Saturday, March 3, 2007
A Good Article
By Jim Lobe
"In a move that has surprised many foreign policy analysts here, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has appointed a prominent neoconservative hawk and leading champion of the Iraq war to the post of State Department Counselor.
Eliot A. Cohen, who teaches military history at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) here and has also served on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board (DPB) since 2001, will take up the position next month that was left vacant late last year by Rice's long-time confidant and "realist" thinker, Philip Zelikow.
A close friend and protégé of former Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and advisory board member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Cohen most recently led the harsh neoconservative attack on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.
Like his fellow neocons, he was particularly scathing about its recommendations for Washington to directly engage Syria and Iran and revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – recommendations which Rice herself has explicitly endorsed in the last few weeks.......
Cohen first gained national prominence shortly after the 9/11 attacks when he published a Wall Street Journal column entitled "World War IV" – a moniker quickly adopted by hard-line neocons like former CIA director and fellow-DPB member James Woolsey, former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, and Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney (on whose board Cohen also sits) – to put Bush's "war on terror" in what he considered to be the appropriate historical context and to define its enemy as "militant Islam."......
Cohen has also been quick to label critics of Israel and the so-called "Israel Lobby" in the U.S. as anti-Semites.
"Only a reshuffling of the deck – through the disappearance of Arafat, or an event, (such as the overthrow of Saddam Hussein) that profoundly changes the mood in the Arab world – will make something approaching truce, let alone peace, possible," he argued in a favorite pre-Iraq war neoconservative theme.
The following summer, Cohen achieved new fame when Bush was photographed carrying Cohen's just-published book, "Supreme Command," which argued that the greatest civilian wartime leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, had a far better strategic sense than their generals. It was a particularly timely message in the months that preceded the Iraq war when a surprising number of recently military brass here were voicing strong reservations about the impending U.S. invasion......
Still, while admitting in a Vanity Fair interview late last year that U.S. choices in Iraq range between "bad and awful," Cohen has called for perseverance and played a key role in selling AEI-hatched plan to add some 30,000 troops to the 140,000 soldiers in Iraq to Bush with whom he met personally as part of a small group of "surge"-boosters at the White House in mid-December.
If the surge should fail, however, Cohen's preferred and "most plausible" option, which he laid out in an October 2006 Journal column titled "Plan B," would be a coup d'etat ("which we quietly endorse") that would bring to power a "junta of military modernizers," a development which, as he noted himself, would call into question the administration's and Rice's avowed goal of democratization.
In any event, he argued in the same column, "American prestige has taken a hard knock [in Iraq]; it will probably take a harder knock, and in ways that will not be restored without a considerable and successful use of American military power down the road."
"The tides of Sunni salafism and Iran's distinct combination of messianism and power politics have not crested, and will not crest without much greater violence in which we too will be engaged," he asserted.
In a Vanity Fair interview last fall, Cohen said, "I'm pretty grim. I think we're heading for a very dark world, because the long-term consequences of this are very large, not just for Iraq, not just for the region, but globally – for our reputation, for what the Iranians do, all kinds of stuff.""