On every major security challenge, from North Korea’s missiles to Iran’s uranium enrichment, diplomacy is undermined by Chinese, Russian and sometimes Western European foot-dragging. These powers are happy to criticize unilateralism and belligerence at every turn. But when there’s a chance to make diplomacy work, they call for U.S. leadership and hide behind the curtains.
There’s a direct causal link between this freeloading irresponsibility and Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon. The Chinese and Russians ensure every day that diplomacy is limp, and then they sound surprised when Israel chooses the military option.
As usual, two thoughts:
First is, why would these nations consider the current outcome a failure? The main goal, it seems to me, is not to achieve any specific result, but to avoid any responsiblity so that they can do exactly what the article laments, free-load off international security provided by the USA. Whatever happens now, all those nations can claim “not our fault!” and switch to whatever sides prevails. It’s like furniture shopping with She Who Is Perfect In All Ways. I am completely unhelpful, and she threatens “maybe I’ll pick out something really horrid!”. I laugh, because I have a much higher tolerance for horrid and she just can’t help having good taste. In the same way, the free loaders believe that whatever Israel and the USA do, they would never do something so horrid that it would be worse than the effort of doing something themselves.
Secondly, I think that the level of reality leakage has hit a critical point. Israel can act and disregard the “limp diplomacy” because the scurrying ants of shuttle diplomacy have been fried by the magnifying lens of reality. The old words of “engagement” and “negotiation” are used but they don’t have the effect they have in the past because too many have seen too much of the hollowness in them. The bottom line is that Israel will be able to do what it wants and everyone knows that any complaints are just ignorable rhetoric. That bit of reality may be the only hope for the region.