Friday, February 11, 2005

Preliminary research insights

Dr. Clam said,

Not that I wish to pre-empt the findings of your modelling, of course, but are you expecting any practical recommendations to emerge beyond my optimistic "muddle along the way we are going"? :)

Well this is the starting theorem of my thesis, borrowed from one of those links of people who have gone down this path:

One of John Nash's simple but great insights into 'games with N players' is that any persistent situation you observe is an equilibrium.

Since simple two player modelling would show that it would have been clearly a good strategy for both sides to sign OSLO, obviously the external factors have to be considered.

Are both sides pursuing a sub-optimal strategy? Nash would say no, this has been going on for years, they must be pursuing optimal strategies given the game in front of them.

I would add that one of Israel's possible strategies is to put a wedge between "PA" and "external terrorist forces" with the view that they may start battle against one another. This would clearly be a big win for Israel and a big loss for the other two parties. Without "changing the rules" the "external terrorist forces" would have had no impediment to striking even if a signed deal such as Oslo had taken place. In such case PA would have the dismal choices of joining in (breaking signed promises), starting war against said external forces (big loss), or ignoring it losing both the moderates and hardliners in his own constituency (suicide). Clearly, Arafat foresaw this well in advance and had decided in advance to join in (with some extra time bought to better position his own terrorist forces)- hence the afformentioned correlated behaviour between the various palestinian groups.

Since I've simplified all external terrorist forces into one entity, it needs to be defined well. These forces are not the actual countries themselves, so even if countries seem to be warming to peace, their Israel rhetoric is the best proxy for how they will push their money handles to the terrorist organisations. While Jordan, Egypt, and the new Iraq are improvements in this regard, Syria/Lebanon & Iran will almost certainly be spoiling influences in this current road map proposal. I suggest my concluson will be that the USA must concentrate on putting the screws on these countries' links to palestinian terrorism in a much bigger way well before engaging in a new round of peace talks. I suggest that Syria may be the next target for the US military to intervene in anyway. Perhaps just putting the screws on Iran may be enough to deter their groups.

It is interesting to note how the persistent situation in Northern Ireland was influenced positively by 9/11. The IRA lost almost all its funding and support from USA citizens overnight. The general IRA sympathetic population there was also revulsed enough to stop being sympathetic to any home-grown terrorism. The attacks in Saudi Arabia also had the same effect of starving that source of support for terrorists.

1 comment:

Dr. Clam said...

I agree completely. Not that it makes for a very interesting comment, I suppose... I think the conventional wisdom 'terrorist with state support much more dangerous than terrorist without state support' holds true, and that whatever else they are arguably up to, Syria and Iran are incontrevertibly sponsors of violent resistance against Israel.