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The Return of Appeasement?

Monday, July 17, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Edward Luttwak provides a short course on why Hezbollah attacked Israel:  Iran needed a diversion.

And writing for The New Republic, Michael Oren argues for an attack on Syria as a necessary step:

Back in 1966, Israel recoiled from attacking Syria and instead raided Jordan, inadvertently setting off a concatenation of events culminating in war. Israel is once again refraining from an entanglement with Hezbollah’s Syrian sponsors, perhaps because it fears a clash with Iran. And just as Israel’s failure to punish the patron of terror in 1967 ultimately triggered a far greater crisis, so too today, by hesitating to retaliate against Syria, Israel risks turning what began as a border skirmish into a potentially more devastating confrontation. Israel may hammer Lebanon into submission and it may deal Hezbollah a crushing blow, but as long as Syria remains hors de combat there is no way that Israel can effect a permanent change in Lebanon’s political labyrinth and ensure an enduring ceasefire in the north. On the contrary, convinced that Israel is unwilling to confront them, the Syrians may continue to escalate tensions, pressing them toward the crisis point. The result could be an all-out war with Syria as well as Iran and severe political upheaval in Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf.

The answer lies in delivering an unequivocal blow to Syrian ground forces deployed near the Lebanese border. By eliminating 500 Syrian tanks–tanks that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad needs to preserve his regime–Israel could signal its refusal to return to the status quo in Lebanon. Supporting Hezbollah carries a prohibitive price, the action would say. Of course, Syria could respond with missile attacks against Israeli cities, but given the dilapidated state of Syria’s army, the chances are greater that Assad will simply internalize the message. Presented with a choice between saving Hezbollah and staying alive, Syria’s dictator will probably choose the latter. And the message of Israel’s determination will also be received in Tehran.

(HT on both pieces to RealClearPolitics.)

American appeasers will argue that any such action by Israel and the advocacy of such a move will amount to hysterical adventurism.  That was the rhetoric deployed by the Baldwin/Chamberlin/Dawson elite to suffocate Chruchill and his followers in the mid-30s.  It calmed Britain into near extinction.

Will that rhetoric work again to defeat serious people dealing seriously with the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas threat?  I don’t think so, for two reasons.

First, it is impossible to miss in the arguments of the appeasers any serious policy that doesn’t end-up at the U.N. where the “world community” lacks even the will to act against North Korea with other than words.

And far more crucially, Israel sees the threat quite clearly.

If you missed it, read the interview with the head of Israel’s air force,  Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy, especially his remarks on Iran:

There are three indisputable aspects: Their leader, President Ahmadinejad, talks of the Jewish people and the State of Israel in terms that no other world leader would dare use.. You recall his conference on “The world without Zionism.” Then he moved onto the Jews, to Israel.

Two, he is trying to develop capabilities to deliver his attacking capabilities – land-to-land missiles with ranges to reach central Europe, Russia, China, India, certainly Israel. Missiles from planes. Planes that can carry this weaponry.

Third, he is trying with all his might to reach a nuclear capability. There’s no argument about his intentions. The nature of the centrifuges that he is producing is incontrovertibly not for peaceful purposes.

This combination of thinking, capability of delivery and nuclear weaponry can come to constitute an existential threat to Israel and the rest of the world. It is no coincidence that the president of the US speaks as he does about Iran, and other world leaders do, too.

Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Hezbollah’s longer-range missile capabilities are what make this Middle east war different from the rest.  If Israel stops short of forcing Syria and thus Hezbollah from Lebanon, it will confirm Tehran’s working assumption that there will never be successful opposition ot its nuclear program, and Syria’s view that it need only pretend not to be in Lebanon.  Postponing the confrontation with these two regimes does not equal containment, but rather a strategic victory for them on the order of Hitler’s triump at Munich.

Perhaps the appeasement caucus will give us their suggestions and their palns?  Iran’s President Ahmadinjead is not concealing his:

Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Jul. 17

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