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H αλλαγή μπορεί να έρθει όταν οι απο-μονωμένες σκόρπιες φωνές διαμαρτυρίας γίνουν ιαχή. Και όταν τα ευρωπαϊκά αντάρτικα γίνουν στρατός.

Μέχρι τότε,

δυσεξήγητες και αντιφατικές αντιπροτάσεις υπέρ των επιχειρήσεων και της ανάπτυξης που προσπερνούν ένα βασικό δέλεαρ για τους επενδυτές : την πολιτική σταθερότητα.

Μυωπικοί υπολογισμοί που στηρίζουν ένα καθώς πρέπει αύριο σε συνταγές για ένα χαοτικό – όχι απλά λιτό –σήμερα και προσπερνούν την αναπόφευκτη αναγκαιότητα του primum vivere - deinde…. όλα τα άλλα.

Αναστροφές που δείχνουν ότι κάτι είναι υπεράνω των αγορών- κάτι που μπορεί να αγνοήσει τις θετικές τους αντιδράσεις  όταν φάνηκε να ισορροπούν οι εκατέρωθεν υποχωρήσεις.

Η Κύπρος  - μια διαφορετική οικονομία – άντεξε 48 ώρες. Η Ελλάδα , πέντε μήνες μετά, με ό,τι έχει περισωθεί από την δική της οικονομία, αντέχει ακόμα. Ποιά θα είναι και πόσο θα αντέξει η τρίτη χώρα που θα ζητήσει διαφορετικό μοντέλλο δικής της διάσωσης ;  Άγνωστο.

Κάντους μια πρόταση που να …μπορούν να αρνηθούν. Η εξήγηση είναι θέμα….χρόνων.

26 Ιουνίου 2015

Δεν φταίει η τηλεόραση που η εικόνα δεν είναι καλή: η πραγματικότητα έχει χαλάσει. 
Τί θέλει να πεί ο ποιητής;

Το εκλογικό αποτέλεσμα μιας χώρας δεν μπορεί να αλλάξει τις Συνθήκες και τις συμφωνίες που έχουν γίνει. Αν σε κάθε εκλογική διαδικασία έπρεπε να αμφισβητούμε τις διαδικασίες και τους κανόνες, θα σκοτώναμε την Ευρώπη είπε ο πρόεδρος της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής Ζαν Κλώντ Γιουνκέρ αφού πρώτα, σε ερώτηση σχετικά με το κατά πόσο η Επιτροπή σέβεται το εκλογικό αποτέλεσμα στην Ελλάδα, διαβεβαίωσε ότι σέβεται τη λαϊκή ετυμηγορία του ελληνικού λαού κατά την ολομέλεια του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου, με θέμα τα αποτελέσματα της Συνόδου Κορυφής της 12ης Φεβρουαρίου.

Είναι σίγουρο ότι ο κ.Γιουνκέρ μίλησε με την καρδιά του και στα πλαίσια της νοοτροπίας και τρόπου λειτουργίας της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Είναι σίγουρο ότι δεν ήθελε να καταφέρει νέο χτύπημα στην νέα ελληνική κυβέρνηση καθώς μάλιστα ανέφερε σαν παράδειγμα τις επικείμενες εκλογές και σε άλλα μέλη της Ένωσης. Είπε ακόμα ότι ο ρόλος της Επιτροπής είναι ενωτικός και ο στόχος της είναι η καταδίκη των πιθανών ρήξεων στην ΕΕ.

Κάναμε αυτό που έπρεπε. Αν δεν το είχαμε κάνει δεν θα είχε υπάρξει συμφωνία για την Ελλάδα τόνισε.

Έχουμε τρομερή ανάγκη από κάθε υποστήριξη.

Γνωρίζουμε ότι και δίνεις και παίρνεις όταν αποφασίζεις να ανήκεις σε έναν περιφερειακό ή διεθνή οργανισμό και ακόμα ότι οι αλλαγές των συνθηκών είναι πολύ δύσκολες.

Αλλά από αυτή τη δήλωση δεν είναι ξεκάθαρο αν κατάλαβε τι είπε ο Ζαν Κλώντ- που προσπαθεί είναι αλήθεια να γίνουμε όλοι μια ωραία ατμόσφαιρα – και δημιουργούνται μερικές απλές και απλοϊκές απορίες:

-Αν οι εκλογές δεν σημαίνουν ότι κάτι πρέπει να αλλάξει ή κάτι να παραμείνει το ίδιο στην πορεία μιάς χώρας, τότε γιατί χάνει ο κόσμος τον καιρό του για να πάει να ψηφίσει ; Γιατί υπάρχουν πολίτες που διακινδυνεύουν τη ζωή τους για ένα χαρτάκι τόσο δά ; Όποιος έχει περάσει από δικτατορία ξέρει τη διαφορά.

-Αν η σημερινή Ευρώπη δεν έχει τη δυνατότητα να μελετήσει το ενδεχόμενο προσαρμογής πολιτικών ( προσαρμογής, όχι απαραίτητα κατάργησης) στις ανάγκες των πολιτών όπως εκφράζονται μέσα από την ψηφοφορία, μήπως οι εκλογές οφείλουν να παράγουν αποτελέσματα που δεν θα ενοχλούν το σύστημα ;

Και αν αυτό πρέπει να γίνεται, ο γιαλός είναι στραβός ή εμείς στραβά αρμενίζουμε ;

Έχουμε ανάγκη από κάθε δυνατή υποστήριξη.

Αλλά κάτι σε όλο αυτό θυμίζει μια παλιά έκφραση: Δεν φταίει η τηλεόραση που η εικόνα δεν είναι καλή: η πραγματικότητα έχει χαλάσει.


ια το podcast Τα Υπ΄Oψιν  25 /2/2015



Αυτή την εβδομάδα και μέχρι τις 28 ό,τι αποφασιστεί μπορεί να είναι σωστό, ότι αποφασιστεί μπορεί να είναι λάθος.
Σημασία έχει ότι η αιχμή του βέλους έχει πάρει νέα κατεύθυνση γιατί η θέση του τοξοβόλου έχει αλλάξει: από ανάγκη μόνο ; από νοοτροπία μόνο ; Δεν έχουμε καιρό να το σκεφτούμε. Σημαντικό είναι ότι η κοινή λογική γίνεται πολιτική θέση. Αυτή την εβδομάδα και μέχρι τις 28, πάνω από μία οι παράλληλες μάχες στην αρένα όπου το οικονομικό και το θεσμικό δείχνουν να αντιμάχονται το ένα το άλλο ενώ στην πραγματικότητα αλληλοενισχύονται προς μια κατεύθυνση που είχαμε ξεχάσει: τον αγώνα για ισόρροπες αξίες.
Αν βοηθήσει η κοινή λογική, ο συμβιβασμός θα γίνει. Αλλιώς τη συνέχιση της ιστορίας θα την γράψουν εκείνοι που φαίνονται ανάλγητοι αλλά στην πραγματικότητα είναι οι εξ αδρανείας μύωπες.


- Για Τα Υπ΄ ‘Οψιν 15 Φεβρουαρίου 2015





 








OLDER POSTS

SYRIA: Intervention postponed?                                    Sept 10 2013

 

It is indeed boring to hear that Obama stepped back after having decided to strike Syria.  Instead facts show that he used every tool he had to gain time for a political solution even if currently Russia looks like the peace broker in the region this time.

During this valuable historic week between the attack which certainly obliged him to publicly assure the world that he was going to remain true to his commitment to act and the return of Congress from their summer recess on September 9th, he had the chance to assess that there was no support for this initiative. He did go through the motions of briefing members of the Congress on Aug 30th, 31st, September 1st and Sept 2nd and announcing that he wants to share the responsibility with Congress – as he is entitled by the constitution to act alone if he so chooses, he is equally entitled not to use this right if he decides not to - and then he met with Putin – all that before the 9th.

Britain’s Milliband told journalist Christian Amanpur that it was the decisiveness of the US government that persuaded Putin that they were serious about the attack and led him to make this offer – which was immediately taken up by Syria – the country has already promised to join the chemical weapons’ convention with Russia assuming the responsibility to monitor Syria’s promise.

 

Whether one decides to believe this or not is not that important at this point. The important thing is that even if it takes a very long time to have the Syrian chemical weapons destroyed, now Assad’s alliances are in a different place. – for the present.

 

In his second presidency Obama has acquired the experience that intensification in war does not necessarily guarantee success. In order to avoid an unsupported intervention in a country which balances extremism with legitimate rebellion, sometimes leadership may have to be flexible.

 

Isn’t it reasonable to think that Assad would save face accepting a suggestion to submit his chemical arsenal to the west that came from his ally Russia instead from the USA?

Isn’t it reasonable to think that the UN Security Council can now come to a resolution without any veto distractions if asked to impose on Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to the west in complete declaration while warning of heavy sanctions in case of disobedience? (France is already drafting the question as Obama was speaking.)  A question to invade Syria would never get a positive answer and this international organization would seem - and be - incapable to help.

 

If this doesn’t work, Obama will have to reveal the evidence that Assad gassed his people – because the American people demand to know - and things may then take the course of war. Time meanwhile will tip the situation with the now quasi-willing countries one way or another and the US Congress will then share the responsibility for the final decision.

 

Timing was everything again – should one thank the stars that the chemical weapons attack happened while Congress was in recess? Maybe. It is not easy to guarantee that an intervention will not go down a slippery slope. An intervention in a civil war is not a ballet on eggshells where one targets what one should and successfully avoids what one shouldn’t:  anything can go wrong any time. The military knows that and people who have been in war-torn countries know that too.

 

Having said that, one cannot ignore the question of the Syrian rebels which remains unanswered: “Chemical weapons killed 1500 – conventional ones have killed 100,000. Why hasn’t the west intervened sooner?”

 

SYRIA ATTACK:

QUESTIONS ASKED AND TO BE ASKED              

Sept 2 2013


-Obama delays decision by one week to get Congress’s approval and authorization although he is constitutionally covered to act independently: is it a thoughtful move since the question of intervening in the internal affairs of a sovereign state for violation of international agreements and humanitarian emergency at all costs (meaning: not considering the consequences in the other countries of the region and beyond-see eventual retaliations against Western interests or current internal repercussions in France) has been answered differently by different schools of thought – or is it a retreat?
-If resolutions of the UN Security Council can be bypassed, should the role of certain international organizations be reviewed? Or would reviewing them open Pandora’s Box and the mere process could be manipulated to accommodate different interests at different circumstances?
-Congress authorizes attack: will the US act with the support of merely France, Turkey and the blessings of Australia and the Arab League that so far have only expressed dismay over the chemical warfare?
-Congress does not or it narrowly authorizes attack: what will this mean for the dissidents within the two parties, the president and the role of USA as a global player?
-Attack happens: what are the targets? Military installations may be easily located and will still be there even after one week, but what if some targeted buildings are used as shelters for civilians? How will the missile tell what to hit if the use of the building has been modified? Will the presidential palace be a target too? Artillery though can and allegedly is already being moved around and eventually into shelters that are too difficult to locate in the Syrian mountains. In this case will the one-week delay of strike 
-Attack happens: it has to be brief unless Congress has authorized war. What if despite any Syrian casualties Assad celebrates the end of the brief attack as his regime’s victory against the American invasion?
-Attack happens: the message that the US is serious against perpetrators of similar chemical warfare has been sent again through the Iraq war ( Saddam also used chemicals against his people).Regimes do not seem to have been listening. Would they listen now?
-Attack happens yet rebels’ ranges include extremists such as Al Nusra (although this one not that popular any more): how can the US continue to fight against the Islamists in other countries if in Syria it attacks Assad’s regime that attacks Islamist groups? 
-Attack happens or it doesn’t: is there a foreign policy plan for the Middle East region or is the US blackmailed into engaging in undesirable wars through the use of chemical weapons by any group that pressures the big international players to take sides?
-Is this week of delay Obama’s way to postpone an immediate “jerky” response while a diplomatic/political solution is being considered?
It is going to be a long, long controversial Fall. 

EGYPT  

 

In the case of Egypt, the question maybe shouldn’t be “coup” or “no coup” but “invited “ or not “invited” coup. That might take care of a lot of technicalities since, after all, the term is not included in the U.S. law which bars "any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d'etat or decree."

 

As Huntington has insisted, “ the most important causes of  military intervention are not military but political and reflect [….] the political and institutional structure of the society”.  Or, in other words, wherever there is a void, there is an opportunity/ chance / excuse for intervention. Yet, not all military regimes are everywhere the same: some champion the poor while others have supported wealthy corporate and landowning interests. The probability of military involvement depending, among others, on class origins, educational levels, ideological orientations and internal organization of the officer corps, it is also a fact that, especially in the developing countries, the armed forces offer great organizational coherence and clarity of purpose: this is their strength but also their failure to appreciate the functional aspects of the game of politics. Civilian political institutions on the other hand do not regard things in terms of black and white: this is one of their virtues and vulnerabilities.

 

In cases of external enemy, civilian institutions have been able to exercise control over the military but when the military is trained to fight for internal security, it is invariably taught on domestic political and economic issues: involvement in domestic politics is only a step away: to restore and maintain order and stability, to punish corruption, to promote specific policies and economic development – successful results not necessarily guaranteed, tensions almost sure. And, in the case of Egypt, to become the vehicle for the expression of the majority of the population which decided to oust Mursi.

 

If / When a legitimate government emerges in Egypt and the country is not run by decrees any more, the military may go back to the barracks: “mission accomplished”, this was a “caretaker” coup (?), foreign aid (especially the  US one) continues to come in therefore the military remains financially strong as does its image ( no failed governance tests risk due to prolonged stay) : but will the national political culture of Egypt develop a strong belief in the unique legitimacy of the procedures for the transfer of power (such as elections) and in the capability of sovereign individuals and institutions to legitimately hold that power?  And how strong can civil society (meaning the associations, unions etc that can act independently of the government) become if the Muslim Brotherhood does not develop a moderate leadership?  

 

Unless the Egyptian civil society heads in this direction, the state of the economy and the fractioned opposition may create the demand for the next leader to step down too – but what if an interim ( or not ) situation supported by the military is still there? Just before Mursi, the army offered to help govern a country in disarray for three months and it stayed on for seventeen. Will agreements with the international community ( economic and political)  be legitimate and binding for the next government or will this have to wait? If so, what will happen in the country in the meantime with people waiting in line due to gas shortage and the huge percentage of the population - the young ones-  is un- or underemployed? And most of all, how will the clash of secular versus religious values be handled? The interim president already talked about a new ‘ethos” – implementation details to be seen to while the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is in jail, maybe just for now, and TV stations have been raided.

 

If the young democracy of Egypt is in a process of “political learning” – and for that matter, the “political Islam” is currently learning too: a failure  does not necessarily mean the end -,  civilian leaders may  understand how to avoid future military interventions.

 

Until then, countries may have or not have a coup, depending on what the domestic and foreign policy of other international players decide to call it.

( July 4 2013)

   SNOWDEN:

Venezuela explains why they offer sanctuary / humanitarian asylum to Snowden - Nicaragua "would consider". Will snowden qualify as a refugee or as an asylum seeker? The difference promises an interesting legal battle:'owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'
Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee

A refugee is a person who:

'owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'

Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee. 

