The Czar was surprised to receive an email from Aaron Colohan, whom you will not immediately recall was the subject of a Czarish rant. The Czar doubts you readers will research this, so allow him to summarize.
Mr. Colohan wrote an opinion piece to the Richmond Liberal Examiner in June of 2009, stating that, all things considered, President Obama was being prudent and pragmatic about his handling of Iran and North Korea. Rather than force an action against Iran, which at the time was wrestling with considerable internal dissent that heralded later revolutions, he should continue to use diplomacy; additionally, that UN negotiations are the solution to the ongoing issue of North Korea.
The Czar, in response, took a strong position against both. He believes the essay was more of a “love letter” to the President rather than a critical and honest assessment of foreign policy. In our opinion, Mr. Colohan provided more excuses for inaction and relied on a few broadly brushed statements that delivered little meat behind the reasoning. In response, the other day, we received the following message at the Castle—and the Czar requested and received permission to reprint it in its entirety.
Odds are that you will never give this more than a second thought, most of the time, I haven’t. It does however, occur to me that when someone Google’s my name, a link to this blog ranks in near the top. If someone were to take the time, which I did, to find out how I was referenced by name in your blog then they would stumble upon a commentary on an article I wrote as my own commentary on geo-political situations going on in the world.
Your commentary is perfectly your own to write as you see fit but I have taken the time to read some of your other commentary to try to get a bead on the theme of your blog. One truth is that you make (or whoever is writing at the time) declarative statements about topics that you profess expertise, or at least experience and there-fore may be able to speak with authority on said topics. I cannot say with certainty what your expertise is, I know nothing about you, as you know nothing about me.
I can say that, with some of the declarative statements you made regarding my commentary is that you have very little insight into what it was I was talking about regarding the value of pragmatism in the POTUS. You also make degrading comments about my understanding of our military might and capabilities and portray my entire commentary as that of a naive liberal with no understanding of the realities of the world stage especially when it comes to the middle east and the Korean peninsula.
I mention this because not only did I serve active duty in the US Navy for six years, but three of those years came off the coast of North Korea. This might still mean nothing to you if I were a deck seaman or an engineer, as I would assume that anyone with a differing opinion would just be uninformed in your eyes, but I was a SONAR Technician required to know information about our enemies USW capabilities.
For you to make blanket statements about my knowledge of military capabilities shows me that you may be truly talking out of your ass or what gets regurgitated to you from whatever news source you choose to rely on.
As far as my understanding of geopolitical environments, well, I am not an expert in any degree and I do not proclaim to be as such. What I will state is that I have real world experience in the US military, I have a degree in anthropology, I have lived in foreign countries for more than three years. I do have a better than “poli-Sci 101″ answer and I am by no means a left wing hippie. Your arguments presented have no merit as they make assumptions about my meaning, instead of actually reading the words that I wrote. It would be nice if you opened up a comment section on the actual articles.
Wait, you know what?
I just realized that you guys hide in the shadows of the internet and make strongly biased commentaries that get forwarded on like fact with no repercussions or responsibility. People read it and think you know something because you write with authority. well done…chicken shit…but well done.
Keep it up: it only the minds of the simple that get changed…great to have on your side.
Thanks for taking the time to read our site, and—above all else—thank you for your service. The Czar would appreciate sharing an additional comment Mr. Colohan made (in a reply message) that you not only served our country, but you have rejoined the Armed Forces since the original piece. This is singularly admirable.
Regarding your military service, however, an understanding of USW (Undersea Warfare) certainly makes you qualified to discuss the military, though it does not—as you underline yourself—guarantee you any additional expertise regarding foreign policy regarding the Presidency any more or less than the Czar, Mrs. The Czar, or the guy down the block. That said, your primary objection to our original response was our assessment of your knowledge of the military.
Specfically, the Czar wrote:
…Colohan explains that North Korea is different from Iran, and his first point is to explain that our military is too weak to engage North Korea…which is the same argument he used for Iran. Whatever. He continues by explaining that North Korea cannot be transformed like Iraq. Curiously, this reveals the limits of his world view. The Czar suspects that Mr. Colohan does not think that much of Iraq to begin with, and further suspects that a US-led Iraq-style intervention is all he knows. The US would probably go a little further back than 2003 when dealing with North Korea; probably Japan, late-1945, would be the better model.
This was in response to the following quote:
We are not in any position militarily to engage North Korea on the ground and by ourselves. We are entrenched in one war in Afghanistan and in what has increasingly become a police action in Iraq. We cannot follow the same formula as Iraq in North Korea should the DMZ become militarized. North Korea knows this, to a degree, and is rattling their sabers’ [sic] in an attempt to gain as much political momentum as they can before they themselves have [sic] a regime change in the form of Kim Jong-il’s son.
The Czar does not believe this is, or was, an accurate statement or assessment of America’s military strength in the region. These were your words, yes?
Incidentally, you will also note the Czar was generally in agreement with the rest of your Korean assessments. Nor did we declare you a “left wing hippie.”
Time has passed since the original comments made by the two of us. At the time of writing, we each made predictions based on our assessments. The Czar will not judge on the outcome of those predictions, and requests that readers do not either—Mr. Colohan, in his response letter, does not criticize or question our positions in that regard. (So don’t do it either, folks.)
The second point is whether we assessed the original intent correctly. We dismiss the critique, since we based what we said of what was written, not what was intended. The Czar made frequent use of quotations to substantiate his conclusions. And yes, that allowed us to draw assumptions, correct or otherwise, based on your own opinion piece. You clearly did the same about us.
And you are welcome to disparage us for our policy in rejecting a Comments policy; however, (a) we prefer long-form, well-argued letters such as you submitted well over short, little echo-chamber bits from our regulars, and (b) yes, we absolutely “make strongly biased commentaries that get forwarded on like fact with no repercussions or responsibility.” That is precisely what an opinion piece, such as your original, is structured to do. And we enjoy a considerably wide readership from folks looking for an alternative to mainstream narratives that, as journalism, somehow enjoy the same. We resist the urge to use the tu quoque fallacy, but your piece triggered a repercussion from us. We appreciate your responsibility in challenging it as you did, and look forward to further discussion from you.