Neo-Conservative’s Cognitive Power Haunts Liberals and Obama

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The concept of the “Axis of Evil” had a politically pragmatic Machiavellian sense in the context of religious-riddled America, and not a metaphysical one. Religion can also be used not only as “glue” to societal values that binds people and commands them, as the French sociologist Emile Durkheim suggested, but also as glue to certain critical foreign policies that are vital to the security of a nation. Apropos the Axis of Evil in the context of global terrorism and the rogue states which support it overtly or covertly. Statesmanship does not govern in a vacuum; it has to rally its people, like Churchill did, by certain concepts that appeal to them behind its policies and strategies. Neo-conservatives as pragmatists are amoral, and have no relationship with any kind of Manichaeism, of good and evil.

Interestingly, WigWag’s first comment in The Washington Note, ironically as a past opponent and slightly diminishing opponent presently of the neocons, has loosened all the “demons” of neo-conservatism from their “caves” to come and haunt all liberals in their wishful thinking that Obama was a game-changer. From the “prince of darkness,” Richard Perle, who presciently said in 2002 that “we are all neoconservatives now,” Wolfowitz, Feith, Frum, the Kristols and the Kagans, Cheney and Bolton, have taken the centre stage of American politics by “winning the argument,” according to WigWag, and shattering the unrealistic, idealistic, nursery rhymed policies of the liberals, and especially Obama’s.

And presumably even the White House is presently neo-conservative turf as Obama himself has become their disciple, according to WigWag. But Obama is the bastard offspring of the neocons as he was conceived not by their spiritual virility but by the impotent idealistic policies of his own, which in a profligacy of ‘many nights stands’ on the domestic and international arena proved to be total failures, as the neoconservatives had predicted they would be. The clang sound of the chain of failures in health care, in climate change, in his toothless supine diplomacy in the Middle East, in his hope of changing the view of America’s enemies by practicing American values and asking for penance from those wronged from America’s past ‘sins’, have forced President Obama to semi-adopt the policies of the neocons. Being a ‘pragmatic chameleon’ he had to change his colors purely for his own political survival. Obama is no voluntary convert to neo-conservatism. He is perforce adopting and implementing some of the policies of the neoconservatives because they are the only reasonable policies in town and the only ones that can save his political scalp. It’s due to the poverty of liberal policies that Obama is ostensibly attempting to become politically a ‘nouveau riche’ from the wealthy and fecund policies of the neo-conservatives.

WigWag responded to the above as follows:

Kotzabasis, I enjoyed this comment and think you made some excellent points; especially when you characterize Obama as the “bastard offspring” of the neoconservatives.

At the risk of sounding wishy-washy, I’m not sure that it’s a question of whether I was once an opponent of the neocons or am slightly less of an opponent now.

I thought the war in Iraq was a mistake for the United States and the West. Whether it was a mistake for Iraq is an open question. Clearly the Kurds are delighted that the United States invaded and eliminated Saddam Hussein; presumably the Shia are too. The Sunni, not so much.

I think it’s hard to argue that the War in Iraq has not left the United States and all of its allies worse off than they were before the invasion…

But opponents of the neoconservatives will be making a serious mistake themselves if they think that the failures in Iraq or other errors in judgment by leading neoconservatives prove that as a philosophy neo-conservatism is wrong.

After all, the serious tactical blunders that the United States made in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia didn’t prove that containment was the wrong strategy to confront the Soviets.

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.

IRAN’S NUCLEAR LUNGE FOR POWER

SEASON’S GREETINGS
A healthy, joyous, industrious, and challenging 2008 to all readers and commentators of this blog

Political, Not Nuclear, Power Play 

 By Rami G. Khouri Newsweek PostGlobal
 

A brief reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

True realism today consists in recognizing the action of ideologies upon diplomatic-strategic conduct. Raymond Aron

Iraq under Saddam was a secular expansionist Arab power with crystal clear pretensions of becoming the dominant power in the region. With the fall of Saddam, the theocratic leadership of Iran is the “bastard” heir apparent of Saddam, aspiring like the latter, to be the dominant power not only of the region but of the whole Muslim world. And in the thinking of the mullahs, the acquisition of nuclear weapons, especially in defiance of all the major nations, including the U.S., is the penultimate step that will bring Iran to its “sultanic” empire and thus gratify completely its libido dominandi. Hence, its nuclear lunge for power is diplomatically non-negotiable.

Rami Khouri’s “Israeli-American axis” which he criticizes, is the only axis that can prevent this duplicitous and stealthy attempt of Iran, under the guise of developing solely a civilian nuclear program, to furnish itself with a  carapace of nuclear weapons. And thus crown itself as the theocratic leader of Muslims, that has the blessing of the apocalyptic twelfth imam Mahdi. It’s for this reason that if America’s geopolitically necessary bellicose diplomacy against Iran fails, then the U.S. will have no other option but to destroy Iran’s theocratic leadership by using mercilessly its strategic weapons against this irreconcilable dangerous enemy. To quote the great historian Edward Gibbon, ” a just defense…depends on the existence of danger: and the danger must be estimated by the twofold consideration of the malice and the power of our enemies”.

America, like the Republic of Rome in 216 B.C., is facing its own Battle of Cannae and its statesmen must therefore unambiguously state that–like the wise Cato the Elder in his last words to the Senate, Delenda est Carthago–Iran must be destroyed.

Your turn now…

UTOPIA BUILDERS SET UP BOUTIQUES TO SELL SHODDY PRODUCT

A retort to Dr Peter McMahon’sGlobal neo-imperial Fantasies Come Unstuck”.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

The utopia builders, a la McMahon, have set up their boutiques in the global market to sell their shoddy product. After the collapse of the historically misplaced Communist utopia, with its Gulag Archipelagos and Killing Fields, the Left’s sorcerers apprentices are now concocting their new mantric utopia of “global governance”, to take the place of the displaced one. Two fundamental contradictions haunt your argument, and ultimately bury the phantoms of the ne-cons and of neo-imperialism that you raised in your piece. You state that “in the 1970’s a new global system was emerging”. Your phantoms however, the neo-cons, were only in power in 2000. By this time the system was already robust and on its course. The neo-cons were not fabricating a new version of it, as you claim, but were merely its new “managers”. And in the aftermath of 9/11, they were also trying to protect it. That was the reason why they went to war, not oil.

The second fundamental flaw in your argument is, that while you claim that “human experiences are too diverse to bend to the logic of one homogeneous society… Or one global market”, your panacea for the ills of “global neo-imperialism” is “global-scale governance”. At the same time you concede that such “governance” will have “to bend to the logic of…One global market”. But how will you put in place such governance upon such “diverse” non-homogeneous societies? Didn’t the recent failure of the EU to unite in reference to the amendments of its constitution, which is, moreover, culturally homogeneous, teach you anything?

Your remedy of “global-scale governance”, is intellectually unhinged and cannot be taken seriously. All you accomplish with your piece is to replace the “phantoms” of the neo-cons with your greater phantom of universal governance. By such intellectual credentials, Plato would never allow you to enter his Academy.