Hezbollah's power grab in Beirut has once more plunged that city into violence and chaos. This effort to undermine Lebanon's elected government needs to stop, and all those who have influence with Hezbollah must press them to stand down immediately. It's time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment. We must support the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions that reinforce Lebanon's sovereignty, especially resolution 1701 banning the provision of arms to Hezbollah, which is violated by Iran and Syria. As we push for this national consensus, we should continue to support the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Siniora, strengthen the Lebanese army, and insist on the disarming of Hezbollah before it drags Lebanon into another unnecessary war. As we do this, it is vital that the United States continues to work with the international community and the private sector to rebuild Lebanon and get its economy back on its feet.
I hope Sen. Obama doesn't seriously believe that the conflict in Lebanon comes down to electoral reform, a fair distribution of services, and the patronage system. Or that shouting "hey, Hezbollah, what you're doing violates UN resolution 1701" is going to have any meaningful effect on the situation. H/T Michael Totten, who thinks that Obama's expressed sentiments potentially spell disaster for Lebanon.
UPDATE: Noah Pollack writes: "In the Lebanon crisis, Obama is rhetorically cornered. Since his prescription for the Middle East is diplomatic engagement, every disease gets re-diagnosed as something curable through talking."