Reply to American that to Miss Opportunity for Rapprochement with Iran will Have Big Consequences

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It will have even bigger consequences if it succeeds by wishful thinking.  Rapprochement in itself is meaningless unless there is clear and unambiguous understanding and agreement between the parties about the conditions of such rapprochement. It would be a mistake to deduce from the rhetorically conciliatory statements of President Rouhani that Iran has abandoned its desire to acquire nuclear weapons. And to differentiate himself from the holocaustian statements of his predecessor, Ahmadinejad, is hardly an indication that the new regime is repudiating its clandestine goal to develop a nuclear weapon. Only if Rouhani allows open and rigorous inspections in all areas of Iran where Western intelligence cogently suspects the secret development of a nuclear weapon will the experts be convinced that Iran has changed tack in regard to its nuclear arsenal.

It is more probable, because Rouhani perceives a weak president in the United States, he will be exploiting that weakness to achieve Iran’s historic and Islamic aim to enter the nuclear club by persuading Obama about the peaceful purpose of Iran’s nuclear build-up. Rouhani is aware that Obama needs and desires a suspension of tensions so he will have the excuse to take all options off the table and thus as an incompetent and effete president tranquilize himself by false hopes. And Rouhani and his advisors know, that this détente can be achieved on promissory notes that will never be cashed. Thus by providing Obama the confidence that he can come to a reasonable agreement with Iran, Rouhani achieves two diplomatic goals. (1) He defers USA action from resolving speedily and decisively the issue of nuclear weapons by creating the euphoria that this matter can be resolved by prolonged negotiations, a dilatoriness that Obama is most happy to accept as he desires to push the hard options, if they are needed, in the future ahead with the hope that they will never be used, and which also suits Rouhani perfectly as it will give Iran more time to achieve its strategic goal to build the bomb. And (2) weakening Israel’s resolve to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear installations, if other Western states are found to be wanting in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear armaments, by isolating Israel from its major ally, the USA, and from other Western nations, and thus making it more difficult for Israel to strike.

It is for this reason that Clemons should be more restrained in his optimism of the opportunity of reaching a rapprochement with Iran when a more sinister and malign opportunity could be hidden behind the apparently benign talk of Rouhani.

Senator Schumer Lambasts Obama’s Stupid and Inconsistent Diplomacy

In view of Obama’s variable inconsistencies in the Syrian Crisis declaring on the one hand that he would be attacking Syria for breaking his “red line,” for using chemical weapons against its own people, and, on the other, dithering and postponing this attack until its authorization by Congress, I’m republishing the following article that was written three years ago for the readers of this blog.  

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Would Edward Luce and Daniel Dombey, and by implication Steve Clemons, expect Robert Gibbs, the Press Secretary, to say that Barack Obama agrees “with what Senator Schumer said? It is astonishing to see Clemons diverting the issue of the total freeze of settlements, which Schumer correctly criticized as a grave error on the part of Obama contra Israel, to what Schumer’s stand was to Jesse Helms and to John Bolton “few years ago.”

Clemons is entitled to his opinions but he is not entitled to his facts. The facts are that the foolish imposition of the total freeze of settlements on the Netanyahu government by the Obama administration’s lack of foresight that it would be politically unrealizable for Israel and that it would evolve and become for the Palestinians, as it did, a rigid condition for their participation with any talks with Israel, was the major factor that derailed Obama’s engine of diplomacy from its track that would bring the two belligerents to the negotiating table. It was precisely this quintessentially wrong and injudicious policy of Obama that Senator Schumer rightly criticized as being the reason of the administration’s abysmal failure in the Middle East. Another fact is that Obama’s diplomacy is inconsistent, rewarding his enemies and penalizing his friends. While he claims that his diplomacy is indiscriminate and is based on soft and smart power coming on doves’ feet and extends his hand in a velvet glove to the enemies of America, he carries a bludgeon in his hand in his relations with his strongest and most loyal ally, in this case Israel.

Throughout history there has never been a case when a nation engaged in war with implacable enemies would chastise and alienate its most steadfast and reliable ally for the purpose to placate its enemies. Obama will go down in history as the only leader who not only doltishly and doggedly opened the door of diplomacy to an enemy such as Iran which has been training in its own country members of the Taliban and supplying them with weapons–as well as its proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah–to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, but who was also willing to sacrifice the vital interests of his most staunch ally against Islamist terror, Israel, on the altar of this spineless, strategically unprincipled, and totally fallible diplomacy.

The above emitted the two following responses:

Posted by Dan KervickApr 27 2010, 6:54AM – Link

Kotzabasis, WigWag seemed to be wondering a few days ago why those posts in which you make a serious, debatable point are ignored. But can there be any doubt why people habitually turn you off, when so many of your posts consist in cowardly, third-person personal characterizations of other contributors, lamely shouted out to no one in particular?

 

Posted by WigWag, Apr 27 2010, 9:45AM – Link

Actually why the interesting point Kotz made is never debated is rather plain. His point was an astute one, but as I am sure Kotz would be the first to admit, it was hardly an original one. Kotz was making precisely the same point Schumer was; that by offering to conduct their negotiations for them, the Obama Administration provides an incentive for the Palestinians not to negotiate at all. Kotz, Schumer and many other sage observers have also made the point that by making demands on Israel that Obama knew, or should have known, that it wouldn’t comply with, it was Obama himself who was making his stated goal of getting negotiations started much more difficult.

Steve Clemons in his diatribe against Schumer never responded to this point and Dan Kervick hasn’t either. Neither has any other serious commentator as far as I can tell.

It seems to me that the lack of response to the Schumer/Kotz allegation is evidence of the fact that the point is irrefutable.

If it’s not, someone should give it a try.

Obama’s Limits of Imagination Transformed into Limits of Power

I’m republishing this short piece that illustrates the diplomatic scarcity in international relations that is the inexorable feature of the Obama administration.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Steve Clemons and Ben Katcher are using the ‘shamanistic’ art, the art of a conjurer, to turn the limits of imagination into “the limits of American power.” The “aborted attempt” of the Obama administration to “persuade the Israelis to enact a “settlement freeze”, has nothing to do with US power limits but with lack of imagination and political insight on the part of Obama and the State Department not to foresee the political implausibility of trying to impose such a doltish demand on the Netanyahu government. It’s a dismal failure of policy and not a limit of American power as Clemons and Levy in their conjurers’ role aver.

As for Daniel Levy’s ”asymmetries of power,” WigWag’s post is instructive and unassailable in its historical logic. All defeated nations in wars were due to asymmetries of power.

Can the West Live with a Nuclear Iran?

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The author Dilip Hiro is thoroughly confused between Iran without a bomb, obviously his optimal position, and Iran with a bomb when on the one hand he states, and inexpressively hopes, that the National Intelligence Estimate finding is correct that Iran has “ceased working on a nuclear military program,” and on the other, when he believes that we could live with a nuclear Iran. But he doesn’t realize that to live with a nuclear Iran is to live with the widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region, as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, and Libya mount the horse of the nuclear race. This is where the catastrophe of astronomical dimensions lies and not in a pre-emptive attack on Iran.

He is also ‘fatefully’ pessimistic about any positive results issuing by such an attack and focuses his attention, rightly so, on its dire repercussions that could lead to a conflagration of the region. In my opinion however, he underestimates the strategic nous of the planners of such an attack that would target not only the nuclear plants of Iran, such as Natanz, but also the military, civilian and religious leadership of the country with the aim of decimating it. If the latter somehow miraculously escaped its destruction and took retaliatory action against the Americans or on any other countries of the region then such action would be calling for Iran’s total destruction.

The Intellectual Cheating of Liberals

A short reply to a Liberal –By Con George-Kotzabasis

Clearly your vocation in the ‘market of argument’ is to be a peddler in non sequiturs. Why are you shifting the ground of the argument, is it because your pockets are empty of all coins of counter reasoning on the issue? The question as was initially put by Steve Clemons’s use of the John Bolton quote was not whether Israel’s and America’s wars were self-defensive or not but whether there was “moral equivalence” between the deliberate and non-deliberate killing of civilians. Clemons by cheating intellectually, by speciously transforming this argument of moral equivalence into an argument of devaluation of “Muslim and Arab lives” has made himself intellectually and morally persona non grata.

Talleyrand, eloquently and boldly said the following in the face of Napoleon, when the latter deposed the legitimate Ferdinand II and placed his own brother Joseph on the throne of Spain, “Sire, un enfant de famille may gamble away his last farthing—the heritage of his ancestors—the dower of his mother—the portion of his sisters—and yet be courted and admired for his wit—be sought for his talents and distinction—but let him once be detected in cheating at the game, and he is lost—society is forever shut against him.” You likewise, in partaking in this Napoleonesque cheating of Clemons “at the game,” have become your own ‘guest’ as an intellectual and moral pariah.

The Failure of the U.S. and its Surrogates Talking to Iran

I’m republishing this piece written on June 2008 that is showing the total failure of the Obama administration to tackle and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and whose initial diplomacy was that by talking to the Mullah’s regime it would persuade the latter to abandon its determination to obtain a nuclear arsenal.  

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A response to:

Talking to Iran is our Best Option

By Ivo Daalder and Phillip Gordon of the Brookings Institution, and advisers to Barack Obama

Washington Post, June 29, 2008

 

Ivo Daalder and Phillip Gordon, the two savants of the Brookings Institution, have a brief to advise Barack Obama to start “talking to Iran without preconditions”, but they should not allowed to do so at the grief of America’s national interests and the security of the civilized world. The rationale of such advocacy is based in “rescuing a failed policy” of not talking to Iran for 7 ½ years that has made the latter, according to our two analysts, stronger and therefore more intransigent toward American and European demands encapsulated in the precondition that Iran suspends its nuclear enrichment program before any commencement of negotiations between the opposing parties. Further, they claim that such diplomatic overture by the U.S. would enable the latter to “test that proposition” of the Iranians, that they “seek only the peaceful use of nuclear energy and the right to nuclear technology”.

It’s almost beyond belief that Daalder and Gordon would be proud to present themselves as the enfants terrible on the stage of diplomacy and in the art of Talleyrand, as their suggestion to “test” this dissembling proposition of Iran behind which is attempting to build its nuclear arsenal, is terribly infantile and politically risible. It’s like a law officer testing a professional thief whether he has stolen the goods of a house by asking him to show him the master key that has opened the lock of the house.

As to their claim that for the last 7 ½ years there have not been any talks with Iran is completely in opposition to the facts. The Europeans, and many of them voicing the proposals of their American “ventriloquist”, have been speaking with the Iranians openly as well as sotto voce for a number of years, and putting their own, and indirectly American, proposals before them to no avail. Indeed, Daalder and Gordon concede this by saying that “all of them… [The Europeans] repeatedly presented Iran with a list of benefits Iran would receive if it suspended enrichment”.  The latest truckload of carrots were transported to Tehran by Javier Solama, European Foreign Policy Chief, few weeks ago only to be turned over and rejected by Iran’s Mullahcracy.  

 

Such advocacy rests on the assumption that the present Iranian Leadership under Ahmadinejad is a rational actor, and its participation in such negotiations would have a great chance to resolve the problems confronting the two parties in a rational manner.  But such assumption has been completely discredited by the regime’s statements of holocausting Israel and its direct support of Hesbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, two of the most irrational and fanatic groups in the region.    

 

Obama Diminished Trust of his Allies and Increased Confidence of his Enemies

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Barack Obama has been elected as president of the most powerful nation in the world that since the end of the Second World War has been the bulwark of freedom against its infernal enemies, i.e., the former Soviet Union and its allies. In the twentieth-first century Western civilization is threatened by a new implacable and irreconcilable enemy, fanatical Islam; and the USA is the only nation in the world that can defeat this foe. But president Obama has already failed both tests of “knowing thy enemy,” and as a sagacious strong respectful leader. He has weakened America both before the eyes of its friends and allies and, most dangerously, its enemies.

