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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Alexis & Fidel & Augusto

The Greek Prime Minister honorably represented all of Europe at Fidel Castro's funeral. Or so it has to appear to those who are following the news. "Give me liberty or give me death!", Alexis Tsipras intoned in his speech suggesting that this was Castro's motto. In actual fact, this slogan was coined by the American patriot Patrick Henry back in 1775 when he was fighting for true liberty for his Virginian compatriots from the yoke of British colonial rule.

Tsipras vowed that his struggle for justice and dignity would "always have Fidel's example before us". One is inclined to hear "Give me Fidel or stay an infidel!"

A logical thinker could be inclined to think that anyone who admires Fidel should really adore Augusto!

Fidel staged a successful coup and so did Augusto, so they are even on that. Fidel caused a lot of casualties and so did Augusto, so they are even on that, too. So the question is: which of the two left a better legacy?

Cuba is economically in shambles and politically still a dictatorship. Chile, on the other hand, is doing well economically and politically it returned to democracy while Augusto was still alive. So wouldn't logical thought indeed suggest that if one admires Castro despite all his failures, one should adore Pinochet who had successes instead of failures.

Or put differently: if one despises Pinochet, one should be called upon to explain why one adores Castro!

28 comments:

  1. Both Castro and Pinochet are deplorables. And Tsipras' connection to Castro a real oddity. Perhaps a remnant of old Soviet Union mentality no longer of any use to anyone.

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    1. Anyone who actually thinks that Pinochet and Castro are similar has a screw loose. Castro in particular fought for decades against US imperialism and repeated attempts to assassinate him, because the USA doesn't like "commies". They then did their best to destroy the Cuban economy. Klaus conveniently forgets all that history -- like all on the Right -- and focuses on the lamentable economic outcomes of what started as a noble dream and was largely destroyed by a world power located nearby.

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    2. @Anonymous at 8:31
      All I really asked was that someone explain to me why Castro was better than Pinochet.

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  2. To suggest that the US is an imperial power it's beyond range. The British empire was imperialistic. Why would the US behave as an imperial power? What for? This is the sort of leftist propaganda that has made the Left totally ineffective throughout the world. False notions like this are precisely why the Left is a non-factor in today's political world. JUst out of curiosity: which are the members of the US empire? Which countries specifically? Because there are none.

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    1. So when for example the US annexed California, or when Monroe claimed the Western Hemisphere for the US, as an exclusive US playground/backyard, the country was not acting as an empire? Or as the joke/meme for the US military bases around the world goes, e.g. those surrounding Iran, it's those aggressive ig muslims', putting their country intentionally between the US bases, fault.

      For good or for bad, for beyond good and evil, the US is and has always been, since its founding, an empire. Claiming it ain't is either moronic, highly ignorant, self delusional or a damn lie; or many of or all of the above.

      Oh and btw I'm right wing.

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    2. Forgot a most pertinent example:
      Guadanamo,
      i.e., in this case,
      the continuing lease by force of the area of the US naval base against the will of the country that has legal sovereignity over the land, i.e. for all practical reasons the occupation of the land,
      not the extra legal status prison and torture camp thing.

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  3. An old Fidel stood in stark contrast to the 33-year-old revolutionary who swept into Havana on New Year’s Day in 1959, ultimately appalling the leadership of the United States and capturing the imagination of many baby boomers, then emerging into political consciousness. It was not his politics that excited them as much as the vision of a man just older than themselves on an adventure worthy of Hollywood, seizing control of a country and doing good and cool things. He excited the worst fears of the World War II generation, and the boomers’ greatest fantasies about themselves. But this was a long time ago, when Dwight Eisenhower was president of the U.S., Nikita Khrushchev ruled the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin had died only six years before. Fidel had significance then. Today, he is remembered fondly by the old and ignored by the young, who wear T-shirts with “Che” Guevara’s picture, not quite knowing who he was. Old age did not suit Fidel.

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  4. With the creation of a communist regime in Cuba — in 1959, when the Soviets were even weaker — the possibility of placing short-range missiles near the U.S. emerged. The Soviets had more and better short-range missiles. If they pulled that off, it would neutralize the American advantage and free superior Soviet conventional power to move. For the Soviets, Fidel’s glamor was far less impressive than his geographic location. The KGB became the guardian of the regime from foreign threats, warning Fidel about the Bay of Pigs for example, and shutting down American intelligence operations in Cuba. The class struggle was one thing. But geopolitics was everything.

