The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Update on ME

Looks like things are going to shape up in Lebanon while things break down with Iran.

French officials stated that the revised UN mandate for Lebanon (which seem very technical to me) are "going in the right direction". While the French military has been skeptical of a Lebanese intervention (still stinging from Bosnia), an unnamed French high military source said that "We are arriving at soldiers' rules of engagement." French PM Dominique de Villepin stated that France is "the most engaged and most present" in Lebanon and would go further when "the conditions were met."

In short, I think France will declare very soon exactly what her real contribution would be after her (feigned?) hesitation. Villepin's comments, and traditional French esteem, would suggest the contribution will be at least 2500 in order to avoid the proposed transfer to Italian command.

Meanwhile it looks like Iran has not met US or UN Security Council obligations on her nuclear program. Various right-wing intellectuals/talking-heads (notably Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan and AEI fellow Reuel Gerecht) have been beating the drums of... well not quite war, but at least some sort of military intervention (probably air raid) to end Iran's nuclear program. I am befuddled by two issues:
1) Iran's nuclear program is so far behind, all this talk strikes me as a tad "pre-emptive".
2) If it *really* gets bad, won't Israel (first in line to get nuked) attack Iran like it did Iraq's nuclear reactor in the 80s?

Seems like empty talk to me.


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