Like everybody else, Polimom’s looked at this upside down and sideways, and I keep circling back to the same problem: if Hezbollah’s goal (along with Syria and Iran) is to remove Israel from middle eastern maps, what is that we (as in, the world) hope to achieve via roadmaps and treaties and accords?
Because I see only one way for permanent peace in the Middle East (specifically regarding Israel): one way or another, Israel’s right to exist is no longer at issue.
From Polimom’s porch this morning, it looks like there are only two ways that would come about: either those who are insisting on Israel’s removal from that part of the world accept its presence, or Israel goes away.
Short of one those two outcomes, the battle over that patch of ground strikes me as perpetual, and any brokered peace agreement will fail sooner or later (usually sooner). “Taking care of Hezbollah” is just another short term solution; unless the Middle East as a region accepts Israel as part of its reality, another Hezbollah will simply take its place… and another… ad infinitum.
I sure would like to think I’m missing some other option, but folks, this question is in its third generation now; it’s not going away. Either Israel has a right to be there, or it doesn’t.
Is there any way to solve this once and for all… without war? umm… Please?
* * * * *
Update: William Kristol advocates the neocon approach to Iran, and OTB explains why this is a bad idea:
This is not an opportunity for the United States to strike Iranian nuclear capability save for an act of extreme provocation by Ahmadinejad’s regime. That’s not to say that Iran hasn’t been provocative in this conflict–its tentacles can be seen at many levels–but nothing so far has risen to the level which would justify what Kristol is advocating. September 11th brought us to Iraq with haste. Let’s not make this an opportunity to make the same mistake again.
And even as I was reading Greg Tinti’s post, this update from Stratfor came across my desk:
1320 GMT – About 100 Iranian troops in Lebanon helped Hezbollah fire an Iranian-made C-102 missile that damaged an Israeli warship off the coast of Lebanon late July 14, a senior Israeli intelligence officer said July 15.
Is that enough, do you think, to escalate?
Polimom thinks (and hopes) not, but the neocons cannot be trusted to make decisions, and their definition of provocative will probably require a very low threshold. Furthermore, any solution from them will move this to World War status, and potentially divide the people of the United States beyond repair.
The neocon presence in our government has been Polimom’s biggest objection (bar none) to this administration… yet there they are, and here we are…
I am not hopeful, folks.
What if Israel allowed open immigration and a truly pluralistic democracy, along the lines of Iraq? Not to mention, along the lines of America?
Isn’t it strange that our firmly pluralistic nation is so committed to supporting such a theocratic regime? We can go in and install a pluralistic democracy at the head of our enemies, but as for our friends … no, we’ve got no intention to encourage them to open up.
Your question is an excellent one. I’m stubborn enough to keep thinking until I come up with a win-win scenario, and the first step would be to question the definition of “Israel”. Is there not a means by which Jews could live in their homeland without offending the Muslim world? If so, wouldn’t it have to start with both sides coming to the table and agreeing to share political power in that region?
These are naive, idealistic questions, of course. But they’re a start. Any thoughts?
You are right. Period.
We got a couple-of-three nations over there to agree Israel has a right to exist, but that’s taken 30 YEARS. We don’t have that kind of time left.
So I echo your request – and sadly inside wonder what good it will do knowing we’re not the ones that get to decide.
Is there any way to solve this once and for all… without war? umm… PRETTY Please?
Incidentally, do you see something embarrassingly faulty in Bush’s logic here?
Methinks he’s skipping a pretty integral step there. Nobody retaliates because they acted first. (Couldn’t resist sharing this ludicrous example of our government whitewashing Israel’s role in this conflict.)
I see nothing faulty with the logic at all – unless you want to point out that six Israeli soldiers were killed in the raid on Israel and that at least one of the soldiers is Druze.
I’ll put in capital letters what’s missing:
Hezbollah didn’t launch rocket attacks BECAUSE Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. That just doesn’t make sense.
Yes, the cause:effect loop was short a step or two.
Of course, the real cause:effect loop is MUCH bigger than the current series of events, too…
That seems reasonable indeed… to me. Unfortunately, that would allow Israel’s continued existence — an unacceptable option to some of the players in this “game”.
But then, I’m very pessimistic today. Does anybody else actually think Iran would accept a pluralistic Israel? Or Hezbollah and Syria?
Hamas might, but they’re not the biggest problem at the moment.
I think it should read:
The best way to stop violence is to understand why the violence occurred in the first place. And that is because Hezbollah has been launching rocket attacks out of Lebanon and into Israel and because Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers.
