The unsated gratification of nipple-fed intellectuals, like Steve Clemons and Dan Kervick, is to replace the savvy and the strong with their own brand of weakness. This has happened to UN Ambassador John Bolton and is now happening to General Stanley McChrystal. The successful general who had killed thousands of insurgents and al-Qaeda fanatics and their leader Zarkawi in Iraq by his Special Forces operations which was the major contributing factor to the success of the Surge that had turned an American defeat into an American victory, is to be swept out by the anti-war animus of all the dilettantes of strategy and military affairs for his so called insubordination to his civilian superiors.
What McChrystal has done other than, according to his aides, express his disappointment about Obama and Holbrooke, and one of his aides saying that Jim Jones, the National Security advisor, is a clown? And is it surprising that McChrystal in describing a Pentagon meeting in which among a coruscating constellation of generals of strength, tenacity, and success, Obama with his inexperience and weak character was found to be “uncomfortable and intimidated?” And why McChrystal cannot express his view about the timorous Ambassador Eikenberry, who opposed the sending of more troops to Afghanistn and who is more concerned according to McChrystal to cover “his flanks for the history books” than in winning the war and McChrystal saying about him, “Now if we fail, they can say, I told you so.”
In what way in all of the above was McChrystal in breach of his subordination to his Commander in Chief Obama? Is criticism by the military of some members of an inept and incompetent administration reason to dismiss a general who has the knowhow, tenacity, and great potential to win the war in Afghanistan as he has done in Iraq? Only goofy and malevolently biased people against the military would place criticism toward members of the administration as of primal importance over military victory.
“Absolutists on both sides need to be overcome” which Steve obviously agrees with this statement of former Secretary of State James A. Baker. This statement however ravages the truth by its direct reference of a ‘political equivalence’ between Hamas and the Netanyahu government. No Israeli government ever governed on behalf of the minority absolutist interests of the religious fanatics of Israel unlike Hamas which governs Gaza in the interests of its millenarian goals. It’s like saying that Republican governments, such as the former Bush administration, governed on behalf of the narrow interests of the religious right and not for the general interests of the United States.
If this is the quality of strategic thinking that the four eminent persons of Carter, Baker, Scowcroft, and Brzezinski, are offering to the Obama administration for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict then such advice will be a repeat performance of past failures as it rises from the lowest ebbs of their strategic ‘cogitations.’
And Steve will be found to be completely wrong if he thinks that the new turbulent situation in Iran might ‘force’ the Khatami-Ahmadinejad regime to change its policy toward its Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist surrogates. Steve in his misplaced realism does not realize that Iran will never abandon its pawns as long as it engages in its power-play in the region whose goal is domination.
One can trace a masochistic pleasure in Andrew Lebovich. He often has a craving to replace facts with fictional occurrences to his detriment, like in this case “…breakthroughs with hostile countries often occur not as a result of threats or harsh measures alone…” Present then a factual example where this has occurred, as Nadine asks.
Professor Kupchan’s proposal is a ludicrous absurdity. In this moonshine diplomacy with Iran he will be asking the latter to replace its libido dominandi to be the major power of the region and of the Muslim world with carrots, i.e., of “curbing the drug trade …which flows into Iran” and with a “new security architecture in the Persian Gulf.” Is it conceivable to him that while Iran is risking even the great possibility of being bombed either by Israel or the U.S. in its determined pursuit to acquire nuclear weapons under whose carapace will render it supremacy in the region, it will negate this strategic goal by accepting Kupchan’s carrots?