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.

Egypt: Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

In view of the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, I’m republishing the following essay that was written in February 2011, that foreshadowed and tried to prevent by a proposal of mine the fall of the country to radical Islam,  for the readers of this blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis February 08, 2011

Swallowing victory in one gulp may choke one.

Egypt, not unexpectedly for those who have read history and can to a certain extent adumbrate its future course, as one of the offsprings (Tunisia was the first one) of the rudimentary Democratic paradigm that was established in Iraq by the U.S. ‘invasion’, has a great potential of strengthening this paradigm and spreading it to the whole Arab region. The dominoes that started falling in Iraq under a democratic banner backed by the military power of the Coalition forces are now falling all over the Arab territories dominated by authoritarian and autocratic governments. The arc that expands from Tunisia to Iran and contains all other Arab countries has the prospect and promise of becoming the arc of Democracy. But Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty in physics also and equally applies to politics. For one cannot predict, especially in a revolutionary situation, and more so, when it is combined with fledgling and immature political parties that is the present political configuration in Egypt as well as of the rest of the Arab world due to the suppression of political parties by their authoritarian regimes, whether the dominoes will fall on the side of Democracy or on the side of Sharia radical Islam. This is why the outcome of the current turmoil in Egypt is of so paramount geopolitical importance. And that is why the absolute necessity of having a strong arm at the helm that will navigate the presently battered State of Egypt toward the safe port of Democracy is of the utmost importance. Contrariwise, to leave the course of these momentous events in the hands of the spontaneous and totally inexperienced leaders of the uprising against Mubarak is a recipe of irretrievable disaster. For that can bring the great possibility, if not ensure, that the dominoes in the whole Arab region will be loaded to fall on the side of the extremists of Islam. And this is why in turn for the U.S. and its allies in the war against global terror, it is of the uttermost strategic importance to use all their influence and prowess to veer Egypt toward a Democratic outcome.

One is constrained to build with the materials at hand. If the only available materials one has to build a structure in an emergency situation are bricks and mortar he will not seek and search for materials of a stronger fibre, such as steel, by which he could build a more solid structure. Presently in Egypt, the army is the material substance of ‘bricks and mortar’ by which one could build a future Democratic state. It would be extremely foolish therefore to search for a stronger substance that might just be found in civil society or among the protesters of Tahrir Square. That would be politically a wild goose chase at a time when the tectonic plates of the country are moving rapidly toward a structural change in the body politic. The army therefore is the only qualified, disciplined organization that can bring an orderly transitional change on the political landscape of the country. Moreover, the fact that it has the respect of the majority of the Egyptian people and that it has been bred and nourished on secular and nationalist principles, ensures by its politically ‘synthetic nature’ that it will not go against the wishes of the people for freedom and democracy, that it will be a bulwark against the extremists of the Muslim Brotherhood, and that it will be prepared to back the change from autocracy to democracy, if need be, with military force and thus steer the country away from entering the waters of anarchy and ‘permanent’ political instability that could push Egypt to fall into the lap of the supporters of Allahu Akbar.

The task of the army or rather its political representatives will be to find the right people endowed with political adeptness, experience, imagination, and foresight from a wide pool of political representation that would also include members of the old regime who will serve not only for their knowledge in the affairs of state but also as the strong link to the chain of the anchor that will prevent any possibility that the new political navigation of the country will go adrift. The former head of Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman will play a pivotal role in this assembly of political representation which will not exclude members of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is of vital importance however is that this new political process will not be violently discontinued from the old regime. While room will be made to ensconce the new representatives of the people to government positions, this will not happen at the expense of crowding out old government hands. The only person that will definitely be left out will be Hosni Mubarak and some of his conspicuous cronies. And Mubarak himself has already announced that neither he nor his son will be candidates in the presidential elections in September. The call of the Tahrir Square protesters to resign now has by now become an oxymoron by Mubarak’s announcement not to stand as president in the next election. Further it is fraught with danger as according to the Constitution if he resigns now elections for the presidency must be held after sixty days. That means a pot- pourri of candidates for president will come forward without the people having enough time either to evaluate their competence nor their political bona fide and might elect precipitatingly without critical experience and guidance a ‘dunce’ for president, an Alexander Kerensky in the form of Mohamed Al Baradei, that will open the passage to the Islamic Bolsheviks. To avoid this likely danger I’m proposing the following solution that in my opinion would be acceptable to all parties in this political melee.

The Vice President Omar Suleiman as representative of the armed forces, to immediately set up a committee under his chairmanship that will comprise members of the variable new and old political organizations of the country, whose task will be to appoint the members of a ‘shadow government’ whose function in turn will be to put an end to the protests that could instigate a military coup d’état , to make the relevant amendments to the constitution that will guide the country toward democracy, and to prepare it for the presidential elections in September. The members of this shadow government will be a medley of current holders of government that would include the most competent of all, Ahmed Nazif, the former prime minister, who was sacked by Mubarak as a scapegoat, and of the old and new political parties that emerged since the bouleversement against Mubarak. The executive officer of this ‘government in the wings’ will be Vice President Suleiman, who, with the delegated powers given to him by the present no more functional president Mubarak will be the real president during this interim period. Finally, the members of this shadow government will have a tacit agreement that their political parties will support candidates for president in the September elections who were selected by consensus among its members.

The ‘establishment’ of such a shadow government might be the political Archimedean point that would move Egypt out of the crisis and push it toward democracy.

Hic Rhodus hic salta

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.

Obama Doctrine of Leading from Behind Leads to the Demise of American Preponderance

History teaches that weakness is provocative. Time and again weakness has invited adventures which strength might well have deterred. Donald Rumsfeld 

By Con George-Kotzabasis

One of Obama’s advisers described oxymoronically the actions of the president in Libya as “leading from behind.” At a historic moment for the people of North Africa and the Middle East when the winds of change are sweeping away a caste of authoritarian regimes, the USA under President Obama, has chosen not to be the avant-garde promoter and backer of this change but its rearguard.

Not since Rome was saved by the cackling of the geese from a barbaric invasion has there been a great event happening as an outcome of a humdrum ‘insignificant’ action. But in Tunisia, in February 2011, a street vendor would save the Arab peoples from the rapacious and brutal clutches of a conglomeration of despotic leaders. In such graphic terms historians write about the fates of people: the catalysts of great events are often the most ordinary of people; and the abortionists and ‘stiflers’ of great events are often those who have power but who are too timorous and abhor to use it due to their  Lilliputian leadership. Hence, we see the ‘abortionist’ Obama contra Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who by self-immolating himself in protest against the officials of a corrupt regime sparked the Arab revolt. President Obama as the leader of the most powerful nation of the world that is engaged in war with a mortal enemy, as Commander-in-Chief, instead of decisively helping and making sure that the Arab revolt against their oppressors succeeds, timidly decides, on so called pragmatic grounds, not to commit the necessary resources for such strategic, grandiose, and humane goal.

Furthermore, Obama’s strategic shift to “remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer,” irrespective of conditions on the ground, which was his previous position, and not heeding and rejecting all his military commanders, from Admiral Mike Mullen to General David Petraeus, who cautioned him that an unconditional withdrawal from the country could imperil all the advantages that the Coalition had won over the Taliban with last year’s military surge, and indeed, could increase the danger to the remaining U.S. and allied forces and hence augment the number of casualties among them. President Obama, however, who presumably is deeply concerned about American lives lost in the war, totally disregarded this pre-cautionary and prudent advice coming from his top commanders and stuck doggedly to his schedule of withdrawal, which proved as some commentators said, his pulling out the troops had more to do with his prospects of being re-elected as president in 2012 than with the strategic and security interests of the United States.  The sage commentator of the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer poses the question: so why the choice of the end of summer 2012. The budget savings are trivial but the increased risk of mission failure in Afghanistan is great. The obvious answer is that domestic political considerations motivated President Obama to adopt this profoundly flawed strategy that will embolden its fanatic enemies to open new fields of battles against the U.S., and indeed attack it once again directly. Thus President Obama by disengaging from his implacable and irreconcilable foe externally he will be ‘inviting’ this sinister and deadly enemy to attack America internally.  


Afghanistan Remains Pivotal In The War Against Global Terror

The commanders on the ground aimed to consolidating the gains in southern Afghanistan and begin the major operations to secure the east, as their campaign plan had envisioned. With the announced ill-conceived withdrawal that will now be impossible. Moreover, as the outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen has warned, Obama’s decision will increase the risks to the troops and increase the chance that the mission will not succeed.

The Ivy League law professor, combined with the simplistic tasks of community organizer, who by the mere hateful animus a majority of Americans had against the Bush administration, and by association against Republicans, was pushed into the White House without anyone being genuinely concerned to scrutinize his political astuteness, mettle, experience , and ability to become  the Commander-in- Chief  in these most dangerous of times, does not comprehend the high stakes involved in a pre-mature withdrawal of U.S. forces from the battlefield of Afghanistan. He is incapable of seeing or unwilling to face the stark reality that America perforce after 9/11 put the flower of its youth in the frontlines of Afghanistan and Iraq for the purpose of defeating a dangerous and irreconcilable enemy, who would continuously threaten the security and well being of Americans until the day when he was totally disabled and beaten. Does the President seriously contemplate that by withdrawing his troops from Afghanistan, pulling them out of harm’s way, as he puts it, he will not be harming inevitably the vital geopolitical interests of the United States and the security and economic interests of its own people? Does he sincerely believe that by the cessation of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan against the Taliban and the ‘compound’ of Islamist fanatics that are concentrated in the Pak/Afghan region, he will not confronting them again in the near future in the same areas or in other Muslim countries, and indeed, within the heartland of America itself, and that like King Canute he will stop the tidal wave of fanatic terrorism from advancing to the shores of America, especially when the withdrawal will be seen by the combatants of Islam as a decisive defeat, like the Soviet’s, of  the American Satan? Does he not understand the Rumsfeldian principle that “weakness is provocative?”

No serious political thinker sees the war against Islamist extremists as a mistake or as an exercise of American expansion and domination. On the contrary, it is seen as a rational and urgent pre-emptive defensive response to the greatest threat that Western civilization will be facing in the twentieth-first century with the possible coupling of terrorists with rogue states armed with weapons of mass destruction. And by its nature, this will be a long war that cannot be shortened by Obamanesque makeshift political contrivances that will satisfy the polloi, and by attitudinal changes toward this fanatical implacable foe.  The war can only be shortened, as was shown in Iraq, only when the enemy realizes that he is confronting an unflappable determined opponent who demonstrates his willingness to use his firepower relentlessly and remorselessly against him. It is by instilling the terror of annihilation into the hearts and minds of the terrorists that one can decisively subdue them.

The politically diffident and strategically un-savvy and poll-driven Obama is incapable of carrying on his politically rickety feet the heavy weight of statesmanship on his shoulders and thus protect America and the civilized world from the future ravages that the Islamist witches are concocting against the ‘infidels’. His rearguard presidency of “leading from behind,” saps the political oak of America of all its strength and makes it defenseless against the winds that are stirred up by Allah’s holy warriors. Obama’s unwillingness to engage the Gorgon of terror and its sponsors whenever and wherever it raises its head and cut it off, makes his presidency alien to the greatest danger the world is facing while at the same time enervates America’s preponderance in world affairs.  Only the removal of this totally inept and weak president will once again strengthen the United States against this infernal foe who threatens civilized life on a universal scale; only a new president with the daring and vitality of a Perseus to cut off the Gorgon’s head will rescue the ‘unbelievers’ from being decapitated by the scimitar of fanatic Islam.

I rest on my oars:your turn now…

Liberals Scapegoating Bush/Cheney for the Failings of Obama

By Con George-Kotzabasis

All the intellectual ‘bushrangers’, to use an Australian term, a la Stephen Walt and Steve Clemons, are once again picking up their cudgels to beat Bush. After using Bush/Cheney as scarecrows to terrify Americans during their administration, they are now using them as scapegoats for the failings of Obama. Even if one accepts their distorted facts as true, that Bush/Cheney dug the country into a hole from whose “gravitational pull” Obama cannot escape, that in itself incontrovertibly proves that Obama is too weak a president since he is pulled by this force and continues to function within these ‘wrong’ and ‘disastrous’ policies of the previous administration and cannot blaze his own course.

Yet Clemons and the “brilliant” Walt continue to believe that Obama still has the mettle and sagacity to “give America another chance at restoring its global leverage and purpose.” Only die-hard fideists could look forward, after Obama’s Calvary in the midterm elections, to his god-empowered resurrection.

The Dilemma of Backing Militaristic Regimes in Tribal Muslim Countries

By Con George-Kotzabasis—A short reply to:

The subterranean world of Pakistan’s Byzantine politics

By Bruce Haigh Online Opinion Australia

It’s completely unpalatable to the hors d’oeuvres tastes of the left-leaning intelligentsia in this country and elsewhere, who are disgusted with U.S. foreign policy, to realize and acknowledge that America is involved in a long war with an invisible determined, malicious and lethal enemy fighting him on many shifting-fronts in a war without borders. Nor does it acknowledge that only America, with all its fault lines, can defeat ultimately this fanatic Islamic threat that has placed a “gestating” nuclear ticking bomb under the foundations of Western civilization. Nor does it perceive that many Western governments and their peoples do not see the holy warriors of Islam as a great threat and consider this to be America’s war–just another page of its imperialistic interests and goals—which makes it hard for the U.S. to find solid allies in this war. Moreover, this dearth of solid allies is more prominent in Muslim countries which, although they might feel threatened by al Qaeda and its multiple affiliates in the Muslim world, for religious and political reasons cannot commit themselves fully behind America. Hence, it follows that in Muslim countries there are no many horses for courses. As the diplomatic-political course is limited and only one or two horses have a chance to ‘win the race’. That is why the U.S. cannot find and back another more politically favorable horse that could win the race since no such steed presently exists and perforce is compelled to chose one from those available.

Bruce Haigh’s argument clearly implies the latter, although he loathes admitting it openly, otherwise he would have named the winning horses in contrast to the “losing” ones, according to him, of President Musharraf and the deceased Bhutto. But was the American initiative of backing Musharraf and Bhutto a losing policy? The policymakers of the Bush administration were aware–Bruce is not—that in a country such as Pakistanthe ‘military horse’ is the only force of stability. And it often has to rule the country by decree and the suspension of democratic liberties as a safety measure, otherwise the country could fall in the anarchy of tribal warfare and ultimately in the lap of the Islamic fundamentalists.      

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.    



In the beginning was the deed… ‘war’. As strife is the fate and glory of mankind, to paraphrase the illustrious philosopher Heraclitus

The following text, written on July 3, 2007, is a slightly modified reply To Colonel Dr. David Kilcullen, the Australian advisor to General David Petraeus commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, on his paper New Paradigms for 21st Century Conflict, published on June 23, 2007 in Small Wars Journal blog.

By Con George-Kotzabasis


In the sad “roll call” of the heavy casualties that your brave soldiers are sustaining as a result of the initial mistakes of the occupation, your paper is most encouraging and sanguine with its fecund and rich crop of ideas and its attempt to “split the atom” of the conduct of war in the age of godly inspired global borderless anarchic terror. As you correctly point out, all the paradigms of past wars, in an era when one is fighting a shadowy not easily identified enemy clad in civilian clothes and not less frequently in women’s, with a deadly belt around their bi-gender midriffs, and whose mode of warfare is not to fight its foes openly and directly but stealthily, are completely obsolete. This is why the “ancien regime” of war paradigms must be overthrown, since the line of their success has reached the end of its tether.

The   new regime of paradigms must have as constituent parts the art of diplomacy, political virtuosity, and military might. But its parts will not have equal value. The enemy we are engaged with is not a rational enemy, but an irrational one of whose fighting fervor and suicidal attacks emanate from his perceived special relationship with his God. Hence, he is not prone to listen to the calls of “earthly” reason, since he only listens to the calls of an “afterlife”. He cannot be pacified by diplomatic and political concessions or by economic rewards, and he will accept the latter only as a respite that will enable him to build his forces for future attacks. Nor will he be “contained” in his aggressive actions by the threat of overwhelming military force, and indeed, not even by nuclear deterrence, as a rational actor would. In such a conflict, diplomacy and politics will play an auxiliary part to the primary and vital part of the military. And in this “unholy” trinity, it will be the military that will be calling the shots. If in past, more transcendental philosophical times, the goal was for philosopher-kings to rule, in our, more down to earth and dangerous times, it will be soldier-savants in the major part that will determine the strategies and the course of war.  Political elites will have the important quest and duty of (a) bringing together a notable alliance of nations against the jihadists and the states that support them, (b) supplying their military the material and spiritual wherewithal to wage war, and in the case of America, the Commander-In-Chief by exercising his constitutional right wisely in his selection and appointment of the best commanders on the ground render to them the freedom  and the discretion to use the appropriate methods and armaments, that will defeat the enemy, as it’s the vocation of soldiers to wage and win wars not the politicians, and (c) along with the media, will have the historical responsibility to unify their people behind the great and Herculean task of their armed forces.

The primary and pivotal role that the military will have in this conflict rises from the nature and characteristics of this, unarguably, long war. First, the latter is not only global but also borderless. Strategically, it’s the ultimate absurdity when the terrorists or insurgents can find safe haven by crossing the borders of the country where they are waging war, that the nations that are engaged in war with them should continue to respect the national sovereignty of nations that allow their enemies to enter and use their own territories as safety zones and conduits of military supplies. (The strategic mistakes of the Vietnam War and the Cambodian sanctuary must not be repeated.) Those who are fighting them must pursue them over the border and destroy them. If international armed outlaws can cross the borders of sovereign nations then the lawful nations who are trying to apprehend them and punish them, have every right to cross these borders too. And the commanders on the ground will decide when to do so on the spot and expeditiously without being obstructed by the dilatoriness of political and legal deliberations. The nations that ostensibly are against terror, must sign a covenant with those nations whose armed forces are engaged in war against it, that they will allow these forces to cross their borders whenever their commanders on the ground consider this to be necessary.

Secondly, because of the simplicity in launching their lethal attacks-it takes only a “girdle” to spread havoc-this is an anarchic terror with no central command to plan its attacks. Every ordinary humdrum fanatic can find few brothers in their desire to pursue the seventy-two virgins. The Islamist fanatics like bin Laden and Zawahiri are not leaders in control of their forces, but sorcerer’s apprentices who have released the genii of terror without being able to control its actions that politically and strategically would have maximum impact. This is illustrated by many examples, the latest ones are Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon, and the terrorist group in Palestine who hold the British correspondent and who refuse to obey the orders of Hamas. And, indeed, this anarchic element of terror could be its Achilles’ heel. As strategically commanders who lose control of their troops are bound in the end to lose the war.

Of course, as you correctly point out, their leaders will use even these random actions of the terrorists in their propaganda to influence people in the West. And it might be true that their propaganda is on the winning side, but this not due to their cleverness but to the fact of the openness and transparency of democratic societies of whose political, media, and public response is so predictable. This multi-celled terror whose cells are spread in many parts of the world, both in Muslim countries and in the Muslim diaspora that has flooded the West, can only be dealt effectively by military and special forces led by their commanders on the ground improvising the best tactical responses and techniques that will cower and destroy this cellular body of terror. It’s therefore the nature and the long duration of this war that makes the paramountcy of the military the sine qua non for the defeat of this global menace.


