Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

The Only Way Out

In this morning’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer outlines what may be the only sensible way to end the Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon. Krauthammer argues that this war has created a unique situation; the Arab world, and most of the rest of the world, seems united in the opinion that Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria have gone too far and are the ones primarily responsible for the current state of affairs. Clearly, something must be done about Hezbollah, but there is only one nation with the capability to do it:

The road to a solution is therefore clear: Israel liberates south Lebanon and gives it back to the Lebanese.

It starts by preparing the ground with air power, just as the Persian Gulf War began with a 40-day air campaign. But if all that happens is the air campaign, the result will be failure. Hezbollah will remain in place, Israel will remain under the gun, Lebanon will remain divided and unfree. And this war will start again at a time of Hezbollah and Iran’s choosing.

Just as in Kuwait in 1991, what must follow the air campaign is a land invasion to clear the ground and expel the occupier. Israel must retake south Lebanon and expel Hezbollah. It would then declare the obvious: that it has no claim to Lebanese territory and is prepared to withdraw and hand south Lebanon over to the Lebanese army (augmented perhaps by an international force), thus finally bringing about what the world has demanded — implementation of Resolution 1559 and restoration of south Lebanon to Lebanese sovereignty.

Given that every other effort to rein in Hezbollah has ended in failure and has resulted in death and misery for the people of Lebanon and the people of Israel, this certainly seems like the only way that this can really be brought to an end. Any solution that results in armed members of Hezbollah on the ground within striking distance of Israel is only a cease fire, not a resolution.

Several questions remain, of course. How would Syria and Iran react to such an Israeli offensive ? And, more importantly, Krauthammer wonders if the political will for such a move exists in Israel and the United States:

Does Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have the courage to do what is so obviously necessary? And will Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s upcoming peace trip to the Middle East force a premature cease-fire that spares her the humiliation of coming home empty-handed but prevents precisely the kind of decisive military outcome that would secure the interests of Israel, Lebanon, the moderate Arabs and the West?

Those questions are all the more important given this report from the Guardian:

The US is giving Israel a window of a week to inflict maximum damage on Hizbullah before weighing in behind international calls for a ceasefire in Lebanon, according to British, European and Israeli sources.

The Bush administration, backed by Britain, has blocked efforts for an immediate halt to the fighting initiated at the UN security council, the G8 summit in St Petersburg and the European foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“It’s clear the Americans have given the Israelis the green light. They [the Israeli attacks] will be allowed to go on longer, perhaps for another week,” a senior European official said yesterday. Diplomatic sources said there was a clear time limit, partly dictated by fears that a prolonged conflict could spin out of control.

Under the circumstances, setting a deadline doesn’t seem to make sense. If the problem is the existence of a terrorist army on Israel’s Northern border, then the solution to that problem is obvious; either destroy that army completely or push it far enough away from the border that it is no longer a threat. If this war ends with a situation on the ground that is not much different from what existed before the fighting started, then all the fighting will have been for nothing, and we will just be biding time until the next war.

Related Posts at The Liberty Papers:

The 2006 Arab-Israeli War
So Be It
How To Fix The Middle East

How to Fix the Middle East

I think I’ll declare today The Liberty Papers’ “Middle East Day”.

Now, on to business. I think that an overwhelming majority of the Israelis want nothing more than to live in peace and prosperity. At the same time, most of the “Palestinians” want nothing more than to live in peace and prosperity.

So let’s see what is needed to bring this about.

For the Israelis, they have a powerful military, plenty of technology and firepower, and in a shooting war, are the odds-on favorite. For them to stop fighting only requires one thing: that the terrorists stop blowing them up.

For the Palestinians, they have no military, no economy, and are incredibly resentful that they keep having Israeli tanks and artillery raining down on them. For them to stop having Israeli use overwhelming force only requires one thing: that they actually stop trying to blow Israelis up.

In reality, there is a possible future of a two-state solution. As long as that solution isn’t an interim step to wiping Israel “off the face of the map”, there can be a lasting peace. It is possible, although I don’t think it’s very likely these days. Several things have to happen for this to occur. First, the Palestinians need to have a government that respects individual rights, private property, and the rule of law. Right now, the Palestinian people have something to hate, but nothing to live for. As Golda Meir said, “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”.

