...Tony Snow: “The president is not going to make military decisions for Israel.’’ This is entirely wrong. Israel should for all intents and purposes be a US puppet-state.
No military action should happen without the specific blessing of the White House. A micro-state subsidized by the US shouldn't be making US policy in the ME.
This is particularly necessary given the ability of Iran to help drive conflict in the region.
Thomas P.M. Barnett says...
... Iran doesn't care wait on that timetable, and so it launches it's form of a pre-emptive war--well-timed and well-placed.
Hamas and Hezbollah know what buttons to push with Israel (snatch-and-grabs), and Israel is more than obliging, in its ceaseless quest for buffers, to play its role.
This "open war" will feature far more firepower than deaths (AP reporting 73 Lebanese and 12 israelis so far, which is barely a decent train wreck). Israel will suffer minimally, mostly in diplomacy. Lebanon and the West Bank will suffer large amounts of infrastructure damage.
None of this will matter in Tehran, which is more than happy to exploit Hamas and Hezbollah to its purposes. Assad will do whatever seems to help most in tying the Americans up and diverting their attention from his failed regime, whose economic fortunes--as always--will rise or fall with Lebanon (get ready for a drop).
In the end, the Palestinians and Lebanese and Syrians and Iranians will remain impoverished and disconnected, Israel will remain prosperous and connected, the conflicts will seem all the more intractable, and Iran will have bought itself some serious time.
Bush is no longer running the Big Bang. You have to go faster than the current if you wish to steer in this river. Because if you don't, someone else inevitably will.
Interesting how all this seems to come down just as the U.S. mistakenly believes it's finally getting somewhere on putting the Iranian issue in the UN Security Council.
Foreign affairs is a bitch, ain't it, Boss?