By Nordstjernan columnist Ulf Nilson, January 2011

The British weekly, The Economist, one of the world's most important publications, discussed these questions recently. One fact jumped out of the pages and made me feel rather pessimistic: The terrorist organization Hezbollah, The Economist claims, has received some 50,000 warheads for its rockets from Iran and Syria.
Hezbollah has killed Israelis with rockets before, but not very many. Now, it's different. If Hezbollah, which says no, no, no to any kind of accommodation with Israel, decides to attack, it could kill many thousands of Israelis. This would no doubt lead to Israeli retaliation, maybe with atomic weapons. After which we would all be living in a nightmare.…
“Not again, please” is The Economist's headline.
Nobody knows with any kind of certainty how likely such a scenario is. What we do know is that Hezbollah is driven by rather fanatical men, who could, just could, miscalculate. We also know, this time with absolute certainty, that the leaders of Israel―a small, densely populated country―have extremely small margins of error. In other words, they might easily find themselves forced to mount a preventive strike.
How will other players react? Syria? Hamas? The Iranians? Russia? The USA?
As always, since 1945, the U.S. is the most important power to the Middle East as elsewhere. It can defeat anybody, no doubt, but can it prevent crazy men from doing abominable things?
I think not.
The U.S. can warn, perhaps supported by Russia, which, after all, is pretty close to Iran. It can warn, but can it prevent? Well, the problem is that Hezbollah is indeed independent, a religious and political organization that has very little to lose (it owns no country) and a fanatical desire to see Israel go down in flames.
To solve the problem before it is too late, there must be negotiations. They must be led by the U.S., so far the only superpower (with China waiting in the wings). The trouble is that the U.S. has not been successful (to say the least) so far. There have been several wars since the independent state of Israel was created in 1948, and never true peace. The weapons (thus The Economist's revelation) have become more numerous and deadlier. This development will continue. If Hezbollah or some other player gets nuclear warheads, what to do?
So far, nobody has been able to answer the question.
In the Yom Kippur war, Israel was very hard pressed. Next time―if that unhappy day comes―it will no doubt be worse. The threat of a massive American intervention might still ward off the worst hotheads, but for how long? Most experts believe that the Obama administration honestly wants to stabilize the situation, but how?
Talking to fanatics very seldom brings positive results. Hitler loved to talk. So did Mussolini. And so did Stalin.
They gladly talked. But, they did other things, too.…