1. On strategy:
One thing that I think the developments in ME show is that proximity is a very significant force-amplifier for considerations shaping a country’s foreign policy. This is a point that often has been made by Robert Kaplan. America intervened in Iraq to fundamentally alter its policy-making in pro-Western ways. But Iraq is located between Iran and Syria: it will always be concerns over these areas that will determine Iraq’s strategic thinking. Similarly, Iran, Hezbollah and even Assad himself show significant strategic capabilities since their considerations are focused, so-to-say, by the proximity of events. America, in contrast, has more trouble. Not merely because of its knowledge barrier, but also simply because it is not there.
2. On recent events in Lebanon:
The situation in Lebanon seems to be becoming more chaotic. I reckon this may be to Hezbollah’s advantage. Nothing sells the need for a strong, disciplined militia like domestic unrest.