Posted tagged ‘american’

Reply to American that to Miss Opportunity for Rapprochement with Iran will Have Big Consequences

October 11, 2013

By Con George-Kotzabasis

It will have even bigger consequences if it succeeds by wishful thinking.  Rapprochement in itself is meaningless unless there is clear and unambiguous understanding and agreement between the parties about the conditions of such rapprochement. It would be a mistake to deduce from the rhetorically conciliatory statements of President Rouhani that Iran has abandoned its desire to acquire nuclear weapons. And to differentiate himself from the holocaustian statements of his predecessor, Ahmadinejad, is hardly an indication that the new regime is repudiating its clandestine goal to develop a nuclear weapon. Only if Rouhani allows open and rigorous inspections in all areas of Iran where Western intelligence cogently suspects the secret development of a nuclear weapon will the experts be convinced that Iran has changed tack in regard to its nuclear arsenal.

It is more probable, because Rouhani perceives a weak president in the United States, he will be exploiting that weakness to achieve Iran’s historic and Islamic aim to enter the nuclear club by persuading Obama about the peaceful purpose of Iran’s nuclear build-up. Rouhani is aware that Obama needs and desires a suspension of tensions so he will have the excuse to take all options off the table and thus as an incompetent and effete president tranquilize himself by false hopes. And Rouhani and his advisors know, that this détente can be achieved on promissory notes that will never be cashed. Thus by providing Obama the confidence that he can come to a reasonable agreement with Iran, Rouhani achieves two diplomatic goals. (1) He defers USA action from resolving speedily and decisively the issue of nuclear weapons by creating the euphoria that this matter can be resolved by prolonged negotiations, a dilatoriness that Obama is most happy to accept as he desires to push the hard options, if they are needed, in the future ahead with the hope that they will never be used, and which also suits Rouhani perfectly as it will give Iran more time to achieve its strategic goal to build the bomb. And (2) weakening Israel’s resolve to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear installations, if other Western states are found to be wanting in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear armaments, by isolating Israel from its major ally, the USA, and from other Western nations, and thus making it more difficult for Israel to strike.

It is for this reason that Clemons should be more restrained in his optimism of the opportunity of reaching a rapprochement with Iran when a more sinister and malign opportunity could be hidden behind the apparently benign talk of Rouhani.

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Reply to American who Blames US Policies for Irruption of Terror

June 26, 2013
I’m republishing this article that was written on March 2008 for the readers of this blog hoping to find it of some interest.
By Con George-Kotzabasis

This is no time for populist politicians like Obama, nor, could I say, for “aureole” New York Times commentators like Paul Krugman, who are attempting to bait the electorate’s hate of the Republicans. But for politicians with mettle, sagacity, and visual clarity and imagination to deal with the stupendous issues that America faces in a very dangerous world that emanates from the great Islamist threat. It’s for this reason that John McCaine is Napoleon’s “voila une homme”.

It’s an easy intellectual escape, when one is devoid of arguments, or should I say when one is replete with hackneyed arguments, to dub one’s interlocutor’s points as being a “straw man”. You still see war and great dangers emanating solely from states, and you cannot see, due to lack of imagination and historical perspective, those “stateless” invisible enemies who operate both from within and from outside the countries they are attacking are even more dangerous, especially when, the rapid technological development accelerates and consummates their possibility of acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and indeed, nuclear ones, and which they will use with fanatic glee against the infidels of the West and the “Great Satan” America.

Further, your contention that Republican policies created terror is your own real straw man. It’s America’s unprecedented success in the history of mankind in the fields of the economy, science, technology, and cultural and political power and its status as the sole superpower that has created the envy and also the hate of many people of the world against it, especially of people with retarded cultures and chiliastic religious beliefs. Residing in countries of corrupt and authoritarian governments, and as a result of this they have been left behind in the race of economic development and tend to scapegoat America for all their ills.

Policies are objectively evaluated geopolitically and morally only within the context they are made. Hopping in bed with ugly and murderous regimes was an unenviable choise that the U.S. perforce had to make during its cofrontation with a powerful planetary enemy, such as the Soviet Union had been. Sure enough, some of these policies alienated many people, but the end result was to save the world from the most brutal of all regimes in the history of mankind, Communism.

There is no costless freedom. And often one has to pay a high price for its keep, politically and morally, not to say bloodily. Thucydides tour de force History of the Peloponnesian War, clearly depicts the intricacies of geopolitics and the unholy alliances nations have to make to prevent their downfall.

Your Opinion on this issue…geopolitics

On the Blast of Trumpet of Jericho Depends U.S. Prestige

June 18, 2012

I’m republishing the following piece that was written on October 2007 for the readers of this blog.

Bush not the only problem
By Owen Harris, On Line Opinion, October 26, 2007

A reply by Con George-Kotzabasis

The respectable Australian commentantor on international affairs Owen Harris writes, “the US and the American people are experiencing a crisis of confidence” and “anti-Americanism is at all times high”. In my opinion the first issues from the US’s involvement in the war of Iraq and due to the initial serious tactical errors committed by it in the aftermath of the fall of the Saddam regime and on the up till now irresolution of the war. This “crisis of confidence” however, is momentary because it’s precisely related to the unresolved war. And the signs are favorable. As Americans have corrected their mistakes and are implementing a new strategy under their capable commander General Petraeus they seem to be winning the war—as I always believed that they would—and according from reports on the ground are “crippling al Qaeda”. Hence, the restoration of “respect and credibility” to the US depends on the defeat of the insurgency in Iraq.

The second issue, anti-Americanism is not new. It was always there although in a milder form—it goes with the trappings of being the sole superpower—and it was exacerbated as a result of the “mishandling” of the war and the bad publicity of the liberal media against the Bush administration.

To be respected and credible a superpower must implement its foreign policy with wisdom and resolve and undeviatingly from the main threat it faces. The US has not lost the capacity to do so. Once the powerful blast of the trumpets of US power flatten the walls of Jericho, the Iraqi insurgency, the benign prestigious hegemony of America will continue to play its historical role as the axis of world order and peace.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…

Debate between American Australian and Norwegian what to Do about Somali Piracy

March 24, 2012

I’m republishing the following debate that took place on October 7, 2009, in view of the American and European present decision to attack Somali pirates on  land by special forces, which was the proposal I suggested in my contribution to the debate.

By Con George-Kotzabasis

Somali piracy needs speedy, decisive, and relentless action by the U.S. and its European allies. To wait for the ability of Somalis “to police their own territory” and Somali leaders “to take action against pirates,” to quote Secretary Clinton, involved in the only highly profitable enterprise in a poor country, is to fly in the face of reality. In the event that Somali leaders were willing to do so, their military capacity to achieve this would take years to consummate.

Further, an increase of U.S., European, and Asian vessels and a better coordination between them is totally inadequate to police such a huge “expanse of ocean” as Secretary Clinton herself remarks. To pursue such a policy as Secretary Clinton delineates in her speech is to pursue a chimera. What the U.S. and its allies must do is to attack by relentless means, i.e., by air and commando raids the Somali towns from which piracy stems, and at the same time placing the requisite armaments on merchant ships that will protect them from any approaching pirate vessels. No amount of “carrots” will dissuade the pirates to desist and stop them, repeat, from such lucrative business in such impoverished country. Only their decisive military defeat will persuade them to do so.

Dan Kervick says,

I agree in part with C-G Kotzabasis’s assessment. We certainly can’t wait for the restoration of the ability (and inclination) of Somalis to police their own territory and to take action against pirates. Somalia is the most failed and dysfunctional of failed states. I also agree that the linchpin of the problem is that piracy in that part of the world is extremely lucrative. The piracy won’t end until piracy is made an ill bargain for the pirates.

But, given that assessment, I have a different view on the best means for addressing the problem, and the chances of success of a coordinated international response.

Yes, the area to be policed is very large. But this isn’t a matter of just sailing around hoping to encounter pirate ships, or hoping to be in the right place at the right time. I assume we have the ability to identify and track most of the ships belonging to these pirates, to share the needed information (though not the sources and methods) with merchant vessels, and to direct force where it is needed in a timely way, especially if we have a larger multinational force of ships in the area. I am also assuming that some of the tagging and tracking means available are clandestine, and are unlikely to be discussed in public.

I also suspect that the economic and other hurdles that need to be cleared so that merchant ships can better defend themselves can be cleared quickly with vigorous, multinational government involvement.

I am somewhat shocked that Kotzabasis would recommend air raids on the home towns of the Somali pirates. No honorable man would defend the intentional killing of the women and children of one’s adversaries as a means of deterring those adversaries. I thought C-G was more chivalrous than that.

Maybe it’s an old-fashioned American outlook based on too many cowboy movies, but I was brought up to believe there were certain acceptable and unacceptable ways of handling these kinds of problems with banditry. Arming and funding more people to ride shotgun on the stagecoach is certainly called for. And sending out posses to track and engage the bandits, and either apprehend or kill them, is also appropriate and in bounds. But sending people to shoot up the towns and encampments where the bandits’ families are located? Not OK.

Kotzabasis says,

Dan Kervick

Thanks for your intellectually amicable and positive response to my post. I’m however surprised that you so facilely assume that these raids will intentionally be killing women and children. The latter will be killed only if the pirates adopt the tactics of the terrorists and use women and children as human shields. So if there is no intentional killing my ‘honor’ and ‘chivalry’ are not besmirched.

