Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Deutsche Stimmen wider die Kriegsgefahr gehen Tausend auf ein Lot

  • Ich gab bei Google diese Frage ein und fand nur:

    Appell an Merkel: "Wieder Krieg in Europa? Nicht in ...


    07.12.2014 - Die deutsche Regierung geht keinen Sonderweg, wenn sie in dieser ... Richard von Weizsäckers Mahnung ist heute, ein Vierteljahrhundert später, aktuellerdenn je. .... was eindeutig Kriegsgefahren mit sich bringt, was dann wieder die ... Steht auf, vereinigt euch, erhebt die Stimme und gebt uns besorgten ...
  • und die Kriegsgefahr steigt… - Stimme Russlands - Voice of ...


    30.08.2014 - STIMME RUSSLANDS Die Ereignisse scheinen sich zu überschlagen. ... oder nehmen wir aktuell den Abschuss des malaysischen Fliegers MH 17, den man ... Die charmante Eva Herman bringt es wieder mal auf den Punkt! ... Es ist verwunderlich das alle Deutschen Massen Medien vor weg ARD, ZDF.

    Ist das nicht ein Grund  mehr aufzuwachen, sich zu artikulieren, sich zu formieren?  Erkennen wir die Muster hinter den Nebelwerfern PEGIDA, ANTI-PEGIDA, CHARLIE-HEBDO-MANIE und der Verwirrstrategie der  um sich greifenden Gewaltszenerien, die uns medial an die Unvermeidlichkeit von Brutalität im menschlichen Miteinander   gewönnen sollen.
    Wir sagen dazu NEIN und nochmals NEIN. Ein anderes Leben als unter dauernder Kriegsgefahr und Entbehrung ist möglich, aber, um mit Bert Brecht zu sprechen:
    "Es kann der Sieg der Vernunft nur der Sieg der Vernünftigen sein" Irene Eckert
  • Game On East vs. West, Again By Andrew Cockburn, Harper's Magazine

    The Polish Vote and Lockheed Martin: How Domestic US Politics Drove NATO Expansion

