Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Ignatius on the Mideast...again

David Ignatius is kind enough to share with us what he sees as the Mideast Lessons From 1973. The ever-prolific Soccer Dad has already gathered some of the more insightful comments on it (including his own) but a good Ignatius piece always has room for more. Two eyebrow raisers and then what I think is the real lesson of 1973.

“In dealing with the Palestinians and the Lebanese, the Israelis will have to revise their doctrine that their adversaries can be coerced solely by military force.”

Their doctrine? What coercive acts were the Israeli military force performing that initiated this recent spate of violence? Was it the pullout from Gaza? From Lebanon? Israel maintains by far the most professional military in the region but it seems to be more out of necessity than to act as a coercive force.

“U.S. officials recognize that Nasrallah is likely to emerge as the strongest political force in Beirut, and they hope he will make strategic choices that will build a stronger and more stable Lebanon.”

…and I hope my hair starts growing back. Pundits love to drop in these supposed insights from “U.S. officials” but who is seriously, even under the cloak of anonymity, expressing any realistic hope that Nasrallah cares about a stronger and more stable Lebanon. One need only ask if Syria and Iran want a stronger and more stable Lebanon.

David Ignatius attempts to use 1973 as some great example of how diplomacy can work – although the fact that we are still lamenting a lack of peace in that region (with Syria continuing to be a major problem player despite their participation in the 1973 happenings) suggests that maybe 1973 wasn’t all he’s making it out to be. Maybe the better lesson of’73 is to remember that in the years leading up to that October, Anwar Sadat was quite vocal in his threats of war. It’s the lesson many have been preaching since 9/11 but apparently can’t be said enough: When someone threatens you, believe them.

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