Moreover, if you are prepared to put ‘stagecoach shotguns’ and send “out posses to track and engage the bandits” then you have to go the whole hog. You cannot exterminate the scourge of piracy by half measures or by chivalric ones.

Posted by Paul Norheim, Apr 16 2009, 7:54PM – Link

A comment to the exchange between Kotzabasis and Dan Kervick.

Kotzabasis says:

“I’m however surprised that you so facilely assume that these raids will intentionally be killing women and children. The latter will be killed only if the pirates adopt the tactics of the terrorists and use women and children as human shields.”.

Of course no single innocent human being will be killed intentionally by the Americans (that would be bad PR). But if you attack by “relentless means, i.e., by air and commando raids the Somali towns from which piracy stems”, much more innocent civilians are likely to die than those killed by pirates.

This is an excellent illustration of a certain paradox, namely between those “irregular” elements who target non-combatants (or, in direct terrorist operations: civilians), and a regular army targeting the enemy in ways that inevitably kill a lot of civilians, not because they are targets, but because the regular army decides to target the enemy by means that often, and inevitably, kill more civilians than the irregular elements (pirates/terrorists) do.

When you look at the tactics and outcome of some recent events (like the Israeli attack in Gaza, and the Sri Lanka`n army against the Tamil Tigers), it is indeed very difficult to distinguish between “terrorists (who) use women and children as human shields”, and states who send their armies to kill indiscriminately. If you look at statistics regarding the percentage of civilians killed in wars during the last hundred years, you would come to the conclusion that the respect for civilian lives seem to have diminished drastically – regardless of terrorists, guerillas, or pirates. The regular armies and the politicians behind them have their significant share in this development.

There is no point in mentioning Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki to prove that: Iraq is a fresh example.

How many innocent civilians did Saddam Hussein kill? And how many innocent civilians did Clinton and Bush kill – unintentionally?

To me it`s always been difficult to distinguish between terrorist methods and Kotzabasis`”relentless means”. For poor, innocent women and children, hit unintentionally, I would imagine that this distinction would make no sense.

Posted by Dan Kervick, Apr 16 2009, 9:49PM – Link

Kotzabasis,

I may have misinterpreted you. There are some people who have recently advocated the *intentional* targeting of the pirates’ towns and kin in order to teach the pirates a lesson. You instead seem to be advocating going after the pirates themselves, and regard whatever happens to the communities around them as collateral damage brought on by the pirates decision to live among other people.

I appreciate that when you talk about “exterminating the scourge of piracy”, you are only logically implying that it is the scourge that must be exterminated, not the people. I hope that’s all you mean. Because as for the people themselves, I think experience with banditry shows that it is by no means necessary to exterminate all the bandits – even if such a thing were possible – in order the deter them from banditry. It is only necessary to change the cost-benefit analysis with which they operate. When it becomes to hard to profit from banditry, and too risky, the banditry ends.

This isn’t a half-measure. It is just a question on of re-asserting the rule of law without inflicting more death and pain on our fellow human beings than is necessary.

Unlike the case with some terrorists perhaps, the pirates do not hide continually among civilian populations plotting their crimes. They frequently float around in boats on the open ocean. Thus, if they are to be targeted for attack, there is no excuse for not targeting them when they are out there on the high seas, away from innocent people. If one can kill or apprehend some transgressor in a way that doesn’t risk the lives of innocents, then one should do so. It is not relevant whether we can pin the “fault” for the innocent deaths on the wrongdoer. What is relevant is that we avoid causing absolutely unnecessary deaths, whom ever is to be assigned the ultimate fault for those deaths.

Let’s not build these bandits up into something more than they are. What is needed now is stepped-up global policing of international shipping lanes, and that calls for increased levels of economic, manpower and intelligence commitment. The pirates are not an army, and civilization isn’t crumbling. We just need to invest more resources than we have previously.

Posted by kotzabasis, Apr 17 2009, 1:18AM – Link

Dan Kervick

Of course you don’t have “to exterminate all the bandits,” and your “cost-benefit analysis” is a perfect measure that would end such banditry. But to reach that measure that would deter the pirates from practicing their deadly enterprise one cannot do it by “half-measures.” It would be a half-measure to draw the gun and not shoot at your enemy. However, your “rule of law” is not a half-measure but no measure at all. These are lawless people that no law will ever restrain their actions.

I’m afraid you are too well- intentioned and too replete with humane genes that disqualify you from being a pragmatic strategist in deadly conflicts. No war has ever being fought clinically without the spilling of innocent blood. The price of freedom and the continuation of a civilized society at times is quite high. Nothing of great value is costless. The question always is whether people have the sagacity, the will, and mettle to pay the price.

