Grey Thoughts
Israel and Lebanon
With the current war going on in the mid-east it is important to reflect a bit on how it got there. I'm not talking about the history of which country attacked who or whether it is all Iran's fault, I am talking about the current philosophy used to guide international action and relations.

Since WWII and the UN, the international community has been focused on keeping existing borders intact and maintaining the sovereignty of nations. Even with the cold war where nations were used as proxies against the communist threats boundaries remained largely unchanged. This sort of guiding philosophy can be seen as a sort of artifical selection, where a controlled environment is enforced altering the normal factors which decide who stays in power in what area. (The failure of artifical selection is seen time and time again. Just look at the irish potato famine, the genetic problems of pure bred dogs and socialism for examples). The problems with this artificial selection is obvious when it comes to Lebanon.

The Lebanese government has never been able to properly govern Lebanon since the French withdrew in 1946 (The whole region suffered from colonialism and sudden withdrawal). However, with the notion of keeping the sovereignty of nations, no one has done anything but prop up the underpowered regimes. The lack of power led to Lebanon being swamped by Palestinian refugees which ended up once again causing 'civil' strife. Syria helped Lebanon against the Palestinians, but only pushed them to southern Lebanon, leaving a festering problem that resulted in Israel invading Southern Lebanon to stop rocket attacks from the Palestinians (and Syria who switched sides). Israel withdrew from the area after a UN resolution which called for both Israeli and militant Palestinian withdrawal. The militant Palestinians however stayed. A few years later (1982) Israel again invaded to stop the Palestinians from using southern Lebanon as a launching base for rocket attacks. Ultimately, Israel again bowed to international pressure and withdrew from Southern Lebanon, but the Lebanese government still had little power to properly govern. Syrian forces and Hezbollah still hold much power in Southern Lebanon, although recent actions by Lebanese citizens have to the Syrian army officially leaving the country in 2005.

Ultimately, if a country and it's allies do not have the power to hold their borders against external threats, the country is unlikely to have the power to properly control it's own population. What ever side of the current conflict you are on, it should be obvious that a big part of the problem is that the Lebanese government has not been able to remove Hezbollah from the country. This lack of power, fostered by years of strife and international 'help', has allowed Lebanon to get into the situation where their citizens are being killed for actions not supported (as far as we know) by the state.

Some may blame Israel for the deaths of Lebanese citizens, but the reality is clearly more complicated. Israel, as a sovereign nation, has a duty to protect her citizens. Lebanon has the same duty, but the added inability to stop a chunk of it's country from attacking Israel. Unless Lebanon can stop Hezbollah, it really doesn't deserve to keep southern Lebanon as part of it's nation. If the international community intervenes again, it will be them that continues the cycle of violence, not Israel, Hezbollah or Lebanon.
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