Monday, February 20, 2006

Thoughts on the Middle East

After reading Andy’s excellent post on Muslims and Middle East, I have a few general thoughts.

First, I’ll make a clear disclaimer that I haven’t kept up on the subject as well as I wish I have. So what I’ll write next is based on a limited data set.

My general thoughts regarding why the Middle East is seeing a rise in fundamentalism is strongly related to the economies. From what I gather Palestine has tremendous unemployment ~30%. I can only imagine what is possible with these down and out youth with no real prospect of a future. This comment is not to justify any of their actions, but merely to illustrate how easy it must be for a fanatic to recruit them to do evil.

There is a tit-for-tat cycle that keeps occurring which will make it very hard for peace to occur between Israel and Palestine. It truly is a prisoner’s dilemma for the politicians on both sides.

My relatively uneducated suggestion for breaking this cycle would be for massive investment in Palestine to help get people working and educated. If people have hope and a future, they can raise a family; they want their kids to have a future. All of this will start to stabilize the area.

I’m not sure why this hasn’t happened, but my guess is that the rest of the Arab world doesn’t want it to happen. It’s much easier to keep this conflict around because if they did make the investments and empower people they would soon find their monarchies challenged by a growing middle class.

Maybe if people had a better life today, they would start to think twice about blowing themselves up.


Anonymous said...

The last sentence of this blog is classic Deichertism.

Eric Kronthal said...

Massive investment has been introduced into Palestinian initiatives since the first Oslo agreement. Billions of dollars were supposed to go into providing medical care, improving the infrastructure and updating the education system. Unfortunately, most if not all of those investments landed in private accounts and cannot be tracked down. As a result of this insidious corruption, the Palestinian majority kicked the Fatah leadership out of office. Sadly, the only alternative was Hamas.