The Blog

No Victory Laps

10:00 AM, Jul 20, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Some EU officials are pushing for an immediate cease-fire on the grounds that continued fighting will weaken the democrats inside Lebanon's government. But the more likely outcome from a premature cease-fire would be an emboldened Hezbollah with democrats under siege. And you can bet on Damascus and Tehran taking a victory lap to boot. That said, today's Washington Post editorial, "Diplomatic Traps," is spot on.

Another plausible-sounding diplomatic option is for the United States to get behind a U.N. proposal to send a peacekeeping force to Lebanon, after a cease-fire. But that's been tried before, too, and if the result is to allow Hezbollah to regroup and rearm, Hezbollah will have achieved its war aim: to strike a blow against Israel while preserving its status as a state within a state. An international force would help only if it had a mandate and the capability to enforce Hezbollah's disarmament. That won't be possible unless Israel's military campaign greatly weakens the movement.….

The unprovoked attack across an international border by Iran's client Hezbollah succeeded in turning the world's attention from the nuclear crisis to the Middle East -- just as Iran must have hoped. The best response is to shift the focus back -- and make clear that the United States and its allies will not be intimidated through war-by-proxy.