Yes, the folks that we *wish* would stay out of foreign policy, the lovely 'realists' are back at it again, hoping to woo their way into the good graces of the son of a dictator they all deemed 'necessary', although necessary for *what* they have never explained:
What in the world are advisers to both Senators Obama and Clinton doing in Syria in the middle of a presidential campaign — and why are the two campaigns so unforthcoming about the details of the visits? The same week that a terrorist mastermind harbored by the Baathist regime in Damascus was assassinated by a car bomb, both one of Mr. Obama's foreign policy counselors, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a long-time critic of Israel, and one of Mrs. Clinton's national finance chairs, Hassan Nemazee, were meeting with President Assad.
Today, my friends, we are gathered together to pay our final respects to 'Realpolitik' and 'realistic diplomacy' and 'pramatic geostrategic statesmanship'. While they still have nodding practitioners advocating these things, like Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, and James A. Baker III, they have all grown old and set in their ways of viewing the world and that viewpoint is as arthritic as the Soviet Union was just before its completely unexpected collapse. Each of these men and all of their Foreign Policy outlooks have had to live in the environment in which a Rational Opposition Nation State was the nemesis of the United States. That being the Soviet Union and its various, nefarious allies, we must also see that as that Nation disappeared from the face of the Earth so did the underpinnings of all diplomacy that grew up in the immediate post-WWII era. The Cold War did not end with a thaw and melting of the USSR, but its sudden sublimation from solid to gaseous form almost overnight. None of them could have ever predicted that, and the leaden viewpoint on HOW Nation States act and move has proven to be deeply out of touch with the actual reality of the world.
It is to be admitted that there were good aspects to such diplomatic and Foreign Policy underpinnings: it opposed a Nation set to undermine Individualism and turn it into Collectivism. Many treaties and signings and 'detente initiatives' and 'bold steps' to nowhere were taken from 1945 to 1991, and they all consisted of ensuring that a 'Balance of Power', sometimes referred to 'Balance of Terror' or 'Mutually Assured Destruction' was set in place so as to LOCK that attitude in forevermore. Luckily for the world, they failed in that doing and when the Great Enemy of Freedom went up in a puff of smoke, so did ALL of those wonderful conceptions of the world that saw Rational States as the supreme actor in World Affairs.
Even during the major reign of these huge thinkers on All Things of Import in Foreign Policy, NONE of them could address the uprising of Islamic Fundamentalism turning into IslamoFascism in Iran. They did seek a 'containment' sidelight, but when Iran created a non-Nation State surrogate to promulgate its power and foreign policy and religious outlook in the form of Hezbollah, these Great Thinkers of Nuanced Thought Came Up With: ZERO.
Yes, they IGNORED IT.
And now with the Great Ship of Realpolitik and Geostrategy taking on water faster than any pump made can get rid of it, the last breath of wind is being exhaled to try and make this oh-so-wonderful line of thinking to have some meaning in the world. Perhaps a slight gust can get it to a sandbar, although it does appear to be foundering in the middle of an Ocean beset by everlasting calm. A Sargasso of Certitude that if we wish for Rational Nations then LO!, they shall appear.
Perhaps these Great Thinkers on All Things Realpolitik could answer the Question of Iran and Syria: What makes them so Rational when they have staged Acts of War against the US? Even the USSR had grave misgivings about doing something like that, and that was, supposedly, a Mighty Nation that proved to be a lump of iodine under the mid-day sun. Are they hoping, mayhap, that Iran and Syria will just evaporate in a year or so and turn to 'Realism'? Could any of these Great and Wise Solons of Sophisticated Sophistry of Diplmatic Jargon please tell the World exactly Why They Think This?
Really, we, the unsophisticated peons of plebecite would love to know exactly why, when they were all whispering to the Mighties in Power that they did NOT handle this mess when it started? If these Nations that have attacked us with foul means and then spread further such means across the Middle East and even across the World, just Why did these, the Great Old Wise Heads of Cold War Past, not do a DAMNED THING THAT WORKED?
There, that should help jiggle a few memories loose! Yes, the old 'balance of power' and deterrence' group that never, ever, not once, figure out how to work with non-sane, non-rational Nations that didn't see awesome nuclear devices as a detriment to their trying to get their way. Just the opposite for a few of them as it would be cause of the supernatural to intervene and for them to be saved and get their way forevermore whilst punishing those that tried to actual *defend themselves*. These great Solons of Superpowerific outlooks didn't get the clue that some leaders of organizations just wouldn't let themselves be intimidated by the high and mighty thermonuclear blast as that was a good and just cause to die in, fighting those that had them.
So when Brzezinski and Nemazee show up representing the Obama and Clinton campaigns, although they would put forward that, really, it was all for the RAND corporation and blame them, one does have to do a bit of head scratching on just what they hope to accomplish. Perhaps some nice Syrian chemical weapons berating? No, that would be far too much for these folks, with their high and mighty views of the world. Might shake up the apple cart. Lets, instead, pretend that Syria is led by a sane and rational world actor who really, and for true, wants global peace and stability. Don't mind the support for Hezbollah, al Qaeda, international arms trade, narcotics trade, training other terrorist organizations, having IRBMs, perhaps a bit of a surreptitious bioweapons program and a set of nuclear processing facilities it bought from the Swedes on false pretenses. Really, now, doesn't every Nation need these things?
And just overlook their threats to Spain, US and Iraq, too.
Now in case you aren't familiar with these two 'wise heads' of 'realism' that treats the equivalent of gangsters and mafiosos on the transnational scale as mere misguided miscreants who will soon learn the ever-so-wise 'ways of the world', lets do a bit of the old backgrounding on them! That is always fun to see just what they got up to previously so you can know the kind of hot water they will get you into the next time around.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, whom I covered a bit in this post, first got attention as part of the administration of President Carter, heading up the National Security Council side of things. He was the one who told the Shah of Iran that the US would back him 'to the hilt', and that he had no worries about pesky Islamic Imams and such. When the poor Shah got stuck in Mexico after the coup the US, it turned out that, started heading in the direction of Cyrus Vance who wanted to 'come to terms' with the Ayatollah Khomeini. As the Shah needed cancer treatment both Henry Kissinger and Nelson Rockefeller convinced President Carter this would be a good thing to do. After that we get to the condemnation of the US and the entire hostage taking concept. Now as Iran served as a 'buffer State' in the Great Game of Geopolitik between the US and USSR, Brzezinski was quite willing to forego the Shah and deal with the Ayatollah if he cooperated and helped from an Islamic 'Green Belt' buffer between the West and Soviets. But that entire condemnation and hostage thing really demonstrated that wasn't going to happen as the Ayatollah just wasn't going to play by the established rule book and believed that Islam would overcome everything.
Mind you no one in the Carter Administration did a damned thing about the *first* break-in to the US Embassy in Tehran months prior to that, so as to avoid dealing with the Ayatollah. So saying, after the hostage taking - "The United States of America will not yield to international terrorism or to blackmail" - is more than a bit of a lie as the US did, indeed, do nothing about terrorism with the first break-in. So Mr. Brzezinski was more than willing to: 1) forego an ally of the US, 2) try to establish terms to deal with a radical regime that already violated the US Embassy, and 3) wanted to deal with them during that time to continue playing the Great Game, even though the idea was that they wanted no part in it.
So much for 'realism' and the 'worldly experience' of Mr. Brzezinski. He would not be the first to not understand the problems of radical Islam nor the last, but he certainly didn't do very much to stop it, curb it or end it. Appeasement seemed to be on the menu and, apparently, still is. Good guy for Barack Obama, then, and I'm sure that if Syria wants the equivalent of the Sudetenland, that he would figure out a way to give it to them, most likely the place called 'Lebanon'. Appeasers are very good at giving away other folks' land to tyrants.
Hassan Nemazee (he gets a mention in a larger post on HRC) is associated with the Clinton Administration, which had his ties come out as he was to be the Ambassador to Argentina. A lovely article from Forbes in 1999 starts on his background and we quickly run across one of the prime reasons he was considered for the job:
If Nemazee, 49, is destined to be confirmed by the Senate, he at least fits the part of an ambassador. This polished socialite has a Harvard degree, a position on one of the university's prestigious visiting committees and a lot of well-connected friends. In November 1995 he hosted a dinner featuring Al Gore, raising $250,000 for the Democratic National Committee. Over the past four years Nemazee and his family have given more than $150,000 to Democratic politicians and the DNC. Six of Nemazee's friends and relatives have given $10,000 apiece -- the maximum allowable per year -- to Bill Clinton's legal defense fund.
Yes he *paid for it*. And how did he get that money?
Nemazee was born in Washington, D.C., the son of an Iranian shipping magnate then serving as the commercial attach to the U.S. for the Shah's government. After college he formed a joint venture in Iran with insurer American International Group to sell life insurance, but the business fell victim to the Iranian revolution. Nemazee, on a business trip to the U.S. when the Shah was overthrown, escaped with his wife and a fair amount of wealth outside of his homeland, including property in the Washington area that his father had given him.
Your basic wealthy individual whose father had a large business in Iran and his son escaped with his family and some of the cash, to live in Washington. After that comes some wheeling and dealing, getting $4 million from his father who had Alzheimer's, taking out a mortgage for a few hundred thousand more than the place was worth and then being your basic advisors to Ivan Boesky of venture capital infamy. Add in a bit of shading on some other deals, lying about his ethnicity and generally doing shady work in investing, he becomes quite rich and then advocates that the US mend its ties with Iran so he can get the family business back.
Part of that climb was to be at White House 'coffees' which the Clinton held to get such business people into their good graces for further financial backing for various things. This would allow the Clintons to glad-hand these businessmen, introduce them to the powerful Democrats and get a 'piece of the action'. This would pay off to get Nemazee into the world of big special events, like the 2004 Asia Society meeting. The Asia Society, at which Mr. Nemazee would become a trustee, would also host presidential hopeful Gov. Bill Richardson on 18 APR 2007.
You see Hassan Nemazee is not only seeking a bit of 'realism' in diplomacy, but he wants to use that 'realism' to make some money, too. That is how you use your connections with powerful politicians to get into the RAND corporation to then continue your work to get the family business back. Kenneth Timmerman had this in a 02 MAR 2004 FrontPage Magazine article about Mr. Nemazee and others backing of Sen. John Kerry's presidential bid:
Among Sen. John Kerry's top fund-raisers are three Iranian-Americans who have been pushing for dramatic changes in U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Most prominent among them is Hassan Nemazee, 54, an investment banker based in New York. Nominated to become U.S. ambassador to Argentina by President Bill Clinton in 1999, Nemazee eventually withdrew his nomination after a former partner raised allegations of business improprieties.
Nemazee was a major Clinton donor, giving $80,000 to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 1996 election cycle and attending at least one of the famous White House fund-raising coffees.
In 2001, at the invitation of Mobil Oil Chairman Lucio Noto, whom he counts as a "personal friend," Nemazee joined the board of the American-Iranian Council (AIC), a U.S. lobbying group that consistently has supported lifting U.S. sanctions on Iran and accommodating the Tehran regime. Nemazee tells Insight he "now regrets" having joined the AIC board and resigned his position after 12 months when he was vilified by Iranian exile groups.
The Kerry camp has identified Nemazee as having raised more than $100,000 for the senator's campaign.
A Nemazee friend in Silicon Valley, Faraj Aalaei, has raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the Kerry campaign. Aalaei has worked in the telecommunications industry for 22 years and is the chief executive officer of Centillium Communications, a publicly traded company.
So, perhaps a bit more than just his own business, as Exxon/Mobile stands to make boodles of cash if Iran can be re-opened to foreign investors. Mind you landing a position at the Council on Foreign Relations on the Board of Advisors would also help things out no end, in the 'nonpartisan' world of high finance where one just might have their own partisan views on things.
Mr. Nemazee is also involved with Alan Quasha, a man first known as the one who bailed out George W. Bush's failing company Spectrum 7 and folded it into Harken Energy, and then went on to back Hillary Clinton this year, as seen in this article by Russ Baker & Adam Federman in The Nation 05 NOV 2007 issue:
Another strong link between Quasha and Clinton is Quasha's business partner, Hassan Nemazee, a top Hillary fundraiser who was trotted out to defend her during the Hsu episode--in which the clothing manufacturer was unmasked as a swindler who seemingly funneled illegal contributions through "donors" of modest means.
Ideology does not seem to be the principal issue driving either Quasha or Nemazee. Nemazee backed the likes of archconservative Republican senators Jesse Helms, Sam Brownback and Al D'Amato before moving aggressively into the Democratic camp. Quasha, frequently identified as a Republican fundraiser, gave to both Bush and Al Gore in 2000 and so far in the 2008 race has given to Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani as well as Democrats Barack Obama and Chris Dodd, in addition to Hillary Clinton. But Quasha's concerted efforts to get into Clinton's inner circle are reminiscent of his relationship with a pre-Governor Bush.
As his co-chair in the private firm, Quasha chose his old friend Nemazee, a fellow Harken investor. By the time of the Carret acquisition, Nemazee, a founding member of the Iranian-American Political Action Committee whose family was close with the late Shah of Iran, had become a significant fundraiser for the Clintons and the Democratic Party. In 1995 he raised money for the DNC. In 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky affair, Nemazee collected $60,000 for Bill Clinton's legal defense fund in $10,000 increments from relatives and friends. Clinton subsequently nominated Nemazee as ambassador to Argentina but withdrew the nomination after an article in Forbes raised questions about Nemazee's business dealings in the 1980s and '90s--which noted that the American-born Nemazee magically became "Hispanic" by acquiring Venezuelan citizenship because of a requirement that certain California public pension funds be run by minorities.
Failure to be named ambassador did not, however, hamper Nemazee's rise within the Democratic Party. By 2004 he was New York finance chair for John Kerry's campaign, and in 2006 he served under Senator Chuck Schumer as the national finance chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)--a period during which the committee raised about $25 million more than its Republican counterpart. This past March Nemazee, at the behest of McAuliffe, threw a dinner for Hillary at Manhattan's swank Cipriani restaurant, which featured Bill Clinton and raised more than $500,000.
Mr. Nemazee and his wife would actively campaign for Hillary Clinton, seen in this 18 DEC 2007 article by Jason Horowitz at The New York Observer, that looks at cash bundlers bundling up to knock doors in Iowa:
The dreary work of campaign field operations—knocking on doors, chatting up old people and cold calling for a candidate—is often carried out by eager college students wanting to make their first inroads into politics.
That was not the case on Ridgewood Street in Ames on Dec. 15, when some of Hillary Clinton’s richest and most influential bundlers and donors—Hassan and Sheila Nemazee, Alan and Susan Patricof, and the former ambassador to Norway, Robin Duke—braved the icy elements and doorman-less ingresses of Iowa to proselytize for their good friend Hillary.
“Number-one convert!” shouted Mr. Nemazee, a multimillionaire investment banker who served as John Kerry’s New York finance chair in 2004. “I moved them from an Edwards to a Hillary.”
Mr. Nemazee, wearing iron-creased jeans, comfortable brown shoes, a blue winter coat and a red baseball cap emblazoned with a Ferrari stallion, was stepping cautiously along an ice-paved walk.
Nothing says 'big town millionaire slumming it' like pressed jeans! Actually, with all the swindles, bribery, corruption and influence buying, its actually very nice to see some of these rich folks get out and try to figure out what to do on the campaign trail. And if Hillary had to use her big cash donors to canvas for her in Iowa... well that does say *something* about the campaign. Still that didn't work out so well and Mr. Nemazee is doing his best at damage control from the financial side, seen in this NYT 11 FEB 2008 article at MSNBC by Patrick Healy:
Hassan Nemazee, another national finance chairman for Mrs. Clinton, said he was also telling his network of allies not to get caught up in the headlines about Mr. Obama’s success this month.
“I’m telling donors and supporters, don’t be overly concerned about what goes on in the remainder of the month of February because these are not states teed up well for us,” said Hassan Nemazee, one of Mrs. Clinton’s national finance chairmen.
Asked if that message was sinking in, Mr. Nemazee pointed to the campaign’s announcement that Mrs. Clinton has raised $10 million online so far this month, and is on pace to raise more than $20 million in February.
“I predict for you we will have our best single fund-raising month in February, and that’s significant,” he said.
Money sure does help if you hadn't planned on a real primary struggle, that's for sure. And even after leaving the American Iranian Council, one is left with the feeling that not only Mr. Nemazee but other Iranian American businessmen are also seeking to influence policy. Judicial Watch looks at the donations of Nemazee and others in 2006 who donated to the Clinton campaign and their pro-Iranian views.
And Syria, being closely tied with Iran and Hezbollah, really isn't a place that is all too friendly to the US. Just the opposite, in fact, for a few decades and quite hostile towards Lebanon and Israel, too. So while the diplomatic 'realists' are trying to find a way to turn Bashar Al-Assad and regime in Iran into some sort of relatively sane entities they can deal with, the likes of Hassan Nemazee doesn't need to do even that so long as they can do business with regimes looking to gain WMDs or, in the case of Syria, expand their arsenal of weapons.