Sunday, October 14, 2007

Israel Palestein Conflict and Tourism

On Drezner blog ( Daniel Drezner quotes an interview about a political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita referred as BDM. The discussion is about the BDM formula for Israel – Palestine conflict and theory of rational actors. BDM proposes that:
- ‘land for peace’ policy would not work and
- things like shared income from Tourism could be an answer to solve the conflict.

I am not sure Tourism based formula as advocated by BDM would work.

We have on record Hamas behavior in last few years - knowing fully that their actions would stop revenue stream, they still went ahead and did those actions. What BDM presumes here is rationally Hamas would not do those actions. But Hamas 'rationality' is to base actions on perceived help from Arab and their other money bags. Those helping hands do not realize on time is a different matter, but Hamas is not that convinced 'not to base' their actions on those presumed helping hands.

Also what about the line of thinking from Hamas where the goal is to ‘weaken’ Israel regardless of what pain comes to them? They have visceral belief in their own surviving abilities but quite shallow, negative opinion of Israel’s ability to sustain the financial blows (or terrorist acts). Again the irrationality is well evident – despite the proven fact of 6 decades of continued existence of Israel; Hamas like groups continue to fall for the thinking that their terrorists and financially ruinous acts can break Israel. So where is the basis of rationality on Hamas side?

Only when events finally drive the point to Hamas that negotiating with Israel is the only viable choice; then some real progress may happen.

The key is not to overrule the possibility of Hamas exaggeration of their international help as well as irrationality in their behavior. Individuals, groups and societies do have 'irrational' premises / way of behavior on which they base their actions. And this irrationality can go on for quite long. (Variant of Keynes quote – markets / actors can be irrational far longer than you can be solvent...) In way that is the notion of ‘free actor’ – in a fixed set of actors who we can regard as ‘free actors’; that freedom would essentially get manifested when we notice at least few ‘irrational’ actors.

Umesh Patil
Cupertino, CA 95014
October 14, 2007.

No comments: