Good fences make good neighbors. Thus did that famous American diplomat Robert Frost esoterically communicate to the nations of the world the formula for helping international neighbors who just can't get along (say, Israel and some of its neighbors) to at least avoid open conflict. Alas, something there is that doesn't love a wall.
All things considered, I'd rather be blogging on one of the books I've got queued up. But as I sit here watching Israeli artillery lob shells into southern Lebanon, interspersed with shots of Hezbollah rockets landing in Israeli towns, I just can't quite bracket the real world from my blogging tonight. I'm afraid Robert Frost's buffer zones aren't going to work this time.
Katyusha rockets go about 12 miles. So for Israeli towns to have the sort of security Israel wants, that means a 12-mile buffer zone. What if Hezbollah can launch missiles that go 100 miles? 300 miles? Israel can't really establish a 300-mile buffer zone, so at that point security via a buffer zone is unachievable. To me, it looks like technological sophistication is rendering the buffer zone approach utterly ineffective. Absent an actual defense that can knock down incoming rockets or missles (and I haven't heard the term "Patriot missle" once in the last two weeks), the next strategic fallback position for Israel is a scaled-down version of Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD"). It's not clear that sort of deterrence with work for all parties this time around. This is not encouraging.
Granted, MAD worked for fifty years during the Cold War. I kind of miss the Soviets -- maybe godless Communism wasn't so bad. At least they were rational, and MAD works to deter rational actors. Unfortunately, the folks running Hamas and Hezbollah don't match up well with the requirements of that model. And the emerging nuclear capability of Iran and North Korea will inevitably present another layer of complication. The world is changed. I feel it in the water; I smell it in the air.
Maybe I'm just exaggerating for effect ... but does anyone else have the impression that the context of the present conflict is qualititatively different from prior conflicts? From where I'm sitting, I see a lot of scenarios under which things will continue to get worse, possibly much worse, and few realistic scenarios where they get better. And that's not even factoring in something like a "sleeper cell" triggering a nuke in Tel Aviv or Tallahassee.
And what's the Mo app? What do Mormons do when contemplating Armageddon? Pull the missionaries (both of them) out of Lebanon and check the food storage. Let's see, 11 gallons of water and a 40-gallon water heater. A cabinet full of canned goods (well, half full). Unread books to last 5 years. I'll get thirsty but I won't get bored.