    Fidel became dependent on the Soviets not only for aid but also for security. The Soviets were dependent on Cuban territory for a Hail Mary attempt to achieve nuclear parity. The result was the Cuban missile crisis, in which the Americans threatened nuclear war if the Soviets didn’t withdraw their missiles. A deal was reached. The Soviets would withdraw missiles from Cuba, the U.S. would withdraw unimportant missiles from Turkey, and the U.S. guaranteed not to invade Cuba or attempt to overthrow the communist regime there.

    It was this deal that permitted Fidel to live to be 90 as the leader of the revolution. In the end, it was not the regime’s success that guaranteed his survival but a deal made over his head by the Soviets and Americans. Fidel became a leftover of the Cold War. And after the Soviet Union collapsed, he survived in part because the U.S. didn’t care about him, and in part because countries like Venezuela gave him charity. He died having failed to make Cuba a paradise, and blamed everyone but himself. But worst of all for Fidel, he died an anachronism of an era that ended 25 years ago. The myth of Fidel lives among the radical boomers who still fantasize on going into the Rockies as Fidel went into the Sierra Maestra, but those radicals were few to begin with, and today even the fantasies are limited by old age. Perhaps the worst for Fidel, the T-shirts bear the face of the man who ran the executions, Guevara, and not Fidel’s. And, in the final irony of this farce, the people wearing the T-shirts likely oppose capital punishment, but glorify a man who imposed it so eagerly.

    Fidel is dead, and for those who care about what comes after him, I cannot help but shrug. What he created after his bloody revolution was nothing more than squalor. It will take a generation to undo what he did. But in the end, Cuba’s time as the center of global attention is long past. They say he still fascinates, but what they mean is that his past fascinates, and in the rest of his life, little of importance happened.

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  5. Lieber Herr Kleingut,
    you try to find logic and rationale in Tsipras' words and acts. There are none, the man has no moral principles and knowledge and understanding of history or world affairs.
    Regards
    KK

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  6. Freedom or death, indeed. Our heroic leader will come home parroting some of the sound bites that people without any sense of reality do. At Cuba there was always enough of them, certainly more than bread, or freedom for that matter.
    I have a couple of suggestions for him:
    Socialismo o muerte? As an introduction to the new world system he is going to introduce.
    Or.
    History will absolve me. As an excuse for the disastrous condition he is going to leave Greece in.
    The harsh reality is that, due to the nations behavior the last 4 decades, Tsipras was called to answer one simple question only. Money or freedom? He did so, and successfully made the nation believe they could have both.
    Lennard

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  7. This is an update on a previous blog entry. Klaus asked about "shovel ready" projects in Greece. Apparently there are 23 large such projects and here is the latest update on them:

    http://www.ypodomes.com/index.php/special-editions/oikonomia-xrimatodotisi/item/37561-se-poio-simeio-vriskontai-ta-23-megala-erga-tou-neou-espa

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    1. Here is a related update in English:

      http://www.ypodomes.com/index.php/special-editions/news-in-english/item/37575-greece-is-emerging-as-a-strategic-cargo-transit-hub

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  8. Anonymous @ 12:04.

    The generally accepted view is that both Greece and the USA are core anti-empire countries. When a Persian despot came to the Greeks asking for earth and water as a sign of subjugation/submittance the Greeks fought against tyranny and told him to go to hell. Later on another empire Rome and Byzantium its sibling with its false new religion of chistianity erradicated anything Greek as pagan and converted the enslaved population to Christian slaves for purposes of easier Roman administration. The new religion's arch-enemy was anything and all of clasical Greece. In fact if you look at old Europe, anything supported by monarchies and autocracies is the empire stuff and anything opposing it the freedom loving anti-empire crowd. Today's EU and the eurozone is based on empire principles this is why it's so odious, hated and opposed by those who understand and care about the meaning of freedom and self-determination.

    Moving on to the US the fact that California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado have all Spanish names and once were dominions of the crown of Spain (another odious European empire that has plunged the entire American continent into bloodshed and religious conversion at the end of a spear in order to steal the indigenous gold) has nothing to do with the natural expansion of the American states because simply looking at a map you can intuitively realize that controlling both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts was key for the defense and protection of the new nation (mostly comprised of persecuted anti-empire Europeans fleeing the old contintent on pain of death for their religious beliefs).

    Invoking Guantanamo, a tiny spec of Cuban land, as proof of American imperialism is truly laughable. You need much more of land controversy to even invoke the "empire label". The US today despite its faults and misteps remains deeply rooted in freedom and democracy principles and as such contitutes a model for anti-empire behavior and is the closest possible modern immitation of Pericles Athenian democracy and you know what they say about immitation (being the sincerest form of flattery).

    So let's get our symbolism right: USA and Greece both naval states and practitioners of democracy and freedom. Empire building is the most anti-Greek and the most anti-American concept you can think of and I can assure you that no citizen of the United States cares about empire stuff which by definition is indicative of a deep inferiority complex. Only people with small sized sexual organs dream of empires to obviously compensate for their shortcomings. You can acuse Americans of a lot of things but empire driven they are not by any stretch of the imagination. Empire driven is Brussels and Berlin because of their obvious inferiority complex and their direct lineage to previous Europeans empires which have destroyed the true meaning of the Greek civilization.

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  9. "The generally accepted view is that both Greece and the USA are core anti-empire countries"
    On your planet maybe.
    "the NATURAL expansion of the American states" (emphasis mine)
    I rest my case.

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    1. You are eager to win an argument without proper evidenciary proof, which by itself most probably means that you are supporting the false side of the argument. There is no such thing as an American empire and it never will be. America thoughout its history fought empires: The British, the Spanish and Japanese empires not to mention Hitler's empire in the making and the communist empire we know as USSR. The US is quite secure in the realization that is a strong naval state with full control of the world's shipping lanes necessary for the world commerce to function. Any attempts to link the US with empires is an ignorant attempt by those who know very little about the American character and the American traditions (as well as its founding principles). In short, Americans are "can do" types and free thinking citizens compared with their european counterparts who could literally drown in a spoon of water, resticted by their own inaction as the flawed products of old empires (roman, byzantine, habsburg) which have left the unmistakable mark of despotism and tyranny all over the old continent. Europe is the product of slavery embedded in its DNA but America is the place for people who are not under the yoke of anyone nor they will ever be. And if you need a current example of this you could look no further than the eurozone and its ridiculous troubles in curing its own problems post 2008 which as we speak remain unsolved and rapidly multiplying.

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    2. Puleez... trying to convince the world that the USA has not been an imperial power for the last century, at least, is just ridiculous. Of course, the shape and appearance of the American empire is not the same as British, Franch, Ottoman, Byzantine, etc. All empire have different forms and different modus operandi according to the circumstance of the time.

      And what is this garbage about "the American character"? The American character is obsesses with money-for-itself, with business activities, with a State that is broadly laissez-faire but in international terms is explicitly involved in using military power to achieve its objectives. This is a State that has destroyed countless other states in its determination to impose its own ideology of US-style capitalism on the world. Cuba is one such beneficiary of American imperial power.

      In simple terms, for a simple people: THE USA IS A GLOBAL MILITARY AND ECONOMIC POWER AND ACTS TO IMPOSE ITSELF ON EVERY COUNTRY OF THE WORLD. If that's not empire building, nothing is.

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    3. The fact that you think of American imperium when there is none, it only means that psychologically the fear of domination has gotten to go. America is a global military (primarily because of its technology) and economic power with no equal at present times but is not an imperial power because its center of gravity is North America. By the way wars only start by weaker powers and not the strongest power. Germany and Japan started wars because they thought that within a short period of time they would lose andvantage and they acted before such occured. The small regional conflicts America has gotten involved in are not wars and certainly not imperial wars. By the way, when some Islamist morons come in the center of New York and kill 3,000 Americans in an unprovoked and cowardish way you better find a deep hole and hide yourself before American wrath finds you and exterminates you. These are the rules of engagement. If you don't want to be stepped on by the elephant then try not to poke the elephant for any reason whatsoever.

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    4. Dude/ss, repeating tautologically the same dogma thinking that it constitutes argumentation or proof/evidence is silly. The (vast majority of the) rest of the planet (left, centre or right wing) does not believe in US American Exceptionalism, the City on the Hill, Manifest Destiny etc. Inter alia because, you know, each nation, country, group, etc. having its own fair share of national myths, ideologies, interests, history doesn't aspire, willingly at least, to being, for ever at least, a protectorate, subject or serf to US American (or any other) domination, ideology or interests.

