I wanted to give it a few days before I wrote anything real about the ceasefire in Southern Lebanon, and even now I'm knocking on wood hoping not to jinx anything. But it has been a week, and things are looking like they may hold, and regardless anyone's opinions about the UN, this is a good thing.
Now we have a chance for everyone to step back and address the situation with cooler heads. But we (the West) cannot afford more inaction - the kind of inaction that followed last year's Cedar Revolution - where now that everything has cooled off, we pretend everything's OK.
If we're not stepping up, others will. As we speak, Hezbollah activists are busy trying to win more hearts and minds to their cause by spearheading the rebuilding efforts.
This reminds me of several things. First of all, this is very much like the 'faith based organizations' doing things government can't or won't. When a government cannot provide essential services to the people, other organizations will step in, and then support for government erodes. (The converse: When a government can provide those services, those organizations loose support to the government.) This is a microcosm of a serious social issue that we face in the war on terror. When terrorist organizations are the ones rebuilding hospitals, schools and roads because their governments can't, we have a serious problem. Because then, when we attack terrorist organizations and infrastructure, we end up attacking people who are building roads, schools and hospitals.
The terrorists are kicking our ass when it comes to Robin Hood Politics.
Second of all, and this goes back to the WWIII thread, almost every tyrant has been able to rise to power by - at the onset - doing things better than the government they replaced. Hitler came to power by merging efficiency in government with hate. He replaced the anemic Wiemar Republic. Castro came to power by promising economic prosperity to a Cuban people oppressed by the Batista government. Khomeini came to power by hijacking a democratic revolution against the Shah. The Reds overthrew the Tsars because -really- who could imagine a government worse than the Tsars?
Simply put, we need to make sure our allies in the Middle East are also winning the 'competency in government' war to take some of the air out of this uprising we face. Because, in addition to hating us for our 'freedoms' and 'liberty,' there are more local pressures they are fighting against.