Why War?

Monday, July 31st, 2006 3:42 pm by Neal
Thanks to lucianne.

Jack Kelly, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, sets the record straight for the appeasers who don’t understand why Israel must continue the War with Hezbollah until their ability to attack Israel is sufficiently degraded. In “Hold the cease-fire”, Kelly makes the following points:

Wars typically start because peoples have irreconcilable goals.

This conflict arose because Hezbollah wants to destroy Israel, and Israel doesn’t want to be destroyed.

It’s hard to see how it can be resolved by negotiation. Hezbollah wants to kill all the Jews. What’s the middle ground? Should we let Hezbollah kill half the Jews? Or whack an arm or a leg off all of them?

And why should Western diplomacy focus, as it so often does these days, on (so far futile) efforts to placate the unreasonable demands of unlovely people?

Advocates of a “diplomatic solution,” whatever the circumstances, tend to believe (a) that nothing is worse than war; (b) that everybody agrees with (a); and (c) that there is no problem that can’t be solved if people talk about it long enough.

But most people who aren’t liberals think submission to tyranny is worse than war, and tyrants tend not to bargain in good faith for part of what they want if they think they can get it all by force.

Kelly also says while Israel still has much to do to de-fang Hezbollah, the Bush administration understands this in a way that the Clinton administration did not. Kelly concludes

The goal of U.S. policy is to split Syria off from its alliance with Iran. Iran is the driving force behind Hezbollah, but — thanks to geography — the terror group can be effectively supported only from Syria.

The odds of this occurring are slim. But the payoff for success would be huge. And there is a precedent. Libya was one the most active terror supporting states. But in 2003 Libya abandoned its weapons of mass destruction, including an advanced nuclear program.

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi responded in part to carrots offered by the United States and Britain. But his change of heart occurred within days of U.S. troops pulling Saddam Hussein from his spider hole in Iraq. Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister of Italy at the time, said Mr. Gadhafi phoned him at the time and said: “I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.”

The president realizes Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, like Mr. Gadhafi, is more likely to be motivated by fear of consequences than by hope of reward. That’s why Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been playing hard to get. She’s refused to go to Damascus, or to permit Syria and Iran to participate in multinational talks on Lebanon.

In the past, the world came to Syria’s door, and an arrogant Syria gained much and offered little in return. Now Ms. Rice is forcing Syria to beg to get in the club. She knows Bashar Assad is more likely to be forthcoming if he fears international isolation (or worse).

It’s still a long shot. But because it’s grounded in reality rather than liberal illusions, the Bush administration’s diplomacy may succeed where President Clinton’s failed.

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