July 17, 2006 With the suddenly ramped up struggle between Israel and Jihadist Islam, world geopolitical opinion has entered a dark realm of pretend. Pretend that Hezbollah is defending anything. Pretend that Israel has any choice now except to disarm Hezbollah by force, and to compel Lebanon to control what goes on within its sovereign territory. Pretend that this fight can be neatly contained.
Nobody know where this fight is going, but Israel has set clear limits on the homicidal behavior of her neighbors. The terms are unambiguous: Hezbollah can no longer deploy an arsenal of dangerous toys along Lebanon's southern border; and Lebanon will either enforce better behavior down there or will be sequentially punished for failing to. If anybody else around the neighborhood wants to jump into the fight, they can expect a hearty response from Israel.
Except for the US, the rest of the world wants to pretend that Jihad is a legitimate extension of foreign policy, because the oil-producing region of the world is now under the sway of Jihad, and the West especially is under the sway of oil addiction. Germany, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Spain -- none of these players want to disrupt their supplies of oil coming up through Suez. France goes further in deploring Israel's self-defense, to get brownie points from its own large and restive Islamic minority. Russia has enough oil and gas for the moment to enjoy playing the West off against Jihadist Islam, which has the beneficial side-effect of taking the focus of Jihad's wrath off Russia's southern borders.
The US wants to pretend that perhaps Israel alone can take this opportunity to deal with an increasingly adventurous and crazy Iran, and Iran may provide just that opportunity if it tries to ride to Hezbollah's rescue.
Jihad is not a program that a civilized world can tolerate indefinitely because it is essentially a form of genocidal hubris. My own guess is that it has risen as a consequence of runaway population growth in a part of the world that has grossly exceeded its carrying capacity by artificial means, namely oil wealth. It is a geopolitical psychotic reaction to an ecological crisis. But that is just an explanation, not an excuse.
The great fear in the background of the current struggle is that it will permanently disable the oil markets that the advanced nations depend on -- that we will reach a point in a few days or a few weeks where a lot of things will be smashed up in that part of the world and life will not be so comfortable again. That is a valid fear, but it is not an excuse to let Jihad run roughshod through the Middle East. The truth is, somebody has to kick Jihad's crazy ass, and that unpleasant task is being left to Israel. What we seem to forget is that it is in the exact nature of heroism to act where others are too frightened and timid.