Michael Barone

No government can be expected to ignore such armed attacks on its people and its military forces. Land-for-peace is a non-starter. Hamas and Hezbollah already have land. And they have made it clear that they will never willingly make peace.

The Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah has also prompted leaders of other Arab nations to respond differently than they have in Middle East crises in the past. Then, they were content to give verbal support to the likes of Arafat, to please the "Arab street" and the intellectuals in their own countries. Arafat and his ilk posed no real threat to them. But they have responded very differently to this crisis, which appears to be an attempt by the Iranian mullahs to project their influence throughout the region. Iran, with its missiles and its nuclear program, with its non-Arab ethnicity and militant Shiite Islam, is a threat to the rulers of countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. Hence their denunciations of the Hezbollah attacks.

The guiding impulse of most leaders in Europe and of many in the United States is to seek some sort of negotiated compromise. That is what Bill Clinton did when Hezbollah attacked Israel 10 years ago, and he sent Secretary of State Warren Christopher to negotiate with President Hafez Assad of Syria. But today, even the Europeans recognize that this approach is not only futile, but dangerous. Syria is a cat's-paw of Iran, and Iran, with its missiles and possible warheads, is an existential threat not only to others in the Middle East, but to Europe. Appeasement is possible when the attacker stands ready to be appeased, as Sadat and King Hussein were. It is dangerous where there is no such willingness, as seems to be the case for Iran's mullahs and its batty, Holocaust-denying president.

The question now is whether Israel has the capacity and the will to eliminate the aggressive capability of Hezbollah and Hamas. And whether the United States has the nerve to continue to back Israel in its determination to do so. The outcome is not clear. But at least there is no cry for the non-solution of land for peace.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM