Saturday, July 29, 2006

Diplomacy is the best policy

Despite initially blaming Hamas and Hezbollah for the current conflict in Lebanon the NYT is now taking a more measured view of the situation in today's editorial and speaks here to the crux of the matter.
There is a difference between justified and smart. Israel’s airstrikes against Hezbollah targets are legitimate so long as Hezbollah wages war against Israel and operates outside the control of the Lebanese government. But the air campaign is now doing Israel more harm than good.
The obvious problem with Israel's current campaign is it no longer looks defensive. Their incursions deep into Lebanese territory, far beyond the staging areas of Hezbollah's inferior weaponry, and their relentless destruction of the infrastructure begins to look in the eyes of the world as patently aggressive and needlessly puntative since it's obvious to all but the most diehard defenders of these tactics that Israel cannot "destroy" Hezbollah with bombs short of killing every single person in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is more than just a militia. It's a political party with strong support among the Lebanese of the south. Wholesale bombing that results in the deaths of women and children who are fleeing the destruction will do nothing to dislodge the support of the political arm of Hezbollah and will only serve, as we have seen in al-Qaeda's latest missive, to bond together extremist groups that normally would be in competition with Hezbollah's militants. One fails to see how this will make the region more stable or Israel (and by extension US interests) more secure. It appears to having rather the opposite effect.

Many scoff at the idea of a ceasefire as an idea that has been tried and failed to secure peace. One might note that bombings and other acts of violence have also regularly been perpetrated by all sides and have failed to resolve the issues that continue to divide the region as well. The longer this current campaign goes on, the more intractable the various factions positions will become and those on the sidelines will be forced to take sides. Again, this is already occurring as the Arab nations begin to line up behind Lebanon.

It well past time for the US to assume its traditional diplomatic role and take the lead in defusing this latest conflict. Surely, even another round of tentative peace is preferable to endless war and much worldwide goodwill that has been lost because of our ill-advised foreign policy blunders, could be regained with a US mediation that leads to a neutral international peacekeeping force. As the Times rightly notes, "If Washington is about to come off the diplomatic sidelines to which it has foolishly consigned itself for the past two weeks, it will discover a real opportunity to help Israel’s security, America’s international image and pro-Western Arab governments."

Indeed, bombs bring only death, diplomacy at least stands a chance of bringing peace to a region that has been at war far too long.
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2 Comments:

Anonymous lester said...

I don't understand what israel is doing. they are creating alot of sympathy for the lebanese. i plan on going there when this is over and would certainly invest in lebanon over israel.

2:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I don't get it either Lester. It looks to me like the Israeli government is buying into the same strategy that has failed so utterly in Iraq.

10:03:00 AM  

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