The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Right Kind of "Diplomacy"

On a number of occasions in resent posts, I’ve lamented the conventional wisdom that “diplomacy” – as evidenced by fruitless attempts to establish a "peace process" – simply doesn’t work in the ME. However, there is a form of diplomacy that might work.

The New York Times reports:
As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice heads to Israel on Sunday, Bush administration officials say they recognize Syria is central to any plans to resolve the crisis in the Middle East, and they are seeking ways to peel Syria away from its alliance of convenience with Iran.

It’s a gargantuan “if,” but what if we (or better, Saudi Arabia and Egypt) could bribe the thugs in Damascus to break their alliance with Iran, abandon Hezballah and Hamas, and step to the sidelines. It would take huge sums of cash, guarantees of security for Assad, and other "incentives," but in the end, it could be a crushing blow for both Hezballah and Iran – the kind of victory that military force alone would be hard pressed to achieve.

Is it possible? No one really knows. Agreements with Damascus (and for that matter, any Arab regime) are easy to make but exceedingly difficult to enforce. I suspect that a carrot and stick approach is being used with Assad – we threaten violence and his overthrow if he continues to do Iran’s bidding. The Saudis guarantee that they’ll reign us in, have us get Israel to back off, put the Golan heights back on the table, and provide a whole lot of money. When you deal with thugs, you must recognize that they’re only interested in what’s in it for them. A lot, actually.

As these secret discussions proceed, Israel will continue to pound Hezballah, degrading their assets and killing their people. A good thing. At this point, the world needs time to grind down Hezballah, to make Syria an offer it would be wise to accept, and to break Iran’s strangle hold on the fate of the region. Time.

But the EU, the American angry-left, and much of the MSM has increased the volume of their anti-Israel rhetoric – absurb accusations of “ethnic cleansing” are now being bandied about. On the surface, the intent, of course, is to stop the fighting immediately. But the result (and in some cases, the true purpose) will be reestablishment of the status quo before fighting began.

If the US administration forces Israel succumb to hysterical calls for a cessation in the war against Hezballah, the EU, the angry-left, and the MSM will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. From their perch on the moral high ground, they will again relegate Lebanon to terrorist control and to a violent future that will not be its own.