Free-Floating Hostility

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

World on Fire, Part II

The point I wanted to make before is that neither "progressive realism" nor preemption actually seem to address how you address the non-state actors that are driving radical agendas. You could argue, and rather convincingly, that Lebanon has to pay for allowing Hezbollah to have basically annexed its southern provinces. But Hezbollah also ran for and won seats in the Lebanese government. Lebanon's prime minister could not condemn any of Hezbollah's actions, both the kidnapping/capturing of Israeli soldiers and the rocket attacks, because the government would fall. The party of god, of course, is no mere political organization. It it were, it wouldn't have that arsenal Iranian rockets it can shoot into Northern Israel. Perhaps that makes Hezbollah, in practice, the equivalent of a state, much the way that Taliban-controlled Afghanistan could have been called al-Qaedastan before the U.S. invasion. I'd agree that Iran and Syria are the metaphorical guys behind the curtain pulling Hezbollah's strings. But there's a reason that Iran and Syria are using Hezbollah to get at Israel.

Israel's goal may be to prevent attacks from Hezbollah, but it has to attack Lebanon to acheive that. Outside of the United States, there won't be much sustained support for that action. It would be as though the national guard invaded Michigan after the Oklahoma City bombing, because the Michigan Militia had planned the attack. Armies don't do law enforcement all that well, which is problematic because more and more it seems militaries are being given the task of tracking international criminal organizations. That, at least, is the Bush administration's big innovation. Unpopular wars, however, build resentment and errode cooperation. That's why we're not safer than we were five year ago.

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