    Think the 1990’s NATO expansion was an hegemonic move against Russia? It was. But it was also more perverse than that:
    This is as an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at Harper's Magazine
    Although defense budgets had actually increased in the post-Vietnam 1970s, for example, veterans of the era still shared horror stories about the “hollow” military in the years following the final withdrawal from Saigon. That cloud had lifted soon enough, thanks to sustained efforts — via the medium of suitably adjusted intelligence assessments — to portray the Soviet Union as the Red Menace, armed and ready to conquer the Free World.
    On the other hand, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat. The gift that had kept on giving, reliably generating bomber gaps, missile gaps, civil-defense gaps, and whatever else was needed at the mere threat of a budget cut, disappeared almost overnight. The Warsaw Pact, the U.S.S.R.’s answer to NATO, vanished into the ash can of history. Thoughtful commentators ruminated about a post–Cold War partnership between Russia and the United States.
    American bases in Germany emptied out as Army divisions and Air Force squadrons came home and were disbanded. In a 1990 speech, Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, revered in those days as a cerebral disperser of military largesse, raised the specter of further cuts, warning that there was a “threat blank” in the defense budget and that the Pentagon’s strategic assessments were “rooted in the past.” An enemy had to be found.
    For the defense industry, this was a matter of urgency. By the early 1990s, research and procurement contracts had fallen to about half what they’d been in the previous decade. Part of the industry’s response was to circle the wagons, reorganize, and prepare for better days. In 1993, William Perry, installed as deputy defense secretary in the Clinton Administration, summoned a group of industry titans to an event that came to be known as the Last Supper. At this meeting he informed them that ongoing budget cuts mandated drastic consolidation and that some of them would shortly be out of business.
    Perry’s warning sparked a feeding frenzy of mergers and takeovers, lubricated by generous subsidies at taxpayer expense in the form of Pentagon reimbursements for “restructuring costs.” Thus Northrop bought Grumman, Raytheon bought E-Systems, Boeing bought Rockwell’s defense division, and the Lockheed Corporation bought the jet-fighter division of General Dynamics. In 1995 came the biggest and most consequential deal of all, in which Martin-Marietta merged with Lockheed.
    The resultant Lockheed Martin Corporation, the largest arms company on earth, was run by former Martin-Marietta CEO Norman R. Augustine, by far the most cunning and prescient executive in the business. Wired deeply into Washington, Augustine had helped Perry craft the restructuring subsidies for companies like his own — essentially, a multibillion-dollar tranche of corporate welfare. In a 1994 interview, he shrewdly predicted that U.S. defense spending would recover in 1997 (he was off by only a year). In the meantime, he would scour the world for new markets.
    In this task, Augustine could be assured of his government’s support, since he was a member of the little-known Defense Policy Advisory Committee on Trade, chartered to provide guidance to the secretary of defense on arms-export policies. One especially promising market was among the former members of the defunct Warsaw Pact. Were they to join NATO, they would be natural customers for products such as the F-16 fighter that Lockheed had inherited from General Dynamics.
    There was one minor impediment: the Bush Administration had already promised Moscow that NATO would not move east, a pledge that was part of the settlement ending the Cold War. Between 1989 and 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union had amicably agreed to cut strategic nuclear forces by roughly a third and to withdraw almost all tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.
    Meanwhile, the Soviets had good reason to believe that if they pulled their forces out of Eastern Europe, NATO would not fill the military vacuum left by the Red Army. Secretary of State James Baker had unequivocally spelled out Washington’s end of that bargain in a private conversation with Mikhail Gorbachev in February 1990, pledging that NATO forces would not move “one inch to the east,” provided the Soviets agreed to NATO membership for a unified Germany.
    The Russians certainly thought they had a deal. Sergey Ivanov, later one of Vladimir Putin’s defense ministers, was in 1991 a KGB officer operating in Europe. “We were told . . . that NATO would not expand its military structures in the direction of the Soviet Union,” he later recalled. When things turned out otherwise, Gorbachev remarked angrily that “one cannot depend on American politicians.” Some years later, in 2007, in an angry speech to Western leaders, Putin asked: “What happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.”
    Even at the beginning, not everyone in the administration was intent on honoring this promise. Robert Gates noted in his memoirs that Dick Cheney, then the defense secretary, took a more opportunistic tack: “When the Soviet Union was collapsing in late 1991, Dick wanted to see the dismantlement not only of the Soviet Union and the Russian empire but of Russia itself, so it could never again be a threat to the rest of the world.” Still, as the red flag over the Kremlin came down for the last time on Christmas Day, President George H. W. Bush spoke graciously of “a victory for democracy and freedom” and commended departing Soviet leader Gorbachev.
    But domestic politics inevitably dictate foreign policy, and Bush was soon running for reelection. The collapse of the country’s longtime enemy was therefore recast as a military victory, a vindication of past imperial adventures. “By the grace of God, America won the Cold War,” Bush told a cheering Congress in his 1992 State of the Union address, “and I think of those who won it, in places like Korea and Vietnam. And some of them didn’t come back. Back then they were heroes, but this year they were victors.”
    This sort of talk was more to the taste of Cold Warriors who had suddenly found themselves without a cause. The original neocons, though reliably devoted to the cause of Israel, had a related agenda that they pursued with equal diligence. Fervent anti-Communists, they had joined forces with the military-industrial complex in the 1970s under the guidance of Paul Nitze, principal author in 1950 of the Cold War playbook — National Security Council Report 68 — and for decades an ardent proponent of lavish Pentagon budgets.
    As his former son-in-law and aide, W. Scott Thompson, explained to me, Nitze fostered this potent union of the Israel and defense lobbies through the Committee on the Present Danger, an influential group that in the 1970s crusaded against détente and defense cutbacks, and for unstinting aid to Israel. The initiative was so successful that by 1982 the head of the Anti-Defamation League was equating criticism of defense spending with anti-Semitism.
    By the 1990s, the neocon torch had passed to a new generation that thumped the same tub, even though the Red Menace had vanished into history. “Having defeated the evil empire, the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance,” wrote William Kristol and Robert Kagan in 1996. “The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance.”
    Achieving this happy aim, calculated these two sons of neocon founding fathers, required an extra $60–$80 billion a year for the defense budget, not to mention a missile-defense system, which could be had for upward of $10 billion. Among other priorities, they agreed, it was important that “NATO remains strong, active, cohesive, and under decisive American leadership.”
    As it happened, NATO was indeed active, under Bill Clinton’s leadership, and moving decisively to expand eastward, whatever prior Republican understandings there might have been with the Russians. The drive was mounted on several fronts. Already plushly installed in Warsaw and other Eastern European capitals were emissaries of the defense contractors. “Lockheed began looking at Poland right after the Wall came down,” Dick Pawloski, for years a Lockheed salesman active in Eastern Europe, told me. “There were contractors flooding through all those countries.”
    Meanwhile, a coterie of foreign-policy intellectuals on the payroll of the RAND Corporation, a think tank historically reliant on military contracts, had begun advancing the artful argument that expanding NATO eastward was actually a way of securing peace in Europe, and was in no way directed against Russia.
    Chief among these pundits was the late Ron Asmus, who subsequently recalled a RAND workshop held in Warsaw, just months after the Wall fell, at which he and Dan Fried, a foreign-service officer deemed by colleagues to be “hard line” toward the Russians, and Eric Edelman, later a national-security adviser to Vice President Cheney, discussed the possibility of stationing American forces on Polish soil.
    Eminent authorities weighed in with the reasonable objection that this would not go down well with the Russians, a view later succinctly summarized by George F. Kennan, the venerated architect of the “containment” strategy:
    Expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post cold-war era. Such a decision may be expected to inflame the nationalistic, anti-Western and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion; to have an adverse effect on the development of Russian democracy; to restore the atmosphere of the cold war to East-West relations, and to impel Russian foreign policy in directions decidedly not to our liking.
    In retrospect, Kennan seems as prescient as Norm Augustine, but it didn’t make any difference at the time. When he wrote that warning, in 1997, NATO expansion was already well under way, and with the aid of a powerful supporter in the White House. “This mythology that it was all neocons in the Bush Administration, it’s nonsense,” says a former senior official on both the Clinton and Bush National Security Council staffs who requested anonymity. “It was Clinton, with the help of a lot of Republicans.”
    This official credits the persuasive powers of Lech Walesa and Václav Havel at a 1994 summit meeting with Clinton’s conversion to the cause of NATO expansion. Others point to a more urgent motivation. “It was widely understood in the White House that [influential foreign-policy adviser Zbigniew] Brzezinski told Clinton he would lose the Polish vote in the ’96 election if he didn’t let Poland into NATO,” a former Clinton White House official, who requested anonymity, assured me.
    To an ear as finely tuned to electoral minutiae as the forty-second president’s, such a warning would have been incentive enough, since Polish Americans constituted a significant voting bloc in the Midwest. It was no coincidence then that Clinton chose Detroit for his announcement, two weeks before the 1996 election, that NATO would admit the first of its new members by 1999 (meaning Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary).
    He also made it clear that NATO would not stop there. “It must reach out to all the new democracies in Central Europe,” he continued, “the Baltics and the new independent states of the former Soviet Union.” None of this, Clinton stressed, should alarm the Russians: “NATO will promote greater stability in Europe, and Russia will be among the beneficiaries.” Not everyone saw things that way; in Moscow there was talk of meeting NATO expansion “with rockets.”
    Chas Freeman, the assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1993 to 1994, recalls that the policy was driven by “triumphalist Cold Warriors” whose attitude was, “The Russians are down, let’s give them another kick.” Freeman had floated an alternate approach, Partnership for Peace, that would avoid antagonizing Moscow, but, as he recalls, it “got overrun in ’96 by the overwhelming temptation to enlist the Polish vote in Milwaukee.”
    In April 1997, Augustine took a tour of his prospective Polish, Czech, and Hungarian customers, stopping by Romania and Slovenia as well, and affirmed that there was great potential for selling F-16s. Clinton had spoken of NATO being as big a boon for Eastern Europe as the Marshall Plan had been for Western Europe after the Second World War, and many of the impoverished ex-Communist countries, some with small and ramshackle militaries, were eager to get on the bandwagon.
    “Augustine would look them in the eye,” recalls Pawloski, the former Lockheed salesman, “and say, ‘You may have only a small air force of twenty planes, but these planes will have to play with the first team.’ Meaning that they’d be flying with the U.S. Air Force and they would need F-16s to keep up.” Actually, Augustine had rather more going for him than this simple sales pitch, including a lavish dinner for Hungarian politicians he threw at the Budapest opera house.
    Meanwhile, back in Washington, a new and formidable lobbying group had come on the scene: the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. Its cofounder and president, Bruce P. Jackson, was a former Army intelligence officer and Reagan-era Pentagon official who had dedicated himself to the pursuit of a “Europe whole, free and at peace.” His efforts on the committee were unpaid. Fortunately, he had kept his day job — working for Augustine as vice president for strategy and planning at the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
    Jackson’s committee stretched ideologically from Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle (known as the neocon “Prince of Darkness”) to Greg Craig, director of Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense and later Barack Obama’s White House counsel. Others on the roster included Ron Asmus, Richard Holbrooke, and Stephen Hadley, who subsequently became George W. Bush’s national-security adviser.
    When I reached Jackson recently at his residence in Bordeaux, he reiterated what he had always said at the time: his efforts to expand NATO were undertaken independently of his employer. He suggested that they had even imperiled his job. “I would not say that senior executives supported my specific projects,” Jackson said.
    “They thought I should be free to do what I wanted politically, provided I did not associate [Lockheed] with my personal causes. In short, they did nothing to stop me, and suggested to other employees to leave me alone so long as I did not drag LMC into politics or foreign policy. I finally left because I enjoyed my nonprofit work more than my day job.”
    In this atmosphere of disinterested public service, Jackson and his friends devoted their evenings to cultivating support for congressional approval of Polish, Czech, and Hungarian membership in NATO, followed by further expansion. The setting for these efforts was a large Washington mansion not far from the British Embassy and the vice-presidential residence: the home of Julie Finley, a significant figure in Republican Party politics at that time who had, as she told me, “a deep interest in national security.”
    A friend of hers, Nina Straight, describes Finley as someone who “knows how to be powerful and knows how to be useful.” As Finley relates, she noted in late 1996 that NATO expansion was facing opposition in Washington. “So I called Bruce Jackson and Stephen Hadley and Greg Craig and said, ‘Holy smokes, we have to get moving!’ ”
    “We always met at Julie Finley’s house, which had an endless wine cellar,” Jackson reminisced happily. “Educating the Senate about NATO was our chief mission. We’d have four or five senators over every night, and we’d drink Julie’s wine while people like [Polish dissident] Adam Michnik told stories of their encounters with the secret police.”
    In any event, the vision of Augustine and his peers that an enlarged NATO could be a fruitful market has become a reality. By 2014, the twelve new members had purchased close to $17 billion worth of American weapons, while this past October Romania celebrated the arrival of Eastern Europe’s first $134 million Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore missile-defense system.
    From: Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
    PO Box 652
    Brunswick, ME 04011
    (207) 443-9502
    http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

    Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Henry David Thoreau

    Foreign Troops in Ukraine? You Bet!

    EDITOR'S CHOICE | 27.01.2015 | 17:00
    US-backed president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, was among the elites gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week to attend the 2015 World Economic Forum. During his speech he made the remarkable claim that 9,000 Russian troops were currently fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the independence-seeking areas of the country. These 9,000 troops have brought with them tanks, heavy artillery, and armored vehicles, he claimed. "Is this not aggression?" he asked the gathered elites.

    The US was quick to amplify Poroshenko's claims, with US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power Tweeting today:
    Time and again, #Putin has extended an olive branch in one hand, while passing out Grad missiles & tanks with the other. #Ukraine
    State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked whether the US might at least admit that the missiles fired by the Kiev authorities into residential areas in eastern Ukraine this week were a violation of the September ceasefire agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus. She refused to admit as much, and in fact she refused to even admit that the shells killing scores of civilians this past week were fired by the US-backed regime in Kiev. "Russia is not complying" with the agreement was all she would say.

    NATO agreed with the US government assessment, adding that the movement of heavy equipment from Russia into Ukraine had increased in pace recently.

    There appears to be a problem, however. The 9,000 troops and heavy weapons and equipment that purportedly accompanies them have been seen by no one. There are no satellite photos of what would certainly be a plainly visible incursion. We know from incredibly detailed satellite photos of Boko Haram's recent massacre in Nigeria that producing evidence of such large scale movement is entirely within the realm of US and NATO technological capabilities. Still there remains a lack of evidence.

    Moreover, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is on the ground monitoring the border crossings between Ukraine and Russia,reported just this week that, "At the two BCPs (border crossing points) the OM (observer mission) did not observe military movement, apart from vehicles of the Russian Federation border guard service." If there has been an increase of Russian heavy weapons into Ukraine, why are the satellites in the skies and the eyes on the ground blind to them?

    Poroshenko, who last week vowed to re-take eastern Ukraine by force, this week offered a different solution to the ongoing conflict:
    The solution is very simple -- stop supplying weapons ... withdraw the troops and close the border. If you want to discuss something different, it means you are not for peace, you are for war.
    That is probably good advice, but how ironic that it comes the very same week the Pentagon announced that US soldiers would be deployed to Ukraine this spring to begin training that country's national guard. US military on the ground in Ukraine is a significant escalation, far beyond the previous deployment of additional US and NATO troops in neighboring Poland and the Baltics.

    Additionally, the US announced it was transferring heavy military equipment to the Ukrainian armed forces, including the Kozak mine-resistant personnel carrier and some 35 other armored trucks.

    The US government has reportedly set aside several million dollars to help train the Ukrainian national guard. Considering the fact that the national guard was only re-formed after last year's US-backed coup and is made up in large part of neo-Nazis from the extremist Right Sector, one would hope some of the money is spent dissuading members from such an odious ideology.

