IPS analysis of ‘Galbraith-gate’

It’s here, and also archived here.
Y’all know the story here already. (Renewed kudos to Reidar Visser for breaking it for all those of us who don’t read Norwegian… Reidar, I know I should have slotted in a quotoid from you there… Sorry that I didn’t.)
My conclusion in the IPS piece is,

    Here in the U.S., Galbraith has long been associated with the “liberal hawk” wing of the Democratic Party, which has argued since the early 1990s that U.S. military power can, and on occasion should, be used to impose a U.S.-defined human rights agenda in various parts of the world.
    Many members of this group have been liberal idealists – though some of those who, on “liberal” grounds, gave early support to Pres. George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq later expressed their regret for adopting that position.
    Galbraith has never expressed any such regrets, and last November, he was openly scornful of Bush’s late-term agreement to withdraw from Iraq completely. The revelation that for many years Galbraith had a quite undisclosed financial interest in the political breakup of Iraq may now further reduce the clout, and the ranks, of the remaining liberal hawks.

When I was researching the piece today, I was intrigued to see that until he took up his UN-Afghanistan position in March, Galbraith was a “Senior Diplomatic Fellow” at the DC-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, which occupies the currently fairly influential, soggy-left end of the spectrum of Washington’s power-connected think-tanks.
I really do hope that the revelation of Peter Galbraith’s sordid– and until recently painstakingly concealed– financial dealings with the KRG and DNO yet further diminishes the influence of liberal hawks in the US power elite and US society.

6 thoughts on “IPS analysis of ‘Galbraith-gate’”

  1. It would be interesting to probe Galbraith’s relationship with Joe Biden. It could well be that Galbraith, as former ambassador to Iraq, was instrumental in Biden’s adoption of the Iraqi partition agenda. Who knows? Maybe Biden even had a stake in it?

  2. Walid Khadduri has a long piece on this in today’s al-Hayat. He calls the affair Tawke-gate.
    Khadduri stresses Galbraith’s role in influencing the constitution of 2005. I disagree with him on one minor point, though. He uses the affair to call into question the underlying motives behind the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. While that in itself of course is a very relevant and legitimate exercise, I think the link to the Galbraith story is less evident in this case.
    Galbraith spent most of his time demonising the Bush administration for their preference for a unified Iraq, ridiculing it for believing in an Iraqi identity several times in his books. Whereas many of Bush’s policies in practice contradicted that lofty ideal, it is illuminating, too, that Galbraith – with his oilfield dream – saw Bush as a major enemy. As Helena says, certain circles on the Democratic side were more receptive to Galbraith’s ideas, and I think this whole scandal could be an excellent opportunity for them to clarify their views on Iraq, its territorial integrity and its national unity.

  3. Helena: I find your targeting this asshole for his misdeeds (or at least highly ‘unprofessional activities’), while acting as a free-lance diplomat, is a bit over-wrought.
    What I would like to know is:
    – How did he get his job as an Afghan election monitor ?
    – How was he qualified for such a job ?
    – How much was he paid, and by who?
    Of the UN people I’ve met, all of them were affected by the first-year ‘wog factor’ – that is that you get very frustrated when local people don’t instantly respond to good new ideas, and behave with gratitude and charm.
    This is the major problem with the UN; its policies and resolutions are great, but their personnel are just as prone to greed, corruption, etc as the rest of us.

  4. You finish your IPS article on the right note, re “reducing the clout of liberal hawks.” It was the interweaving of liberal hawk and neocon interests in the invasion of Iraq, and in the whole “transformation of the Middle East” agenda following 9/11, which bears deeper investigation. Focusing particularly on how the Israel lobby influences DC decision making on a wide range of Middle East policies.
    Galbraith’s “End of Iraq” agenda, driven primarily through his effort to over-represent Kurdish interests in the Iraqi constitution writing process, was one of the main on-the-ground-in-Baghdad extensions of this Israeli influence. Liberal hawk and neocon supporters of Israel were equally eager to empower a new larger Kurdistan, and thus inclined to splinter Iraq by driving a wedge between Arabs of overlapping sectarian and tribal ties. This was part of Wolfowitz’s transformation of Middle East borders and states.
    The interesting change in US policy which began to occur in 2006 and 2007 was how the pure “con” Republicans under Bob Gates left the neocons and liberal hawks in the lurch, by supporting the Sunni awakening and seeking to preserve Iraqi territorial integrity. Could this be why liberal hawks like Galbraith as well as neocons like Richard Perle were both criticizing, around the same time in 2006 and 2007, the outcome of Bush’s war in Iraq? The result of developments in 2006 and 2007 made the “End of Iraq” appear to be a more remote possibility. Gates is a preserver of the status quo in the Middle East.
    Galbraith’s role in the radical neocon/liberal hawk agenda to transform the Middle East should be the focus of attention as the investigations of Tawke-gate proceed.

  5. From Galbraith’s bio at Wikipedia: “Galbraith was a professional staff member for the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1979 to 1993, where he published many reports about Iraq and took a special interest in Kurdistan. In 1987, he uncovered Saddam Hussein’s systematic destruction of Kurdish villages and a year later wrote the “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988″ which would have imposed comprehensive sanctions on Iraq because of the gassing of the Kurds.'”
    It’s almost impossible to imagine that Galbraith did not heavily influence Biden to support partition.

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