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.

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Egypt:Which Side Will the Dominoes Fall?

In view of the removal of  President Morsi by the army responding to the call of the majority of Egyptians for his ousting, 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

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.

It is Time America Realizes that it Cannot Negotiate with God

I’m republishing the following piece that was written on September 2008 in view of the continued intransigence of the Iranian theocracy not to stop its development of a nuclear bomb.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

In the latest talks between Iranian representatives and the five permanent UN Security Council (SC) members plus Germany last Saturday in Geneva, the chief negotiator of Iran reading from a written text rejected the package that was offered to Iran by Javier Solama, the special envoy of the European Union. Already less than an hour of the talks, Keyvan Imani, a member of the Iranian delegation, casted his doubt over the talks saying, “suspension- there is no chance for that,” in reference to the SC demand that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment. He also downplayed the presence of William Burns in these talks, –which the international media overplayed as being a “bend” in Bush’s diplomacy toward the Iranians in its up till now refusal to participate in any direct talks with the latter—saying that “he is just a member of the delegation.”

Meanwhile, Saeed Jalili, the chief negotiator of Iran, evading the issue of suspension and tongue in cheek indulged himself in literary allusions using a simile to describe diplomacy’s glacial motion as being like a beautiful Persian carpet that moves slowly as it is made and ending with a beautiful result. It’s beyond doubt that the six superpower delegates wouldn’t mind treading and romping on that beautiful Persian carpet, but some of them might be more concerned about the ugly things slowly but surely are clawing on that carpet, such as nuclear weapons, than its ‘aesthetic’ beautiful pattern.

The Iranian delegation also attempted to outsmart their Western and Chinese counterparts in the ‘photogenic stakes.’ They suggested a photo in which Saeed Jalili and Javier Solama will be in front shaking hands and the six superpower delegates standing behind them providing the background. The five Security Council members plus the German one gave this suggestion of the Iranians the short shrift it deserved.

It’s time for America and its allies to realize that they are dealing with an unappeasable, irreconcilable, and duplicitous enemy. Moreover an enemy who unshakably and truly believes that he is implementing the non-negotiable agenda of God. In such situation only a war premised diplomacy threatening Iran’s theocratic and military leadership with obliteration has a chance to create a fissure within the regime, at least among its more moderate elements, ousting the Mullahcracy and replacing it with a regime that would accept the demands of the international community. Only when America places its lethal armaments on the carpet of Iran with the threat that they are going to be used if the latter persists in its intransigency, will the deadlock of conventional diplomacy end. In the event that the theocratic regime continues to walk and talk the path of ‘martyrdom,’ then America and its staunch allies will have no other option but to adopt Cato’s strategy. Delenda est Carthago.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now

Diplomatic Peregrinations in the Holy Land of a Lacklustre Strategist

By Con George-Kotzabasis October 7, 2011

The “lion” appointed by President Obama to the office of Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, who purportedly is defending America and the West from deadly foes, in his latest visit to the Middle East is advising Israel, from his Olympian heights, ‘to take risks for peace.’ This advice, however, is redundant, superfluous, and otiose and Prime Minister Netanyahu has every reason to reject and oppugn such crass “displaced” advice. Israel had already taken risks in the past with no benefit accruing to it, least of all peace. It had withdrawn from Gaza and re-settled its citizens within the borders of Israel with the result that Gaza was taken over by the terrorist organization Hamas and Israel had to defend itself from a rain of rockets fired by the militants of Hamas; and it had likewise withdrawn from South Lebanon only for the latter to be taken over by the other blade of the terrorist scissors Hesbollah, that also started firing rockets against Israel forcing the latter to invade South Lebanon to protect its citizens from being killed. Israel had taken all these risks for peace. But what did it get in return, a deluge of rockets. What other risks Secretary Panetta has in mind for Israel that would bring the up till now eluding peace to the Middle East? For the Israelis to wait until Hamas and Hesbollah load the tips of their rockets with nuclear devices supplied in the near future by Iran? And what precautions and preventive measures the U.S. is taking to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

The answer to these questions lies in the further advice that the Secretary of Defence is giving to Israel. He tells it not to take “lone” action against Iran in its threat to develop nuclear weapons. Preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear arsenal, he says, is the responsibility of major nations taking concerted diplomatic action. But this is a “Looney” policy that the Secretary is recommending to the Israelis. It has been tried so many times in the past and it has failed resoundingly. The Islamist regime is not going to change course in its determination to possess nuclear weapons by a truckload of diplomatic carrots but only by an “armada” of bristling porcupines that will pierce its thick skin. Diplomacy can succeed with the Iranian regime only if it is accompanied by the explicit threat of arms.

Leon Panetta has the sinews of a lamb disguised under the skin of a lion. His peregrinating debut in the Holy Land and his attempt to bring, as the “envoy” of the also weak President Obama, Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiating table will prove to be an abject failure, like all the previous efforts of his predecessor Senator Mitchell, also appointed by Obama. As we have predicted, the Obama presidency is a circus of underperforming political tyros, both in the international and domestic arena and more and more Americans are realizing this and are becoming disenchanted with Obama’s performance. The “sprightly colt”, who won the race to the White House with overwhelming support only two and a half years ago, is presently underwhelmed and is conceding to be the underdog in the 2012 elections. (See Obama’s interview with George Stefanopoulos on the ABC.)

America Hijacked by a Lemon

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

Obama’s West Point Speech Regurgitation of his Failed Foreign Policy

By Con George-Kotzabasis

America hijacked by a Lemon!  This will be the historical caption and history’s verdict on President Obama in his foreign policy misadventures of weakness. Who could have thought that the third rate powers of Brazil and Turkey would have the chutzpah and insolence to rudely supplant and supersede U.S. diplomacy on a most grave issue of our times, i.e., the attempted acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, by their own diplomacy, if America was not perceived under Obama as being weak and disrespectful? And the West Point speech clearly showed that the President still believes that diplomacy sans ‘rattling the sabres’ remains the pivot of his foreign policy despite the fact that this policy abysmally failed to deliver on his primary goals. That is, enticing the enemies of the U.S. to take the diplomatic road and repossess, by this ‘loving diplomacy’ toward implacable foes, the prestige and respect America had prior to the so called dispossession of these attributes by his Texan predecessor.

President Obama stuck to his geopolitical ignorant denial, due to lack of imagination and political nous, does not realize that a symphony, a ‘concert of peace’ having as players other powers can only succeed and be applauded if it has a Karajan as conductor. It is this role of the indispensable conductor in the realm of geopolitics that America has lost with the ‘sitting’ of Obama in the Oval Office. However, there are dawning auspicious signs that the lemon that Americans elected as president is in the process of being squeezed out. But the danger is that by the end of this process, the United States itself might be squeezed out of its strength as the sole superpower.

Obama’s Angelic Doctrine Disarms Evil Enemies

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

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Reply to: The Mellow Doctrine by Roger Cohen

global.nytimes.com May 03, 2009

 

Roger Cohen riding his high horse as a columnist of The New York Times trots a ‘neighing’ argument that throws the rider on the paddock. He claims and infers that the new policies of President Obama in foreign affairs, which he frames in his term of The Mellow Doctrine, are holistic remedies for the wanton malicious inflicted maladies that the Bush-Cheney administration had placed upon the body politic of America that had alienated it in the minds and hearts of so many people in the world.

These policies now are spreading and reverberating across Latin America, Europe, and Asia Minor and are creating an echoing melodious sound of Europeans, Turks and Latinos–with only a slight discordant hoarse bass note coming through the nostrils of an old dog, Fidel Castro, who can smell in Obama another imperialist rat. In Strasbourg the French and Germans loved to hear the President expostulating on the new fully cooperative conduct of the U.S. with its major allies, the French seeing him as an exemplar of their own past mission civilisatrice in the sphere of diplomacy, and the Germans as a second Ich bin ein Berliner, after John F. Kennedy. In Prague, the multi-cultured Czechs were delighted to hear him say that he was “committing the United States to a world without nuclear weapons,” and his outpouring of a profusion of mea culpa of America’s past misdeeds and the arrogance of imperial powers and its leaders, who like Roosevelt and Churchill would determine the fate of peoples “sitting in the room with a brandy.” In Turkey, the most modern of Muslim nations thanks to its insightful great Soldier-Statesman Kemal Ataturk, the Turks were regaled to see Obama parading before them his own partial Muslim origins and hear him say that Muslims had been treated with “insufficient respect” in the past. And in Trinidad and Tobago, where the Fifth Summit of the Americas was held, Obama enraptured the Latinos to such a degree that even the spirited anti-American warriors Raul Castro and Hugo Chavez were won over, the latter being moved so much so that he gave as a gift to Obama a book on American imperialism and the latter reciprocating to Hugo’s generous gesture by giving him a warm handshake and a friendly touch on the shoulder.