    So there may well be Russian troops and equipment on the ground in Ukraine -- though so far no proof exists and the Russians deny it. But we know very well that there are US troops and heavy military equipment on the ground in Ukraine because the US openly admits it! So Russia has no business claiming interest in unrest on its doorstep, but the US has every right to become militarily involved in a conflict which has nothing to do with us nearly 5,000 miles away? Interventionist illogic.
    Daniel Mcadams, ronpaulinstitute.org

    Mariupol: Who Pulled the Trigger?

    ...Americans and their puppets in Kiev still cherish the plans to involve Russia in the war and make it bring its military to the Ukraine’s territory. Then they could openly accuse Russia of being an aggressor, mobilize the world community and make the conflict escalate much further. Russia does not want to play by these rules. That’s why Ukrainian military shelled Mariupol – Ukraine has to do the job by itself.  
    Arkady DZIUBA | 28.01.2015

    Russia to respond to possible disconnection from SWIFT - PM

    News | 27.01.2015 | 17:22
    TASS - Western countries’ threats to restrict Russia’s operations through the SWIFT international bank transaction system will prompt Russia’s counter-response without limits, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday.
    "We’ll watch developments and if such decisions are made, I want to note that our economic reaction and generally any other reaction will be without limits," he said.
    In late August 2014, media reports said the UK had proposed banning Russia from the SWIFT network as part of an upcoming new round of sanctions against Moscow over its stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine. However, this proposal was not supported by the EU countries at the time. After recent shelling of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol some western countries again started calling to disconnect Russia from SWIFT.
    SWIFT transaction system
    The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) transmits 1.8 billion transactions a year, remitting payment orders worth $6 trillion a day. The system comprises over 10,000 financial organizations from 210 countries.
    Under the SWIFT charter, groups of members and users are set up in each country covered by the system. In Russia, these groups are united in the RosSWIFT association.
    Tags: SWIFT Russia Medvedev

