Not Caution but Decisiveness Will Win the Day

By Con George-Kotzabasis

A short reply to: Caution Needed with Libya  By Steve Clemons

The Washington Note March 18, 2011

To call for caution when one is entering the field of battle, is to show how out of depth one is in matters of war. Now that the U.S. and its European and Arab allies, with the backing of the UN, have decided and are preparing to cross swords with Gaddafi, what is needed is a resolute, clear, swift, and decisive strategy to crash the Gaddafi forces in a series of prompt and sudden attacks. However, before they do that, the U.S. and its allies should make a threatening declaration addressed to the Gaddafi loyalists and mercenaries, that if they refuse to abide to the conditions as set up by the United Nations, then they will be totally destroyed by the arms of the Coalition. As I’ve argued three weeks ago, such a threat has more than a great chance to force the Gaddafi loyalists to abandon the dictator and hence lead to the collapse of the regime without the Coalition forces firing a shot.

My strong belief is, that if the U.S. and its allies ultimately deal a coup de main with their overwhelming power to the Gaddafi loyalists in the event they persist fighting the Opposition forces, they will melt like butter under the heat of the Coalition’s ordnance.


Frolicsome Realists of The Washington Note Attack Wolfowitz

 We’re All Realists Now

By Paul Wolfowitz, Foreign Policy August 24, 2009

Failing to Note the difference When the US Power Tank is Full or Near Empty

By Steve Clemons Foreign Policy August 27, 2009

 A reply by Con George –Kotzabasis

Don Quixote with the ever present Sancho Panza at his heels was attacking windmills with his lance. Don Clemons not with the ever present Sancho Panza at his heels, Dan Kervick—but in critical moments you can count that real pals will show up—is attacking the impregnable cogitative fortress of Wolfowitz with a toy tank whilst Sancho Kervick is riding his intellectual hard working donkey at galloping speed to refill Clemons “near empty” tank so they can demolish the modestly crafted and cogent realistic argument of their bete noire Wolfowitz. It’s in the images of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza that the ‘slayers’ of the Wolf are made.

The realist Clemons, Oops, the “hybrid realist,” refuses, even at this late stage, to acknowledge that it was this far from near empty tank that defeated the insurgency in Iraq and that under the strong, resilient, and imaginative leadership of General Petraeus won the war in Mesopotamia. And by defeating Al-Qaeda in Iraq America became stronger not weaker as Clemons argues in his piece. But it will become weaker if as a result of the staggering foolishness of Obama in withdrawing US forces from the urban areas of Iraq prematurely that has led to a resurgence of bombings, which if they continue to increase could reverse the relative security of Iraq post-surge and its great potential to build democracy in the country and become a lodestar for the whole region, as both generals Petraeus and Odierno had warned the Obama administration. And for such a dire outcome the total responsibility will fall upon the “hybrid realists” or “policy realists” that according to Clemons rule the roost in Washington, and of course ultimately upon President Obama.

For a realist, of whatever ‘variability’, to argue in the aftermath of 9/11 that the war in Iraq was a Wilsonian idealistic intervention to impose American values and democracy on the country shows how out of his depth Clemons is from any kind of realism. Wolfowitz clearly states that the purpose of the war in Iraq was not to “impose” democracy by force but to “remove a threat to national and international security.” And as he says one can criticize the rights and wrongs of the war without diverting from, and changing, its purpose. Moreover on the issue of Quaddafi’s decision to give up his WMD programs Clemons contradicts his pivotal contention that America’s intervention in Iraq weakened its geopolitical power. For if that was the case and the perception why should Quaddafi need the “assurances” of a weakened America that “he could remain in power” as a trade-off for giving up his nuclear program, as Clemons states? Once again Wolfowitz is right on this point. Quaddafi relinquished his WMD programs because of ‘feared American will,” to quote Wolfowitz, because of America’s projection of power, of ‘can do’ might that spectacularly defeated both the Taliban and the elite forces of Saddam within few weeks and refuted all the prognostications of many pundits and so called realists who contended that the US could not defeat Saddam and would suffer the same fate as the Soviets in Afghanistan.  It was also this display of US will and power that induced Iran to a ‘silent’ cooperation with the United States in the suppression of the Taliban when the US invaded Afghanistan.

