Monday, May 18, 2009

Geopolitics at its finest

I'm about to embark on an interesting application of Occam's razor.

If recent news headlines are any indication, President Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu are at odds over the middle east peace process.

I am quite certain that Obama is not foolish enough to think that he can single handedly reverse decades of US support for Israel (nor do I think he would want to, even if he could). At the same time, I am also quite certain that Netanyahu, an intelligent man himself, realizes that it would be extremely unwise to irritate the man that will be leading the US for probably the next 8 years.

Clearly, neither has anything to gain from animosity towards the other. Furthermore, upon closer consideration it actually becomes apparent that both men have a lot to gain from feigning differences in policy. When the news headlines read that Obama and Netanyahu disagree, it bolsters Obama's support from the left (which he has been somewhat losing, although admittedly to no consequence) and certainly gives him more credibility in the eyes of Muslims. At the same time, it benefits Netanyahu to stay true to his electoral promises, appeal to the Israeli right wing, and to necessarily start any peace process from a negotiating position that is positioned squarely on his side of the board. In other words, by refusing to accept Palestinian statehood from the get go, Netanyahu can turn his acceptance into that eventuality into a negotiating concession from Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Obama would be baiting right-wing critics through this whole process. They will accuse him of undermining Israel, and siding with Muslims. And then he will blind-side them with a peace deal, making the critics out to be the fools.

Occam's razor is a principle that states that the simplest explanation is the one most likely to be true. Are we to believe that two very intelligent political masters just wandered blindly into their dealings with arguably their most important counterpart in the world? Or that they meticulously prepared and calculated a dance that will necessarily lead to their mutual desired outcome? The simplest explanation is the latter!

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