Is Clemons Serious a Muslim President in Our Times?

By Con George-Kotzabasis

And at the end a reply by Steve Clemons of the Washington Note

 If Obama  has a Muslim advisor and America has a Muslim Ambassador to the UN then the corollary to this is, if Clemons follows his logic rigorously, that America whilst is engaged in a mortal fight with Islamist extremists in a long war, could also have a moderate Muslim, like Zalmay Khalilzad, as president.

Is Clemons, as the impresario of the liberal left, staging a burlesque comedy of American politics, hoping the hopeless, that it will have box office success in the present circumstances? (Read the November elections.) But I guess it’s a great virtue and “knightly” intellectual bravery to be optimistic in the most pessimistic circumstances.

Dear Kotzabasis — In this presidential race, we have had competing the first viable female candidate, the first African-American candidate, and the oldest to ever to run as his party’s nominee — This is historic. Yes, if we had a Muslim president, a gay president, an Asian-American president, a Jewish president, a Hispanic president — in our future….America would be well off I think if the person in question could prevail over the challenges of the day.

Thanks much for your attention, which is always dramatic, and appreciated.

best, steve clemons

vvvvvvvv

Merry Go Round Discussion with Two American Liberals Whether the War is Being Won

Kotzabasis says…

How clever of professor Krugman and New York Times columnist to use his “Four legs good, two legs bad” drill to open a hole to the old debate about the levity of the decision of the Iraq war encapsulated in his “They attacked us, and we are going to strike back.” After failing in all his prognostications about the unwinnable war and showering for years with mockery and disparagement the proponents and supporters of the war, now that the war is being won and Iraq makes its first strides toward democracy –with its corollary that history might after all crown the neocons with the laurels of victory-all he finds to fill the holes of his rotationally fallacious argument is to revive the old squib of the non-connection of Saddam with Osama and hence the conspiratorial origin of the war.

Although there was ample evidence, as provided by the NIE report, of such connection between the intelligent services of Saddam and agents of Osama, the Bush administration after the 9/11 attack was more concerned that this rudimentary connection might take in the near future a gargantuan form that would gravely threaten the strategic interests of the US and indeed, its own land and its people. No astute and responsible government could disregard such a potential threat and not take the defensive-offensive measures to negate it. It was in such a context that the decision to go to war was taken. As well as on the further reason that it’s always more prudent to defeat an irreconcilable and implacable enemy while he is still weak, which is an irreversible canon of war.

Lafaytte says…

Saddam disliked Osama, see
here, a minor fact that seems to escape you.
Saddam could not abide Osama’s Saudi Salafist tendencies which for the larger part of Sunni Muslims outside of Saudi Arabia, was far too fundamental. Which is why, when Osama proffered troops in the war (1980-88) against their supposed common enemy (the Iranian Shiites), Saddam refused. And he was not such a fool as to partner with the man responsible for 9/11 later on.

Of course, such subtleties are beyond people who view the world only through the prism of Judeo-Christian religious history. In fact, these subtleties are at the very heart of the modern Muslim world.

But, subtlety is not the forte of this lead-headed administration, which is why Uncle Sam finds himself in very deep sneakers in the Middle East, embroiled in a war he cannot win and only loose with grace.

Kotzabasis says…

Of course Saddam was a secular leader. And indeed, he might have “disliked” and not “trusted’ fanatics. But the game of power politics, which Saddam played as a virtuoso in the Arab world, is not propelled by likes and dislikes. And talking of subtleties, Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and use them for his own geopolitical goals. It’s this subtlety that escapes you. And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others, such as “this lead-headed administration”, as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.

Lafaytte says…

Once again you are showing your ignorance of Muslim mentality and its subtlety. You wouldn’t be the Ultimate Crusader perchance?

You justified the invasion of Iraq based upon a false argument – an improbable relationship between Hussein and bin Laden. We’ve been through this huckstering nonsense before. Why, on earth, bring it up again?

War in Iraq is indeed good for American business. I do hope you’ve invested your son in it.
Saddam could see the ascendancy of Osama’s fanatics in the Muslim world and wanted to have contact with them not because of a predilection of amity toward them but because he wanted to control them and USE them for his own geopolitical goals.

What is this you’re submission for a James Bond film?

It’s hallucinatory nonsense. Saddam simply wanted to maintain Sunni control over a country that was largely populated by Shiites (who outnumber the Sunnis by 3 to 1).

