Monday, August 28, 2006

We Always Negotiate with Terrorists, cont.

Apologies for the absence - camping trip.

I've been thinking about how best to react to the whole kerfuffle over a Liberal MP resigning his position within the party for calling for Hezbollah to be taken off the terror watch list, and direct negotiations with same.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - spare me the rhetoric about "not negotiating with terrorists". We always negotiate. Terrorism works in forcing powerful countries doing objectionable things to stop, or at least negotiate away the objectionable bits. There is in this case the additional silliness that Hezbollah was only added to the list of terror organizations in 2002, so it's hardly a long-standing policy of the Canadian government. People who want a purge of any moderate Liberals (I'm looking at you, Warren) need to explain why Hezbollah is a group that cannot in any way be reconciled with from 2002-2006, but was not in the years immediately after the 1983 Hezbollah attack killed 241 servicemen serving under the flag of our closest ally.

(Did we even have a "terrorist organization" list before 2001? If not, why not? Certainly Hezbollah's acts in the 1980s established it as a terror group.)

Frankly, it's ridiculous that Canada is coming to this game so late. Hezbollah is changing as an organization, emphasizing it's social services and it's role in the Lebanese government. (This does not, and can not, ease the actual bad, bad things that Hezbollah does.) For Canada to start demonizing Hezbollah's role in the region now, as opposed to when it was a much more destructive and destabilizing force, would really just be evidence of Canada's continuing foreign policy ineptness.

That said, what MP Wrzesnewskyj was - to put it mildly - ill timed and ill considered. Taking Hezbollah off The List now, even talking about it now, is just a bit too soon for Canadians. The Liberal party obviously can run its internal affairs the way it likes, and in terms of optics, Wrzesnewskyj's comments were pretty bad for the party.

The problem with this whole incident is that the fact is, we will - eventually - have to talk with Hezbollah, either as a NGO or as the government of Lebanon. When we do, it would be useful is we could treat matters of state with a bit more maturity than this.


wilson61 said...

I respectfully disagree, John, that WE will ever have to negotiate with Hezbollah.
To do so gives them legitamacy. WE should talk to the Gov't of Lebanon, they in turn will deal with Hezbollah.

john said...

Hezbollah had, has, and will continue to have legitimacy in the eyes of the Lebanese people - the only ones who matter - regardless of what we do.

This whole idea that legitimacy is something that we in the west can grant or withhold is troublesome, to say the least.

What happens when Hezbollah IS the government of Lebanon? Do we simply isolate Lebanon, they way we've done with Hamas? That path hasn't helped anyone.

wilson61 said...

There was an incident in s. Lebanon, where the citizens would not allow Hezbollah to plaster their signs and pics of the leader around. The towns people said they (Hez) were the killers of their 26 towns people.
I will find the link if you haven't seen the article.

The people loving Hez is partially propaganda. I think Hez provoked Israel so they could 'fix' it, validate their existance.
Lebanon was finally flourishing after years of rebuilding, peak tourist season, and Hez picks a fight. There may be more resentment from the citizens than MSM reports (is allowed to report)

wilson61 said...

Hamas has their hands full with a healthcare workers strike, 6 months with no $$$.
This kind of pressure can bring results. If it didn't, we wouldn't have unions.

Ronald Brak said...

When some crazy guy with a gun takes hostages and starts making threats, the police negotiate with him. Why? Because it often works and innocent lives can be saved. The crazy guy never ends up with a helicopter trip to a tropical island where he lives out the rest of his days in luxury. So why are people so scared about negotiating with terrorists? Do they think they won't be able to resist the temptation to give them a tropical island, or is it just that innocent lives aren't considered all that important?