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09 August 2007


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Duncan Kinder

For a broader perspective, consider Renaissance Diplomacy by Garrett Mattingly

In this book, Mattingly traces the emergence of the modern diplomatic corps.

According to Mattingly, this emergence was part of the broader institutional, political, and intellectual trends of the Renaissance that then were forging the emergence of the nation-state.

Diplomacy itself, has been part of that milieu.

That diplomacy itself today no longer is functioning might suggest that this underlying milieu has become or is becoming obsolete.

And there are reasons related to globalization to consider this suggestion. As anyone contemplating the recent activity of the stock market should note, the ability of the Fed and other national institutions to respond to this challenge ain't what it used to be. Transnational organizations are sprouting. Non-western cultures are asserting themselves.

Accordingly, perhaps the proper question should not be how the United States should negotiate with Iran but - more broadly - how normal, civil relationships might be achieved and maintained in this transnational, post-modern world.

martin k

My favourite comment from the president was: "Iran must prove that it is a stablilizing factor". Pretty rich from a man who has invaded two of the neighbouring countries and are openly speaking of bombing both Pakistan and Iran itself.


RE: Bush's explanation of the cheer and warmth conveyed by photos of PM al-Maliki during his visit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (August 9, 2007)

Q [snip] Reports out of Iran today, out of Iran, say that Prime Minister Maliki told President Ahmadinejad that he appreciated Iran's positive and constructive stance. The pictures from the visit are very warm. I'm wondering, do you and your Iraqi counterparts see eye-to-eye on Iran, and what kind of message do those images send to your allies in the region and Americans who are skeptical about the Prime Minister's role?

THE PRESIDENT: Jim, I haven't seen the reports. Before I would like to comment upon how their meetings went, I would like to get a readout from our embassy, who of course will be in touch with the Prime Minister, and get his readout. And so it's a -- you're asking me to be a little speculative on the subject. I haven't seen the picture.

Look, generally the way these things work is you try to be cordial to the person you're with, and so you don't want the picture to be kind of, you know, ducking it out. Okay, put up your dukes. That's an old boxing expression. (Laughter.)


This quote from Podhoretz defies categorization:

Like Hitler, [Ahmadinejad] is a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran.

"new order dominated by Iran?" Is Podhoretz serious? I mean to go from having nukes to dominating the world order is quite a leap. Umm what happened to China, in that new order, not to mention a few others?

Clifford Kiracofe


Per psychological profile of the Decider, the book by Justin Frank, Bush on the Couch presents a useful clinical study. Justin teaches at George Washington University in DC where he also has his practice. New edition coming out this fall with new Introduction and updated analysis.



Justin uses the techniques developed for profiling foreign heads of state. I spoke with Justin briefly this week in DC and he indicated a marked decline in the Decider. When I asked what this would imply for foreign policy between now and January 09, he said that it could well point to lashing out at Iran militarily.

Duncan Kinder,

Agree with your Mattingly reference and I use chapters of the book teaching a class in international relations theory at Washington and Lee University. The main text used is Adam Watson, The Evolution of International Society (London: Routledge). Ambassador Watson is a retired British Ambassador who served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State and as chairman of the British Committee for the Theory of International Politics (the group over the years included Herbert Butterfield, Hedley Bull, and other Foreign Office, Military, etc. officials). Ambassador Watson has just published a new book (at age 96 I think it is) relating to the theme of "hegemony."

The "British School" of international relations theory is the only serious one I am aware of. There is the so-called "Realist School" of Morgenthau-Leo Strauss etal. with its alien Nietzschean/Carl Schmittian thing divorced from any authentic American tradition represented by George Kennan, for example. This Nietzschean-Hobbesian-Schmittian sewage was dumped on Americans in the Post-WWII era and is rather dominant today in academe. "Realists," "Neorealists" and all that. Trappings include "quantitative" "models" (abstract fetishistic fantasies) and "game theory" blather...

The British School, which arose in the 1950s and focuses on history and culture as a point of departure, is not dissimilar to American academic work in the post Versailles period of the 1920s and 1930s. For example, Frank M. Russell, Theories of International Relations (New York: Appleton, 1936). Russell taught at the University of California-Berkeley.

Duncan Kinder

Clifford Kiracofe

For another perspective on the milieu out of which diplomacy arose in the Renaissance, read Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth Century Florence. As Mattingly notes, one of the precedents for having permanent resident ambassadors at foreign capitols was the prior Italian banking practice of having corespondent banks abroad.

Essential to maintaining an embassy was keeping one's correspondence with it secret. This required encryption, which, during the Renaissance, was stimulated by interaction with Caballistic and Islamic hermeneutics. The Codebreakers: The Comprehensive History of Secret Communication from Ancient Times to the Internet by David Kahn discusses how Renaissance cryptography evolved out of these.


