Another Fantasy-Based Policymaking Update: Barry Rubin diagnoses a pervasive malady.
Astrange malady has apparently descended on part of Israel’s, much of America’s, and most of Europe’s elite. Let’s call it Syriantoxication, the belief that there is a real chance to make peace with Syria and–in its extreme version–that Lebanon should be sacrificed for that goal.
To call this wishful thinking is understatement. Why is this happening in Israel?
Few Israelis believe that negotiations with Palestinians will lead anywhere. Those on the right don’t want to do it, those in the center believe it can be done without harm and for limited benefit, those on the left pursue wishful thinking or at least see talks as a matter of duty.
There is, however, a group on the moderate left which thinks it must offer an alternative peace process. If the Palestinians will not do anything, they suggest, it’s better to put the priority on Syria.
Much of this comes from Labor Party circles and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. In part, Barak seems concerned that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s concessions to the Palestinians could undermine security interests; in part, he wants to undermine Olmert in order to replace him.
Talk-with-Syria enthusiasts argue that country is a greater potential security threat to Israel than Palestinian terrorist attacks. Also, Syria sponsors Hizballah and can influence whether or not Israel is attacked from Lebanon. And if Syria could be won away from its alliance with Iran that step would be a strategic victory in weakening the region’s radical forces.
There are, however, terrible dangers with this approach by those who should be supporting Lebanon’s independence. First, there’s no real evidence to believe in it. People blather on about Syria wanting peace or being ready to distance itself from Tehran without the slightest evidence or impressive logical argument.
Read it all.