The nations of Eastern Europe are rapidly losing their trust toward the US that the latter will protect and defend their interests and security, since Obama’s withdrawal of the missile defence shield from Poland and Czechoslovakia and his concessions to the Russians. And the enemies of America, such as Iran and its multiple terrorist proxies are heartened and have increased their confidence that in Obama they have before them a giant eunuch who is incapable and unwilling to use force, even as a last resort, against them. Since Obama has replaced America’s superpower ‘Jupiterian’ bolt diplomacy with olive branches toward them.

The “dangerous scenarios,” of which you are concerned with, are already in their incubatory stage: a nuclear armed Iran that would start a proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region with all the great dangers that would issue from such proliferation, especially in a region that is replete with the votaries of fanatical Islam. Thus to your question what kind of advice one would give to Obama in such an impending crisis, it would be the most heavily ‘armed advice’ that would fall on his shoulders. But Obama has neither the spine nor the balls to carry such heavy advice on his morally rickety frame, and least of all bring it to fruition as a last resort. Thus any strong advice given to a congenitally weak president would be a barren exercise.

Euthanasia of the Presidency under Obama

By Con George-Kotzabasis

President Obama is placing the vibrant presidency of the most powerful nation in the world in the hands of the practitioners of euthanasia as if America were in the agony of its death throes. Cynical about America’s global political and military power; cynical about its ability to win the war against its deadly and irreconcilable enemy; cynical about its peoples’ steadfastness and determination to wage war against the fanatical hordes of Islam that threaten America’s heartland; cynical of its European allies’ resolution–under indomitable and sagacious US leadership–to fight the same war; and cynical of the capacity of the best professionally trained armed forces in the world, i.e., the American, to defeat an impromptu organized group of terrorists, who bereft of cool strategic nous in comparison to its ‘infidel’ opponents, are impulsively fighting the Great Satan and all the other little Satans of  the West  with the fanatical cry of Allahu Akbar,  President Obama has chosen, due to this inveterate cynicism and to his guileful and odious politics as we shall  see further down, most imprudently strategically and politically and sans amour propre to retreat from the battlefield, with macabre geopolitical consequences for America’s prestige as a superpower, and take cover behind a no longer fortress America.

As we predicted early in 2009, during the long gestation of the president’s ‘new strategy’ for Afghanistan which under the pretence of giving serious consideration to the request of his senior commander in Afghanistan General McChrystal to increase the troops by 40,000, he dithered his decision not however for the purpose of how to win the war but for the purpose of weighing the political costs that would accrue to him if he had accepted the advice of his general. And when finally he made his decision, he increased the troops by 30,000 while handing to his National Security team a memo setting the strict terms that this increase included the July 2011 start date for a US troop withdrawal. Hence, Obama as Commander-in-Chief, whilst his brave soldiers and astute generals were spilling their blood in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan fighting the Taliban with the aim of defeating them, all he was thinking about were the political costs that would bear upon him as a result of his apparent greater involvement in the unpopular war. So Obama’s ‘serious’ and long deliberations before he made his decision had nothing to do with a new strategy, emanating from his status as Commander-in-Chief, to defeat the Taliban but had everything to do with his status as political shyster who was only concerned about his polls.

The increase of troops by 30,000 was strategically meaningless as it had not the aim of defeating the enemy since it merely served Obama’s political rationale of not seeming to be weak on war while at the same time placating the anti-war crowd by announcing the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan. What strategist of any substance would increase his forces in the field of battle only to withdraw them without inflicting upon his enemy a mortal blow? And what kind of leader would place an increased number of his soldiers in danger and continue a war that he thinks is unwinnable when his main purpose was to withdraw them from such war, why would he have increased them in the first place if he was planning to withdraw them if not for his concealed ill-design to dupe the American people, to present himself as both a war president and a peaceful one? In reality of course, Obama is neither of these but a political Shylock who demands his pound of flesh from his troops fighting in Afghanistan in order to play his despicable politics at home so he can placate both those Americans who support the war and those who are against it.

From Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Charles Martel, to Napoleon all strategies had a clear and unique goal, to defeat the foe. Only President Obama, who as the most repulsive of political manipulators is wantonly sacrificing the interests of the nation to his own narrow political interests, is disgracefully and timorously traducing this irreversible principle of war and turning himself into a cartoonist mockery as Commander-in-Chief of a great nation.

Afghanistan during Obama’s political campaign was a “war of necessity” that was neglected by President Bush and a war that must be won. But according to Bob Woodward’s new book titled Obama’s Wars, this is no longer so. Obama is quoted as saying, “This needs to be a plan about how we are going to handed it off and get out of Afghanistan.” And the outcome of the policy review and its long deliberations was the offspring of “political considerations,” according to a State Department official. Obama himself reportedly said to Senator Lindsey Graham, “I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party” on the issue of Afghanistan. General Petraeus felt so affronted by White House demands for an exit strategy at all costs that he told his aids, “They are f…king with the wrong guy.” Another senior general said that the announcement of the withdrawal by President Obama, gave “sustenance to the Taliban.” Moreover, the policy review has engendered serious divisions within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Council, and the Defense Department and between American and Afghan officials. Jim Jones, the National Security adviser, calls the ‘bosom’ advisers of Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel variously as the “mafia” the “campaign set” and the “politburo.” And General Petraeus has dubbed Axelrod as the spin artist in residence, and I would add the spin-master who can win elections and lose wars. 

These revelations of Bob Woodward are toxic to Obama’s presidency and threaten to unleash a spate of resignations of top echelons of the Administration. In short, the presidency at this critical moment of national security and war is in a state of disarray. And no matter how he is going to re-arrange the musical chairs of his sinking presidency after losing the better performers, the future ones that will occupy them will be the worst performers that he could get. No one of sterling qualities, of the best and the brightest, will have an inkling to join an intellectually, politically, morally, and strategically bankrupt administration and be branded everlastingly with such an ignominiously failed presidency. Obama by debasing the political currency of a great nation will become the victim of Gresham’s Law. The bad and base currency of circulating officials that will bid for the positions of the Administration will drive the good and golden currency of officials out of circulation for these posts. Hence Obama’s future administration will be filled by political parvenus, professional opportunists, and Cagliostro like political impostors and all ‘playing their tunes’ under the conductors of spin. Such an outcome will seriously undermine America’s prestige and éclat as a superpower. It will momentously endanger the vital interests of the nation and its security by enticing its mortal enemies to attack it, as they see that the rudder of America in the rough seas of the world is in the hands of an incompetent and weak president. The question is whether Americans will allow this to happen and whether they will have the intelligence and courage to use all means to stop it and put an end to Obama’s Directorate of social democracy and to stop at the eleventh hour the euthanasia of the presidency.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Swarm of Jellyfish Attempt to Break the Camel’s Back of John Bolton

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A reply to: Do Arab & Muslim Lives Matter?

By Steve Clemons The Washington Note September 12, 2010

Only moral and intellectual weaklings would not accept that there is no “moral equivalence” between civilians killed by deliberate “malicious terrorist acts” and those killed by inadvertent “military action in self-defence.” Ambassador Bolton’s quote (“But it is a mistake to ascribe a moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts, the very purpose of which are to kill civilians, and the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths as a result of military action taken in self-defense.”) that Clemon dubs as a zinger and uses to make his case, is intellectually reprehensible and will haunt his conscience remorselessly to his grave. One can hardly infer from Bolton’s quote that he claims that innocent lives lost are not of equal value. It is Clemons that meretriciously and sans intellectual shame attributes such a position to Bolton.

Clemons proudly mentions his mentor Hans Baerwald on the issue of “stress.” But equally this stress applies to Clemons himself, who under the stress of intellectual debate shows his true character: Wantonly and perversely distorting the position of his opponent to make his easy point. Clearly, Clemons is too weak on the knees to hold up the heavy banner of Vergil’s tu ne cede malis.

The above emitted the following replies.

Nadine says,

Kotz, those who have imposed on themselves as a moral duty the refusal to acknowledge evil, will always yield to it, since they have convinced themselves that it does not exist.

I must read Berman’s “Flight of the Intellectuals” (I’ve only read reviews so far); he seems to have an explanation of the thinking behind this.

Don S says,

“One can hardly infer from Bolton’s quote that he claims that innocent lives lost are not of equal value. It is Clemons that meretriciously and sans intellectual shame attributes such a position to Bolton.”

Kotz, you twist the simple meaning, as does Bolton. The deeper flaw is Bolton’s attempt to insinuate the common Israeli linguistic trick, adhered to by the Bolton’s (and, truth be told, the cowardly US enabler) that all military actions undertaken by Israel are in “self defense”. Only fools and jingoists salute such stupidity. Similar in its way to those fools who justify the invasion of Iraq as self-defense — after all ‘they’ attacked us first. Not innocent? those hundreds of thousands of Iraq civilians dead as a result of the US-unleashed whirlwind?

I don’t subscribe to the ubiquitous ‘911’ excuse for endless war, by the US or its Israeli mini.

But if you want to degrade yourself intellectually, not to mention morally, be my guest.

Kotzabasis says,

DonS

Clearly your vocation in the ‘market of argument’ is to be a peddler in non sequiturs. Why are you shifting the ground of the argument, is it because your pockets are empty of all coins of counter reasoning on the issue? The question as was initially put by Clemons’s use of the Bolton quote was not whether Israel’s and America’s wars were self-defensive or not but whether there was “moral equivalence” between the deliberate and non-deliberate killing of civilians. Clemons by cheating intellectually, by speciously transforming this argument of moral equivalence into an argument of devaluation of “Muslim and Arab lives” has made himself intellectually and morally persona non grata.

The great statesman Talleyrand, eloquently and boldly said the following in the face of Napoleon, when the latter deposed the legitimate heir Ferdinand II and placed his brother Joseph on the throne of Spain, “Sire, un enfant de famille may gamble away his last farthing—the heritage of his ancestors—the dower of his mother—the portion of his sisters—and yet be courted and admired for his wit—be sought for his talents and distinction—but let him once be detected in cheating at the game, and he is lost—society is forever shut against him.” You likewise, partaking in this Napoleonesque cheating of Clemons “at the game,” have become your own “guest” as an intellectual and moral pariah.

DonS says,

Kotz; whatever.

As far as shifting ground, I guess my logical leaps were a bit too facile for you to follow. I often forget to show all my work. Make no mistake, Bolton’s sole intent in the omitted sentence was to justify Israeli action in any and every way he could. I simply highlighted the historical rhetoric up which that assertion is based.

Bolton would always prefer we watch the monkey and pretend we don’t see the organ grinder.

 
Posted by larry birnbaum, Sep 16 2010, 7:19PMLink

I see I’ve nothing, really, to add to kotzabasis’s remarks above.
There are lots of reality-based objections Clemons could make to
Bolton’s world-view. This one is so obviously specious that it
leaves no alternative but to see him as not just a partisan — there
is such a thing as an honest partisan — but a shill.

The world is seriously fucked up and lots of ill-meaning idiots gain
genuine authority. But “policy intellectuals” never gain respect and
authority this way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel Must not Renounce its Right to Defend itself

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The UN Tower of Babel talks and walks the anti-Israeli bias that has been drenched with for many years and no changed conduct on the part of Israel, other than depriving itself from its indefeasible right to defend itself, will ever change the virulent hate that many of its member nations have for Israel.

For the Netanyahu government to immerse itself in modifying the international law and making it more explicit in fighting terrorism is, as the Jerusalem Post’s columnist Caroline Glick correctly states, a misguided exercise, as any changes to the covenant will still be short of protecting any future Israeli military actions in its defence and will be condemned as aggression. Further, in the eyes of many people inimical to Israel, including disinterested ones, it will be seen as an admission on the part of the Israeli government that it broke the current international law during its incursion in Gaza. The Israeli government in the present circumstances must desist from changing the law because of the tendentious Goldstone Report of the UNHRC.