At the moment, there is no reason for Israel to continue a war. There is no monetary benefit. There is no wonderful territory to conquer. There are no necessary natural resources to exploit. It’s clear that the Israelis are fighting a defensive war against people who want to kill them. That, of course, doesn’t mean that the situation is completely “fair” to the “Palestinians”. As Chris pointed out:

I will concede several issues here. The creation of Israel was a blatantly illegal act, in so far as international law exists. The British and Americans basically drew some lines and said “Here jews; we feel guilty because we let 1/3 of you die, so you can have this country. Oh, there are some people here already, but we’ll move them out for you”.

Of course those people then fought a war against the jews, and they lost. They’ve been terrorists ever since. The Jews won, the Arabs lost, that was in 1948.

Had someone shown up, taken territory from me to give to someone else, I’d understandably be pissed. But look at what’s happened in the last 58 years. Israel became a thriving democracy. “Palestine” remained a desert wasteland. Why is that? Has Israel been keeping the Palestinians down? I don’t think so, because if you look within Israel itself, the population is about 18% Arab, and 16% Muslim. Within Israel, multiple religions live in mutual peace and respect. In fact, for the most part, the debate within Israel hinges upon whether they’re foretelling their own doom by respecting their Muslim population too much, rather than whether they’re oppressing them.

So what’s wrong with Palestine? Why have they gone from slightly beyond a stone-age society in 1948 to slightly beyond a stone-age society in 2006? That one is obvious. Their own ruling forces won’t allow it, and the nearby Arab societies use them as a proxy to foment war against Israel.

To solve the Arab-Israeli conflict only requires one thing: that the Arabs stop blowing up Jews. It’s that simple. Have the Israelis occasionally acted heavy-handidly in response? Sure, but after decades of terrorism, that’s somewhat expected. But until the Palestinians and Arabs allow their own citizens to flourish, creating a society where they can love life more than they hate Jews, the “cycle of violence” will continue.

I’ve said on numerous occasions that I think most people in this world are the same. They want to live in peace, in a society where they have freedom, opportunity, and the chance at a good life. That society doesn’t exist in Palestine, and at the moment, there are few signs of change. Until the Palestinians fault their own government for that problem instead of Israel, the current situation will continue. And a lot of people will die.

So Be It

“It’s clear that in the Middle East, no one is sick of the fighting. They have centuries of grudges to resolve, and will continue fighting until they can get over them. And considering that they obviously have no interest in “getting over them,” we’re stuck with a war that will not end in any forseable [sic] future. It doesn’t matter what we bloggers say. It doesn’t matter what the President of the United States says. Or the United Nations. Or the usual bloviating gasbag pundits.

When two sides are this dead-set on killing each other, very little can get in the way. ”

— Markos “Kos” Koulitsas

Well, no-one is sick of the fighting, except say… 99% of the jews

He’s entirely correct about the grudges bit, and about the nothing anyone says matters bit, but the fact of the matter is, the Israelis have done everything possible, and more than everything reasonable, to have peace.

The so called Palestinians (THERE ARE NO PALESTINIANS, there is no Palestine. Palestine was an arbitrarily created place that only existed between world war 1 and 1948. Most so called Palestinians are either Syrian, Egyptian, or Lebanese), Syrians, and Lebanese muslims who support them, (as well as most of the rest of the worlds muslims who are “supporting” them) are doing everything possible to kill every Jew.

Not a lot of jews, not some jews, not “the jews that are fighting us” or “the jews that are occupying our homeland”. They want to kill every jew everywhere.

Yes, that is their goal. They make no bones about it. They don’t hide it. They dont obfuscate. They clearly and unequivically state that they will not stop fighting until every jew is dead.

The Israelis just want to eat pizza without being blown up.

The Arabs, and the other muslims around the world that support them, initiated tribal warfare against all Jews world wide during WW2, and intensified this warfare after the world war was over. In fact, WW2 is still being fought, in one small section of the middle east.

I will concede several issues here. The creation of Israel was a blatantly illegal act, in so far as international law exists. The British and Americans basically drew some lines and said “Here jews; we feel guilty because we let 1/3 of you die, so you can have this country. Oh, there are some people here already, but we’ll move them out for you”.