Dan Kervick also is out of his depth in realpolitik with his moralizing piece. He states that “we should forbear from intervening because of odious (M.E.) behaviour to us.” States don’t intervene in the internal affairs of other states because of their odious conduct, that is, on moral grounds, but only when their explicit intentions and actions threaten the vital interests of another state. And both the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq was not due to odious behaviour but to the potential and real threat these two rogue states posed to the US and the West in general.

Moreover, international laws in themselves and checks and balances cannot be the balm for the internal and external conflicts of nations, as Kervick argues, in an anarchic world without some dominant power backing these laws and checks and balances with an implicit force and its explicit use when necessary. And in our era this invidious burden and responsibility ineluctably falls on the shoulders of the United States. “Liberty and civil peace” do not fall like manna from the sky and protected by nebulous gods. They emanate from great benign states that are not squeamish to use force whenever this is necessary for their protection. Voila Amerique.

Will There Be An “Obama Effect” in Iran??

By Steve Clemons

June 11, 2009

A short reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

Steve’s two question marks promptly save him from falling and drowning into the politics of wishful thinking. The hate of the Islamic Republic against America is deeply rooted and no “mesmerizing” speech by Obama will ever change that. Even if a change from Ahmadinejad to Moussavi does occur, which in my opinion is most unlikely, as I believe the silent majority of Iran will deliver victory to Ahmadinejad, the geopolitical power lunge by Iran to become the hegemon of the region and of Islam, hence clashing with the geopolitical interests of the United States, will not be derailed, and therefore its policies will not be modified by one iota. This is why Iran will continue with its nuclear program and its consummation into a nuclear bomb.

And all those wishful thinkers who believe that Obama’s Cairo speech will have an impact will be gaping with an open mouth at a mirage.

Comparing Dick Cheney to Ahmadinejad

Iran’s Leadership Battles

By Steven Clemons Washington Note, October 16, 2007

A reply by Kotzabasis and a counter reply by Clemons to the latter’s  comparison of Cheney to Ahmadinejad in his piece to the WN ending it with the phrase ‘the “Dick Cheney of Iran”, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’.

Steve, to print this shameful quote that compares Cheney to Ahmadinejad to please the political Scarlet O’Haras who follow you, shows that you have entered a redlight district willing to prostitute your scholarly reputation for a “scarlet” coin.

Steve said,

kotzabasis — thanks for your note though your attacks on some of my posts are as robust as some of my attempts at metaphorical comparison. seriously though, i do realize that some would be taken back by the comparison of ahmadinejad and cheney. some in the u.s. government — who are friends of mine — have told me as much about their discomfort with that comparison.

How they are dramatically similar is that both have been declining in relative influence and both see political gain in the increasing tension and potential collision between iran and the u.s. to some degree, ahmadinejad and cheney are able to help each other regain some influence in their respective countries.

What fascinates and worries me is that whereas political factions fighting it out in the US administration — or even in Iran — is nothing new, what is new is that you have such weight on both sides of the equation. bob gates is battling cheney. and maybe — wings of iran’s political establishment are battling rogue elements of the al quds force and ahmadinejad.

In that sense, I think that the comparison is apt — but i recognize and ‘respect’ your alternative take.

Thanks for sparring a bit with the blog. i do enjoy reading your commentary and understanding your take on many of these issues.

all the best,

Kotzabasis said,

My dear Steve, I’m always perplexed that a noble person like you stoops at times to the ugly passions of hoi polloi. But Marcel Proust is always relevant.

My best wishes too.

steve clemonsPosted by Steve Clemons at October 22, 2007 10:28 AM