Monday, November 27, 2006

The Knife's Edge: Beyond Constructive Tension, At the Limit of Reason

Nothing to add to this. Speaks for itself.

KING ABDULLAH: Well, ..., the difficulty that we're tackling with here is, we're juggling with the strong potential of three civil wars in the region, whether it's the Palestinians, that of Lebanon or of Iraq.

And I hope that my discussions, at least, with the president will be to provide whatever we can do for the Iraqi people. But at the same time, we do want to concentrate ourselves on the core issues, which we believe are the Palestinians and the Palestinian peace process, because that is a must today, as well as the tremendous concern we've had over the past several days, what's happening in Lebanon.

And we could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands. And therefore, it is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis that I fear, and I see could possibly happen in 2007.

The al-qa'ida strategy to increase sectarian strife ... works.

Is the 'logic' of retaliation inexorable? Are the forces of chaos always stronger in the short term? The long-term? Are people necessarily at the mercy of their prejudices, even in the face of a greater enemy? Can 'conditions' be arranged that 'force' retaliation, and a spiral of escalation? Can a few dictate the path for the whole, in that regard, without fail? Is it a question of once it starts, the chance to stop it has ended, the fate sealed (a one-shot deal; an pound of prevention to prevent a disease that must run its course if caught)?

Are there any gains to be consolidated from sectarian strife? Is it really a path to military success and political control?

There may be some game-theoretic approaches to these question. One wonders if the Army is up to speed on that, let alone the civilian leadership.

No comments: