Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Democracies Don't Fight Each Other

Michael Totten is filling in for Glenn Reynolds this week at Instapundit and posts the following item: "This war in the Middle East nearly demolishes the theory that democracies don't go to war with each other. Lebanon, aside from Hezbollah's state-within-a-state, is a democracy. At least it's an almost-democracy. Aside from my personal affection for Lebanon, the country where I recently lived, the only country other than the US where I've ever lived, this is what anguishes me the most: The Arab world's only democracy is being torn to pieces by another democracy.
But it's telling, I think, that the Lebanese army, the fighting institution that represents democratic Lebanon and not just one totalitarian-sponsored political party, has chosen to sit this one out. "

Far from proving the point, Israel is fighting Hezbollah - a "totalitarian-sponsored political party" in Totten's words, not Lebanon. Lebanon's fledgling democracy is in no condition to fight this militia. The infrastructure damage Israel has caused to Lebanon is to keep Hezbollah from being resupplied by Syria and Iran - not to strangle the new Lebanese democracy in it's infancy. It might also explain why the Lebanese military has decided to sit on the sidelines since they can't possibly win. While the Arab League has issued a denunciation of Hezbollah, a polarization of political opinion must happen in the Middle East. The time is quickly approaching for these countries to make a decision - which side are you on?

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