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News Jonathan Starr is a developer in Saint Louis, MO. He holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and earned his MCSD from Microsoft.

All statements in this blog are personal opinions and do not reflect the opinions of his employer.

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I know that politics is a taboo subject for a blog devoted to technology.  However, I have come across an interesting and, in my opinion, logical solution to the problems in the Mideast.  My view is an American one, and perhaps I don't take into account all of the needs of other participants.  However you may at least find my view provocative if not entertaining or feasible.

There are a few points that I need to make first (like mathematical lemmas), and then I will combine these points to make my proposal.

Point 1: Having Many Neighbors is a Bad Thing

I once saw a statistical study that isolated the greatest predictors for any country going to war.  To my surprise, the greatest single predictor was the number of borders a country shares with foreign countries.  This, to a large degree, makes sense.  If the average probability a country goes to war with another is p, then the average probability that a country will not got to war might be approximately

Probability(No War) = f(n) = 1 - pn

where n is the number of borders the country shares with other.   This function, f(n)  is a monotonically decreasing function.

Point 2: What Causes Specific Wars

In my opinion, the reason why countries go to war is that countries (or their leadership) believe that they can gain something from waging war that they cannot achieve through peaceful means.  So while some wars are indeed wars of aggression (the war is desired by one party but not another), I think that that is the special case.  More often the road to war is more easily traveled when both countries believe they have something to gain from a war strategy.

Putting These Together

When I look at the situation in Israel, I cannot help but notice that

(1)   Israel has many borders with foreign countries.

(2)   Israel is a very small country, which may give neighboring countries the impression that they can easily seize this land.

(3)   Israel’s military is better trained, and is equipped with far superior technology than its neighbors, which may give Israelis the impression that if the country wages war, they will likely win.

The Proposal

So the natural proposal is for Israel to swap its land for an island.  Or perhaps to acquire an island and in secret shift its most important assets there.

1. Islands are more easily defended because they don’t share any land borders with other countries.  Anyone who has played Risk, knows about this….  And seriously, island nations on average enjoy much more peace than non-island nations.

1. Island nations can invest in navies to defend themselves, but land based enemies leave their borders less secure when they shift military expenditures to naval development.

Final Plug

There are many Israelis who will counter that swapping the Holy Land for an island is contrary to the wishes of God.  And they might argue that the entire bible is a Jewish deed proving ownership of this land goes back thousands of years.

But the purpose of the State of Israel is to provide a secure homeland for Jews.  And unfortunately, the particular geography of Israel makes this very difficult.

Jonathan

Tools   Print   Email   Del.icio.us   Digg   reddit Posted on Friday, November 23, 2007 8:30 PM Personal , Religion , Politics , Geopolitics | Back to top

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Comments on this post: A Modest Mideast Proposal

# re: A Modest Mideast Proposal
You did a beautiful job stating your case. You have told me your idea before but not in such an elequent way. I have told many people your thoughts.
Last night Dad and I looked at your blog. We saw the comments from Scott. Very nice. You are way above my iq in your blog.

Thank you for the peace Corp article. I really enjoyed it. Loads of love, Mom
Left by joyce starr on Nov 25, 2007 8:57 PM

# re: A Modest Mideast Proposal
There was the Uganda program which might have been better for us. That ship has sailed though..no pun intended.
Left by Mark Siffer on Nov 29, 2007 10:40 PM

# re: A Modest Mideast Proposal
where is this island?
Left by Marty on Apr 04, 2008 2:05 AM

# re: A Modest Mideast Proposal
I think the neighborhood theory of war needs modifying to include a factor involving the distance a country can project its military power. So countries with feeble militaries attack only neighbors (which matches the 1-p^n model), but countries with huge militaries (no names mentioned) have a greater probability of attacking non neighbours.
BTW I believe South America was considered at one point to be a home for the Jewish Nation.
Regards
Rich
Left by rich swain on Apr 14, 2008 7:56 AM

# re: A Modest Mideast Proposal
I don't think China will attack non-neighbors anytime soon, Rich. China has been the most populous nation"c ountry" since the advet of the printing press. MILLIONS of young men serve in the Chinese Army , the PLAN and the PPLAN. They really have no projectible power. China has had the largest army in the world since time has been recorded,and still makes no plan to invade the United States. BTW I believe South America was never considered to be the home of ANY nation, especially the nation of the Jews.
Left by Marty on Apr 23, 2008 2:20 AM