The ghastly predictability of nihilist violence in Lebanon and Iraq. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine: "The objectionable thing about the proposed Baker-Hamilton 'talks' is not that they are talks but that they give the impression of looking for someone to whom to surrender. And they have, apparently, no preconditions. It would be an excellent thing to have direct negotiations with Iran, for instance, with all matters on the table. But if the mullahs did not have to sacrifice their ongoing nuclear deception in order to get to that table, then all the efforts of the Europeans, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency to get them to do so would have been shown to be risible. With Syria, there is an even more intelligible precondition to be announced. Most people are unaware of this fact, but Damascus has always refused to recognize Lebanon as an independent state. There is no Syrian Embassy in Beirut. Implicitly and explicitly, this suggests that the country is regarded as an actual or potential part of a 'Greater Syria.' Is it really too much to demand that Syria acknowledge the self-determination, or 'right to exist,' of a fellow member of the Arab League? "
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