Given the track record of the United Nations (UN) in the MIddle East, I am not particularly optimistic that the Security Council Resolution 1701, unanimously passed yesterday, will lead to long-term solution to the conflict between the sovereign nation of Israel and the international scofflaws of Hezbollah. Conservative opinion seems divided on the issue with the normally pro-Bush Administration bloggers like Hugh Hewitt and Powerline, pessimistic (about the Administration-backed resolution) while Captain Ed is cautiously optimistic.
I’m somewhere between the two. For those of you who want to better understand what I mean by civil discourse, look at how Captain Ed and Powerline respond to each other’s points. First, Captain Ed weighs in, calling the Cease-Fire a Mixed Bag. Paul at Powerline responds to Captain Ed here, then the good Captain offers a response to Paul. Each addresses the other’s points and neither engages in backbiting or name-calling.
A great example of where the blogosphere can promote serious civil discourse of the topics of the day.
They both raise valid points and I strongly encourage you to follow their conversation. My heart is with the Captain because the resolution has passed — and I want the cease-fire to succeed and for Hezbollah to collapse — but my mind is with Paul, given the UN’s track record.
Even UN Secretary General Kofi Annan acknowledges that Hezbollah is responsible for the current conflict, saying:
Since 12 July, when Hezbollah launched an unprovoked attack on Israel, killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two, both Lebanon and Israel have been thrown back into the turmoil of war, death and destruction.
While delighted with passage of the resolution yesterday, Annan seems to blame the Security Council for the continuation of hostilities when he expressed his profound disappointment “that the Council did not reach this point much, much earlier.”
It is not Annan who should be disappointed with the Security Council, but rather the Council who should be disappointed with him for failing to enforce its resolution 1559, calling “for the disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias.” The United Nations had two-and-one-half years to act upon this resolution. It had a force in southern Lebanon and yet Hezbollah continued to operate there in defiance of international law. It did nothing to stop them.
Had Resolution 1559 been implemented, Hezbollah would have been disarmed and thus unable to launch the “unprovoked attack” which even Kofi Annan acknowledged was the cause of this war. If the United Nations is to be a serious organization, it must take seriously the pronouncements of the Security Council, mandated by its charter to pass resolutions binding on member-states. The UN failed to fulfill the promise of 1559. We can only hope that it succeeds in implementing 1701.