At The Financial Times: my reply to KissMeHardy

KissMeHardy,

Thank you for your comment. ‘Perhaps Stephen you can regale us with your expert view, after all you website proclaims you are an ‘intellectual’. I think I have already expressed my opinion on Mr. Heisbourg’s combination of self-advertisement and scaremongering propaganda: where he shamefully trolls for customers, as an Expert in Security matters. Yet the age of the Technocrat, the Expert, once celebrated by Walter Lippmann, has come to what? After so many failures: Neo-Liberalism, The Economy, Western Foreign Policy and it’s endless wars, and the rise of the Populists both Left and Right without forgetting ISIS as the watersheds of Afghanistan and Iraq, not to speak of the EU as perhaps coming apart? Mr. Heisbourg folds into this chaotic/hysteric realm unrelated Mass Murderers, without any evidence to connect them to Terrorists: by an act of personal fiat? Dangerous and preposterous, but as I said the motto here is never let a crisis go to waste. Some example of The Failure of The Elites follow:

Date: January 14,2014

Headline: Failing elites threaten our future

Sub-headline: Leaders richly rewarded for mediocrity cannot be relied upon when things go wrong

By Martin Wolf

In 2014, Europeans commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war. This calamity launched three decades of savagery and stupidity, destroying most of what was good in the European civilisation of the beginning of the 20th century. In the end, as Churchill foretold in June 1940, “the New World, with all its power and might”, had to step “forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old”.

The failures of Europe’s political, economic and intellectual elites created the disaster that befell their peoples between 1914 and 1945. It was their ignorance and prejudices that allowed catastrophe: false ideas and bad values were at work. These included the atavistic belief, not just that empires were magnificent and profitable, but that war was glorious and controllable. It was as if a will to collective suicide seized the leaders of great nations.

Complex societies rely on their elites to get things, if not right, at least not grotesquely wrong. When elites fail, the political order is likely to collapse, as happened to the defeated powers after first world war. The Russian, German and Austrian empires vanished, bequeathing weak successors succeeded by despotism. The first world war also destroyed the foundations of the 19th century economy: free trade and the gold standard. Attempts to restore it produced more elite failures, this time of Americans as much as Europeans. The Great Depression did much to create the political conditions for the second world war. The cold war, a conflict of democracies with a dictatorship sired by the first world war, followed.

The dire results of elite failures are not surprising. An implicit deal exists between elites and the people: the former obtain the privileges and perquisites of power and property; the latter, in return, obtain security and, in modern times, a measure of prosperity. If elites fail, they risk being replaced. The replacement of failed economic, bureaucratic and intellectual elites is always fraught. But, in a democracy, replacement of political elites at least is swift and clean. In a despotism, it will usually be slow and almost always bloody.

This is not just history. It remains true today. If one looks for direct lessons from the first world war for our world, we see them not in contemporary Europe but in the Middle East, on the borders of India and Pakistan and in the vexed relationships between a rising China and its neighbours. The possibilities of lethal miscalculation exist in all these cases, though the ideologies of militarism and imperialism are, happily, far less prevalent than a century ago. Today, powerful states accept the idea that peace is more conducive to prosperity than the illusory spoils of war. Yet this does not, alas, mean the west is immune to elite failures. On the contrary, it is living with them. But its failures are of mismanaged peace, not war.

For the remainder of the essay go to:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cfc1eb1c-76d8-11e3-807e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz4EaXdjrIB

Date: May 17, 2016

Headline: Failing elites are to blame for unleashing Donald Trump

Sub-headline: A healthy republic requires a degree of mutual sympathy rather than equality

By Martin Wolf

Donald Trump will be the Republican candidate for president. He might even become president of the US. It is hard to exaggerate the significance and danger of this development. The US was the bastion of democracy and freedom in the 20th century. If it elected Mr Trump, a man with fascistic attitudes to people and power, the world would be transformed.

Mr Trump is a misogynist, a racist and a xenophobe. He glories in his own ignorance and inconsistency. Truth is whatever he finds convenient. His policy ideas are ludicrous, where they are not horrifying. Yet his attitudes and ideas are less disturbing than his character: he is a narcissist, bully and spreader of conspiracy theories. It is frightening to consider how such a man would use the powers at the disposal of the president.

Andrew Sullivan, the conservative commentator, recently wrote: “In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event.” He is right.

It might prove surprisingly easy for President Trump to find people willing to execute tyrannical orders or to compel the unwilling to do so. By exaggerating crises or creating them, a would-be despot can pervert judicial and political systems. The presidents of Russia and Turkey are skilful exemplars. The US has an entrenched constitutional order. But even this might buckle, particularly if the president enjoyed impeachment-proof support in Congress.

For the remainder of the essay go here:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f27340fc-1848-11e6-b197-a4af20d5575e.html#axzz4EaXdjrIB

Date: July 16,2016

Headline : Elite Impunity and the Chilcot Report – Will Tony Blair Ever Go to Jail?

By Dr. Arshad M. Khan

What stands out in the British Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) report is the sidestepping of the war crime issue. But then it was carefully placed outside its scope. This omission aside, the indictments remain, damning and morally appalling. Thus it confirms the war was launched on a false pretext. Major General Michael Laurie made plain in his testimony that Tony Blair’s notorious “dossier” was designed to persuade Members of Parliament to vote for the war: “We knew at the time that the purpose of the dossier was precisely to make a case for war rather than setting out the available evidence.” In this, he echoes CIA Director George Tenet’s notorious “slam dunk case.” So it was, a war based on hyped up intelligence instead of objective assessment; a fact clearly not overlooked by the inquiry when it concluded in its damming assessment (judgment?), that the invasion was not a “last resort” because peaceful options had not been exhausted.

Remainder of the essay:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/elite-impunity-and-the-chilcot-report-will-tony-blair-ever-go-to-jail/5536054

Date: June 25,2016

Headline: Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions

By Glenn Greenwald

The decision by U.K. voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that — for once — their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of Western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.

Remainder of the essay here:

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/25/brexit-is-only-the-latest-proof-of-the-insularity-and-failure-of-western-establishment-institutions/

Regards,

StephenKMackSD

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b25fe8cc-4a6a-11e6-8d68-72e9211e86ab.html?hubRefSrc=email&utm_source=lfemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=lfnotification#ft-article-comments

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer.
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