Charles Krauthammer explains what must be done to end the Israel-Hezbollah fighting.
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.
Krauthammer insightfully adds that there are a couple of people who can mess this whole plan up. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Secretary of State Condi Rice. He wonders if Olmert has the will, and questions whether Condi can come home from her upcoming Middle East trip empty handed, rather than ‘win’ by forcing a premature cease-fire. I think I know the answer.
Olmert has the will.
The cause of her weakness is completely political. After years of fighting in Iraq and the perceived lack of progress toward democracy (thanks to the Left and the liberal MSM) Bush and his team seem leery of getting completely engaged with Israel (or North Korea, or Iran, et al). The fear is all about the November mid-terms. The Bush administration have been worn down by the incessant beating of the Left and so called moderate Republicans. They’ve been put on notice by Frist and Hastert not to make bold moves on anything because of the political risk which could cause a loss of majority status for the GOP. The mere fact that George W. Bush (in his open mic moment) confessed that he wished Kofi Annan would just call Syria’s Bashir Assad to “make things happen” speaks volumes. Since when did we relinquish our super power status to the U.N.? Basically, it seems the White House hopes that this whole thing will just blow over without our involvement so as to prevent a wedge issue decision at the poll.
That’s foreign policy crap on a stick, and I ain’t buyin’.
Let’s hope Dick Cheney gets a call from Krauthammer.