- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

Henry Kissinger, whose vision of the world is as clear as his head is hard, recognizes the threat to world order that would be posed by Islamic fascists armed with nuclear weapons. In Lebanon, the cease-fire marked not the end of the war, but, as Mr. Kissinger put it in a widely remarked op-ed in The Washington Post, the beginning of a new chapter of Hezbollah’s “carefully conceived assault, not isolated terrorist attacks, on the international system of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Mr. Kissinger identifies the “jihadist conviction that it is the existing order that is illegal, not the Hezbollah and jihad method of fighting it.” His description of Hezbollah as a “non-state entity on the soil of a state, with all the attributes of a state and backed by the major regional power” and “a new phenomenon in international relations” signals a true paradigm shift from the realpolitik, balance-of-power politics with which he is usually associated.

The efforts to end the war in Lebanon underscored how adhering to an outdated model of international relations impedes resolution. “[B]y existing international rules,” Mr. Kissinger wrote, “the U.S. secretary of state was obliged to negotiate on the cease-fire with the Lebanese government, which controlled no forces in a position to implement it, while the only forces capable of doing so have never formally accepted it.” Although a sub-national organization, Hezbollah manages to act “openly as a state within a state,” with a military force more powerful than Lebanon’s and a political wing active in — but not subject to — the Lebanese government. Moreover, Hezbollah’s influence in the Lebanese government remains strong enough to impede political action against the terrorist group. Simply occupying southern Lebanon, as the U.N. force has indicated it intends to do, foolishly preserves a dangerous and unsustainable status quo.

“Everything returns to the challenge of Iran,” Mr. Kissinger concludes. “It trains, finances and equips Hezbollah, the state within a state in Lebanon. It finances and supports Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia, the state within a state in Iraq.” Truly significant is Mr. Kissinger’s description of the scale of the existential threat as “the common danger of a wider war merging into a war of civilizations against the backdrop of a nuclear-armed Middle East.” When Mr. Kissinger, a pillar of sober-sided foreign-policy advocacy, writes about the choice between a “new world order” or a “global catastrophe,” the sense of urgency is unmistakable.

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