Footnotes to the Big Picture
1.) Freedom is open to abuse by those that scorn the liberty of others. A British portal carries this title: “Extremists are setting up anti-British schools.” What does this tell us? The foes of liberty exploit the freedoms we grant. Thus, basic rights become instruments to subvert the system that extends them.
The trends nudge us to discover ways to checkmate those that use their freedom to undermine the freedom of us all. Will we be able to act in time?
2.) What a deal! The primary purpose of the negotiations regarding a nuclear enhanced Mullah theocracy might not be about avoiding an Armageddon. An architect of the arrangement wishes to get a deal that will last during his tenure. Once the pre-programmed collapse that ignores Nobel Peace Prizes is signed, the automatic aftermath will be credited to the successor administration.
3.) An old adage tells: “if you cannot beat them, join them.” Our time suggests a renewed version: “If you cannot join, abolish it.” Islamists are unable to close the developmental gap that separates them from the advanced world. Stuck within their inherited patrimony, they intend to proceed to destroy modern civilization. Oddly, in their effort, they rely on the weapons created by their chosen enemy.
Therefore, in case of success that includes a return to the cave, after a decent interval , the weapon of choice will again be the club.
4.) Forces rally to destroy you because of what you are. To convince these of your well-meaning friendship is a feeble tactic to counter doctrinally rooted aggression. At best, the effort will serve to prove that those that are willing to negotiate their own extermination deserve mercy after the conquest. Why? Because they will be obedient and productive subjects of the “new order.”
5.) About security achieved through treaties. In advanced countries treaties, which are actually contracts, are enforced. That enforcement is institutionalized. In case of recalcitrance, the courts in charge can call upon a “police” to implement their judgment. In the international arena, there is no analogy. Yes, there are courts, and you can sue. However, execution will depend upon the cooperation of the perpetrator. Once it becomes serious, international tribunals will not help more than aspirin can relieve perforated appendicitis.
A nation that entrusts its existence to international tribunals courts disaster.
6.) Inevitably, America’s planned treaty with Iran comes to mind. To judge it one needs to look beyond the text of the agreement. What counts are the world-view and the strategy of the parties. Wanting to adhere is more important than any reputational risk incurred in the case of non-adherence. By this criterion, the coming deal does not give more security than those enjoy that base-jump without a chute.
Whatever the lacking clarity of the concord’s text might be, the real intentions determine the durability of the covenant. In the final analysis, one of the following two ideas has to be chosen. (A) “Death to America” — by extension the developed world. (B) There is “no intention” to build a nuclear weapon. Choosing requires being “judgmental” which, in newspeak, has a bad connotation.
An anticipated bad sign is that differences as to what has been agreed upon have emerged. If a pact is concluded, a debate about who has promised what will open. Some inspections Iran will refuse by invoking “pride” to demand, instead of monitoring, “respect” for her word. Meanwhile we are consoled by a headline: “behind the belligerency of the Supreme Leader, there is a subtle shift in attitude.”
7.) Smile. There has been an unauthorized demonstration at the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Can you guess who sent the crowd that the heroic police could contained?
An analogy occurs. During the early 40’s, Falangist students threatened the British embassy in Madrid. The Foreign Minister called the Ambassador and asked what he could do to help. “Send fewer students” was the realistic answer.
8.) On April 11, two Iranian officers were captured in Yemen. If you are “for peace,” you better believe Tehran’s assurance that it is not involved in Yemen.
9.) Supposedly, Russia implements a “hybrid tactic.” You attend conferences and send the Bolshoi Ballet to the West, and Little Green Men to the Ukraine, and warships into the Channel. The good cop part will always give NATO’s “realists” an excuse to wait inactively for better times.
10.) An under reaction is when you avoid what the aggressor would do if similarly challenged. Behind knee-falls, there might be material weakness or a feeble will. As such, it is a “mistake” of myopic politicians. A proverb: “Good government means having foresight.”
Not doing enough in ones behalf, erasing red lines systematically, does more than to reward bold crooks. It also makes the aggressor miscalculate. Consistent appeasement will be extrapolated into an assurance that all is possible as continued acceptance is forthcoming if a temper tantrum is threatened.
An example of past success against odds that leads to a miscalculation is the outbreak of the world war. Earlier, Paris and London have surrendered every well defensible position. Regardless of new guarantees, Poland –encircled with Stalin’s help- far from England and France, was indefensible. A good reason to expect another retreat. (“Ich sah sie in München, sie sind Würmchen /I have seen them in Munich, they are worms.) When, nevertheless, the Western Powers declared war on the Reich, a surprised Nazi great said "what now?” America’s pre-war record has elements that made her ultimate dogged resistance into a surprise for those that disdained her.
The case of the victim after Georgia, the Crimea, then the yet unfinished business Ukraine, confirms the thesis. A venue where misunderstood initial leniency might unfurl into a surprise is “Greece vs. the European Union.” Under its current management, she might become a victim of a miscalculation based upon previous empty threats.
11.) Greece’ left- and right- Socialist government promised recovery without painful reforms. Her representatives, supported by a confused public, have done everything “wrong” by the standards of sanity.
Greece had pocketed € 240 billion. The idea was to help it change itself. Now they want to cancel that debt and demand more cash so that life can continue the way it had been before the trouble became obvious.
While begging for money, in a Putinesque way, Athens covered its EU, her creditors with insults and recalcitrance. The poisoned arrows of Tsipras and Varoufakis hit especially the main donor, Germany. For some months, the trick worked and the debt of a ten million country soared by further billions. The latest responses of the exasperated EU, IMF, and EZB can be taken to indicate that, being at the end of their tether, they will, this time, do what they say and turn off the faucet. The end of further transfusions of money might surprise Athens. They could have convinced themselves that the EU of 400 million will fail if Greece leaves it. Naturally, “Grexit” will hardly kill the €-zone — it might even strengthen it. Even less likely is what Chancellor Merkel pretended to appease German savers and taxpayers by proclaiming implausibly “If the Euro fails, Europe fails.”
Possibly, Greece’ leaders that think that the money of others is theirs to spend, might be following a dual strategy. Assume the not totally fictional case that insolence makes “Europe” fold and that it continues to finance socialism that, without “capitalist” financing, produces only scarcity. If this happens, the future will be secure until the money runs out.
The second scenario is a Grexit that smells like Chavez’ Venezuela. In leaving the €-zone the left/right-wingers will invoke the flag and exploit the voters’ economic illiteracy. The story will be that the government resisted “interest slavery” by Europe, and imperialist-capitalist colonization by Germany. (It helps to invoke Hitler even if most “grandfathers” left cannot really recall his time.) Those that conspire to ruin Greece are guilty of having evicted from the economic community. Thereby, defaulting over dozens of billions and starting from scratch in defiance of the EU will be made into an act of a proud nation that defends its independence. Moscow, -think of Cuba- might finance the act.
Indeed, the “reset,” the abandonment of the Euro-zone, might be that country’s best chance to become competitive and self-sustaining. Greece can only compete with low prizes — which cannot be exploited as long as she is chained to the expensive € and carries interest payment that eat up the GDP.