22 July 2001. revisited 4 August.


The mid-east problem in Israel is undergoing a paradigm shift.

The Palestinians are at a stage of political development that the ancient Greeks named "petty warlord".  Normally the "Petty Warlord" stage of political maturity is followed by a "Dictatorship".  Examples of Dictator regimes exists in neighboring countries (Syria, Iraq).  Dictatorships become stable over generations, and with public acceptance the Dictators take on the status of Princes.  The Princes have principalities that are too small to exist as viable economic/military units, and so the principalities agglomerate into a Monarchy.   The centralism of a Monarchy dissipates into an economic Oligarchy such as England in the seventeenth century.  Further decentralization of power brings about a representative government (like the US, UK, Israel).

Further decentralization results in true democracy, where the people, not just their representatives, may directly vote on legislation.    (Switzerland, Iceland & California are probably fairly close approximations in the modern world.)  True Democracy is of such benefit that over time the citizens forget the dangers of being ungoverned, institutions decay and the democracy lapses over time into pure Anarchy.   Anarchy provides an opportunity for criminals to terrorize weaker members of society and a new group of petty warlords arise as protectors and the cycle repeats.   Of course the time spent in each phase of the cycle appears to be unpredictable, and the progression can be interrupted.

  1. Anarchy
  2. Petty Warlords
  3. Dictators.
  4. Princes.
  5. Kings.
  6. Oligarchy. (Merchant Princes)
  7. Representative Democracy.
  8. True Democracy.
At the moment the Palestinian organizations are frozen in their development.  The various warlords (PLO, Hamas etc.) depend on defeating Israel for their mandate.  They cannot compromise with Israel and maintain their integrity.  That misunderstanding was Clinton's mistake.  Clinton was a politician, and a genius at manipulating other politicians.

Warlords are not politicians.  They are the heads of military organizations.  There is no such thing as "Quid Pro Quo" with a mortal enemy.  In a fight to the death, any concession that the enemy makes is seen as a sign of weakness & retreat, a sign that ultimate victory is that much closer.  Every concession forced out of Israel by Clinton served to incite a greater effort for victory by the Palestinians.

So what is the solution?

  1. If there is no change, & the Palestinians own the West bank, they will continue to attack Israel.  That is not a tolerable situation.
  2. The Israelis seem to believe that the solution is to treat all warlords as terrorists who must be neutralized.  To do this they will have to retake the West Bank and install a police state.  And why not?  It works for Turkey.  It works for Iraq.  It works for Afghanistan.  But at what cost?
  3. A second solution requires that there be a quisling.  That was Clinton's solution.  Arafat had his chance.  If he had changed his face & become a "strong man" Dictator, and ruthlessly eliminated competing anti-Israeli organizations, then we might have had peace & a Palestinian state having Jerusalem as a shared Capital.  Arafat was too weak.  From the attitude of the Arabs I know, Arafat as a strong man would have been able to gain grudging Palestinian submission, and in time become an acceptable dictator.
  4. Perhaps the UN could resettle the Israelis & enforce a new Jewish Diaspora?  From the attitude of Israelis I know, this would require the wholesale slaughter of a fair proportion of the Jews in Israel, and probably a significant minority of those around the world.  Palestinians would no doubt happily contribute martyrs to such a venture.  It would be an exceedingly expensive exercise.
  5. Military intervention by outside parties to separate the warring parties would likely exacerbate the situation.  That solution did not work in the Lebanon.  Nor did it work in Yugoslavia, Ireland, Cyprus.  It will not work because the Palestinian leadership does not want it to work.  Because they would be out of a job.
  6. (4 August) The Israelis seem to be opting for a solution where they treat Palestine as an anarchic land, and are proceeding to execute the warlords who are most active in committing acts of terror against Israel.
CONCLUSION:   Historically, externally applied solutions in like situations have failed.  "The Outside" has become part of the problem, in that the warlords appear determined to provoke bloody Israeli retaliation in the hope of obtaining an imposed solution more favorable to themselves.

RECOMMENDATION:  The world should continue to support the only democratic nation in the region in it's effort to work out it's own solution.  Cruel as such a course seems, the region would stabilize if the Palestinians came to believe that the world had abandoned their cause, thus depriving the petty warlords of the propaganda successes which generate regional support.


The Indonesian parliament is threatening to impeach President Wahid.  Not for any kind of wrongdoing.  Apparently, just because they have decided that they would prefer someone else.  Nobody is saying why, except that he is ineffective.  With no power, how could he be effective?

The people of Indonesia are the wild card.  They elected an assembly that elected Wahid to fight the corruption of the Suharto era.  Wahid claimed that, against incredible opposition, he was attempting to do just that.  In Australia we are left wondering.


SPIN believes that the Indonesian people should again be asked whom they prefer.  Our (Australian) politicians seem unconcerned by the looming impeachment.  They (again - as when Indonesia invaded Timor) seem to be listening far too closely to the elitist xenophobes in the Australian department of Foreign Affairs.


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