    Greek Election Results: More Hype Than Substantive Change? ByStephen Lendman

    Greek Election: Mixed Messages, Hold the Cheers

      10  1 

    greece elections 2015
    Greece perhaps represents the epicenter of global pillage. Troika (EU, ECB, IMF) diktats wrecked its economy.
    Paying bankers first matters most. 
    Creating economic crises. Chaos. Taking full advantage to facilitate grand theft, financial terrorism and debt entrapment.
    Mass impoverishment, high unemployment, neo-serfdom and human misery follow. Troika policies made Greece zombie-like.
    A hollow shell of a nation. Strip-minded for profit. More beholden to foreign interests than its own. Its enterprises and crown jewels sold to Western interests at fire sale prices.
    Brussels dictates policy. Greek governance combines travesty, tragedy and betrayal. Democracy’s birth place spurns it.
    Displaying an unprincipled disregard for human need. Millions dispossessed of futures. Struggling daily to survive.
    SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) may be more bark than bite. More on this below. It’s Sunday victory didn’t surprise. Two parliamentary seats short of an absolute majority.
    With 99.8% of votes counted as this is written, SYRIZA bested ruling New Democracy by 36.3% to 27.8%.
    Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn was third at 6.3%. Followed by center-left To Potami (The River) with 6.1%.
    Greek Communist Party with 5.47%. PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) at 4.72%. Independent Greeks with 4.68%.
    For the first time in over 40 years, neither New Democracy or PASOK holds power. Incumbent ND Prime Minister Antonis Samaras congratulated SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on his victory.
    Greeks clearly reject six years of force-fed austerity. Tsipras promised no more.
    “Greece is turning a page,” he said. “It’s leaving behind five years of humiliation and misery.”
    “We are putting together a government of social deliverance to carry out our program and negotiate with Europe.”
    “The verdict of the Greek people ends, beyond any doubt, the vicious circle of austerity in our country.”
    Tsipras promised to renegotiate Troika imposed mandates. With no intention of writing off its 320 billion euro debt, he says.
    Exceeding 175% of Greek GDP. Europe’s highest. Second only to Japan worldwide. Impossible to repay.
    “Debts that can’t be paid, won’t be,” economist Michael Hudson explains. Force-fed austerity makes repayment harder. So do new loans to service old ones.
    Servicing debt gives bankers “a free lunch at the rest of the economy’s expense,” says Hudson.
    How much relief SYRIZA intends remains to be seen. Its campaign slogan “Hope is coming” may turn out more hype than substantive change.
    Tsipras said he’ll “negotiate with our lenders a mutually acceptable solution…There will be no conflict with partners.”
    On January 23, the Financial Times headlined “Alexis Tsipras: Greece’s radical or realist?”
    Critics call him “cynical and calculating,” said the FT. “(U)sing his charisma and boyish good looks to present a friendly face as he elbows his way to the top.”
    Personal ambitions alone motivate him. His goal (now accomplished) is becoming prime minister.
    His party predecessor chief, Alekos Alavonos, questions his intentions. Saying SYRIZA had “radical left origins…(It’s) now a moderate party.”
    Tsipras calls himself “a compromiser because I want to have realistic goals.” At the same time saying “I’m very decisive if I know it’s necessary to have a fight.”
    Party officials expect him to be sworn in as prime minister on Monday. With a new government in place this week.
    He’ll be heavily pressured by Troika diktats to pay bankers first. At the same time facing popular demands to deliver what he promised.
    Belgium’s finance minister explained what long-suffering Greeks face, saying:
    “We can talk modalities. We can talk debt restructuring, but the cornerstone is that Greece must respect the rules of monetary union. That must stay as it is.”
    In other words, what Brussels says goes. Germany’s central bank president Jens Weidmann expects the new government to continue what’s “already been achieved.”
    Paying bankers at the expense of social justice. Tsipras claims Greece’s economy is “safe in SYRIZA’s hands.”
    He plans a pathetic two billion euro welfare package. Claiming it’ll help impoverished Greeks.
    How when tens of billions of euros are needed to reverse things. Not in Tsipras’ playbook.
    Expect largely business as usual wrapped in populist rhetoric ahead. SYRIZA’s challenge is an empty treasury, said the Wall Street Journal.
    It needs billions of euros in financial aid. Not forthcoming without paying bankers first.
    According to Oxford Economics global research head Gabriel Sterne, agreement by both sides appears “extraordinarily difficult. Someone has to blink quickly.”
    Bet on Athens, not Brussels. Greece must continue serving debt, EU officials say.
    Nor will any portion be written off, according to ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure.
    “Mr. Tsipras must pay,” he said. “Those are the rules of the game. There is no room for unilateral behavior in Europe.”
    “That doesn’t rule out a rescheduling of the debt,” Coeure said. “If he doesn’t pay, it’s a default, and it’s a violation of the European rules.”
    Greece received 240 billion euros in bailout funding. Bankers demand their pounds of flesh in return.
    Tsipras appears ready to oblige them. Promising one thing. Doing another. Expect no Grexit with him in charge.
    He may be betting on Brussels blinking to assure Greece remains a Eurozone member.
    Not according to London-based Teneco Intelligence analyst Wolfango Piccoli, saying:
    “SYRIZA’s belief that the troika will grant the new government significant leeway is likely to backfire.”
    Yielding means other troubled EU countries will want similar concessions. Don’t expect them. Or a Grexit.
    Reuter’s editor-at-large Hugo Dixon calls it “such a unique event that nobody knows where the chain reaction would lead.”
    Economist/euro expert Bernard Connolly predicted euro system demise before its January 1999 introduction.
    His 1995 book titled, “The Rotten Heart of Europe: The Dirty War for Europe’s Money” explained the risks in detail enough to understand.
    Later he said troubled Eurozone countries can’t cut their way to recovery.
    Austerity is hairbrained, he stressed. “So is the “malignant lunacy of monetary union.”
    “Combining 17 dissimilar countries (now 19 with Latvia and Lithuania added) under one monetary/fiscal system.”
    As nonsensical as mixing fire and ice, Connolly said. As well as believing more debt cures economic woes.
    In 1998, Connolly predicted one or more weak European countries would face rising budget deficits, economic trouble, and a “downward spiral from which there is no escape unaided.”
    “When that happens, the country concerned will be faced with a risk of sovereign default.”
    Troubled Greece is the Eurozone’s poster child. Zombie-like. Effectively bankrupt.
    Euro straightjacket rules destroyed it. Day of reckoning eventually looms.
    In December 2001, Argentina faced its moment of truth. Halted all debt payments to domestic and foreign creditors.
    Restructured nearly $100 billion in debt on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.
    Imposed stiff haircuts on bondholders. From 2003 through 2007, sustained economic growth followed.
    Helped by debt restructuring and currency devaluation. Greece can go a long way toward resolving its debt problems the same way.
    Provided it abandon Eurozone straightjacket rules. Regain its sovereign independence.
    Reclaim what never should have been sacrificed in the first place. Govern responsibly.
    Restructure debt on its own terms. Prioritize economic growth, job creation and social justice.
    Don’t bet on SYRIZA doing the right thing. It bears repeating. Business as usual wrapped in populist rhetoric looks most likely.
    A Final Comment
    Reports around early January 26 confirm that Tsipras and Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos formed “a new (coalition) government.”
    “The prime minister today will see the president for his swearing in and will announce the composition of the government in which the Independent Greeks will participate,” said Kammenos.
    It’ll officially begin governing today. Greece’s electoral outcome will be the main topic at Monday’s Eurozone finance ministers meeting. Expect agreement on demanding business as usual.
    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

    Tsipras Declares End to 'Vicious Cycle of Austerity' After Syriza Wins Greek Election

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    Tsipras Declares End to 'Vicious Cycle of Austerity' After Syriza Wins Greek Election
    By Matthew Weaver
    January 26, 2015 "ICH" - Here’s summary of a momentous election result for the future of Greece and Europe:
    • The anti-austerity far left party Syriza has won the Greek election by a decisive margin, but just short of an outright majority. With more than three-quarters of the results in Syriza is projected to win 149 seats in the 300 seat parliament. 
    • Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said his party’s victory marked an end to the “viscious cycle of austerity”. Referring to the neoliberal conditions set by the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, he said: “ The verdict of the Greek people renders the troika a thing of the past for our common European framework.”
    • Outgoing prime minister Antonis Samaras conceded defeated by acknowledging some mistakes.But he added: “We restored Greece’s international credibility”.
    • To Potami, the centre-left party could be the kingmakers in the new parliament, with a project 16 seats. Its leader Stavros Theodorakis has not ruled out a deal with Syriza. “It’s too early for such details,” he said.
    • The far-right Golden Dawn party is projected to come third in election, despite having more than half of its MPs in jail. Speaking from prison its leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos said the result was a “great victory” for the neo-fascist party.
    • Syriza victory has been greeted with alarm in Germany. The ruling CDU party insisting that Greece should stick to the austerity programme. But Belgium’s finance minister said there is room for negotiation with Syriza.
    • Leftwingers across Europe have hailed Syriza win. Spain’s anti-austerity party Podemos said Greece finally had a government rather than a German envoy. Britain’s Green Party said Syriza’s victory was an inspiration.

