Nothing Can Happen Because of Israel?

Well I guess I post controversial views, happy for them to be contested. I think what Israel is doing in Gaza is appalling. But I add an economic historical perspective (as that was once my field of study) to the middle east.

Israel is even with the West Bank 10,500 square miles out of the total Middle East of 3.5 million square miles or 0.3%. Yet it has been used as the excuse for poor government and poor economic management by most of the regimes in the region at one time or another as a diversion for political discontent. None of these countries have actually emulated Israeli industry or agriculture, and all the countries are basket cases economically, either dependent on rentier oil extraction using foreign labor and techies, or dependent on hand outs from the oil rich countries to fight dumb wars. And Turkey on the edge of the region which has done something to build a modern industrial state is retreating down the fundy path.

This is not an excuse for Israel, but a suggestion that the people and governments, the elites of the middle east would do well to focus on building modern industrial states. To do this they need (based on the experience of Asian Tigers) to emancipate women and educate them, improve their education systems and divide up the land and income streams from oil in ways that encourage value add activity. Invest in solar power, factories, and improved agriculture.

The middle east has almost unlimited local capital to invest. It sits near Europe one of the richest markets in the world. It has the feedstock for chemical industries. And it has some real talent like the Palestinians who are spread across the world rather than building businesses in the West Bank or elsewhere. Look at Iran or Iraq or Egypt: where is there equivalent of the Asian Tiger plan to become real economies? And strong economies would be much better balance for dealing with Israel as equals rather than as militarized or fundy states.

Or am I mistaken and no progress is possible these last 70 years since Israel was founded and because Israel exists so nothing can happen? And Sunnis and Shias staging a War of Religion to rival Europe in the 17th century is no doubt also Israel’s fault?

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
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