Gareth Evans Doctrine of Bonhomie in International Relations

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…

Reply to American Diehard Pacifist who is against Intervention in Libya

I’m republishing this short piece that was written at the earliest stages of the “Intervention” by NATO and the U.S. in Libya, illustrating how wrong the Liberal-Pacifists were about the outcome of the intervention that led to the collapse of the Gaddafi dictatorship.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Distortion and lack of imagination are not a good way to make your case. On your first point, where in the world has there been even a blip of demonstrable opposition to the Coalition’s intervention in Libya? On your second point, only one bereft of a modicum of imagination cannot see that despite the fact that the “goal of the coalition” is not the “defeat of the dictator,” nonetheless the implementation of the no-fly zone by the Coalition nolens volens enervates the loyalist forces and invigorates the Opposition forces with the great potential to overthrow the dictator. On your third, isn’t a fact that Gaddafi and his military personnel fled the compound which was a command and military control centre just before it was hit by a tomahawk missile? And on your fourth and last point that Obama breached the constitution and should therefore be impeached, is a fiction and should be rejected as such. You deliberately and misleadingly leave out the sentence of the War Powers Act, 1973, which is relevant to the current military engagement of the U.S. in Libya. “The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to notify (M.E.) Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days…without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.” Only at the passing of 60 days, and if he did not seek an authorized extension for the military deployment would Obama be in breach of the War Powers Act. It seems therefore to me that your ditty about Obama breaching the constitution and should be impeached, is out of tune with the reality of the situation.

You have said to me before that you are some sort of a musician playing the mandolin. It amuses me therefore to see why you switch your talent from ditties to war and strategy that are beyond the depth of a mandolin player.

Further, you will find out at your cost that the land of Australia is not only the land of the kangaroos but also the land of the boomerang that just struck you.

Defection of Gaddafi’s Foreign Minister Presages Collapse of Regime

The following short piece that was written on April 1, 2011, predicted the present collapse of the Gaddafi regime.
 
 NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril April 01, 2011

By Sean Kay The Washington Note

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

 

Sean Kay’s NATO in Libya Fraught with Peril, is politically inept and has already been overcome by events. As we had predicted, the end result of a decisive military intervention by Western powers would be to bring the collapse of the Gaddafi regime. Now the degringolade of the regime is imminent. This is clearly foreshadowed by the defection of foreign minister Moussa Koussa, a close collaborator of Gaddafi and a former director of Libyan Intelligence to boot, that sets the example for other high officials of the regime to follow.

 Who would be a better qualified person than a former director of Intelligence to read correctly the vibes and disposition of the Libyan people toward the regime, and more importantly, the latter’s inability to suppress the bouleversement against it, and hence induce Mr. Koussa, for these reasons, to abandon the doomed sinking ship of Gaddafi?