Who would have thought Syria leaving Lebanon would be bad for Israel? But Mark Kleiman makes the case, and it's unfortunately quite persuasive.
The only quibble I have is at the end, where he says "So in the end, the Bushies will celebrate the "success" of their policy, only for the rest of us to pick up the pieces several years out. Haven't we heard this somewhere before?" The negative impacts on Israel are quite tragic. But I'm confused about what his preferred alternative would be. Is it leaving Lebanon under military occupation, forever to be denied democratic self-rule? That seems to be the implication, as Kleiman specifically points to a successful Lebanese democracy as the threat to Israel. I'm not willing to make that trade-off. If a democratic Arab world is going to be a problem for Israel, then I think it's a problem they are going to have to live with (obviously excluding if the countries democratically decide to destroy Israel). The law of unintended consequences certainly is in full swing here, but I can't fault Bush for this one.