Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Ambassador Imad Moustapha
I was again struck by the distinction that Layne discusses between deterrence and compellence, and the extent to which the distinction between diplomacy and command is being blurred. How do we get a state to change its policies, and what are we willing to put on the table, and what bargains are we willing to strike, and what power are we prepared to use (along with paying the attendant costs). I fear that an approach of asserting our moral superiority, laying out "what needs to be done" and then assuming it all goes according to plan is not going to pay dividends.
The ambassador did put one anecdote on the record, which might substantiate a point I raised on Monday. He said that he was told by a senior Congressional figure that if Syria would do the heavy lifting in disarming Hezbollah, then the U.S. would recognize Syrian primacy in Lebanon, a quid pro quo arrangement. I don't know whether that Congressional personage was serious or not, but it does raise the qeustion as to whether some sort of grand bargain built upon a series of overlapping compromises might have been in the cards.
This then leads to whether positive or negative incentives are the best way forward.
Syria must be brought into the process in order to allow the government of Lebanon to rein in Hizbullah and allow Hizbullah to become another political movement that is not a “state within a state.” The government of Lebanon will not be able to rein in Hizbullah without Syria backing the process. Syria will not join the process
Syria can be brought into the process if the United States provides Syria with sufficient assurances that it will gain significantly, both in terms of US and Western financial support and investments in Syria and by knowing that the Golan Heights will be returned to Syria sovereignty in exchange of peace with Israel.
Better that it be in Hizballah's hands than in Syria's hands. I'm all for talking to Syria, but Hizballah, for all its delusions, is not running a totalitarian state in Lebanon. Syria was and will again if allowed.
Hizballah has at least a shot into evolving into something no worse than Venezuela. The Syrian regime, however, will only decay and collapse.. into something ugly and dangerous. Give them Lebanon back, and seal Lebanon's fate as the same.
Not only that, but empowering Syria in Lebanon is the same thing as empowering Hizballah.
better to give the Golan back than to give them Lebanon.
Enduring this "fever" actually does make sense. But its possible adoption will have to wait for teh next president.