Waltzing with Beirut

[New Republic] Michael Oren - The First Lebanon War's original aims of ensuring a Lebanon free of Syria and its terrorist proxies, oriented toward peace and resistant to Islamism, are precisely those desired by the West today. The legacy of Lebanon is not merely anguish, but also lessons that can help avert such catastrophes in the future. Trying to impose peace on a Middle Eastern nation by military means can prove calamitous - that is the first lesson of Lebanon as well as Iraq. But, having embarked on that course, a precipitous pullout can yield even deadlier results. Furthermore, war aims must be fully endorsed by the government and communicated to the public. Winning in the Middle East also means playing by Middle Eastern rules - maneuvering between rival ethnic groups, deterring and incentivizing them, and identifying which of them predominates. Lastly and most pertinently, trust Israel's instincts. The West's forward-most outpost in the Middle East, Israel correctly signaled the danger of Osirak and of a terrorist-dominated Lebanon. Israel is now warning about the cataclysm impending from a rapacious, nuclear-armed Iran. The West would be well-served to listen. The writer is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

2008-07-15 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive