The Problem with Containment – Part I

Last week at an Israel Bond event honoring Rita Waldor, Michael Hirsh, Senior Writer for Newsweek magazine, was the guest speaker. Michael is a member of the Hirsh family who are so prominent in philanthropic and business circles in MetroWest. His sister, Kim, is a stalwart of our Jewish Community Foundation.

He wrote the lead story in the current issue of Newsweek highlighting Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State. In his remarks, he noted that the Administration was working hard to stop Iran from going nuclear, with the Security Council taking up sanctions in late May or early June. However, these sanctions will be “watered down.” He therefore cautioned that more and more, the conventional wisdom in Washington among leadership circles was developing policy to contain a nuclear armed Iran.

This, in my judgment, will have disastrous consequences for the world.

Fighting during the 2006 Lebanese War
Let me begin by recounting some recent history. Days after the end of the Lebanese War in the summer of 2006, then UJA Campaign Chair, Gary Aidekman, and I participated in a national UJA mission to Israel to assess the damage after the war and how we can help in providing social services for the displaced and traumatized populations.

We all knew that although the Israeli army performed admirably, the result of the war was a “draw.” This was largely because there was not enough time to prepare by the IDF, as the political leadership rushed into war so suddenly, with, to be kind, an inexperienced Defense Minister at the helm.

We were briefed by top Foreign Ministry officials, including Mark Regev, in which they noted that the war ended satisfactorily in that there were strong guarantees and assurances that Hezbollah would not be re-armed. This was manifested by Resolution 701 of the United Nations and the role foreign peacekeepers, including our Western allies, would play to insure its compliance. 

Well, three and a half years later, Hezbollah has not only been re-armed, but has more missiles at its disposal than before the 2006 War. The Syrians, whom we have been trying to wean off Iranian control for the past number of years, has now provided SCUD missiles to Hezbollah, which can strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with impunity.

The primary border of concern for Israel is between Syria and Lebanon, a very small geographic area. But this territory has become as porous as a sieve. So much for the U.N.’s policy of containment of Hezbollah.

Unfortunately, Iran’s tentacles are not only within proxy states like Lebanon and Syria, and terrorists, Hezbollah and Hamas, but also, and most dangerously, in other parts of the world, including our own Western Hemisphere.

We must exert every effort at our disposal as citizens of this great country to prevent Iran from going nuclear because containment will not work.

In upcoming blogs, I will discuss this in greater depth and what we can do.

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