Gareth Evan’s Doctrine of Bonhomie in International Affairs

By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 24, 2012

Gareth Evans the former minister of Foreign Affairs and presently Chancellor of the National University in Canberra, in an article published in The Australian, on December 26, 2011, under the title Peaceful Way in a World of Grey, argues that a confrontational approach is rarely the best means of tackling serious issues. He contends “that Manichaean good vs evil typecasting, to which George W. Bush and Tony Blair were famously prone…carries two big risks for international policymakers.” The first risk is that such thinking restricts the options of dealing optimally “with those who are cast as irredeemably evil,” and the second is by seen the world By Con George-Kotzabasis—January 24, 2012

Gareth Evans the former minister of Foreign Affairs and presently Chancellor of the National University in Canberra, in an article published in The Australian, on December 26, 2011, under the title Peaceful Way in a World of Grey, argues that a confrontational approach is rarely the best means of tackling serious issues. He contends “that Manichaean good vs evil typecasting, to which George W. Bush and Tony Blair were famously prone…carries two big risks for international policymakers.” The first risk is that such thinking restricts the options of dealing optimally “with those who are cast as irredeemably evil,” and the second is by seen the world in “black-and-white terms” engenders “greater public cynicism, thereby making ideals-based policymaking even harder.” To strengthen these two points he uses the “debacle,” according to him, “of the US-led invasion of Iraq…should have taught us the peril of talking only through the barrel of a gun to those whose behaviour disgusts us” (M.E.), while conceding that “sometimes threats to civilian population will be so acute as to make coercive military intervention the only option, ( M.E.) as with Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.” Conversely, as a non-confrontational smart benign diplomacy he uses his own negotiations “with the genocidal butchers of the Khmer Rouse,” that were “acutely troubling, personally and politically, for those of us involved,” but which “secured a lasting peace in Cambodia.” He caps his argument by saying that one must see the world beyond the “two dimensions, economic and geostrategic,” and add a third: “every country’s interest in being, and being seen to be, a good international citizen.” (M.E.)

This is not Fukyama’s The End of History but the re-writing of history, and distorting it to boot, on a grand scale. Evans by a divinely made eraser rubs out all evil from the pages of history. But let us respond to his points in sequence. It is obviously true that for a policymaker to see the world in black-and-white terms would be utterly wrong. But likewise, to see the world solely in grey colours without the colour of blackness casting its evil shadow in most human affairs is to paint the world in the colours of wishful thinking. The task of statesmanship is to see the world not with the eyes of the ‘good citizen’ but with the piercing eyes of the political scientist who perceives the nucleus of evil that potentially exists in all human action motivated by ideology or extra mundane religious beliefs. It is to identify and separate the irreconcilable from the inconsolable enemy and act commensurably to the dangers issuing from these two substantially different foes.

The attacks on 9/11 were not the attacks of “good international citizens” but of evil ones driven by eschatological divinely directed goals. Bush and Blair promptly and insightfully recognized that they were facing a deadly irreconcilable enemy that could not be mollified by any ‘benevolent’ actions they could take toward him—they were already depicted by this foe as “Great Satans”—but had to be completely defeated in the battlefield. Further, astute strategy would not allow such an irreconcilable foe to become stronger but to defeat him while he was still weak and hence at less expense in human loses and materiel. The invasion of Iraq had this aim, to prevent the nexus of fanatic terrorists with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and nuclear ones supplied deliberately or inadvertently by rogue states rigidly belligerent against America and generally the West. In the aftermath of 9/11 no statesman could underestimate the possibility of such a great threat consummated by nuclear weapons that would annihilate their people. As the success of one such attack against a western metropolis would be the ultimate incentive for Alahu Akbar terrorists to become serial users of WMD and nuclear ones against the West and its Great Satan America. And this can be illustrated comparatively and plainly by the success of the first car bomb that brought in its wake a succession of innumerable car bombs used by the terrorists against their enemies.

Indubitably, the invasion of Iraq would have been a “debacle,” due to serious tactical errors American strategists committed during the initial stages of the occupation, such as the disbanding of the Iraqi army that fuelled the yet to come insurgency, if it was not for the Surge that under the savvy new strategy implemented by General Petraeus, had not turned a potential defeat into real victory. A victory, moreover, that planted the seeds of democracy in Iraq and by establishing a nascent democratic state there soon became the catalyst that disseminated the ethos of freedom and democracy among the masses in the region and the great potential this entails for all the countries in captivity to brutal and authoritarian regimes. And one must bear in mind that the Arab Spring is the legitimate offspring of the American gate crashing of the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein and the transplanting of democracy in Iraq made in the U.S. However, one must not be unaware of the great dangers that could lie in wait in this transformation of democracy among those countries whose peoples in considerable numbers are imbued with the religious fervour of Islam, that Islamists, like Hamas in Gaza, could attain political power through the ballot box. And developments in Egypt after the fall of President Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood and extreme Salafists gaining a majority of seats in Parliament at last week’s election, are not encouraging for those sections of Egyptian society that believe in individual freedom and democracy.

