Saturday, 21 August 2010

Mouzelis the magnificent

Below is an article I’ve translated by Professor Nikos Mouzelis on the Greece-Israel rapprochement. Mouzelis is a well-known and influential sociologist who’s taught at the prestigious London School of Economics and writes regularly for the left-wing Greek newspaper To Vima. He gives four reasons why Greece should not develop strategic relations with Israel, each reason as stupid as the other, revealing a complete lack of seriousness among a dominant strand of Greek thinkers, stuck with a vision of Greece as a country more Third World than First World, a Greece which, apparently, is in the forefront of a fight against Nato, Zionism, America, capitalism, imperialism and God knows what else. (Read Mouzelis’ appalling article in Greek here).

Greece’s military co-operation with Israel is unacceptable
I think at this moment in time co-operation with Israel in the field of military exercises is unacceptable for four reasons:

First, from a moral point of view, close co-operation will strengthen a government which through the imposition of an embargo has degraded and impoverished a large section of the Palestinian population.

Second, with the encouragement of the continuing oppression and the settling of Palestinian territories, the Netanyahu government is making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for an agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Third, co-operation at a military level between Greece and Israel does not advance the national interests of our country. Our national interest is to have good relations with Turkey and the Arab world rather than with a country that is trying to impose an apartheid, colonial system on Palestine.

Fourth, if Israel tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will need free passage through Greece’s airspace. Perhaps this is the reason why the Israeli prime minister wants to have close military co-operation with our country?

It’s hard to believe intelligent Greeks could make such absurd arguments, and here’s a quick repudiation.

What has the depredations being suffered by the Palestinians got to do with Greece? The plight of the Palestinians might be sad, tragic and all the rest; but since when has a country’s foreign relations been conducted on the basis of sentiment? If Greece were to base its foreign relations using human rights criteria, then Greece would have relations with very few countries, and certainly not with any of the Arab countries – Libya, Egypt, Syria and so on – Mouzelis wants Greece to cosy up to, and certainly not with Turkey, another country Mouzelis thinks Greece should befriend, which is trying to impose an apartheid and colonial system on the Greek island of Cyprus – but this doesn’t seem to bother Mouzelis, doesn't seem to arouse his sensitivities for human rights or his concerns for Greek national interests.


Hermes said...

Mouzelis is a sociologist and should not be commenting on international relations. He also has very close relations with Thalia Dragona. Those two bits of information are sufficient to disregard him.

John Akritas said...

I agree the ideas he expresses should be disregarded; but unfortunately Mouzelis and his crew seem to dominate Greek academia and journalism. Mouzelis' arguments against the Israeli rapprochement strike me as typical of those I've been reading by Greeks. I'm not surprised that Dragona is one of his acolytes and her position of influence reveals just how deep 1970s Marxist thinking has penetrated all aspects of Greek society – from how the economy should be run to how Greece should conduct foreign relations. Just as Greece needs to rebuild its economy almost from scratch, so it needs to do the same with its foreign policy. Generally, there are strong and good arguments that can be made cautioning Greece in this Israel rapprochement, but concern for the Palestinians and a fear of alienating the Turks and Arabs are not among them.

Hermes said...

Let's hope that the iniatives Greece makes are first and foremost made in the interests of Greece. The frequent contacts with friends across the Atlantic, presence of a large number of consultantsin - including the shady Alex Rondos (recently advising Shakasvilli, we know how that turned out) - by the side of the dopey Papandreou and the participation of the comical Greek-American lobby in Washington is worrying.

Anonymous said...

Is this the product of Hellas' educational programs? Yes. That is why we decided to be educated outside the public system in Greece. The educational system has been infiltrated for a number of generations by degenerates pushing their marxist/communist/anarchist/anti-Hellenic propaganda. Having studied in a number of countries both in North America and Europe the degenerates seem to be disproportionately greater in Hellas.
Mouzelis obviously lacks any critical thinking abilities. As I don't know Mouzelis first hand, he seems to lack the "reality check" that those who work outside the confines of a university campus seem to possess. I just wonder whether he writes such moronic articles to attract attention. Then again he is writing to a certain type of "reader" that buys To Vima.
Sociologists...not exactly your brightest bunch in university...just one level up from the kinesiologist program in most universities.
George Papandreou is also a sociologist prof (was). Now that explains everything about his "new Hellas" program he has put in place. Hellas is the perfect place to put into place his "sociology" theories.

We all know (or if we don't we are living in a dream world) .... that Hellas is facing a multi-pronged attack on its culture, history, language, land and people. The decision has been made by so-called "intellectuals" that Hellas should no longer exist. The new world is where there are no Hellenes and no borders...just one big happy family - well in theory at least.

Hermes said...

Sociology is a noble discpline but unfortunately it has been hijacked by Marxists rather than Weberians.

Below is a decent article by Ioannis Mazis, professor of geoeconomics and geopolitics. He has recently taken up a post at the University of Athens from Ionian University.

John Akritas said...

Good article, which gets away from the nonsense about how we're abandoning the downtrodden Palestinians and our traditional Arab 'friends' – who, actually, barely know we exist. Besides which, as the more realist analysts keep pointing out – what Arabs are we talking about? Hamas? Hezbollah? The Syrians? Gadaffi? Or Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia? The other argument against the rapprochement is that it's opportunistic and that the Israelis and the Turks will soon get it on again. Maybe they will; in which case, we'll have to shift alliances again. These things happen. Since when have strategic alliances been anything other than temporary.

It is worth remembering that Giorgos is a sociologist. It says a lot about him and where he's coming from. Sarris once said of the man that he had no evil intent, but he just doesn't know or understand Greek history. Sociologists don't do history.

Hermes said...

Sarris is himself a sociologist(so is the brilliant Romanos). One of my favourite sociologists, Michael Mann did a lot of history. I do not believe we should be attacking the discipline.

Anonymous said...

Sociology is a not a noble discipline in my opinion. Hermes we can agree to disagree on this point.
A "noble" discipline is medicine.
To include sociology in the same calibre as medicine is a stretch to say the least.
Furthermore, it is important and necessary to question and criticize any discipline. The weaknesses or strengths of a discipline must be brought forward in discussions .... consider it a natural evolution to strengthen that discipline.

As for the "lovers quarrel" between the Israelis and Turks....I would only see a complete divorce if and when the Turks decide to remove the secular facade and become a full-fledged Islamic state.

My motherland Hellas should tread carefully. A balanced approach with all neighbors would be a better position. Arabs are not our allies. Let us recall the work of the Egyptians and their actions against the Hellenic community there. If the Arab nations were located closer to Hellas we would have the same problems as we have with Turkey. I'll let you guys figure out why .... a hint....we are not fasting right now.

John Akritas said...

Indeed, Sarris is a sociologist. But I doubt if he's the kind George approves of. I actually did sociology at A level – A levels being what we study here in the UK between 16-18. It's not a useless subject, but limited, too rooted in the contemporary, anti-philosophy, anti- abstraction, and dominated by Marxism. I wish I hadn't studied it, done something more useful instead, like Ancient Greek.

Anon: indeed, there is a presumption that eventually the Israelis and Turks will get back together; but what if you're right, what if the Islamic genie that has come out of the Turkish bottle won't go back in, or gets more radical? Even if the Kemalists oust at elections the AK party, that won't mean the end of Islamism in Turkey.

I also agree about a balanced approach – the role of an honest broker in the Middle East suits our purposes. And it's good to remember what happened to the Greeks in Alexandria.

M.Pandeli said...

I find this discussion about Sociology quite fascinating. I came across the subject whist studying at the LSE at a time when sociology was emerging as a serious discipline. It began to assert ridiculous claims that it had something to offer in managing social change though a process that became social engineering. The politicians believed this and appointed sociology advisors to most government department. When Thatcher became P.M. she dismissed all of them and used her own methods of social change declaring there is no such thing as society. Sociology could not sustain such force and its importance diminished. I proceeded to study psychology which I practised in my professional life until retirement. Mouzelis is still flying the sociology flag but who is listening besides the Hellenic Antidote site?

John Akritas said...

M. It is interesting that in the UK at least the high watermark for sociology and all it represents in terms of analysing and 'curing' social and political problems was the 1970s. It often strikes me that Greece has never really left the 1970s behind and joined the rest of the grown-up world. I brought up Mouzelis' article because he represents the sort of academics/intellectuals who have shaped Greece post-1974, while his arguments against the Greek Israel rapprochement are also typical of the childish way Greeks approach foreign policy issues and see Greece's position in the world. He seems to have more concern for the Palestinians than for the Greeks in Cyprus, which appals me, given that Greece is hugely responsible for the partition of the island. It just doesn't make any sense to me why Greeks should profess to be so sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians. Another remnant of post-1974 Greek politics that has had its time.