And, on a different note:
Snowden speaks: “…"No matter how many more days my life contains, I remain dedicated …”  Will the provisory protection of this trap shield him from an accidental accident?  who:
'owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'
Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee.
who:
'owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'
Article 1, 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees
An asylum seeker is someone who has applied for asylum and is waiting for a decision as to whether or not they are a refugee.

ERT

 

The after-ERT era: public broadcaster closed down in cash-strapped Greece.

 

No doubt that the country’s financial survival is a priority but selecting the sector to restructure can be tricky if the policy of selling out is to be avoided: an ideal success of public broadcasting in the marketplace by definition equals questioning the media credibility as commercial gains can carry the cultural cost of selecting the creation of the most profitable product.

On the other hand the long history of public broadcasting has often been accused of becoming the “porte-parole” of governments financing ( partially or entirely) its maintenance. Let’s see if the new format suggested by the Greek government can guarantee not only lower cost but also enough diversity (“enough” to be defined), creative risk-taking and less reliance on established, profit-guaranteeing formats - and still stay faithful to the philosophy of public media: that is, to address their audiences first as members of moral and political communities as opposed to private media where viewer equals consumption unit. For both the challenge should be how to balance impartial information with profit versus chameleon-like politics and profiteering - and for both, profit based on the culture of impartial information dissemination is possible especially in these “globalized” times when people question more – almost everything.

 

In this sense, it is fortunate that the affordability of accessing the social media makes it the third important information provider and opinion-exchange / collective-debate ground. Actually, it may have already become the first provider as long as the user can tell one reliable individual source from another.

 

Thank you Greek government for restarting the debate.

CYPRUS: AFFORDABLE AND NON-AFFORDABLE  LOSSES IN SUCCESSFUL BAILOUTS.

 

Cyprus chain effect still feared in other countries and it is not Tuesday yet when the banks in Greece will open. The cut may correspond just to a two-year interest and be lower than the austerity measures requested from Greece but the psychological impact on the people is stronger. It is about choosing to impose discipline instead of inspiring it. It is not only about money, it is about the loss of trust in institutions, one of the cornerstones of a regime’s legitimacy.
The measure to take may be practical and indeed the only one in this case: it just doesn’t seem…..smart.

CHAVEZ

 

They called him defiant and a populist.

He had enough petrodollars available to practice oil diplomacy abroad seeking independence for Venezuela and other Latin America countries and he helped launch Banco del Sur, a development bank funded and run by Latin American countries as an affordable, a source of aid alternative to the unpopular measures required by the IMF and the World Bank to become fully operational by April 2013 (1)

He was called defiant.

He had enough petrodollars to fund health-care for millions of slum dwellers, education for the thousands of illiterate people of the rural and urban population and job training programs in his oil-wealthy country where 61% of the people survived on a few dollars a day, many without running water. His “missions” acted as a parallel government and were controlled by him. They provided hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans with monthly stipends to learn everything from reading and writing where to setting up cooperative farms. (He also started a program to sell cheaper heating oil to low-income households in Boston, Mas. USA in 2005 – yes, as in Boston, Mas, USA (2)

He was called a populist.

He borrowed the term ‘endogenization” from economics: a process from within the economy with products from within for the people within and applied it in his own version as opposed to changes brought by globalization that was for the investors, not by globalization for the people. And he discouraged consumerism of foreign products in favor of local food (3) - in a very difficult effort to beat the powerful hegemonies in the market.

Were the programs costly? Yes. Were millions of people given an opportunity to live better for the first time? Yes. Did he manage to capture the trust not only of the poor but of the middle class as well? Yes again. The last election percentages were 55% for Chavez, 48% for the opposition.

It would require a more extended article to refer to the evaluations of the economic ups and downs of applied “Chavism” and the degree of democracy Chavez governed at. But democracy versions are way more than one as are the versions of political culture and socio-economic circumstances.

Because he didn’t stay in – and return to - power by accident, Chavez’s legacy will indeed be there even if his opponent Capriles who favors Brazil’s centrist mix of free-market economics with strong welfare policies were to become his heir instead of Maduro, named successor by him.

In the meantime – and even beyond- the question however could be: when is the populist a patriot, when is independence a synonym for defiance?

You may not like the “Chavez” doctrine or you may simply hate it for very good reasons – yet Greeks used to say: “Αλλαπεχθρόν δητα πολλά μανθάνουσιν οι σοφοί (Aristophanes) “The wise learn many things from their enemies”.

 

Now that could be a helpful statement.

Italian elections impasse

 

  1. In bicameral Italy, where there is no way to govern when the constitution of the two Chambers provide a different majority, scenarios  have been considered even before the electoral process began, yet the results have surprised many –except for those who were listening to the unofficial voice circulating for some time: it could be that the polls were way wrong because many people  eventually did not want to say it out loud that they would be voting for Berlusconi, mainly because of the scandals, yet, they might see him as an alternative to instability – figures will show whether  the high percentage of the  really undecided boosted Grillo. Stability is not happening and the immediate scenarios are logically either a return to the polls or an attempt a form of “governissimo” that would include Bersani, Berlusconi and Grillo ( or his representative since he can’t participate in person due to a previous legal problem – he won’t anyway as he  already said). Reactions of the party and coalition leaders show that none of them seems to like any of these scenarios: elections again would paralyze the country starting now, a “governissmo” would lead to the same a little later due to lack of capacity to make policy decisions and the fact that the constitutional powers of the president of the republic  just leave enough room for consultation  as an effort for the resolution of crises.

So, in search of a third scenario  in Italy already while the Vatican is  entering its own challenging  historic phase.

No wonder Aetna  has started smoking again.

(26 February 2013)

Pope

 

In the search for the new pope which has already begun, one thing  of socio-political and theological importance would be interesting to watch:  among candidates with equal qualifications would there ever a cardinal from Africa be elected? It's not the race issue; it's the contraception issue, huge in the overpopulated continent. The Catholic Church has shown some tendency to update its ways of communicating with the people through changes in the official “Osservatore Romano” even during the conservative period of Pope Benedict. Would that be a significant trend or a painless superficial adjustment to the new times? Is this the time and opportunity to review the theology on God’s opinion on how to stop creating human lives that are bound to perish in an environment of extreme poverty, lives which didn’t have to be created in the first place? And again, it’s about contraception, not abortion. One wonders which one is the biggest taboo. 

(February 11 2013)

 

Obama's inaugural speech

 

In Obama’s  inaugural speech, those who expected  to hear  a few and specific directions in the presidential agenda were in for a surprise: the variety of items included ranged from economy, gun control to the environment to social issues in a spirit that did not leave much room for invitation to compromise as the olive branch  of his first presidency was  rarely accepted. True, he would most probably get support from the Republicans on immigration reform as they realize that the Latino vote has shifted way away. Other than that, impression is that this seems to be the new, ( the real?) combative Obama: asking for  radical changes, not holding back and making  his last presidency a matter for all his constituents to promote outside Congress while he will fight his battle inside. 

( January 21 2013)

 

 PALESTINE


A development that will upset again the recent reversal of power within Palestine: Hamas gained popularity after the Gaza-Israel mini-war as Abbas seemed to be too moderate, too weak for pursuing peaceful solutions. Will that hold? Or will the need for a more dynamic representation of the Palestinian people prevail? Very interesting, very fragile balance. The West is now supportive but what will this development mean for the US-Israel relations vis--vis the challenges in the region? Very interesting, very fragile balance.

. Will that hold? Or, will the need for a more dynamic profile in the representation of the Palestinian people prevail? Very interesting, very fragile balance. The West is supportive but what does this say about the USA - Israeli relations and all the ramifications of the present challenges in the region? Very interesting, very fragile balance.

 

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