There is, moreover, a fundamental inconsistency in Gareth Evans’s argument when he supports military intervention in the case when civilians are killed or threatened to be killed by an authoritarian regime, like Muammar Gaddafi’s, but not when civilians are killed and are threatened to be killed in their hundreds of thousands in the future by fanatic Islamists as it happened in New York and Washington. Lastly, his mentioning of Cambodia and the negotiations with the Khmer Rouse, in which he was directly involved, that brought a “secured a lasting peace” with the backing of “good old-fashioned containment and deterrence,” as a triumph of reason over bellicosity, he overlooks the fact that the Pol Pot regime by the time of the negotiations was already removed from power as a result of being defeated by Vietnam militarily in 1979, and existing as a weak resistance movement in West Cambodia.

It is by such a collage of diplomatic misapprehensions and awkward inconsistencies that the former minister of foreign affairs attempts to breathe life into his narrative of “a good international citizen” and the “cause of human decency” and insert it into the maelstrom of human conflicts often ensuing from Caesaro-Papist sinister ideologies. The doctrine of bonhomie in international relations can only be indulged over a café latte.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…
 

Antonis Samaras the Phoenix of the Greek Renaissance

By Con George-Kotzabasis 

With the advent of the Pasok socialist government in Greece with its profligacy of over spending against its revenue for nearly thirty years, and the enforced imitation of conservative governments to do the same, due to the spoliation of the populace by this lavish over spending, so they too would have a chance to be elected, the present crisis, which is the result of those economically irresponsible policies, has given rise to a Greek Statesman of Periclean dimensions, Antonis Samaras. Only under his politically and morally strong and sagacious leadership will the phoenix of the ‘Renaissance’ of Greece will rise from its present economic ‘ashes.’

Abandoning the Field of Battle for Diplomacy is to Admit Defeat

I’m republishing the following for the readers of  this blog.

The Smart Way Out of a Foolish War

By Zbigniew Brzezinski  Washington Post, March 30, 2008

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

This is old fogy strategic thinking on the part of a former National Security advisor. For any nation that is already fighting its enemy by means of military operations to abandon the latter and open instead the door of negotiations and diplomacy, as Brzezinski proposes, is to admit defeat, as one would have to negotiate now with a more emboldened and confident enemy from a position of weakness. In such conditions of military “surrendering”, especially to a religiously inspired fanatic enemy, it would be utterly foolish to consider and believe that such a nation, in this case America, could achieve any of its initial goals through diplomacy, other than its conditions of “surrender”, is to make a mockery of the art of Talleyrand

And to accuse McCaine that he proposes for Iraq 100 years of war “until victory”, is a blatant and shameful lie and stains indelibly the intellectual integrity of Brzezinski.

 

How U.S. Strategists Missed Opportunity to nip in the bud Insurgency in Iraq

By Con George-Kotzabasis 
 
 The following was written on August 23, 2003 and is an extract from my book, Unveiling The War Against Terror, published in Melbourne on May 9, 2004. under the title How to Legitimize the Interim Government in Iraq and How to Trap Terrorists. It’s republished here for the purpose of higlighting the serious errors committed by the Bush administration in the initial stages of the occupation of Iraq. But despite these errors I was unshakable in my belief that the U.S. would defeat the insurgents as presently is happening under the generalship of Petraeus.

As events have shown, the Americans implemented at the beginning of 2004 two of the proposals below–though not quick enough and not in the form I suggested in regards to the second, i.e., the formation of an elite National Guard–(a) the establishment of the Interim Government and (b) the arming of Iraqis. But to my surprise and chagrin, they did not implement the core of my plan, i.e., to make Iraqis the owners of oil (They did this too late, under Article 108 of the Constitution of Iraq, voted by Iraqis in 2005, “Oil and gas are the ownership of all the people of Iraq in all regions”, without however making them direct equity holders and paying them dividends in advance, as I had suggested), that in my opinion if they had done so (a) would have prevented the insurgency and (b) would have captured or killed the foreign jihadists.

Paradoxically, it could be Iraq, allied with the American Coalition Forces, that would be instrumental to the defeat of global Islamist terror. By the capture or killing of a substantial number of Jihadists who, at the end of the major combat operations against Saddam Hussein, were able to infiltrate into Iraq, with the aim to fight and destroy the American infidel occupier, with the help of local remnants of Saddam’s supporters and Islamist fundamentalists. It’s for this reason of the utmost importance, that the Coalition Forces do not prevent the infiltration of terrorists into Iraq, from neighbor muslim countries, as the distinguished war historian John Keegan suggests in one of his recent articles, but, on the contrary, facilitate their entry into the country and trap them.

The set up of this trap will be accomplished by two imaginative strategic moves, as will be explained below, with which the American led-coalition in alliance with the future Interim Government of Iraq and its military forces, would achieve its three major political and military objectives. First, the formation of a legitimate democratic government in Iraq. Secondly, the substantial defeat of global terrorism. And thirdly, the quick withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq. Hence, the Bush administration at one fell swoop would succeed in keeping the promises it made to the American people and to the world at large, about the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, and about the war against global terror.

