Sunday, January 24, 2016

Davos World Economic Forum 2016: Key Takeaways

Valentin KATASONOV | 24.01.2016 | 23:00
The 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at the Swiss ski resort of Davos – a major annual world event – took place on January 20-22.
The book The Fourth Industrial Revolution written by Swiss Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, has seen light recently. Correspondingly, the theme of the 2016 Davos meeting was «Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution».
The annual 2016 meeting brought together more than 2500 participants from 99 countries (the World Economic Forum comprises 140 member states), including 40 heads of state and 14 Nobel Prize winners. The leaders of the United States, China, Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy failed to attend. Vladimir Putin, the President of Russian Federation, did not take part in the event either.
The US delegation was led by Vice-President Joe Biden.
The organizers did their best to focus on the fourth industrial revolution. But life introduced certain changes to the agenda. US, Chinese and some other stock markets fell in early January to dampen the mood of the Forum’s participants and change the course of discussions. The fourth industrial revolution was kind of sidelined to be remembered only to divert attention from hot issues and the upcoming global financial crisis.
By and large, it all boiled down to the following: falling stock markets and the threat of another phase of global financial crisis, prospects for world energy market as oil prices go down, the implications of China's declining economic growth, the European immigration crisis, terrorism and other security threats, and climate change. The organizers indicated they wanted other burning issues left out from the main debates. Syria, the threats posed by the Islamic State, the crisis in Ukraine and the strengthening of Russia’s military might, however, became the subjects of lively discussion on the sidelines.
This time it was much harder than usual to summarize the outcomes of deliberations as the organizers tightened up the already tight closed door policy. At that, media comments provide some clue to what was discussed at various sessions.
Many politicians and commentators called attention to the «rather low» level of representation of Russia in Davos. The delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev. In reality, the level of representation has not changed. During the two previous years, Russian team had been headed by officials holding the same rank. Besides, there were specific reasons for not sending a delegation headed by a higher-ranking official, specifically the economic sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, as well as the general frustration over perceived ineffectiveness of the Forum.
At the same time, Russia has not refused to participate. First, being part of discussions is the way to keep tabs on the situation in world economy, finances and politics. Second, the Davos Forum provides a chance to uphold informal contacts with representatives of political and business circles of other countries. This time the members of Russian team held many meetings to discuss serious issues with their counterparts from the United States, West Europe, China and Japan. Yury Trutnev wears two hats as Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and Presidential Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District. He was involved in the discussions on giving a new impetus to the international economic cooperation in the Far East and eastern part of Russia. Russia was the subject of the session held under the title «The Outlook for Russia». The anti-Russian sanctions topped the agenda. The session participants were unanimous in their opinion that the punitive measures were detrimental for the both parties and shook the very foundation of the World Trade Organization. The sentiments against the sanctions against Russia were prevalent at the Forum in general.  
The information on Russia provided by US News and World Report attracted special attention. The survey Best Countries (Ranking Global Performance) offers assessments of military and economic potentials. It encompasses 36 countries, including Russia. 
According to the publication, Russia became the world leader in government defense expenditure (4.5 per cent of GDP in 2015). One has a reason to surmise that the rating list prepared by US News and World Report was part of campaign to instigate anti-Russian feelings at the Forum.
In comparison with the last year, the interest towards Ukraine has dwindled. Ukrainian participants were given to know that the debates on the situation in the Donbass are not welcome. Europe has become very tired of Ukraine. Poroshenko pinned his hopes on Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and US officials. The head of IMF spoke in support of Ukraine to promise it further funding. The decision to grant the next tranche will be taken after the next review on Ukraine is prepared.
The talks between the Ukrainian and US delegations ended up without a definite result. The only thing the US team did was to give promises. Americans said the US would grant a one-billion-dollar loan if Victor Shokhin, the general prosecutor of Ukraine, were dismissed. Washington believes he is involved in corruption schemes. Until now, Washington has been sticking to a piecemeal approach granting no more than 2-3 dozens of millions USD at a time. Only very naïve people could believe it would be generous enough to come up with a one-billion-dollar credit. The proposal to appoint US citizens as heads of Ukraine’s state enterprises is a demonstration of American ingenuity. One should give the devil his due.
Kiev’s requests for financial aid looked funny when Global Competitiveness Report was distributed among the participants.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. The Report series remains the most comprehensive assessment of national competitiveness worldwide.
That’s how Ukraine was ranked this time (indicator – place):
- soundness of banks – 140 (the last place);
- financing through the local equity market – 118;
- affordability of financial services – 123;
- availability of financial services – 101;
- regulation of securities exchanges – 135;
- efficiency of institutions – 130;
- total tax rate – 118.
I believe EU officials have become acquainted with this data proving the fact that Ukraine’s finances, economy and management are in dire straits. That’s why the annoying requests for loans were politely rejected.
Comparing the Davos 2016 event with the previous forums, one can come to the following conclusions. First, the international standing of the World Economic Forum has diminished. Second, the United States evidently tried to control the Forum’s work, no matter it has always been a Euro-centric venue for discussions.
Tags: Davos European Union Russia US

Chinese Economic Miracle Is Far from Over

Matthew JAMISON | 25.01.2016 | 00:00

With the recent news of the volatility on the Chinese stock market and a slowing economy, many spivs and speculators have been fretting over the fundamental health and long term wellbeing of the Chinese economy. Is the world's second largest (or perhaps even first) economy headed into a severe downturn or prolonged slump? Will China be able to successfully effect a transition from a manufacturing and export led economy to one with a stronger consumer led and services orientated equilibrium?
I remember as a teenager in 2001 when the United States slipped into a recession, the favored refrain of economists was when America sneezed, the rest of the world caught a cold. Fifteen years later it is now China which is the primary driver of global economic growth and now it is when China sneezes that the world economy is at risk of a nasty virus. This in itself is a remarkable achievement. When discussing the current Chinese economic situation, it is prudent to bear in mind Mark Twain's famous quip: «The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated».
The slowdown in the Chinese economy must be seen with a proper sense of proportion and perspective. The transformation of the Chinese economy since «Open and Reform» was inaugurated in 1978 by the incredible visionary and statesman Deng Xiaoping has represented the fastest and most successful reform of an economy and society in the history of human civilization. Before «Open and Reform» China was largely a rural and agrarian economy. It is hard to imagine it from the vantage point of 2016 but back in 1978 Spain, Brazil, Canada, Italy, the UK and France all outperformed the People's Republic with the United States, Japan and Germany ranked by the World Bank as the top three.
However – through the amazing work ethic, creative dynamism and productive grit of the exceptional and highly talented Chinese work force and wise, innovative policy making of the Chinese State under the exemplary leadership of Deng Xiaoping – in the space of thirty two years China had displaced highly developed, sophisticated and established economies such as Britain, France, Germany and Japan to become the second largest economy on the planet in terms of Gross Domestic Product, hot on the heels of the power house United States and by Purchasing Parity Power estimates the largest economy overall. It did all this in the face of stiff competition from the richer, Established economies of the world.
Now, the global economy is heavily dependent on Chinese economic growth and thanks to China's more balanced and disciplined economic model, helped pull America and the world back from the brink of a Great Depression after the grossly irresponsible Western engineered calamity of the sub-prime mortgage Global Financial Crisis of 2008. No country and no economy in human history has risen so rapidly and climbed up the ladder of economic and social progress lifting over 500 million of it's people out of poverty and delivering greater standards of living, better paid jobs, higher incomes, more social mobility and greater economic opportunity.
So after decades of double digit growth or advancements over 7% a slowdown was always inevitable especially in light of poor performance and instability of the Euro-zone and the bankrupt Reaganite Laissez-faire economic model of American and British free market fundamentalism pursued by successive Anglo-American Governments since the 1980s. China is now undergoing a period of rebalancing and reinvention, complimenting her status as the «workshop of the world» with greater emphasis on consumer led growth and services. The Chinese people historically have never been profligate spenders, preferring to exercise fiscal discipline and build up financial security for difficult times when the going gets tough, rather than gorging themselves on excessive materialism in the manner of their more fickle and greedy Western counterparts.
As the BBC documentary film maker, the brilliant Adam Curtis, demonstrated in his seminal program «The Century of the Self», before the advent of mass marketing and advertising in the West, most people only bought things they really needed that were essentials for living. However, from the 1920s onwards when Sigmund Freud's nephew Eddie Berneys extrapolated Freud's psycho-analytic techniques and taught corporations how to use such techniques in public relations advertising campaigns to sell consumer goods to the masses, Western publics switched from buying goods which were not essential to living but which spoke to their subconscious, irrational desires.
As the old saying goes: «If there is no need...its greed». Western corporate capitalism and consumerism, underpinned by Freudian marketing manipulation has led the West into the obscene extreme individualism and greed we see today in North America and Europe with the masses bombarded left, right and center with adverts selling them every gadget and gimmick that corporations come up with. One cannot even attend the cinema without having to sit through thirty minutes (yes thirty minutes!) of pathetic advert after advert mined with subliminal messaging.
The British economy for example is basically one glorified shopping mall were human beings have been reduced to nothing more than «consumers» desperate to have the latest gas guzzling tank of a car as a status symbol or the latest flat screen TV, the latest iPhone etc. Rather than keep economic growth sky-high the challenge for the Chinese State and people is to find a balance between productive manufacturing and consumer led services while avoiding the debilitating social consequences which have befallen Western economies and societies such as Britain that have undergone similar reorientations away from manufacturing led economic models towards a consumption based «service» model. Without credit-fueled consumer spending, there would be very little to the British economy. The British economy is essentially kept afloat by rampant high street spending underpinned by low interest rates and the banking/financial services sector in London.
The policy responses of British Governments and the Bank of England after the Financial Crisis and Crash of 2008 have been akin to treating a heroin addict with more heroin, flooding the economy with even cheaper money in the hope that people will keep on spending and living off credit and debt. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who alongside Angela Merkel, (????? blogger's astonishment ) is one of the greatest Statesman and Leaders in the world today, I am confident the remarkable Chinese people and their amazing country will rise to the challenges before them as they have always done throughout their rich history and avoid the pitfalls and mistakes their Western counterparts are doomed to repeat over and over again. Throughout the ages – whether it has been dealing with racist British imperialist thieves or the unspeakable barbarism of the invading Japanese during the Second World War – the Chinese can handle whatever is thrown at them, always finding their way through to better times. 
Tags: Asia-Pacific  China

Russia to Reap While Others Weep for Misdeeds Towards Iran

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 25.01.2016 | 00:00

With the historic return of Iran to world markets following the international nuclear accord’s implementation, Russia stands to be a big winner from budding economic fortunes. News headlines spoke of a new era in international relations, with decades of largely Western-imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy finally being lifted. The Persian empire is back with a bang it seems – and Russia is poised to reap the fruits of a benign strategic relationship.
No sooner had the US and European allies announced the lifting of their sanctions off Iran then Washington moved to slap fresh bilateral sanctions on Tehran over alleged breaches of ballistic missiles testing. These new American sanctions are puny compared with the international restrictions that have been ditched under the nuclear accord. Nevertheless, the damage to trust caused by the new bilateral measures will make sure that Washington has closed itself off whatever prospects it might have been planning to gain in the new Iranian market.
With an 80 million highly educated population and prodigious natural resources, no wonder Western countries are itching to avail of Iran’s grand re-opening post-sanctions. But it is Russia, through its principled foreign relations with Iran, that will gain handsome advantage. Others, by contrast, will only weep for their past malfeasance towards Iran, even in a new era of openness.
It was Russian President Vladimir Putin who initiated the diplomatic process between the P5+1 nations (US, Britain, France, China, Russia plus Germany) and Iran, which produced nearly two years of negotiations and culminated in the final nuclear accord signed on July 14, 2015, in Vienna. That deal finally gained official implementation at the weekend after the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirmed that Iran had fulfilled its side of the bargain in curbing key aspects of its nuclear industry.
US President Barack Obama claimed that implementation of the nuclear accord proved the power of American diplomacy. We might allow Obama to indulge in vain self-congratulations given his eye on a post-presidential legacy. But the fact is that it was Putin that provided the vital bridge to the diplomatic process, ably assisted by his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. It was Lavrov who at critical moments of near-breakdown during the two-year negotiations kept the process on track. US top diplomat John Kerry more than once publicly acknowledged Lavrov for his steadying diplomatic hand, when others like French foreign minister Laurent Fabius were at times jeopardizing progress with mischievous interventions.
The end of international sanctions will translate in up to $100 billion of Iranian assets being released by Western countries, primarily by the US. That money plus the opening of world markets for Iranian exports will catapult Iran’s undoubted economic trajectory. As the world’s biggest holder of natural gas reserves, along with Russia, and as one of the top oil producers, one can rightly expect Iran to further develop into an economic powerhouse in the Middle East, if not the world.
On a recent visit to Tehran, this author was deeply impressed by the country’s high level of development – and that was before the trade and financial sanctions have been lifted. Despite decades of Western embargo imposed on Iran, the country has managed to achieve impressive progress in many spheres. Social infrastructure, engineering, urban planning, architecture, industrial development, health and education standards – all were on par with any European state. And that was under an onerous sanctions regime! With the return to normal international business and transactions one can only imagine that Iran awaits even greater economic and social progress.
It is noteworthy that when Tehran shipped out its stockpile of enriched uranium last month, as per the nuclear accord, it was Russia that the Iranians dispatched their uranium wealth to for storage. That speaks of a solid trust between the two countries. It will not be forgotten by the Iranians that Russia has shown itself to be a reliable partner in the P5+1 negotiations, a relationship that has only become ever closer under Russia’s President Putin.
It is also significant that Russia is Iran’s partner of choice when it comes to developing its civilian nuclear energy sector. Russia is contracted to build more nuclear plants in Iran over the coming years, in addition to the long-established reactors at Bushehr. Given the strategic sensitivity of this sector, that partnership demonstrates an abiding trust between the leaderships of the two countries.
When it comes to Iran revamping its oil and gas industries, Russia’s technical know-how in these sectors and its proven trustworthiness as a principled foreign ally will put Russia in a prime position as an economic partner.
With crippling economic sanctions rescinded, Iran’s economic future looks bright, even though oil prices have tumbled on the world market. Its international stature and its already impressive industrial achievements can only grow greater still. That is perhaps what regional rivals of Iran in Saudi Arabia and Israel fear most. All their talk about Iran becoming free to «sponsor terrorism» – echoed by hawkish American politicians – is really a cloak to hide their real fear. Which is that Iran’s economic and political prowess – and legitimate geopolitical influence – will threaten to diminish their power and regional standing.
In contrast to the Western-backed Saudi regime and the other Persian Gulf Arab monarchies, Iran’s development is a relatively balanced process that has advanced the greater participation and benefit of the nation. One indirect benefit from the decades of sanctions is that Iran has a high level of indigenous development and diversification. The Saudi and other Gulf Arab states have a much higher dependence on oil and gas and the import of cheap foreign labor. In a word, Iran has a more sustainable economic model underpinned by a political leadership that is committed to national development as opposed to elite cronyism as seen in Saudi Arabia.
The «new era of diplomacy» that Washington and European states have regaled with regard to Iran will certainly allow Iran to make huge strides in economic development.
Going forward, Iran, it can be safely assumed, will be pragmatic in its business relations. The recent announcement by Tehran that it is to purchase 114 passenger planes from the European aviation consortium Airbus is a sign that Iran is open for business. But Persian culture is also famed for its long historical memory.
The mordant sanctions that Washington and its European allies inflicted on Iran over decades and for highly dubious reasons may be overlooked by the Iranians in the interest of moving forward. But the misdeeds will not be forgotten, and especially those by Washington where the Cold War seems to still be pursued albeit with a veneer of diplomacy, as attested by the latest round of bilateral sanctions.
In Iran’s brighter future, Russia stands to reap from mutual ties, while others will weep for past misdeeds and squandered opportunities.
Tags: European Union Iran Russia US Putin

