Krauss in American Thinker: Hezbollah Advancing in Lebanon

Disincentives no longer exist to preclude aggression by Hezbollah in Lebanon, says Professor Michael Krauss, writing in American Thinker. Despite assurances by the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) that Hezbollah activity is diminishing there, Krauss points to evidence that the opposite is true.

Hezbollah, Hamas, and Humanitarians, American Thinker, June 25, 2007. by Michael I. Krauss and J. Peter Pham.

"Once upon a time, statesmen realized with Clausewitz that war was the continuation of politics by other means. Their charge was to do everything possible to prevent the outbreak of hostilities. But once it was clear that diplomacy failed or that one of the parties had initiated hostilities (casus belli), warriors were allowed to deliver what diplomats failed to produce: a definitive resolution of the conflict by determining a winner and a loser. The result was unconditional surrender, the political and military annihilation of the enemy. 

"Nowadays, however, when a terrorist group financed by a sovereign powers commits a casus belli, the international community reacts in one of two ways:

1. If the terrorist attack is successful, all those who resist are killed mercilessly. The international community wrings its hands and deplores the outcome.

2. If the terrorist attack is unsuccessful, the terrorists are pushed back from whence they came. The international community establishes humanitarian institutions, which prevent the annihilation of the terrorists and give them a chance to rebuild before they next attack. When this happens, repeat 1 or 2.

"War is, or at least used to be, a bloody business. Precisely because of this, bellicose strongmen had disincentives against initiating conflict: once they unleashed the dogs of war, they faced dire consequences, including debellatio, the ending of enemy belligerency through the complete destruction of their state. The unconditional surrender of the Third Reich was the end of the conflict it had loosed upon the world.

"Today, no such disincentives exist. Warlords can wage war with certain knowledge that the 'humanitarian considerations' of the United Nations will put aggressor and victim on the same level and save them from total defeat. Miscalculate your enemy's strength and resolve, and not only will the international community rally in midnight sessions of the UN Security Council to prevent your collapse, but the state you attack will have to tolerate inept 'peacekeepers' such as General Graziano, and helplessly await your next onslaught."

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