I, as much as anyone else, was disappointed that the recent mini-war (mini, that is, unless you happened to be in the middle of it) ended without the total destruction of Hezbollah. As is often the case with these things, passions become inflamed, hopes rise and expectations begin to take on a life of their own, and this latest conflict was no exception. It seemed that maybe, just maybe, Israel might have a chance to take out the noxious "state within a state".
So now that the cease fire has been declared and a multi-national force is moving into place to "keep the peace" (which is UN speak for maintain the odious status quo) my conservative brethren are suffering morning after regrets. True, Hezbollah was allowed to live another day, and yes, Israel was disappointingly less successful than we might have otherwise hoped, but I wonder if the result is really as bad as it seems.
First of all, if prior to Hostilities we had said Israel was going to push Hezbollah back away from the border, see 4,000 rockets land with only 40 civilian deaths and gain a renewed commitment from the UN to enforce a buffer zone, I wonder if we would have thought this to be an all that bad conclusion? I think it is clear, that as long as the cowards who make Hezbollah continue to hide amongst civilians and absent a global consensus that Hezbollah must go, the odds of completely eliminating the terrorist organization were extremely unlikely.
Furthermore Israel did gain quite a few intangible benefits from the month long campaign. First and foremost, there is no longer any doubt anywhere in the world that Iran and Syria are on the side of the terrorists. More importantly, Hezbollah's moral standing in the eyes of all but the most lunatic lefty groups has been severely down graded. Only one side in this fight targeted the civilians of it's enemy and only one side used it's own civilians as human shields against it's otherwise assured total destruction. Shia nut jobs around the world can say whatever they want to try to put some lipstick on this pig, and apparently enough of their pathetic followers will believe them to keep things going for a few more years. But international support from cultures that have actually achieved a thing or two in the last 700 years has clearly attained a new low.
what's more is that that very international support will at some point begin to include more moderate Arab states - moderate being a relative term here. As these states begin to realize the destabalizing force of the Shia - Irani/Syrian threat an Israel that just wants to produce high tech goods, and private equity funds doesn't appear all that bad anymore.
Finally, as we move into the cease fire period, Israel has gained international agreement for both a continued presence in Lebanon until peace keepers arrive, and for the legal authority to attack further Hezbollah provocations. Given that the peace keeping forces seem to be having trouble getting organized, and given that Hezbollah has committed to re-arming, Israel may have the opportunity to advance their defensive cause further in the very near future with greater international support than in the past.
So, I'm not completely sold on this latest peace movement in the middle east, but I can't really see where an improved outcome could practically be expected. Net net I 'd say that our side has moved the ball forward, positioned itself for further gains, and now has the opportunity to build increased international support. Lets see what happens.