To Cohen, all the above related events are a clear sign that “Foes…have been disarmed by Barack Obama’s no-drama diplomacy.” Obama’s “mellow doctrine…finding strength through unconventional means: acknowledgement of the limits of American power; frankness about U.S. failings; careful listening; fear reduction; adroit deployment of the wide appeal of brand Barack Hussein Obama; and jujitsu engagement.” If the above quotes are not a perfect illustration that Obama made a confession of American weakness before the ‘priesthood’ of his ‘Catholic’ enemies, then one will ever search in vain for  a definition of weakness in any dictionary. And to bring jujitsu in this bout of weakness as a saving line is like offering someone who already lies unconscious on the floor from the blows of his opponent the Japanese art of training the mind and body in unarmed combat. In this context for Cohen to mock Dick Cheney for saying that America’s enemies perceive “a weak president,” is to brand himself with his own mockery.

This confession of weakness is the ‘Eighteenth of Brumaire of Barack Hussein Obama,’ to paraphrase Karl Marx on Louis Bonaparte, an intellectual coup d’état by   the constitutional lawyer against the constitution of the political wisdom of the ages in whose preamble imprescriptibly is written that to show and admit weakness before one’s enemies is the cardinal unforgiveable political sin. As in any human contest only when a party is weakened is prepared to make concessions whereas the strong seek and drive home their victory. This applies more so to fanatically religious enemies who have an ineradicable tendency to see, due to their irrational cogitations, any conciliatory initiative of their opponents as an admission of weakness.

But the intellectual fragility of Cohen’s argument is exposed by his use of the weakest enemies of America, that is, the Castro brothers and Hugo Chavez, and surprisingly Turkey, which has not been an enemy of the U.S., to drive home the success of the conciliatory attitude of President Obama. In the case of Turkey, he claims that at the NATO meeting the Turks dropped their opposition to the nomination of Denmark’s Anders Rasmussen as the alliance’s secretary general because of “Obama’s conciliatory message to Muslims.” In contrast, the previous administration by “humiliating Muslims” filled the schools of Waziristan and Ramadi with recruits for future terror. When one asks whence this humiliation of Muslims started the unutterable answer of Cohen must be since 9/11. The undeniably harsh but necessary measures that the Bush administration took against Muslim terrorists to protect its citizens from, at the time, imponderable future attacks, were in the eyes of Cohen measures that “humiliated Muslims.” Just as well columnists of this sort are ‘unsheathing’ their pens to write their columns instead of unsheathing their paper swords to protect Americans.  

Most of all Cohen is apparently very fond of the following by President Obama. “Resistance” to set of U.S. policies “may turn out to be based on old preconceptions or ideological dogmas” of the previous administration, and “when they are cleared away …we can actually solve a problem.” So President Obama with a broom in his hand once he sweeps this ideological debris of the Bush administration he will be able to start solving the innumerable problems that America is facing. But the fact is that the United States is not countenancing these problems because of “old preconceptions or ideological dogmas,” but because of its status as the sole superpower is inevitably burdened to carry like Atlas all the world’s crises and hot spots on its back and to set up actions that are not always agreeable by the rest of the world that would have a chance to resolve these crises. And inevitably because of the multiple actions it has to take in so many complex parts of the world it cannot jump over the shadow of fallibility. The alternative, to restrict its engagement with the rest of the world because of its immense risks and possible errors of judgment, is not the raison d’être of great power. Moreover, a disengagement from the hot spots of the world would allow sinister and brutal fanatical leaders to take over countries and oppress their peoples as well as endanger the stability of the world.

The political naivety and immaturity of President Obama is encapsulated in his own terms in regard to Iran: Normal relations can be restored on the “mutual respect” of opponents. This would be forsooth the reality if your opponent considered you to be negotiating from a strong position. It would not be true if his estimate was that his opponent was negotiating from a weak position contra his own strong position. The strong can be at times kind, gracious, and helpful toward the weak but never have any respect for the weak. This is more so in the hard realm of geopolitics. The Iranian theocracy will see any diplomatic initiatives by the United States as an admittance of political feebleness by the latter and will exploit this to their advantage. And by the time when President Obama will become aware of this the Iranians will be already close to the entrance of the nuclear club. No angelic or mellow doctrine of Obama will disarm America’s implacable irreconcilable foes. Only the thunder, and as last resort the bolt of Jupiter, can defeat these deadly enemies.  

Hic Rhodus hic Salta