“And it would be wise for someone who lives in a glass house not to throw stones at others … as it’s obvious that subtlety is not your forte either.”

Yeah, right. I live in a glass house. Now you are actually getting funny. In fact hilarious.

Bruce Wilder says…

Kotzabasis: “I’m using the metrics of incontrovertible reality: Reduction of violence, the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, the defeat and disarming of the Mahdi militia, and the first strides of Iraq toward democracy . . . “

I think you are confusing the Right-wing Noise Machine’s continuing kabuki play version of the Iraq War with a reality, with which you are too little acquainted.

“Reduction in violence”, I guess, is the new peace, like pink is the new black — hopefully a short-lived fashion. You have scarcely any idea what the Mahdi Militia is, let alone why the U.S. should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.
Al Qaeda in Iraq?? “Defeating” Al Qaeda in Iraq is swatting a swarm of specially imported may flies with a $3 trillion sledge hammer, which we financed by borrowing from China — not the kind of pointless, extravagant and unnecessary victory any sane person would celebrate.

Kotzabasis says…

Bruce-Starting from the end of your post, victory over a mortal foe is priceless and only the historically fatuous would not celebrate. The “Mahdi Militia” being the major combative militia against the coalition forces and you say that “the US should be the least bit interested in its vicissitudes.” In what kind of strategic cuckoo land are you domiciled?

But two words of your post provide the key to the secrets of your heart, “hopefully” and “unnecessary.”

By ‘discolouring’ the “reduction of violence” by your intellectually invented colours or rather by ‘defining’ it, “like pink is the new black—hopefully (m.e.) a short-lived fashion,” you show pellucidly that your hope lies in a future increase of violence against the Iraqi people and the coalition forces, so you can justify your original misplaced antiwar stand and gratify as well your fervent anti-Bush emotions. And your unnecessary victory over a deadly irreconcilable enemy reveals your historical blindness and ignorance as well as your bereftness of foresight.

Lastly, ironically by your own ‘unborrowed’ sledge hammer you knock yourself off your pedestal of “institutional ethical injunctions” as an outcome of your ‘secret’ wish to see the US defeated in this war, which as a nation is the foundation of your institutional moral existence, according to your own philosophical standards. This is intellectual, spiritual, and ethical suicide at its best.

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World Affairs Guru Picks Up Liberal Bastinado to Beat U.S.A.

A reply by Con George-Kotzabasis to:
 
Mahbubani Responds: Western Intellectual and Moral Cowardice on Israel/Palestine is Stunning

Washington Note, May 29, 2008

Professor Kishore Mahbubani of the National University of Singapore argues, with his impeccable credentials as an expert in international affairs, of a dawning shift of economic and political power from the round-eyed transnational continents of the West to the slant-eyed continent of the East. And in the eyes of Mahbubani it seems that the U.S. after reaching the peak of power and dominance in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries will inevitably fall from the top branch of the tree of power (like Newton’s apple?) pulled by the gravitational force of Asia. Therefore “America should prepare well for a post-American world order”. 

This pending decline of the West and of America is not mainly based on economics that western bears compete with Asian tigers on the global market, but primarily on politics and on the art of political leadership. Although Mahbubani gracefully acknowledges and applauds “the liberal international order which has benefited humanity”, which was the creation of the West and the American hegemon, he claims that presently “Western geopolitical incompetence poses the biggest threats to our international order”. He pinpoints four areas where this incompetence is blatantly demonstrated. The blunders of the war in Iraq and its concatenation to Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo bay, the Israel/Palestinian conflict,  the dialogue between the West and the Rest, and global warming. All the four issues of course are the same that the liberal intelligentsia is using to condemn and chastise the Bush administration. Hence Mahbubani by picking up the liberal bastinado to beat the U.S.A. shows himself to be vacuous of any originality in his analysis, since all he does is to replicate and regurgitate the animadversions of the international coterie of liberals who like Charon, are preparing to transport the Bush administration and its Republican successors to Hades. Lastly, he blames and rebukes the U.S. for lacking the will and astuteness in its exercise of global  “governing”  to avail itself the inherent “benign characteristics” of power. Thus implying that in its political engagement with the rest of the world the U.S. is far from being a benign superpower.

