I’m republishing this short piece that was written on October, 2007, for the readers of this blog.
A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:
Clinton’s Statement on Kyl-Lieberman ResolutionWashington 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.
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.