Messed Up are the Peacekeepers [Excerpts]
Architects of unsuccessful wars are rightly held responsible for their actions, as Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara were for the Vietnam War and as George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld may be for the Iraq war, but there is no comparable settling of accounts for those responsible for failed peace pacts. Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung still has his 2000 Nobel Peace Prize, notwithstanding North Korea's continuing development of nuclear weapons and missiles. Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres still has his 1994 prize despite the collapse of the Oslo accords. And United Nations peacekeeping forces still have their 1988 prize even though they have become better known for committing sex crimes than for keeping the peace. (The current fighting has exposed the ineffectuality of yet another set of blue helmets -- those deployed in southern Lebanon.)
Nowhere is the dismal record of peace processes clearer than in Israel's case. Over the years, the "international community" repeatedly has stepped in to prevent Israel from finishing off its enemies -- for instance, following its 1982, 1993 and 1996 incursions into Lebanon. Unrelenting pressure even led Israel in 2000 to leave Lebanon altogether. The result? Not peace, but a stronger, more dangerous adversary on Israel's border. The only real peace that Israel got, as a result of the 1978 Camp David accords, came after it had decisively defeated Egypt in two wars.
You would think that some lessons might be learned from this history. But no. Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, architect of the 1993 and 1996 Israeli pullouts, is demanding yet another cease-fire that will allow Hezbollah to keep holding Lebanon and Israel hostage. And he is joined in this demand by the great and the good across the world.
Samuel Johnson's famous epigram needs to be amended. In the 18th century, patriotism may have been the last refuge of the scoundrel. Today, it's peace activism (Boot, "Los Angeles Times," 8/2/06).