The imprescriptible rule in power politics is that there are no benign characteristics in the implementation of power but only pragmatic ones. This is especially so when a nation in its greatness, such as the U.S., is burdened with the historical responsibility to tilt the balance of the world toward peace and to be the supreme arbiter between other belligerent and warring nations. In such a complex context while it’s possible for the U.S. to be benign in its relations with other nations some of the time, it’s impossible of being so all the time. The mere scale of its responsibilities and of having so many balls in the air, forces it to make its judgments on pragmatic grounds and to the highest degree possible with the precision of a juggler that dexterously keeps all balls in the air without letting any of them crashing with each another. And in this magnitude of the scale of its operations it’s inevitable that the U.S. is bound to commit mistakes, especially in the “fog of war” as it has happened lately in Iraq. But the greatness of a nation lies not that it doesn’t make mistakes in its exercise of political, economic, and military power, but in its ability to promptly acknowledge and correct its mistakes, as the U.S. has presently done with the implementation of the new strategy in Iraq that has critically changed the course of the war and which is leading to an American victory.

It’s an easy call for Professor Mahbubani to make his strictures against America ex cathedra without being directly involved in the quotidian, complex, intricate affairs of the world as the U.S. is as the sole superpower. In such involvement there are no magic or scientific prescriptions that can remedy the maladies of the world. There are no precise scientific instruments that can neither timely diagnose the ills of the world nor provide the instant remedies that can cure them. This is the reason why often in world conflicts the “surgeon” is the major domo. Only his dexterous handling of the knife can prevent a situation from getting worse. The Serbian-Bosnian conflict was a clear example. Conversely, the lack of political resolve to use a surgical strike against the Hutu regime in Rwanda led to the genocide of the Tutsis, as it’s also presently happening in Darfur.  But while no surgery is infallible, surgical strikes are unavoidable when a nation confronts an irreconcilable implacable foe. Israel has demonstrated this both in its attack on Iraq’s nuclear plant and on Syria’s incipient one, lately. And an impending attack either by America or Israel on Iran’s nuclear plant might be the next one.

Mahbubani completely ignores this narrative of the complexity and intractability of global conflicts and the often insuperable difficulties that a nation that tries to resolve them finds itself in. To him it’s the incompetence of the U.S. leadership that cannot resolve these problems, and, indeed, due to this incompetence exacerbates them and threatens the stability of the international order. He accuses the West, and by implication the U.S., of “stunning intellectual and moral cowardice” on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and of standing aloof from the “collective punishment” (Me.) of the people of Gaza. Without giving a tad of consideration first that this collective punishment is a result of the intransigency and deadly bellicosity of Hamas, and secondly, in not acknowledging that next to the genocidal punishment of the people of Israel the collective punishment of the Palestinians, even if Israel was to be blamed for, is infinitesimal. Notwithstanding this great threat posed to Israel, Mahbubani claims only the plight of the Palestinian people is the “litmus test” for the West and America.

Further Mahbubani casting himself in the role of “Theodicy”, condemns America for its double standards, for its evilness of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Like a bronze statue impervious and unaffected by the ravages of the weather, Mahbubani is impervious to the ravages of war. He does not recognize that war being the greatest atrocities of all inevitably atrocities of all kinds follow its trail. Even most of its civilized and disciplined combatants will yield to the ugly rules of war—no war can be fought clinically–especially in this case fighting an invisible enemy clad in civilian and often in women’s clothes and who can be identified only at the instance of their terrorist actions. Moreover the religious fanaticism of this “apocalyptic” enemy who believes he follows the orders of his God makes him impervious to any reasonable persuasion that would extract from him information that could save thousands of lives. In such an existential struggle it’s inexorable that human rights and values are secondary and are replaced by human existential rights and values. There are no absolute human rights and the latter are always relative to a particular situation. In the sinking of the Titanic the human rights of men were secondary to the human rights of women and children. Throughout history the values and laws of mankind have a concrete existence and not an abstract one. Their abstract existence is for philosophers but not for philosopher-kings.

Professor Mahbubani by picking the liberal bastinado to beat the U.S. shows himself to be just a follower and an aficionado of the dernier cri, the fads of the global liberal intelligentsia. And he cannot usurp least of all take up legitimately by the power of his intellect and imagination the position of a philosopher-king. He is just a pharisaic sophist superciliously weaving his thesis on the decline of the U.S.A. and its replacement by Asia.

I rest on my oars: Your turn now.