Moreover, psychologically and strategically, it’s of the utmost necessity to transplant the fear of terror into the hearts of the terrorists themselves. As only this boomerang of terror can defeat terror. This can be accomplished, as I had suggested six years ago (This proposal was sent to the Whitehouse on November, 2001), by setting up a covert global operational plan that will enlist the best active and non-active soldiers from an international pool and deploy them as hit squads. This clandestine group of transnational condottieri will aim at the elimination of the jihadist leaders as well as the religious radical preachers, wherever they happen to reside in the East or in the West. In my opinion it’s a stupendous folly while your soldiers are fighting the insurgents and terrorists in the foreground of battle to allow your “rear” to be inundated by a proliferation of fanatic recruits that are sired in rabbit numbers in the background of the Mosques and the madrassas which continue to supply the ranks of the terrorists with new recruits in greater numbers than you can eliminate them. The unanswerable as yet question is whether the leaders of Western civilization will have the mettle and sagacity to use uncivilized methods and means to defeat this barbaric horde, whose eschatological goal is to put an end to civilized life. One must be “brutally unsentimental’ as to the use of the instruments of war, to quote Roy Jenkins from his magisterial biography of  Winston Churchill, as the latter  was in the use of poison gas in the First World War.

Finally, your concept of  “anthropology”, that sheds like a beacon its light upon the turbulent sea of terror, searching not only for the causes of this turbulence but also for the social, civil, and political unrest and repercussions upon people who breathe this terror day and night, and how the counterinsurgency should address them, is most interesting. And it’s cheering and heartening to see that your new tactics to clear and hold and isolate the insurgents from the civilian population show some positive signs in the al Anbar province. I would only couple it with its other half “anthropotheology”, since this martyr’s terror is mainly fuelled with the fire of Allahu Akbar.

I also agree entirely with our confrere in this discussion, Hawkwood.

Well done, Dr. Kilcullen

Delenda est Carthago                          

While Outside Intervention by Mercenaries in Libya Occurs U.S. Plays Fiddle about the Necessity of its Own

 By Con George-Kotzabasis

The Arab world is no longer the plaything of autocratic rulers who govern it according to their whim and fancy, but is subject to a universal will for freedom. 

A spectre haunts the White House the spectre of political dilettantism. While military intervention by mercenaries is taking place in Libya in support of the tottering regime of Muammar Gaddafi, the Obama administration is hesitating to involve itself directly in the historically momentous events of the country and tip critically the balance in favour of the insurgents. Instead, it is imbued with the predilection of Nero to play the fiddle while Rome is burning, i.e., Gaddafi starting the genocide of his own people. Libya provides not only a unique geopolitical opportunity for the U.S. to act on the side of justice and set a historic paradigm that could lead to the freedom of peoples from the autocracy of exploitative and murderous regimes in the Middle East and beyond, but doing so at the least expense of its own human and material resources.

 In circumstances when the Gaddafi regime is too weak and unable to defend itself by its own military forces and is compelled to bring in foreign mercenaries to save itself, the U.S. does not have to invade the country by its own military forces but merely provide the insurgents with “antiaircraft systems so that they can enforce a no-fly zone over their own territory,” as Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to the Bush administration, has suggested. Also, it could insert special operations teams, as it initially did in Afghanistan that defeated the Taliban within five weeks, to give guidance to the rebels and render prompt information to U.S./NATO aircraft to bomb the Gaddafi military installations and forces. And as the destruction of Libyan air-defence radars and missile batteries might be required, this could be accomplished by using missiles launched from submarines and warships. Hence American footprints on the ground would be so tiny they would be hardly visible. And yet it would be the presence of this invisible American ‘phantom’ combined with the threat of using U.S. airpower that could utterly determine the defeat of the Gaddafi loyalists and its international disorganized amateurish bands of  mercenaries, and lead, with almost mathematical precision,  to the overthrow of the murderous regime.

And as I have said in an article of mine only a few days ago, the remarkable weakness of the regime and its total inability to defend itself by its own armed forces, as a result of widespread defections both from its military and political ranks, and its last resort to employ mercenaries for its survival, makes its ever dwindling supporters highly vulnerable to psychological warfare. A declaration of U.S./NATO of a no-fly zone and a no-use of air-defences accompanied by a clear threat that in the event that these two conditions are violated by the loyalist forces of Gaddafi, then an unexpected decimating destruction would be unleashed upon those forces by the military might of the U.S. and NATO. This in itself could bring the crumbling of the regime. It could be the most sagacious and least costly involvement by the United States in efficacious regime change without firing a shot.

Voila un strategie