- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 22, 2006

Two days ago, the New York Times suggested an out-of-character response to dealing with the crisis in the Middle East should the U.N. Security Council fail to enforce Resolution 1559, which requires Hezbollah to disarm. “If the Security Council isn’t willing to issue such explicit demands or link them to clear punishments,” the paper editorialized, “the United States, Europe and key Arab allies, who are also eager to see the fighting and Hezbollah contained, will have to bring serious pressure on their own.” Of course, the editorial continued, “[t]he United States will have to take the lead.”

The NYT’s argument that the United States may be forced to assemble and lead a coalition if the Security Council fails to act represents a remarkable change in perspective from just three years ago.

This is the same editorial page, after all, that claimed in March 2003 that it was “persuaded of the vital need to disarm Iraq. But it is a process that should go through the United Nations.” The Times consistently chided President Bush for not being more patient with the United Nations, even when it became clear that no action could be expected from the Security Council. It’s curious that the Times predicated the necessary action to resolve one dangerous situation on U.N. approval (an editorial, also in March 2003, declared that “[t]he threat of force… should not give way to the use of force until peaceful paths to Iraqi disarmament have been exhausted and the Security Council gives its assent to war”) but is now willing to wave that condition in order to deal with Hezbollah. Friday’s editorial fails to explain why the Times believes two situations should be handled so differently.

The editorial is correct, however, in its anticipation of Security Council paralysis, particularly in light of the European nations’ behavior since Israel and Hezbollah went to war. For example, France has been strident in its calls for a ceasefire, but the Security Council resolution that France proposed stops short of explicit criticism of Iran and Syria, whose arming of Hezbollah helped trigger the current conflict.

Also in this camp are U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who denounced what he called an “excessive use of force” by Israel, and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who echoed the sentiment of other European ministers by calling Israel’s self-defense actions in Lebanon “not proportionate.” Russian President Vladimir Putin thwarted a U.S. attempt at the G-8 summit to craft a strong resolution that condemned Iranian and Syrian support for Hezbollah.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has been one of the most vocal European leaders. “No one should defend themselves with abusive force that does not protect innocent human beings,” he said Wednesday regarding Israeli actions. As if that were not enough to convey his position, Mr. Zapatero, displaying foolishness that has become characteristic of the European left, then posed for pictures wearing a kaffiyeh.

While Israel (with strong support from Washington) deals decisively with the Islamofascists next door, the NYT and the EU appear muddled in intellectual confusion and paralysis when it comes to standing against terror.

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