Paul Norheim

This is a ‘straitjacket’ detachment from reality Paul. An “excellent illustration” that totally destroys your fabricated “paradox” is Iraq that by indisputable statistics shows that more civilians were killed by “irregular elements” i.e., by terrorists, than by the regular army of the U.S. and its allies. And to infer, sarcastically, that Americans don’t kill intentionally because that would give them “bad PR,” is to denigrate shamefully U.S. armed personnel who have been trained not to kill civilians, unlike the terrorists who are trained to kill them deliberately. .

Posted by Dan Kervick, Apr 17 2009, 7:37AM – Link

“These are lawless people that no law will ever restrain their actions.”

You seem to be confusing enforcement of the rule of law with respect for the law, Kotzabasis. Obviously, these pirates have no motivation to obey the law simply because it is the law. They are not law-abiding people.

For such people, reassertion of the rule of law always requires the imposition of harsh, credible penalties. Some percentage might be deterred by the mere credible threat of these penalties. But others will only be prevented from violating the rules of the road on the high seas by the actual infliction of the penalties.

I didn’t say that we should draw the gun and not use it. I said that in this case it seems likely that whatever force needs to be applied can be applied away from land, and away from innocent people. Yes, sometimes innocent people are killed in justifiable actions. But we shouldn’t recklessly endanger innocent lives just to prove our “will” or “mettle”, not when we can bring the required force to bear without endangering those innocents.

While the pirates aren’t motivated by respect for international rules, they are, as you have pointed out, motivated by profit. As it becomes less and less likely for the pirates that they will profit from attempted acts of piracy, and more and more likely that they will lose their lives or liberty, their banditry will be brought to an end.

Posted by kotzabasis, Apr 17 2009, 9:45AM – Link

Dan Kervick

Lawless people are not concerned with what MIGHT HAPPEN to them if they break the law, but, as you correctly say, by the “actual infliction of the harsh penalties’ imposed upon them, and I would add in this case wherever they are, on sea or land. It would be strategically foolish and inutile to confine one’s tactical operations solely on the “high seas” as well as reveal one’s tactics to one’s enemy. Just a thought experiment. If one had credible intelligence of a high concentration of pirates on land that by hitting them one would have inflicted upon them a devastating blow from which they could never recover, it would be utterly doltish not to use such an opportunity that would shorten the war and overall casualties just because it could entail that some innocent people would be killed.

I used the “draw of the gun” figuratively, not that you said it, in response to your “stagecoach” post, that if you draw it you have to shoot your deadly foe wherever he is, even in a ‘crowded street.’

War has too many imponderables to compute them beforehand with algorithmic precision. McNamara’s “fog of war” is the constant condition. That is why people, and even professional soldiers, avoid it justifiably like the plague. But once one has decided to ‘unsheathe the sword’ then like the “feudal knights one has to make “literal mincemeat of one’s enemies, leaving the clergy to handle the morals,” to quote the great Austrian writer Robert Musil.

Posted by Dan Kervick, Apr 17 2009, 10:25AM – Link

“Just a thought experiment. If one had credible intelligence of a high concentration of pirates on land that by hitting them one would have inflicted upon them a devastating blow from which they could never recover, it would be utterly doltish not to use such an opportunity that would shorten the war and overall casualties just because it could entail that some innocent people would be killed.”

This sort of scenario paints an unrealistic picture of the pirates as some kind of “pirate army” that is best countered by attrition of their numbers until they surrender. I don’t think it works that way. The pirates are fishermen, who have taken to using their fishing trawlers to mount pirate attacks. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden has become a lucrative profession, and people will continue to pursue that profession as long as it remains lucrative. There is no fixed supply of pirates, just as there is no fixed supply of investment bankers. There is no pirate army to defeat.

We can’t bomb all the fishermen in Somalia, nor would that make sense. There is simply no need for this kind of overkill. The pirates attacked a US-flagged ship earlier this month, and that mistake resulted in an extended nuisance, the rescue of the captain, a week of media pants-wetting, three dead pirates and one captured pirate. This outcome is going to have a deterrent effect, and the pirates were dealt with out on the water. With stepped up resources and commitment, we can turn this piracy business into a non-viable enterprise.

Posted by kotzabasis, Apr 18 2009, 12:22AM – Link

It was a thought experiment and you missed its point.

You are digressing into ‘softer areas’ from your previous posts and I’ve nothing to add. Piracy now has become to you an ‘economic’ issue and merely an “extended nuisance” and an entertaining vaudevillian play, “media-pants wetting.”

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