Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 16, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

IS HAMAS BACKING DOWN?....I rarely comment on the ongoing Israel/Palestinian violence, but this post from Tacitus seems awfully strange:

Any observations on a possible causal relationship between Israel's putting the smack down on Palestinian terror groups and their newfound willingness to consider a ceasefire? What "cycle of violence"?

Let's turn this around: do you think that Hamas' willingness to put the smack down on Israel over the past week was responsible for Sharon making his ceasefire proposal in the first place? Do you think that if Hamas raises the heat level even more, that maybe Israel will finally cave in and just withdraw from the West Bank?

No, I didn't think so. I am, as I've always been, puzzled by the general hawkish belief that if violence levels are ratcheted up just a little bit more the other guys will finally back down, even though no one ever thinks the same is true in the other direction. (The Japanese Empire learned the folly of this proposition starting on December 8, 1941.) As near as I can tell, violence ends in only two ways: (a) an all-out war in which one side annihilates its enemy (the Carthage/WWII model), or (b) everyone finally gets tired and begins slowly ratcheting the violence down. I suppose there must be plenty of counterexamples to such a sweeping statement, but none occur to me offhand.

If you think this is a pessimistic assessment of the situation, you're right. Unfortunately, I don't see any signs at the moment of either side finally getting tired, so I'm not really sure what the solution is. If anybody can think of one, let me know.

Kevin Drum 4:19 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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