      Resting my case for the second and last time.

      P.S. Also, 21 more words for you on Empire, Greeks and Greek history:
      Trojan War, Sea Peoples, Apoikiai, Athenian Empire, Alexander, Greek East, Rhomania, Digenes Akritas, Marmaromenos Basilias, Kokkine Melia, Megale Idea, Mikrasiatike Ekstrateia.

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    5. Exceptionalism is not a mark of imperioum. The Athenians and Greeks of classical gReeks thought themselves and acted as exceptionalists. Exceptionalism is a mark of confidence which propels a nation forward. In fact exceptionalism is the main thing missing from modern Greece which is nothing more than a german vassal state. Take my advice and try some Greek exceptionalism for a change so maybe you can finally find your freedom instead of being modern german slaves after many years of conditioning as roman, byzantine and Ottoman slaves. Or do you think that the force of habit is irreversible?

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  10. Pinochet di Venezuela

    At a rally in Pisa in front of a friendly crowd, a jovial, joking Renzi last week unveiled an elaborate PowerPoint presentation with arguments defending the constitutional reform.

    But then – seemingly out of the blue – a large map of South America appeared on the large screen. In September, M5S’s Luigi Di Maio declared that a vote for the referendum was like a vote for “Pinochet in Venezuela”.

    After poking fun at Di Maio’s mistake – Pinochet was the longtime Chilean dictator, and Renzi elaborately pointed out where each country was located on the large map – a photograph then appeared that showed Renzi during a visit to Chile’s capital, Santiago. He was standing in a museum in front of hundreds of photographs of political prisoners who had been tortured and killed during Pinochet’s bloody regime.

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  11. Aaaw, Tsipras is cute. One wishes his party was still getting the 3-4% of the popular vote, which is how it was before the crisis. Then we could laugh at him for the fool that he is, instead of getting angry because of his shenanigans.

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    1. You can say what you like about Tsipras, but the fact is that he came to power because of the shenanigans of Pasok and ND, along with the vicious "pound of flesh" mentality of Germany and the other mafia of the Eurogroup. When mainstream political parties fail to deliver the goods -- as is happening across all of the developed world -- extremists and looneys like Trump gain power. In comparision with that, we should be grateful that Greece has only harmless Tsipras as its buffoon-in-chief.

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    2. Two wrongs don't make a right. The global financial crisis is one thing, the Greek crisis is another. The Eurozone's problems don't absolve Greece of it's sins.

      The Greek society is amoral and complicit. For decades it has been watching the erosion of the country's institutions in apathy, merely because it was getting a piece of the pie. When the global crisis exposed the Greek economy for what it really was, the Greek society - faced with the wreckage it created - was the first to turn to populism.

      Yes, the parties of Pasok and ND destroyed Greece. However, they didn't fall from the sky. They were happily voted into power by Greek citizens, merely because they were getting a piece of the pie. Let's never forget that.

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  12. According to Credit Swiss the gReeks have lost 587 Billion euros during the german imposed austerity crisis:

    http://www.protothema.gr/economy/article/634052/credit-suisse-587-dis-euro-to-kostos-tis-krisis-stin-ellada/

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    1. Quote: "According to Credit Swiss the gReeks have lost 587 Billion euros during the german imposed austerity crisis"

      Greece is suffering from a self imposed credit crisis. Just saying.
      Urs

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  13. The result of Italy’s referendum means three things.

    First, the slow devolution of the European Union rumbles on.

    Second, Italy has declared itself in open revolt both internally and against the EU, and this is a challenge not just for the EU, but for Germany in particular.

    Third, this is the beginning of a major political shift in the third largest economy in the eurozone. Italy will hold elections in 2017, and it is unclear whether the political establishment will retain control, or whether parties like the Five Star Movement and the Northern League, which advocate nationalist economic policies and a re-examination of Italy’s relationship with the EU, will seize power. The damage already has been done, and nationalist sentiment won’t go away soon. It will continue to shape Italian politics no matter who is in power. It is clear Italy will not move forward in the same way it has before.

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    1. Quote: "It is clear Italy will not move forward in the same way it has before."

      Ha, if only. The Italiens just made it clear to everybody that their first and foremost ambition is to muddle through in the very same way they did for the last 5 decades.
      Urs

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