Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Geopolitical Craps

A crude title to the post, perhaps, but there's certainly no Grand Strategy chess games being played in the Middle East these days. And with the latest developments, I wonder if the dice have been cast - outcome unknown - that will fundamentally reshape the region.

I fully appreciate the concerns over proportionate response, the killing of innocents, and unequivocal support of Israel regardless of their actions. Yet here are two intriguing articles by well-known American conservatives that take a short and long view, respectively, on future possibilities.

Krauthammer: Every important party in the region and in the world, except the radical Islamists in Tehran and their clients in Damascus, wants Hezbollah disarmed and removed from south Lebanon so that it is no longer able to destabilize the peace of both Lebanon and the broader Middle East... But only one country has the capacity to do the job. That is Israel, now recognized by the world as forced into this fight by Hezbollah's aggression. The road to a solution is therefore clear: Israel liberates south Lebanon and gives it back to the Lebanese.

Sullivan: The potential for a wider Sunni-Shiite war across the Muslim Middle East is also now a real one - like the religious wars in Europe in the seventeenth century, only with far more destructive potential. Some might advise the U.S. to strike a deal with the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria, or put its weight behind the now-very-nervous predominantly Sunni autocracies as a counter-weight to Iran. I'm not so sure. Decades of backing such autocrats helped create the Islamist wave. Picking another losing side looks like short-sighted masochism to me...

I guess what I'm saying is that a period of appalling warfare may now be
inevitable, and the only way for the region's tectonic plates to find a new and
more stable platform.

I just don't know if there is a role for the "honest broker" Lloyd Axworthy alludes to amidst this mess. By now we are well aware of the fanatics on one side of the table, as well as their respect for negotiations.

Sadly, there may not be anything that can be done before this powderkeg bursts wide open. If it does, all bets will truly be off.


Post a Comment

<< Home