    Understanding the Greek Communist Party

    by Giorgos Charalambous
    During the months preceding the last two Greek parliamentary elections of 6 May and 17 June 2012, for many on the left hopes ran high for a substantive challenge to neoliberal discourse and practice that could potentially revert EU economic policy itself. Except from the strictly partisan, most of these wished good results for both of the main parts of the Greek radical left – the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Greek Communist Party (KKE). At the end, only the former triumphed, while the latter experienced initially a less than modest rise of 0.94% (in the first election) and then (in the second election) a decrease of 3.98% and the lowest result in its history (4.50%). While SYRIZA’s ascent has already attracted much analysis, the KKE’s descent has been either dismissed as unimportant, or hastily explained with references to rhetorical boxes – dogmatism, left extremism, irrationality, sectarianism – devoid of theoretical reflection. Yet, a closer look suggests otherwise, as well as invites questions over communist and radical left party strategy in periods of economic crisis.
    All those who have preoccupied themselves with the KKE in the past two or so decades, or have had even a passing glimpse at its physiognomy seem to agree upon at least one thing: that the KKE has not changed in terms of ideology and policy. Consequently, if it has not changed in a period of twenty years (not to mention the whole of the period before its 1988-1991 coalition with SYN – SYRIZA’s main component – and its simultaneous participation in two consecutive governments) but only just now, in the last Greek election of 17 June 2012 its share of the vote was halved, then voters must have expected it to change amid changing circumstances. So far, all are still in agreement. Let us remember the facts. The economy was (and still is) on the brink of collapse, living standards decreased sharply, social insecurity erupted into unrest; an anti-German and partly anti-imperialist sentiment, albeit largely underpinned by nationalism and not simply class consciousness flourished in Greek society; the mainstream parties, PASOK and New Democracy lost credibility and votes, and experienced serious internal fragmentation; the extreme right, Golden Dawn, showed clear signs that it could enter parliament for the first time; and SYRIZA proposed cooperation with the KKE under the prospects of what it envisaged as an alternative, radical left government, and started climbing high in the polls. So circumstances did change but why didn’t the KKE?
    At first sight, it may seem that the KKE’s conduct cannot be grasped by almost any theory of party politics. Most commentary trying to explain the KKE’s ideological and policy continuity has thus far focused on the ‘usual suspects’ that haunt even the most prominent academic analyses of the party’s trajectory: its miscalculation during the campaign about vote losses, which is part of a broader ill-informed approach that views continuity, irrespective of context, as the only way to maintain and increase electoral appeal; an ideological dogmatism that embodies a narrow-minded, almost obsessive vilification of SYRIZA; and the fear of its core leadership that government participation, or even just a halt to intense antagonism with the other radical left would loosen their stronghold over the organization.
    Here, I would like to disagree and put forward an alternative explanation. The KKE is not an irrational actor, with a sui generis dogmatism, a complete inability to predict its electoral fate and a leadership blinded by its own power. Being dogmatic means little in party politics and is by definition a characteristic of parties that – unlike the KKE’s tradition of saying a lot on everything – produce scarce and superficial ideological analyses. The real questions suggested by the plenty that we know about how political parties function are what a party’s goal(s) are, how and when they can be achieved in a given situation and why a specific strategy to achieve them is judged to be better than others.
    Secondly, the KKE could certainly foretell its bad result (if not the actual numbers, then their gist), chiefly because of its strong organizational power and its tendency to hold frequent internal polls. Speaking in Chalkida approximately a week before the second election of 17 June, KKE General Secretary, Aleka Papariga said: “Ten days before the election of 6 May, polls showed that we had double digit percentages and we lost votes when we revealed what a government of the left would mean, we expected the loss, think, however, of the cost if we had said ‘yes’ … a temporary cost can be reverted when the justice of its position is proven, a durable political mistake, however, cannot be corrected easily and you pay for it for years” (To Vima, 11 June 2012). There seems to have been wide acknowledgement of the above described argument inside the KKE. With one exemption, in the form of a recently constructed blog publishing purportedly internal criticism of the party and its leadership, the KKE seems to have been cohesive and united in its last two electoral campaigns.
    The whispers about dissenting voices, the rumors about a possible split and the speculation about the leadership being undermined are not vindicated by facts so far. Nor do they reflect the true nature of the ongoing discussion within the circles of the party about whether it diverged from the programmatic goals of  its 15th Congress. Not that internal upset is impossible, or can easily reach the public eye. But a Central Committee assessment of the result that “calls on those people who this time preferred to vote for other parties instead of the KKE and especially for SYRIZA to think hard on this even if it is in retrospect”, is, to say the least, unlikely to reflect, or be the product of marked differences in opinion about stratagem.
    Resistance to change by the KKE is part of a broader approach of relying less on the electoral arena and more on the societal one and ideology. A number of otherwise unexplained choices by the Greek communists attest to this: the fact that Papariga has consistently ranked very low in Greek political leaders popularity polls throughout her time as KKE General Secretary but no move to substitute her has been made; the more than ten years old strategy of giving primacy to KKE-controlled trade union, All Workers Militant Front (PAME) over the parliamentary group; the resources and time spent on cooperation with minuscule but orthodox formations across Europe and beyond, at the expense of any kind of attempt to reach over to the more ‘mainstream’ radical left that has more potential to contribute to domestic legitimization.
    The Greek communists realize that they can achieve very little in parliament and in government and at the same time that, in order to achieve the little that they can, they will have to undergo the risk of losing any kind of trustworthiness and potentially seeing their vote share drop even more drastically than it already has. If the KKE had decided to declare its willingness to form a government with SYRIZA and whoever else might have been interested to chip in for a radical left majority to be sustained, or even simply support it without official participation, then such a government would have been more likely than not to be formed. But the KKE already had a similar experience in 1989-1990 and still suffers from it. A protest party the KKE may be, but it is also one whose mobilization in work places, universities, trade unions, local committees and other forms of its own, patiently crafted civil society can yield results in terms of social capital; results that are more tangible and imperative for its future than any kind of maneuvering within state institutions.
    With very few exceptions, the results of radical left party participation in, or support of government have always had a common denominator across time and space: the radical left compromises and loses votes, only to return back to opposition weakened, confused and divided (see Olsen, J., Koβ, M. and Hough, D. (eds) (2010) Left parties in national governments. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan).
    In hindsight, the KKE’s choice in the last Greek election was not one between disaster and success but one between different forms of disaster. It chose electoral disaster over a potentially more enduring, multi-faceted and uncertain one. If I was a party, I might have done the same.
    Giorgos Charalambous is Associate Teaching Staff at the Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cyprus and Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Journalism, Frederick University, Cyprus. Some of the arguments developed here are further elaborated in his forthcoming monograph with Ashgate, ‘European Integration and the Communist Dilemma: Communist Party Responses to Europe in Greece, Cyprus and Italy’