Sunday, August 27, 2006

Yet another in the seemingly endless series of lessons on the importance of deterrence

According to Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, had he known that the Israelis would respond as forcefully as they did to the kidnapping of their soldiers, he would never have ordered it. Even though Olmert never ordered the killing blow, the possibility was always there. This is not only a reminder that non-Westerners are not the military masterminds and adept students of Sun Tzu that lefties imagine them to be, but also of the value of deterrence.

The cause of deterrence is simply the belief that any action against another nation will result in so massive a retaliation (yes, that means disproportionate retaliation) that it is not worth it to take the initial action, in this case kidnapping or killing a dozen Israeli soldiers. What we saw with Hezbollah was the effect of years of lefty weakness in Israel. This was supposed to inspire a willingness to compromise in the terrorists but as we saw (and as the right predicted) has only whipped up a willingness to push the envelope against Israel.

We can only hope that Hezbollah has learned its lesson this time. However, since it is still alive, in all likelihood all it has learned is the need for bigger rockets next time. More critically is the lesson that the other nations in the region have taken. Whatever the deterrence effect Israel may have had on terrorists, it hasn’t had any on the nations of the region. Iran now feels free to attack Romanian and Azerbaijani oil platforms, Syria is openly declaring hatred for Israel and the need to conquer the Golan, Egypt is establishing ties with Iran for the first time and some are pushing for an end to the peace treaty with Israel, and Turkey is continuing her move away from the “Phantom Alliance” and secularism and towards Islamism.

I know lefties hate acting tough, much less actually being tough, but in the real world it’s a lot cheaper and better for everyone to make 100 nations fear you will go to war than to have to go to war with even one nation. One would think that with history, even recent history like Iraq, showing the value of deterrence and making your enemy believe that you will go to war this would be obvious to everyone. Sadly, it isn’t and sadly we, like Israel, will pay the price for it again and again in the future.


  1. Or Nasrallah is simply playing one of his standard mind games speeches to (easily) convince certain sectors of Israeli society that he learned his lessons because Olmert, Peretz and Halutz did there jobs so well and therefore they should not fired for total incompetence.

    Meanwhile he is busy heavily rearming which belies his words said for Western consumption.

  2. Yeah, I don't really believe Nasrallah's words. But as you said, it is just for Western consumption, which means someone here believes it. So if you do believe him, as the left wants to, it proves deterrence and the need for a tough foreign policy. As I mentioned, the only lesson I think Hezbollah learned is that they need lots of rockets to hit Tel Aviv next time.

    More important I think is that Israel has lost a little (maybe a lot, time will tell) of her deterrence with the countries in the region. It seems already nations are readjusting from the undefeatable Israel Middle East, to the defeatable Israel Middle East. In the end that will cause far more problems for Israel and us than Nasrallah can, whether he is deterred or not.