Clifford Kiracofe,
Oh, absolutely, the fantasy of being able to cut the Gordian Knot with one bold move is no doubt very attractive to Bush at this point--like the Romans during the Second Punic War who became impatient with the low-risk Fabian tactics of their army and insisted on one big battle at Cannae. After all, an army that large MUST defeat Hannibal, mustn't it? All they got was a reminder of why they were using Fabian tactics in the first place.


RE: PM al-Maliki's reaction to
President Bush's dictation by way of IraqSlogger:

According to Pan-Arab al-Quds al-'Arabi, an official in the Council of Ministers said that Maliki was “extremely annoyed” by Bush’s scolding, the unnamed official added that “the White House (seems to be telling Tehran): we are the ones who decide the extent of relations between Baghdad and Tehran.”


Clifford & Montag: Bush believes that what "he knows" and "what is/are" are identical concepts. Stated another way, he has a metaphor, which cannot be impeached by facts. Didn't the Commies teach us that you can grow wheat in permafrost because the Party willed it....?


Another step closer to middle east regional war. Anybody remember why ? (make note, because 4 yrs from now, it'll be even more confusing.)


U.S. to designate Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps a terrorist organization:

... For weeks, the Bush administration has been debating whether to target the Revolutionary Guard Corps in full, or only its Quds Force wing, which U.S. officials have linked to the growing flow of explosives, roadside bombs, rockets and other arms to Shiite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Quds Force also lends support to Shiite allies such as Lebanon's Hezbollah and to Sunni movements such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.


Anybody care to guess the windows of opportunity to attack Iran?

Fall would be obvious first window of opportunity. But that would be very close to Iraq "progress report". But I suspect within the report there will be some wording about Iran is involved inside Iraq.

See how Israel is positioning their asset.

After that it's christmas. Hardly good time to start a war. After that presidential election is running full speed. Starting another war is guarantee political implosion for decades to come.

So, the next 5 months would be very interesting. All major powers will make their maneuvers for sure. China and Russia have the biggest stake on this.


Curious: U.S. officials have linked (Robin Wright, WaPo)

Notice how Wright can/does not name the US officials and can/does not adduce or scrutinize any evidence ?

Notice how Wright can/does not mention the hard and indisputable fact that over twenty years ago Iran fathered SCIRI's military arm (the Badr Corps) and has been funding it ever since?

Wright is to Iran what Judith Miller is to Iraq.



Considering that the US government is on the verge of running out of cash .....again... and that the begging letters to Congress to raise the debt ceiling have already been sent, it's a banker certainty that nothing will happen until after the November treasuries auctions, and the end of the hurricane season; I doubt that starting another war, with its attendant oil price spike, will deliver much cheer in the run-up to Xmas, especially if winter fuel costs rise dramatically.

There's a fun game that Congress can play here with Bush - by authorising regular, small increases in the debt ceiling ( $150-200 billion every 3-4 months ) they can keep him on a very tight leash if they're smart enough to go down this route.

The Bush administration has vitually no wiggle-room left for pursuing military "solutions" - they all come with spectacularly high economic and political ( and possibly legal ) costs nowadays.


I think Congress is fairly weak and divided. If Bush pulls the trigger, for eg. launching a bombing run. And he can expect Iran to retaliate fully.

By then it really doesn't matter what congress wants. Or if there is budget or not. They have to pay Bush Iranian war. (Same strategy as Iraq war. It's easy to start a war, but nobody knows how to stop it.)

The next few weeks will be interesting to watch, cause obviously Iran/Syria, Israel, Russia, China all have to start calculating their position against Bush move.

I wonder what Saudi is thinking right now.

I guess now it's only trying to predict what Iranian military moves will be in the event of US-Iranian war this fall.


This mess has Condi's signature all over it. Completely illogical and schizophrenic. Wait until this mess feeds into the global market turmoil currently is brewing. (energy and dollar price.)

This is amazing, the kinda of material future generation will scratch their head on.


The real impact of the designation is likely to be political. On the one hand, the move risks undermining the newly initiated talks in Baghdad between US and Iranian officials in regards to the security situation in Iraq. While this step has been hailed as unprecedented, the talks are yet to produce a real breakthrough - except, that is, for the fact that the two countries actually talked to each other in the open for the first time in 28 years.

It is unclear how Washington expects success in those talks if it at the same time designates the very same people it seeks help from as global terrorists.

Ironically, some of the Iranian diplomats the US is dealing with in Iraq are still part of the IRGC, including Mohammad Jafari, who sat across the table from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Iraq summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this year.

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