Col. Pat Lang (US Army, Ret.) has one of the most interesting national security/military policy blogs around. It’s tough-minded and unsentimental.
This morning, he sent some of his friends a roster of four issues and questions to consider when debating the so-called US-French agreement on and Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire.
1. France and the United States are not at war with each other. They cannot agree to end the fighting.
2. Hizbullah thinks it is winning both tactically and strategically. Why will it agree to anything other than a cease-fire in place?
3. Such a cease-fire will be a victory for Hizbullah.
4. Who will disarm Hizbullah if it accepts such a cease-fire?
These are good questions — but the first resonates with me most. It’s not clear that the US and France are willing to use their leverage to wrestle the warring parties down.
Where I disagree with Pat Lang is that a ceasefire is necessary to build alternative possibilities for regional deal-making and that whether such a ceasefire is perceived to be a victory for Hezbollah or not, it gives all parties the opportunity to stand down and for Arab states and Israel to consider the abyss they all could plunge into if fundamental problems aren’t resolved — particularly progress on the establishment of Palestine — but also the declawing of Hezbollah.
Have to run and catch a plane to Colorado. I will meet those who have emailed tomorrow morning in Aspen.
— Steve Clemons