Friday, January 28, 2011

The Neocon Hitler-Stalin Pact Moment, continued

No sooner do I call it out than both the Weekly Standard and National Review abruptly abandon their democratic revolutionism and go far beyond the old dictatorships-and-double-standards standby, sounding an awful lot like Edmund Burke, if not Joseph de Maistre, in warning ominously about the dangers of the mob. But the news comes today that Mohammed el Baradei is taking charge, signifying that he will be there to lead the national unity government that the protesters are demanding. This, in short, is the very Burkean outcome which has been ideal all along.

While we’re on the subject of what Burke would say about the events in the Middle East, we can also take heart in the fact that there is an even greater prospect for a constiutional process in bringing to power the opposition in Yemen. And nowhere is deference for the existing institutions and mores more visible than Lebanon. So therefore let me take this opportunity to reiterate some important blunt truths about Lebanon:

1.Lebanon is a democracy, albeit with peculiar features. Like most Latin American countries historically, it is a democracy rigged against the popular will. What would please Edmund Burke more than to see this corrected for by peaceful constitutional means, insofar as the inclusion of Hezbollah in the new government serves this purpose?

2.Like Hamas, Hezbollah is not at war with the United States, and it is pernicious in the extreme to suggest that because they are at war with Israel they are ipso facto at war with the United States.

3.Like Hamas, Hezbollah is a rational actor, and as is so often the case with Israel the insistence that its enemies are not rational actors is a bald case of projection. In both cases, but particularly in the case of Hezbollah, this is vitally important in recognizing that they can be worked with in a peaceful and democratic process.

4.Neither Syria nor Iran is a threat to Lebanese sovereignty. The real threat to Lebanese sovereignty is the hubristic “international” tribunal that presumes to have the authority of law over the sovereign nation of Lebanon.

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