That’s the way I read it the first time anyway,
Sorry, I’m reading the Lebanese that Polimom gave us the link to and other links form there
Here’s the forester’s modest proposal, for what it’s worth.
Bring both sides to the table — Israel and the Arab League. Israel says: look, we’ve most of the modern world on our side; we’re not gonna lose a war. The Arab League says: perhaps, but you’ll never win it either; we’ll keep it going forever. Bloody, murderous stalemate. And then ask: what do we need to do to coexist peacefully in this region? Israelis won’t tolerate an Islamic state, and Muslims won’t tolerate a Jewish state. So what do we need to do to provide equal access to holy lands, respecting and preserving each other’s rights to the land under a common power-sharing constitution? Civic unrest would certainly continue, but they would become a police matter handled by a pluralistic government, rather than grounds for military escalation.
Ideal? Certainly. But let me point out that I haven’t seen this diplomatic alternative to war explored — ever. And if we’re about to get dragged into a regional conflict because Israel feels it’s entitled to follow our example in Iraq, I say it’s only fair that we use the same standard here: give diplomacy a chance. Exhaust all diplomatic solutions before supporting Israeli military aggression.
Saturday 15 July 2006, 1:47 Makka Time, 22:47 GMT
… Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, met Jordan’s King Abdullah II nearby to discuss the situation.
They issued a joint statement demanding “an immediate halt on attacking civilians and vital infrastructure,” saying such attacks breached international humanitarian conventions, and called for restraint on all sides.
Egypt and Jordan are the only countries in the region to have signed peace treaties with Israel. …
Polimom, feel free to erase anything I post . I’m trying to share but I don’t want to overload your blog. Just leave me a note or something. This is sad. *sigh*\
The Tripoli Port has been shelled by Israelis!
OH MY GOD!!! THAT’S MY HOME CITY. MY FAMILY IS IN THE CAR RIGHT NOW LEAVING THE CITY UP TO THE MOUNTAINS. THEY WERE SCARED WHEN I LAST CALLED THEM. I SHOULD CALL THEM RIGHT NOW TO DOUBLE CHECK ON THEM. YA ALLAH!!!!!
The Beirut port is also being hit!!!
Update: Al-Manara, next to AUB in Beirut, is being shelled right now!!!!!!!!!!! It’s getting worse.
Update 2: BEIRUT LIGHTHOUSE DESTROYED!!! ALL LEBANON NOW IS UNDER ATTACK!!!!
Update 3: Jounieh and Aamchit ports have been hit.
I’m also riveted to the Lebanese bloggers….
Polimom says The neocon presence in our government has been Polimom’s biggest objection (bar none) to this administration… yet there they are, and here we are…
Who, exactly, are these horrible “neocon”s of which you speak? What are they?
Or is that a new buzzword game like “pro-choice and anti-abortion” verses “anti-babies and pro-life”? I so hope it’s not a word game because that would disappoint me greatly. *sigh*
Laz — the neocons are (as I used it) signatories / adherents to the principles stated by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Their statement of principles is here: PNAC
From them came the thinking that because of our role as the global world power, we should / must promote American interests around the world via regime change and preemptive war doctrine. Much of their strategy in the MidEast (including Saddam Hussein’s removal) was mapped out long before Sept 11.
Original signatories include Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Paul Wolfowitz (and others…); thus, my issues with the administration.
Not a new buzzword (their principles went up in 1997), and certainly not a game. It is PNAC, perhaps above everything else, that has undermined the trust of many in the current administration.
Editing to add a link to another post I did long ago, called We gave them a mandate, which spoke directly to your question.
Polimom, HELP !!
I’ve read some on the site but it’s a pretty big site so would you mind just telling me where they call themselves neocon or more likely neo-conservatives ?
You might want to include this link to the Wikipedia article on Neoconservatism when you talk about the Neo-cons. It’s much easier to handle than the PNAC site if all someone is looking for is the basics.
Thanks for the link master.
According to Wikipedia “Relatively few of those identified as neoconservatives embrace the term.”
So it’s a buzzword name game. A name someone applies to someone else to promote a negative connotation.
Lazarus, racists rarely accept the label,either, and while every racial incident does not by default imbue all its actors with racism, neither would that deny the existence of it.
The term neoconservatism has, I agree, become very widely applied — too widely, thus blurring some lines and distinctions. Lately, it seems mean “anyone who supported the war in Iraq” — which is far too narrow and simplified.
this one overlooks earlier ideological relationships from the CS Monitor
Here’s a much different aspect: from Reason (1997)
None of which has anything to do with what I wrote in the update, and trusting the administration. If you prefer, you could substitute “PNAC-ers” there, since they embody the “spread the american way” approach to foreign policy.
If you’re seriously wondering about this (and I’m not sure that you are, frankly), this google search combination brought some interesting links: neoconservatives label
Polimom, no one with the intelligence of a squirrel accepts being labeled!!! Furthermore, it’s not nice to label people. I’ve found it’s more human, and healthy, to all others to name themselves. I also think not doing so makes you appear to be a bigot.
I realize you’re young and seems each generation must learn things over and over, but dear lady, I’ve been there and done that. I’m old, that’s what I try to imply with my name. Understand, I can offer you dozens of them if you want me to, but for now I’m going give you just ONE EXAMPLE from my lifetime.
Each of the following was accepted and used by the people at the time
Niggra was completely accepted and used by that people; became Negra, again accepted use by all; became Negro, accepted, still used by some; Colored, accepted used by many today (NAACP); Black, accepted still used and interesting story, Afro-American, accepted but now not used as often as it was; back to basic, Black, most widely used term applying to the people.
Now understand, these are terms the people described themselves used. I left out one as I, nor my parents, (that goes back to 1909) ever used it. What I find interesting, and what a number of my colored friends my age find appalling, is the number of young blacks who use it today for each other. Who knows, maybe someday that label will be preferred. I hope not.
But the point is, THEY chose the labels. It’s not ours to choose!
And it’s not yours to chose.
My father went post graduate at Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1920, born 1897, to explain 1909.
Darn typos. Choose.
An old man kinda shakes when a bit upset.
I think you’re suggesting that the area I currently think of as Israel and Palestine would become a jointly-run government that is secular, rather than either Islamic or Jewish.
Yes? or did I distill that too far down?
For you and I, forester… and maybe every single person that reads Polimom, that would probably be acceptable… even if painful. Even though the whole point of Israel, I thought, was to establish a Jewish homeland, I’ve toyed with out-of-the-box ideas, too — like an internationally administered government for the area (rather than locally controlled, as I think you’ve suggested).
We are, of course, American, with a bone-deep understanding of religious tolerance… and while any discussions are likely to include us, it won’t be our conversation. We could talk about it, and perhaps even support it (tho I could be wrong).
And suppose there were a pluralistic, secular solution. Such a solution would not, in fact, be Israel at all, would it? Which brings me back to the original question: does it have a right to be there, or doesn’t it?
Your last question is the ultimate one — and I don’t hear it asked very often, if ever. My preference would be to avoid boiling down to a yes/no answer and instead, as we’re doing, brainstorm win-win scenarios. You’re right that it’s not our conversation — but we’re most definitely tied up in this mess. Israel wouldn’t be responding so boldly now if it didn’t know that it had our support. The Israelis know we’ll back them up if things get too deep — otherwise they wouldn’t be risking the wrath of the entire Arab League right now.
So this question is definitely ours to answer: what type of government in Israel are we comfortable lending hell-or-high-water support? Our response determines whether or not we will continue supporting Israeli military aggression. If we don’t, we can play a positive role in influencing Israel to make the compromises necessary for peace — compromises we Americans have already made. Otherwise they’re on their own.
It’s only natural that Muslims would resent the existing Jewish theocracy. If America has proven one thing, it’s that theocracies don’t work — look at how well the Puritans in Salem fared, and how they’re regarded today.
No geographical region, no matter how sacred, is legitimate grounds for discrimination. A Jewish homeland established in Antarctica would one day face the same (inexcusable) violence it’s facing now.
By the way, nations are scrambling to evacuate their citizens out of Lebanon, but not Israel. Doesn’t that say something about the one-sided nature of this conflict? Let’s cut through the media slant: precisely who is beating up on whom?
forester — the Israeli military strength is certainly vastly superior to that of Hezbollah, but that’s not why countries are scrambling to get their nationals out of there.
One of Hezbollah’s favored tactics, historically, has been the taking of hostages….
Okay, fair enough.
forester, go to the
site and learn. These kids are trying to get something going between them across the border. You also may learn most of Lebanon doesn’t like Hezbollah either. They just are afraid to attempt to get rid of them for many reasons.
Yes, I’ve stopped by that site a few times over the past days. It’s pretty neat — particularly the comment Polimom just highlighted in a new post. That kind of interchange and open exploration is the way to start.