While we sit impotent and axle deep in the quagmire of Iraq the rest of the region goes on falling into chaos. Lebanon, which had nearly healed itself before the return of its troubles heard the echo of the bomb blast again as the anti-Syrian MP Antoine Ghanem was one of 5 people dead and thirty injured in a bomb blast in the suburbs of Beirut today. According to AFP presented by France 24, the emergency rooms of two nearby hospitals were refilled with the butchery of war.
Reached by telephone, Ghanem’s daughter Viviane was in tears and said: “It may be my father but I haven’t officially been informed yet.”
Early speculation is that this is another blast from Fatah-al-Islam. What is not speculation is that the lack of credible diplomatic power of the Bush-run American government has sounded again across the region. It is not the mere lack of available armies to push into trouble spots, rarely necessary and nearly always counter-productive, more it is the loss of a vision of the United States as a place of any integrity, particularly in the Middle East. When an Establishment oriented person such as Zbigniew Brzezinski’s views are reported in the Economist (June 8, 2007) as being
George Bush junior gets an unforgiving F for his “catastrophic leadership”. The most powerful image of America, says Mr Brzezinski, is no longer the Statue of Liberty but the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay. Unless Mr Bush’s successor takes urgent steps to restore America’s political and moral standing, he says, “the crisis of American superpower will become terminal”, and the epoch of American dominance will be shortened.
Those less favorably inclined to our country might feel even less sanguine. The key to peace in Lebanon is hidden in the tangle of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that tangle is enmeshed in the murderous incursion into Iraq. This troubled region, with its web of religious differences, dictatorial governments, poverty, ignorance, and unbelievable corruption would be a difficult place to soothe with the highest good will and most sensible policies. We are displaying neither, and many daughters are in tears, and many Dads are dead.