Of course those people then fought a war against the jews, and they lost. They’ve been terrorists ever since. The Jews won, the Arabs lost, that was in 1948.

Its been almost 60 years, you lost, get over it. Move on.

And I’ll also concede that Israel is often stupid, high handed, arrogant, a poor friend to their allies at times; and that a certain small percentage of Israelis (and other jews for that matter) are bigoted against everyone but other jews.

…….Funny, sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it… but I digress.

But for the most part, Israel is just another democracy; and has been since 1948, if a vaguely socialist democracy with some overtly religionist elements.

The rest of the arab (and most of the rest of the muslim) world are essentially tribalist governments. They are almost all dictatorships or hardly different from “monarchies”, really nothing more than typical third world tribal structures given guns and money. They have all pretty much decided that it was easier to focus their peoples anger and hatred over their corrupt axploitative governments and shitty lives against the jews, than it was to actually… oh I dunno.. govern properly maybe?

Tribal warfare is the bloodiest there is. It’s a gang fight on a national, or even semiglobal scale; and it goes on until all of one side is dead; or utterly, humiliatingly, crushingly defeated.

The Arabs, and the muslims who support them, are a failed culture, propping themselves up with oil money, and an evil “religion” turned into a death cult. They hate and resent their failure; and their cultural and social imperatives force them to obscure and refuse to acknowledge it; but people can see with their own eyes how bad it is. They need a scapegoat, and like all throughout history, the jews have been very convenient scapegoats; as is America, and western culture for that mater.

When is the rest of the world going to wake up to the fact that the Arab world has declared war on EVERYONE ELSE; that it’s a war to the death, and that Israel is fighting the front line…

Oh and that front line just happens to be IN THEIR HOMES.

Yes, America is on the front line too, but that front line is 8000 miles away from the majority of us. We’ve got 200,000 of our men and women at risk over there right now, out of 300,000,000. Israel has EVERYONE, all 7,000,000 of them at risk, every day.

7 million people, 8000 square miles (almost exactly the same population and size as New Jersey funnily enough), and in excess of 1 BILLION people trying to kill every single one of you (or supporting those who are). Someone tell me how the Israelis are wrong here?

No wait, don’t, because they ARE RIGHT.

Like I said, Kos got some of it right, the Arabists and Islamists won’t rest until every Jew is dead, and there’s not much that can get in the way. Well, I don’t think we as a nation are going to let that happen. I don’t think that I as an INDIVIDUAL will let it happen before I’m dead.

Israel WILL NOT BE DESTROYED.

The Jews will not be destroyed.

Not while I live.

Not while America is still America.

By their choice, there will be no peace anywhere, never mind just the middle east, until every Arabist, and Islamist is dead.

So be it

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

The 2006 Arab-Israeli War

So, the latest Arab-Israeli War has begun. Israel is under attack on two fronts and Israel is responding with artillery fire and air raids, many of the air raids though are killing civilians. The world is asking itself, what can it do to end this crisis? Before we can decide on a solution, we need to analyze the situation. Furthermore, as classical liberals, we need to look at this through classical liberal principles as well. First, let’s break this down.

Hamas and Hezbollah intiated combat against Israel by abducting Israeli soldiers. The Israelis have every right to respond to these provocations against Hamas and Hizbullah and the governments that harbor and support and encourage them including the Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Israel and the Arabs have an obligation to minimize civilian casualties and refrain from directly targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure. Obviously, neither side is living up to that obligation. So the question is where to go from here?

Israel needs to, instead of turning possible Lebanese allies into enemies by bombing Lebanese civilian infrastructure and start actually conducting a war against Hezbollah and its state sponsors such as Syria and Iran. The Israelis need better intelligence against Hezbollah and start launching strikes against selected Hezbollah targets. The Lebanese government needs to be emboldened to move against Hezbollah, bombing them won’t help the situation. Finally, Israel needs to take the war to Syria and Iran. Syrian policy on Israel is to fight Israel to the last Palestinian and Lebanese and Iranian policy is to fight Israel to the last Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian. Maybe if Iranians and Syrians, especially those connected to the leadership, began dying they would rethink their proxy war against Israel.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

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