent financial commentator Martin Woolf argues.
The crisis is profoundly complex to be fixed by tailor-made academic economic nostrums as your Modest Proposal suggests. It will be resolved by the method of science, i.e., by trial and error, and that is why, moreover, will not be without pain for the majority of people, after the grave and fatal errors committed by their past governments. The Schumpetarian principle of “creative destruction” will be the pivotal characteristic in this process of economic restructuring, and statesmen of the calibre of Antonis Samaras will play a decisive role toward its resolution.