July 26, 2006

More good for me, but not for theeing

Embedded in a generally interesting article about how the war in Iraq has tied Bush's hands when it comes to exerting influence in the Middle East (say it ain't so), there's a statement that embodies much of the boneheaded hubris that gets to pass for intelligent discourse in an over-entitled superpower:

... Judith Kipper, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, ... and others contend that the U.S. must also find ways to deter Iran and Syria, sponsors of the Hezbollah and Hamas military wings. "They both need to be convinced that the days of nation-states using surrogates to wage war are over,'' Kipper said. "There has to be a carrot-and-stick approach.''

Screw the Bush story, this is real news. Extra, extra, read all about it ... Nation-states don't use surrogates to wage war anymore!

I'd generally side with the Editors on which wars to spend the most time talking about, but I bet China, Russia, a bunch of countries in Africa and my very own homeland of the United States will be positively rocked to the core by the announcement that they aren't doing what they're currently doing or have been doing either recently or frequently over the past century. It's just another one of those tactics that's okay for the big powers, but not the peon states expected to follow our prevailing notions of international style as applied to everybody else. Guess how much of a damn Iran and Syria are going to give about this kind of advice? It's as pointless as it is faux-reasonable.

This is what happens in wars, Kipper: people do what works for them. They take stock of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their opponents, then try to figure out a strategy that maximizes their gains and minimizes their risks. As states with limited resources, no international arms support like Israel has, and heavy logistical constraints, they can't afford to imitate Donald Rumsfeld and declare themselves beyond such silly concerns.

No one is just going to lay down and die because we say it's the way things are done. They're not going to wake up tomorrow and decide that we've been right all along, either, even if we were. Wars happen in the world that we have, not the world we wish we had.

Posted by natasha at July 26, 2006 01:42 PM | International | Technorati links |

quite something

U.N. Chief Accuses Hezbollah of 'Cowardly Blending' Among Refugees

and quite true

Posted by: fwf at July 26, 2006 10:38 PM