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Status Quo Ante Bellum

Saturday, Jul. 22, 2006 1:17 AM


One of the disturbing things about the Bush Administration's policy regarding the Israel-Lebanon situation is its dismissive view of status quo ante bellum that is, two opposing states set against each other, with an often fragile, brokered peace keeping them from open warfare.

For President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, status quo is no longer acceptable. The goal is no longer a cease-fire, but a, "... real and endurable peace."

Which undoubtedly means different things for those involved.

For Israel, it means the removal of Hezbollah, Hamas, and all the other terrorist groups who seemingly enjoy open and unabashed support of Islamic states. Throw in Syria and Iran and anyone else casting a covetous eye upon the Holy Land, 'cause obviously, the town ain't big enough for all that religion.

For the narrow-minded Bush Administration, it is a tired sales pitch to a market they continue to misjudge and fail to comprehend. Get rid of the terrorists in your midst, and embrace democracy. All people want to be free, it's God's Gift ... but the sloganeering studiously ignores that the terrorists have their own visions of freedom.

I fail to see how Rice's penchant for slam-the-door diplomacy will be of any benefit to the region. Side with Israel, and Muslim states cast a suspicious eye upon us. Defend Hezbollah, even to question Israel's restraint or lack thereof, and, well, Israel brushes us off and pursues its own solutions.

Of course, we're busy shipping munitions to Israel, directly supporting their capability to continue bombing of Lebanon. It's going to be awfully difficult talking, 'real, enduring peace' when you're supplying arms to one side.

But Rice will not be speaking with anyone from the Syrian government, decrying Hezbollah as a group that plays at politics and terrorism. Obviously, she missed the Palestinian elections, where Hamas won the popular vote, and despite all our talk of fair and free elections, we shunned them and enacted economic sanctions.

The concept of status quo exists in many things. The world is not a zero-sum game, either/or, for/against, a place of absolutes unless you watch too much reality television, where you're encouraged to dislike people, encouraged to backstab, scheme, and plot, and then engage in stupidity like 'immunity challenges'.

During the Cold War, status quo had an outgrowth known as Mutually Assured Destruction. Nobody tipped the balance to one side or the other, because we had enough nuclear warheads to eliminate each other. Deciding that an uneasy peace was simply not good enough was not an option.



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