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May 24, 2008
'The Fall of Lebanon'
Professor Barry Rubin of The Gloria Center wrote a superior piece today on what the Doha Accords - the agreement giving Hezb'allah virtual control of the Lebanese government - mean to the west.
Quoting Winston Churchill extensively, Rubin shows the shocking parallels between what happened to Lebanon and what occurred at Munich:
Churchill knew better and his words perfectly suit the situation in Lebanon today: Generally speaking, I am not a fan of taking to heart "the lessons of history" as if one can glean important truths from one era and transplant them to our present situation. History repeats itself only in superficial ways and solutions to today's problems cannot be found in trying to analyze the actions (or inactions) of those who came before us.
"The utmost [Western diplomacy] has been able to gain for Czechoslovakia...has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course."
Yes, that's it exactly. On every point, Hizballah, Iran, and Syria, got all they wanted from Lebanon's government: its surrender of sovereignty. They have veto power over the government; one-third of the cabinet; election changes to ensure victory in the next balloting; and they will have their candidate installed as president.
The majority side is not giving up but is trying to comfort itself on small mercies. The best arguments it can come up with are that now everyone knows Hizballah is not patriotic, treats other Lebanese as enemies, and cannot seize areas held by Christian and Druze militias. It isn't much to cheer about.
Nevertheless, as in 1938, a lot of the media is proclaiming it as a victory of some kind, securing peace and stability in Lebanon. Not so. If Syria murders more Lebanese journalists, judges, or politicians, no one will investigate. No one dare diminish Hizballah's de facto rule over large parts of the country. No one dare stop weapons pouring over the border from Syria and Iran. In fact, why should they continue to be smuggled in secretly? No one dare interfere if and when Hizballah, under Syrian and Iranian guidance, decide it is time for another war with Israel.
This defeat was not only total, it was totally predictable. Just as Churchill said:
"If only Great Britain. France and Italy [today we would add the United States, of course,] had pledged themselves two or three years ago to work in association for maintaining peace and collective security, how different might have been our position.... But the world and the parliaments and public opinion would have none of that in those days. When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have affected a cure."
But Rubin's eery evocation of Churchill's words at a time when he was literally a voice crying in the wilderness is, on its own merits and without reference to any "lessons" that may be learned, a call to action. That's because Churchill understood the nature of evil - something totally lost in our too sophisticated, too culturally sensitive western society.
And until we come to terms with the nature of our enemies, Syria, Iran, and Hezb'allah will probably gain additional victories as they did in Lebanon last week.