Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanese War Presents Twin Challenges to Bush Administration

In his Washington Post column today, David Ignatius well summarizes the twin challenges posed by the current war in Lebanon:
The challenge for the Bush administration as the Lebanon war explodes into its second week is just that -- to keep faith with Siniora and his Cedar Revolution, even as it stands by its close ally Israel. This isn't simply a question of appearances and public diplomacy. Unless Siniora's government can be strengthened, there is little hope for achieving the U.S. and Israeli goal of bringing Hezbollah's guerrillas under lasting control.
If you regularly read blogs from the Middle East as I do, you know that many pro-US Arab bloggers are furious with Hezbollah for initiating this conflict. (As well they should be.)

But their reactions range from agony for the Lebanese people and its fledgling renewed nationhood to fury with the Israelis for attacking the Lebanon, rather than Syria.

The complexity of those reactions conveys something of the complexity of the challenge before the Bush Administration right now, quite apart from the complicating factors of the global war on terrorism and the ongoing war in Iraq.

In an imperfect world where governments are necessary, innocent peoples and sovereign governments, like those in Israel, have the responsibility to defend their people from attack and terror.

And in that same imperfect world, innocent peoples and fragile democracies, like those in Lebanon, deserve the support and encouragement of the family of nations.

That's the tightrope between two imperatives which the Bush Administration is walking right now. I have little idea of how it best should do that. But I'm praying that it negotiates the rope in a way that supports both Israel and Lebanon in their critical times of need.

Read Ignatius' entire column.

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