Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Good n’ Greece-y: Cheeseburgers in Paradox (Updated)

“We are for aiding our allies by sharing our material blessings with nations which share our fundamental beliefs, but we are against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world.”–Ronald Reagan, 1964

Andrew Stuttaford:

Having read the post by Rep. McMorris Rodgers, I thought it might be helpful to post a few words from a statesman with a very different view of the IMF:

The IMF is the linchpin of the international financial system. . . . I have an unbreakable commitment to increased funding for the IMF. . . . The stakes are great. This [quota increase] legislation is not only crucial to the recovery of America’s trading partners abroad and to the stability of the entire international financial system, it is also necessary to a sustained recovery in the United States.

And who was the lefty who said this? Ronald Reagan, September 27, 1983.

As regular readers around here may know, I am no fan of the EU, the euro, or socialism (a noticeable portion of the increase in public spending in Greece actually took place under an at least nominally conservative government, but why let facts intrude on an entertaining adjective?), but for President Obama to oppose the IMF’s participation in the Greek loan would be an act of truly astonishing irresponsibility, albeit one apparently supported by a section of the post-Reagan GOP.

First, a little history…

Claremont:

Regarding the Greek independence movement, Adams said that America “goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” That was not his last word on the subject, however. In the mid-1820s, President Adams wanted to help the nascent South American republics.

Though Adams thought America in his day should stay out of international struggles beyond the Western Hemisphere, he didn’t think that would always be the case. President Washington had said that Americans should have “as little political connection as possible” with Europe. As his diplomatic dispatches from Europe in the 1790s make clear, Adams agreed. Yet President Adams argued in 1826 that Washington gave counsel for his day, not for eternity: “I cannot overlook the reflection that the counsel of Washington in that instance, like all the counsels of wisdom, was founded upon the circumstances in which our country and the world around us were situated at the time when it was given…. [But] compare our situation and the circumstances of that time with those of the present day, and what, from the very words of Washington then, would be his counsels to his countrymen now?” As the nation grew politically, economically, and geographically, its role in the world would necessarily change.

johnandclare:

By 1946, Greece and Czechoslovakia were the only countries in eastern Europe that weren’t Communist. Even in Greece, the government, which was being supported by British soldiers, was having to fight a civil war against the Communists.

In February 1947, the British told Truman they could no longer afford to keep their soldiers in Greece. President Truman stepped in. The USA paid for the British soldiers in Greece.

President Truman, speaking in March 1947: “Every nation must choose between different ways of life … We must help free peoples to work out their own destiny in their own way.”

The Russian newspaper Izvestia, March 1947: “This ‘American duty’ is just a smokescreen for a plan of expansion … They try to take control of Greece by shouting about ‘totalitarianism’.”

In the 1930s, America had kept out of Europe’s business. Now, on 12 March 1947, Truman told Americans that it was America’s DUTY to interfere. His policy towards the Soviet Union was one of ‘containment’ – he did not try to destroy the USSR, but he wanted to stop it growing any more. This was called the ‘Truman Doctrine’.

This Russian cartoon shows the Greeks being ‘helped’ by Uncle Sam (symbolizing America). Notice the $ sign on the gun.

The Marshall Plan: In June 1947, the American General George Marshall went to Europe. He said every country in Europe was so poor that it was in danger of turning Communist! Europe was ‘a breeding ground of hate’. [like Ariz–nevermind.-ed.] He said that America should give $17 billion of aid to get Europe’s economy going and stop Communism.

So we’ve pulled Greece’s Spanakopita out of the grease-fire before.

Here’s a better link to Reagan’s remarks to the IMF that day in 1983:

The institutions you represent could not have been born, could not have flourished and, may I add, will not survive in a world dominated by a system of cruelty that disregards individual rights and the value of human life in its ruthless drive for power. No state can be regarded as preeminent over the rights of individuals. Individual rights are supreme.

Today I come before your distinguished assembly in that same spirit — a messenger for prosperity and security through the principles of freedom, responsibility, and cooperation.

When our nations trusted in these great principles in the postwar years, the civilized world enjoyed unparalleled economic development and improvement in the human condition. We witnessed a virtual explosion of world output and trade and the arrival of many free, self-determined, independent nation states as new members of the international system.

And, as I said when I last spoke to you, the societies that achieved the most spectacular, broad-based economic progress in the shortest period of time have not been the biggest in size nor the richest in resources and, certainly, not the most rigidly controlled. What has united them all was their belief in the magic of the marketplace. Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process.

Trust the people — this is the crucial lesson of history. Because only when the human spirit is allowed to worship, invent, create, and produce, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding their destiny and benefiting from their own risks, only then do societies become dynamic, prosperous, progressive, and free.

In the turbulent decade of the 1970’s, too many of us, the United States included, forgot the principles that produced the basis for our mutual economic progress. We permitted our governments to overspend, overtax, and overregulate us toward soaring inflation and record interest rates. Now we see more clearly again. We’re working and cooperating to bring our individual economies and the world economy back to more solid foundations of low inflation, personal incentives for saving and investment, higher productivity, and greater opportunities for our people.

Our first task was to get our own financial and economic houses in order.

In closing, let me share with you a very deep, personal belief I hold. We are all sovereign nations and therefore free to choose our own way as long as we do not transgress upon the sovereign rights of one another. But we cannot really be free as independent states unless we respect the freedom and independence of each of our own individual citizens. In improving their lot, which is the only reason you and I hold high offices in our lands, we cannot forget that how we help them progress economically must be consistent with this highest objective of all — their personal dignity, their independence, and ultimately their freedom. That’s what this job of ours is all about.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

Reagan viewed the IMF as a means to expand economic liberty and political liberty for individuals–and a means to counteract communism and socialism, not to reward it.

Now maybe it’s in our interest that Greece not screw up the entire world economy again–but that’s a far cry from the vision Reagan outlined. This $7 billion “loan” of ours is more like insurance or maybe protection money than anything else, and it’s probably charity too, since we’ll be lucky to get it back.

But we shouldn’t invoke Reagan unless we mean it, unless we mean what he meant. He might well have held his nose and supported this out of necessity–maybe. But unlike Current Occupant, he wouldn’t let the opportunity pass to educate people on the bankruptcy of socialism, spiritually, intellectually and financially.

UPDATE: WWRD? I’m pretty sure Reagan would not support this:

The state owns 74 companies, mainly utilities and transport firms, many of which are overstaffed and loss-making, the OECD says…

Hundreds of state-appointed committees employ staff though it is not clear what they all do. Greece has a committee to manage Lake Kopais, which dried out in the 1930s…

More from Andrew Bolt:

Here, now, are the hard truths:

– Cultures have consequences. Greek lifestyles won’t produce a BMW economy.

– Asking Germans to bail out, say, a Greek economic crisis is actually asking them to bail out the Greek culture that produced it. And they will know it.

– German taxpayers will resent having to work hard and honestly to pay for those who choose not to for cultural reasons.

– German taxpayers will respond either by demanding an end to their handouts, or will themselves become more Greek – choosing to dodge taxes and to seek special favours to get what the Greeks enjoy. Trust will fall, as it tends to do in all multi-ethnic communities. The social contract, based on the fundamental notion that we offer the help we ourselves would expect, will crumble, since the Germans cannot believe that the help they give the Greeks would or could ever be reciprocated. And thus Germany becomes more like Greece, in the worst way.

– All these points apply, too, to any multicultural community in which one productive culture is told to subsidise a proudly unproductive other. Think only of the growing resentment of British taxpayers to finance big Muslim families which don’t educate their daughters, preach cultural separatism and are heavily welfare dependent.

I know, hard truths. Best not discussed, shout many. Yet watch the EU stumble under their weight.

UPDATED UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I think Reagan would today oppose our $7B IMF “loan” to Greece on these grounds:

1.) It’s all borrowed money in the first place. We’re simply don’t have the resources to toss down any more rat holes, especially with 10-17% unemployment.
2.) Reagan supported the IMF as an antidote to communism. He defeated Soviet Communism–his focus now would be on defeating American Socialism. And therefore Greek Socialism as well–not propping it up.
3.) Europe is no longer divided. Greece is an EU member–essentially a province state of the European Union, just as California or Iowa is a state. Europe needs to finance its own states; we’re already footing their defense bill.

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