Across the Bay

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Stability? What Stability?

Former US Asst. Sec. of State for NE affairs, and current president of the Middle East Institute, Edward Walker jumps on the regime change bandwagon with an impassioned op-ed urging the US to stick by Lebanese democracy, forget any [Landis/Leverett-type] "deal" with Damascus that would come at the expense of Lebanon, and not be afraid of working to dethrone the Assad family, which, as Walker put it, is assassinating the soul of Lebanon.

Walker and the MEI are hardly "Neocons" (and this comes after Martin Indyk dumped Bashar as well). Nevertheless, Walker had the following to say:

Why do we all have so little confidence in the people of Syria? They have been led by a tiny minority clique that has the advantage of being utterly ruthless. So this minority profits by the assumption in civilized countries that no one could be so amoral or so ruthless as to assassinate Rafik Hariri and Gebran Tueni and the other recent victims of violence in Lebanon. The minority profits by the Louis XV syndrome of "after me, the deluge." But the French nation did not fall when Louis XV fell. And neither will Syria if the "family" in Damascus is dethroned. Is it not better to have the Syrian "family" collapse than to be complicit in the failure of democracy in Lebanon?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said a few months back that stability was not America's goal. Well, let us prove it. Allowing people, Islamists, secularists, Muslims and Christians to govern themselves may be messy and may lead to instability and chaos, but President Bush, if Iraq is the right war as you have said, than standing up for democracy in Lebanon is equally right.
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How many more Lebanese heroes must die before the world takes action? Who is next on the Syrian hit list that everyone in the Arab world is talking about? Must Saad Hariri be next?

So with all due respect to Greg Djerejian, it's not just "the kiddies" who are talking. And there's a reason. Quite a few of them, actually.