The two-pronged stratagem will involve the following: The first one will entail the hastening of the formation of an Interim Government ( IG ) in Iraq by its present Governing Council. At its formation, the IG will make the following historical announcement to the Iraqi people. That the latter will be equity holders in the major wealth of the country, i.e., its oil production. Each Iraqi household will be a recipient of an annual dividend from the profits of oil. That this is not a promise for the future but a real offer, will be exemplified by the immediate payment of the dividend to each Iraqi household, whose amount will be assessed from the flow of oil profits issuing from future sales. This advanced payment will be funded either by a newly-established financial institution of the UN, or of the IMF or the World Bank.

The equity of the Iraqi people in the major resource of the country will effectively demonstrate the bona fides of the IG to Iraqis, and will immediately confer unassailable legitimacy to it. It will blot out all internal initial opposition to the IG as being a quisling governing body of the Americans, as well as take the wind off the sails of all the jaded “unembedded” commentators, who claim that the US invaded Iraq for its oil. In the same announcement, the IG will inform the Iraqi people of the formation of an elite National Guard, whose objective, among others, will be the safeguarding and protection of this national property of the people from any incendiary acts of sabotage against its producing facilities perpetrated by either external or internal enemies of Iraq.

The Americans will have nothing to fear from the formation of the National Guard. As the latter will be mainly enlisted from former members of the Republican Guard, who were nurtured on secular principles, and whose loyalty to Saddam arose only from the fact of their elite status given to them by the latter. Moreover, the members of this elite overwhelmingly have enormous respect of American military power, and of the personnel manning that power. Therefore, as an elite corps, they will be proud to serve as equals with their American counterparts, in defense of Iraq’s national interests.

The second prong of the stratagem will be a proclamation made by the IG to the Iraqi people ( And this act will sound the clap of the trap that will catch the Jihadist terrorists en masse. The proclamation will be made in the following terms: That any one who harbors, aids, and supports Iraqi and foreign guerrillas will be considered to be an enemy of the State and of the Iraqi people. And will be dealt with the ultimate punishment, as that to be meted out to the terrorist guerrillas. At the same time, the IG will issue an order, not only to the National Guard and the adjunct security forces of the country, but, also, to its Coalition allies in Iraq, to commence a relentless punitive campaign against the guerrillas and those who harbor and support them, and pluck them out of the soil of Iraq, root and branch. This order of the IG will bestow legality to the actions of the American led-coalition already taken against urban guerrillas, as they will be seen by Iraqis to have the imprimatur of their Government. Furthermore, that the American Command Centre and its ground forces will be abiding to, and executing, this order of the Iraqi Government, will have a tremendous psychological impact upon the Iraqi people. Because of the primary status that pride has in Arab culture, this will be a proud moment for all Iraqis.

This order of the IG, will accomplish two strategic tasks. First, it will make a strong impression on the Iraqi people, that the American led-coalition are not an occupier of their country, but a defender of their interests. Secondly, and more importantly, the fear that will instil on people in Iraq who aid and support guerrillas ( this time fear will be on the side of a good cause, unlike Saddam’s fear ), that they will be treated as traitors and hence punished accordingly, will induce them to stop sheltering the guerrillas and abandon them. Once the terrorists are abandoned, by their current and would-be supporters, they will be consigned to the “furies” of their fate. As they will be forced to operate “in no man’s land” , where they would be easily captured or killed by the National Guard and the Coalition forces.

This trap sprang on the Jihadist terrorists will be a devastating blow on global terrorism. It will demoralize active and would-be terrorists on such an immence scale with the outcome of drying up the well from which fundmentalist mullahs get their deadly recruits. And providing these mullahs are severely dealt with by the Coalition against global terror, wherever they happen to be, in the East or in the West, the black veil of death will enshroud the heads of terror. The Bush administration’s total war against global terror, not only will be justified, but it will also be a glorious total victory against it, morally, politically, and historically.

The above is an extract from my book Unveiling The War Against Terror written on August 23, 2003. My proposal was sent to the WhiteHouse on the same date.

The Danger of Tyros Handling War Strategy

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:
Clinton’s Statement on Kyl-Lieberman Resolution Washington Note, September 30, 2007
Like the two eminent commentators of the New York Times Paul Krugman and Frank Rich, respectable in their own professions as an economist and art critic respectably, and a bevy of politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, not so respectable because of their populist stunt, all of them being novices par excellence in the affairs of war who have attempted to pass judgment on the war in Iraq and cashier its victory despite evidence to the contrary, we now have another “tired less” tyro joining them in war strategy. The scholar and blogger Steven Clemons of the Washington Note. Clemons indirectly rebukes Senator Clinton for her support and vote of the Kyl-Lieberman resolution that designates the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, fearing that this will allow Bush to manipulate this resolution and use it to attack Iran.
He calls therefore on Senator Clinton to exercise “leadership in passing an explicit Senate resolution forbidding Bush from taking action against Iran without clear advice and consent from Congress”. But such action is not a declaration of war against Iran needing the authorization of Congress. It’s a strategic force de frappe on the part of the US against Iran in which the elements of secrecy and surprise are pivotal and decisive in the success of such an attack. Therefore Clemons’ call is strategically oxymoronic.
Your opinion on this issue…