Chinese, Greek PMs vow to promote ties

News | 25.01.2016 | 00:01
Xinhua - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday held a telephone conversation with his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, on further promoting ties between their countries.
The discussion came on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership.
China-Greece relations are going well and remarkable progress has been made in various cooperation fields, Li told Tsipras.
China appreciates the fact that the Greek government attaches great importance to relations with China and supports the development of China-Europe ties, he said.
Li expressed the hope that the two countries would take the 10th anniversary as an opportunity to enhance political mutual trust and promote cooperation in priority fields and mega projects.
The deepening of China-Greece cooperation in Piraeus Port helps achieve mutually beneficial and win-win results, said the premier, asking the Greek government to provide more favorable conditions and support for Chinese enterprises in the country.
Tsipras said the Greek government attaches great importance to ties and cooperation with China. The Greek government is willing to increase high-level exchanges with China and carry forward cooperation in big projects such as Piraeus so as to promote the comprehensive strategic partnership in the next decade, he said.
Tags: China Greece
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Der Sokrates-Prozess und die Verteidigung der freien Rede!

Replik auf einen us-amerikanischen Einspruch gegen Kritik an Sokrates-Demontage von I. F. Stone von I. Eckert

Aus psychologischer Sicht mag  die amerikanisch-liberale Sympathie für  I. F.  Stone, für einen als links außen gefeierten ehemaligen US-Journalisten nachvollziehbar sein. 

Posthume Mainstream-Würdigung für I. F. Stone oder Verriß?

Von der Sache her ist die posthume  Würdigung des  Sokratesbuches von Isidor Feinstein  Stone  aus dem Jahr 1988, jüngst auf deutsch neu aufgelegt,  nicht hinnehmbar. Die Feder des US-Schreibers wird im Netz als die des kritischen Journalisten  per se  hochgelobt*, ja gar  wird er mit Fleming auf eine Stufe gehoben. Da können einem nachdenklichen Menschen wirklich  Zweifel an der Motivik kommen. Diese Zweifel bleiben, wenngleich auch Männer vom Format eines Martin  Luther King oder Nelson Mandela posthum idealisiert wurden vom Mainstream.

  Es ist  ein Kinderspiel alles über  I. F. Stone  rasch zu erfahren.  Sogar eine professionelle Webseite ist dem ehemaligen 'kritischen' Schwergewicht der Zeit vor 1989 gewidmet. Sein umfangreiches  Wirken ist akkurat dokumentiert und jedermann zugänglich.

Den Hinweis über den "alten, kranken Mann", der sich trotz seiner Sehpropleme noch das schwierige Griechisch angeeignet hat, verdanke ich der New York Times (NYT) . Es  ist der Verweis darauf  also nicht denunzierend gemeint, sondern nährt  berechtigte Zweifel an der Urteils-Kompetenz des Buchautors. Die NYT rezensiert Stones Sokrates Verriss  erstaunlich positiv.

 I.F. Stone oder Sokrates zu rezensieren sind aber doch zwei paar Schuhe.
Mir erscheint das hohe Lob, das dem Kritiker der US-Politik als Sokrateskritiker  zu Teil wird befremdlich.

Der "Sokrates-Prozess" oder die Apologie des Sokrates

 Stones Buch nun, das ich "Pamphlet" zu nennen mir erlaubt habe, ist  für mich ein Schlüsselpunkt im Hinblick auf das, was der Welt vom US-Imperium derzeit blüht. Es handelt sich bei den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika  inzwischen wohl um eine Nation, deren Verbrechensspur welthistorisch nicht mehr zu toppen ist. Von Demokratie sehe ich keine Spur mehr in jenem großen transatlantischen Land, das sich gerne als 'Lead Nation'  gesehen wissen will. Gäbe es  aber dort zulande noch  Demokratie und die Freiheit der Rede, dann wäre es kaum möglich, dermaßen zerstörerisch gegen andere Nationen vorzugehen. Gäbe es dort die freie Rede, dann wäre ein Snowden nicht gezwungen in Russland Asyl zu suchen, dann müsste Julian Assange nicht seit Jahren in der ecuadorianischen  Botschaft in London ausharren, im Hausarrest und Mumia Abu Jamal würde morgen aus dem Gefängnis entlassen.

Demokratie und freie Rede ein heilig Gut

Demokratie im Wortsinne der verfassungsrechtlich verbrieften Volksherrschaft ist  ein „heilig“ Gut, ebenso wie das kritische Denken es sein muss, da bin ich  mit dem Kritiker einverstanden. Das Attribut "heilig" ist für mich gottlose Agnostikerin selbst ein 'heilig Wort'. "Heilig" bedeutet  "heile", das heißt "ganz intakt",  noch unzerstört. Es bedeutet  auch "heilsam".

Von "heiligen Texten" und von "heiligen“ Persönlichkeiten" geht für mich - eine menschheitlich gesehen - bessernde Wirkung aus***.  In „heiligen“ Texten sind  kulturhistorisch die bedeutsamsten Leistungen in Wort und Tat festgehalten. Solch "heiliges Erbe" muss bewahrt werden zum Wohle der ganzen Menschengemeinde. Zu diesen bewahrenswerten Werken gehören insbesondere Jahrtausende alte Überlieferungen, so etwa Buddhas Lehrreden, Konfuzes und Laotses Schriften, Sokrates überlieferte Worte und Gedanken durch seinen Schüler Platon, dazu gehören die Gesetzestafeln Moses und die Gerechtigkeitslehre der Thora.  Zu den 'heiligen' Texten gehört auch das Neue Testament und es gehören die Lehren Jesu dazu, insbesondere die Bergpredigt, ebenso der Koran wie auch die Person Mohammeds, der wir die 'göttlichen' Worte verdanken. Nicht zu vergessen sind auch die großen Schriften des Hinduismus, ebenfalls heute durch die Hindutva-Bewegung pervertiert. Aus der Neuzeit gehören aus dem 19. und 20. Jahrhundert Werke und Persönlichkeiten dazu, die in heutiger Zeit ebenso umstritten, weil umkämpft sind, wie es die großen Weisen der Vergangenheit  einst waren und jetzt zum Teil wieder sind! Manche dieser Namen sind heute tabuisiert und ihre Bedeutung ist in ihr sckreckeinflößendes Gegenteil verkehrt worden. So viel vermag in der Tat Propaganda oder PR, wie man heute sagt. Mögen all diese Texte Widersprüche aufweisen, die der Überlieferung geschuldet sein können. Eine kontextuale  Lesart wird stets den wahrhaften und gerechten Sinn ergründen helfen.

Heilig-integre als Ketzer verdammt und hingerichtet

Weil sie die Macht hinterfragt haben, mussten viele Große sterben vor der Zeit. Wir kennen die Ketzer aus dem Mittelalter, manche wurde verteufelt, andere zu Helden gemacht und zu Begründern einer neuer Lehre, wie etwa Martin Luther. Soviel vermag die MACHT. Später wurden einige von ihnen dann sogar förmlich heilig gesprochen, aber wenn es opportun schien auch wieder  mal in den Schmutz getreten. Die Bücher- und Menschenverbrennung der Nazis sind nur ein besonders krasses Exempel dafür.  Zur NS-Zeit waren die Juden u.a. auch deswegen Hauptfeindbild der Europäer unter deutscher Vorherrschaft**, weil sie eben lebendiges Zeugnis einer Gerechtigslehre waren, die damals, zu Beginn des letzten Jahrhunderts mit der Oktoberrevolution äußerst erfolgreich zu werden versprach.  Heute sind es die Muslime, ist es Mohammed, für den diese weltweit bluten müssen. Dessen kultur- und Gerechtigkeit-stiftendes Erbe wurde von den Herren der Welt ins teuflische Gegenteil verkehrt. Die blutrünstigen Islamisten**** segeln im Auftrag des Imperiums unter der in ihr perverses Gegenteil verfälschten Flagge des Islam. Ähnliches ist natürlich mit dem Chistentum geschehen seit es von Rom zur Staatsreligion erklärt wurde. Ganz besonders schlimm wurde es zur Zeit der Kreuzzüge zur Befreiung des Heiligen Grabes in Jerusalem und erst recht mit der Eroberung Lateinamerikas und der Niedermachung der dortigen Hochkulturen, die im Zeichen des Kreuzes geschah.

