Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Middle East Mess

Stanley Kurtz of National Review catches my mood on the War on Terror perfectly:

Call me a gloomy hawk. It’s not just that I’m a hawk who’s disappointed with the course of fighting in the Middle East. My concern is that our underlying foreign-policy dilemma calls for both hawkishness and gloom — and will for some time. The two worst-case scenarios are world-war abroad and nuclear terror at home. I fear we’re on a slow-motion track to both.

No, I don’t think our venture in Iraq has gotten us into this mess. I think this mess has gotten us into Iraq. And the mess will not go away, whatever we do

What most Americans want, I think, is a choice other than "fighting" or "quiting." Unfortunately, nobody that I know of is offering a reasonable alternative. "Bribing?" That would work if we could get Middle Easterners to once again submit to the bootheel of their local tinpots. But those days are over. The Islamist movement has grown and prospered as a reaction to these dictatorships, and Islamists are willing to kill themselves in order to impose their own clerical dictators.

As Kurtz points out, we've tried placating and we've tried politics. Now we're trying confrontation. It's not easy, and if Israel's experience in Lebanon is any indicator, it isn't likely to get any easier.

What's the other option? Tell me, and I will happily join you in promoting it.

Until then, alas, I'm afraid all we're left with is "fight, fight, fight!"