By Con George-Kotzabasis
Posted by kotzabasis, Sep 24 2009, 4:58AM – Link
Nadine, you are wasting your valuable time retorting to the political banalities of Norheim and his kindred spirits inundating The Washington Note.
Dmitry Medvedev’s “in some cases, sanctions are inevitable,” is the noose that the clever chess playing Russians are putting around the naive neck of the draught playing Obama. The operative words are “in some cases,” which the Russians alone will define and no one else. The political toddlers a la Norheim, enchanted under their inspirational wishful thinking, believe that the Russians will define these words positively in favour of sanctions, and like the stunted toddlers that they will always be they will be looking forward to Santa Klaus, Putin, on New Year’s Day to deliver to them their wishful ‘playful’ present.
Posted by Paul Norheim, Sep 24 2009, 5:33AM – Link
You`re distorting my words, Kotz.
I don`t “believe” anything on these matters yet. There are too many if`s and if-not`s here. If it goes to the Security Council and Russia votes for sanctions in the Security Council, I`ll “believe” so.
China delivered some critical statements on their part just hours ago. Time will tell.
My initial point was an attempt to formulate how Obama seemed to see the missile shield issue, the relationship to Russia, the Iran issue, and the Israel-Palestine conflict as a connected and complex whole, and that this way of thinking contained a lot of unpredictable factors, probably too many if he has built a strategy on this. Perhaps my guesses are wrong, perhaps they are correct. But I see no particular reason for optimism on Iran and Israel-Palestine in the coming months and years. Is that clear?
If you want to twist and bend this in any direction, go on.
Posted by kotzabasis, Sep 24 2009, 6:38AM – Link
Are you now repudiating all of your posts above your last one? “Russian Leader Opens Door to Tougher Iran Sanctions” and then you paste THE ASSOCIATED PRESS in all its positives on the issue with which you obviously agree. Then you follow this in your penultimate post with, “it now looks more like America is getting, than that it’s not getting something.” And only belatedly, after my own post, and after letting your guard down, you place your “if’s and if-not’s.”
Paul Norheim says
For ad hominem “thinkers” and strategy geniuses like Kotz, this is an exercise beyond their capabilities, and just another opportunity to bash his opponents for their lack of strength and amour propre in their cul de sac.
But now that WigWag, whom Kotz sympathize with, actually agrees that possible sanctions were behind Obama`s decisions on the missile shield, and also seems to think that the likelihood of Russia getting on board on this might have increased a bit after Medvedev`s statement yesterday, I expect that Kotz will keep silent on this issue.
There is an irony in all of this. Conservatives like Kotzabasis and Nadine are far more suspicious of the Russians than the Israeli Government is. They can speak for themselves about whether my surmise is right or not; but whether it’s a carryover from the Cold War days or something else, conservatives are suspicious any time the United States fails to “stand up” to Russia.
This is no longer true in Israel. Israel sees Russia as an increasingly important partner. A large portion of the Israeli population is Russian and has cultural ties to the “old country.” Russia and Israel have ever increasing commercial relations, especially in military equipment. Israel appreciates the fact that they never have to worry about criticism from the Russians on the human rights front (Russian behavior in Chechnya makes the War in Gaza look like a Girl Scout picnic). And Israel sees good relations with Russia (and China and India) as a counter balance to their overdependence on the United States. Israel also appreciates the fact that Russians don’t care about Palestinian aspirations.
This is actually one of the few examples where people who have the views of Nadine and Kotzabasis disagree with Israel. Israel wants better relations between Russia and the United States for many reasons, not the least of which is that it increases the likelihood that harsh sanctions on Iran will be enacted.
It’s conservatives who get nervous every time they see increased cooperation between Russia and the United States not Israelis.
Of course Obama’s naive decision “on the missile shield” was to entice the Russians to come “on board” on sanctions. I predicted he would do this four months ago. But WigWag is not inflicted by the illusion, like you are that the Russians will come along on sanctions. And as he correctly states, they will not do so unless they are offered much more such as “NATO expansion, support for Georgia and Ukraine, Kosovo and Bosnia/Republica Srpska.” Hence they will be putting a bigger noose around the neck of Obama’s diplomacy and will be pulling it so hard that there will be no flesh left on his neck, i.e., American power and prestige, other than the protruding bones of an anorexic superpower that would force America’s close allies to have second thoughts about the former’s reliability and resolution under President Obama. And the question then arises whether the Obama administration would go the whole hog, i.e., sacrifice all its allies on the altar of getting the by now out of the equation Russians, according to WigWag’s logic, since he believes that “harsh sanctions by the United States and Europe would still sting” without the Russians being on board.
I’m surprised that you seem to see the conservative ‘brand’ of politics only in its old form of rigidity and not see the ‘new brand’ whose strength lies in its fluidity. It’s far from being the rather very simplistic case of failing to “stand up” to Russia. Analytically that is a very hacked and shallow conclusion. And you extrapolate an avalanche of wrong deductions from a possible American agreement with Russia on sanctions, which I think is a will-o’-the-wisp, while you irretrievably contradict your own argument. Russia is not in the game of strengthening America but of weakening it. And they see in Obama in his elemental personal debility and idealistic respect all diplomacy, a perfect opportunity to achieve their great goal. It’s this that is of great concern to ‘fluid’ conservative realists and not because they carry some incurable virus from the “Cold War days.” It’s seen the Russian ‘Emperor’ with glee on his face dragging America’s benign power into the amphitheatre to be tangled in the net of the gladiator and slaughtered to the applause of the ignorant and ignoble crowd of anti-Americanism., that is the modern equivalent of panem et circenses.
And aren’t you contradicting your own argument when you say that “Russian acquiescence to harsh sanctions will be a real plus” (but at what a price) when you earlier stated that sanctions imposed by the US and Europe “will turn out to be more politically devastating” and at the same time taking the Russians out of the equation and hence making their “acquiescence” totally obsolete and thus saving the US from a politically and diplomatically ‘spending spree’ in ‘Russian malls’? In view of this why even the stolid administration of Obama would not prioritize the interest of its strong allies in Eastern and Southern Europe next to an obsolete Russian “acquiescence?”
You also totally disregard Iran’s libido dominandi for the region and for the Islamic world that can be achieved more effectively in the carapace of nuclear weapons. To say as you do, “but for the peace process, [Between Palestinians and Israelis] sanctions or military action against Iran would be far less likely,” is to be blind before the real aims of the theocratic regime and to assume that Western leadership will continue to be languidly supine before such a great threat.
Lastly, it goes without saying that the smart Israelis would of course welcome a Russian agreement on sanctions even with the high probability that they will ultimately fail. But would they be happy to see this at the expense of a weakened America, especially against Iran as a staunch supporter of its terrorist ‘satrapies’ of Hamas and Hezbollah? And only one who has ‘rolling stones’ in his head would not see the great reasoning that lies in Israel’s good relationship with Russia. And how a brownie bird like you could have come to the conclusion that either Nadine or me disagree with Israel on this issue? I guess this could have only risen up from an errant nocturnal lucubration of yours.