Die Israelis von heute machen im Auftrag ihrer Meister nichts anderes; auch sie maßen sich zu unrecht an, im Sinne Moses, der nachfolgenden Propheten und der altjüdischen Überlieferung zu handeln, die nämlich im Kern auf die Herstellung von Gerechtigkeit für alle Menschen zielt.

Heilige und ihre überlieferten Texte werden also mal entrückt, kanonisiert und für unberührbar erklärt oder eben entwürdigt, enthauptet, gekreuzigt, vergiftet, gepfählt und in den Schmutz getreten, wie man es  machtpolitisch halt braucht.

Sokrates: Schule der  freien Rede und  der Kritikfähigkeit 

Sich nun an in unseren Tagen an Sokrates direkt zu vergreifen, zielt auf das kritische Denken per se. An Sokrates hat sich bis I.F. Stone kam, meiner Kenntnis nach, noch keiner heran getraut. So wenig wie einer die 10 Gebote Mose direkt in den Schmutz zu werfen sich traute oder es heute einer wagen könnte, die Bibel öffentlichkeitswirksam in den Abort zu werfen, wie auf Guantanamo mit dem Koran geschehen, wie es von der Sache her täglich passiert.

Sokrates predigte  nun eben keine Moral, sondern, um es noch einmal hervorzuheben, war er Vorreiter einer Methodik im kritischen Denken. Er war Vorreiter der freien  und vor allem öffentlichen Rede.  Wenn einer nun gegen diesen Mann zielt, dann schrillen bei mir alle Alarmglocken, mag es sich bei seinem Verleumder nun um einen noch so verdienstvollen, ja selbst kritischen und wohlmeinenden Journalisten handeln. Wenn dieser jemand, dann noch posthum von imperialer Seite aus prominent vorgestellt wird, werde ich doppelt hellhörig.

Zu unterstellen, Sokrates habe das Recht zur freien Rede gering geachtet und es besser wissen zu wollen als dessen berühmte Schüler, als Platon allen voran, ist gelinde gesagt, ebenso vermessen, wie wenn Herr Obama sich hinstellt und in seiner jüngsten Rede zu Lage der Nation behauptet, die Welt wende sich in ihrer Bedrängnis hilfesuchend an Washington und nicht an Moskau oder Peking.

Das Vergangene ist aber  nicht vergangen, auch wenn auf amerikanisches Betreiben hin in Europa der Geschichtsunerricht abgeschafft wird. Auch ist das Ende der Geschichte nicht erreicht und wird, solange Menschen leben, auch nicht erreicht werden. In diesem Sinne:

  •  Es lebe Sokrates! 
  • Es lebe Griechenland! 
  • Es lebe die Gleichberechtigung unter den Völkern! 
  • Es lebe die Demokratie und die freie Rede!
  •  Nieder mit jenen, die andere bevormunden und beherrschen wollen! 
  • Es lebe der Geist der Freundschaft, der Schönheit und der Wahrhaftigkeit.
*Siehe etwa: u.a.

**Auch in den USA gab es massiven Antisemitismus, siehe etwa: Philip Roth 2004: The Plot Against America. (Verschwörung gegen Amerika, dt. von Werner Schmitz, Hanser, München 2005, ISBN 3-446-20662-0)

 **** Eben höre ich im Radio, dass unser Außeminister Steinmeier fordert die Islamisten müssten bei den Syrienverhandlungen am Genfer Verhandlungstisch dabei sein, schließlich gäbe es nach fünfjährigen Kaämpfen keien moderate Opposition mehr. Das ist so als würde man Genral Joddl etwa als Vertreter der NS Regierung nach Potsdam geladen haben. Hier spricht die Stimme seines US-Herrn.

*** Manche sagen das sogar  über  die durchgeistigten  Madonnenbilder Botticellis, die wir gestern in der Berliner Gemäldegalerie sahen.