Stanford, GDP, Hizballah and Marines
Perhaps you have not stumbled upon an article published in the online version of The Stanford Review by Joe Dunn, a young Economics major from Illinois. But perhaps you should. He makes some excellent points about UNSC Resolution 1701, the UN codified ceasefire agreement in place currently in Lebanon. Among them is this:
International sources—the news departments of CNN, ABC, and CBS, et cetera—widely agree that Iran feeds Hezbollah upwards of $250 million in direct funding annually. This may be an overestimation, but the low-end estimate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies places Iranian aid to Hezbollah at a quite considerable $50 million annually. Even according to this most conservative figure, Iran spends, as a fraction of GDP, nearly three times as much arming Hezbollah as the United States spends arming the Marine Corps under the 2005 Navy budget. This astonishing comparison exposes the hopelessness of disarming Hezbollah with a strategy that does not include Iran.
Resolution 1701’s proposal to strengthen the Lebanese Government is a backward approach to controlling the rapid influx of Iranian weaponry through Syria into Lebanon, which the Center for Strategic and International Studies places above 10,000 rockets in 2006. Building the infrastructure necessary to give UN peacekeepers even a slim chance at policing Lebanon’s 233-mile border with Syria would require years, and millions of dollars. It is truly baffling that the UN neglected to challenge Iran’s sponsorship of Hezbollah. Resolution 1701 is more an appeal to the UN’s hyper-non-confrontationalism than a legitimate strategy for disarming Hezbollah.
Leave it to a Stanford University economics student to link GDP to Iran, Hizballah and the United States Marine Corps. Compellingly.
Not bad, young man. Not bad at all.