Let’s Cut the Crap About — Solving Problems in the Middle East

Big Red Car here. Nice day in the ATX. Lousy day in the Middle East. How does it become a little better?

There is a sense at the highest levels of our government that the Middle East is like a self sealing tire — the hole is going to fix itself if we just keep rolling along.

That is nuts. Sorry. Today is a day for straight talk.

Nothing new in the Middle East

The Middle East has been filled to overflowing with war and despots for a millennium. Its default condition is war, despotism, and, now, terrorism.

In the past, this has necessitated solving things at the tip of a bayonet or a tank, in the case of Israel.

I mention the issue with Israel because on the heels of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel and Egypt enjoyed forty years of relative peace. [Until the Obama administration engineered the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.]

To review, on 6 October 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated two front attack against Israel ostensibly to recapture territory it had lost in the 1967 war with Israel.

The Egyptians, in a world class feat of combat engineering, forced a crossing of the Suez Canal and attacked into the Sinai Peninsula.

The Syrians, enjoying an enormous advantage in comparative tank strength, attacked into the Golan Heights.

The Syrians came within a handful of Israeli tanks of destroying the Israeli armored forces. In a incredible feat of heroism coupled with superb armor tactics, the Israelis hung on until they could marshal their reserves. It was a very close thing.

Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan agreed to stand up the Israeli nuclear missile forces and were prepared to vaporize Damascus.

It was a very, very, very close thing.

It was a war and there was a clear winner, the Israelis. The US and the Russians prevailed upon each other and the Israelis to keep the Israelis from attacking deep into Egypt (they had successfully crossed the Suez themselves and little stood between them and Cairo) and into Syria where Damascus lay as a prize to be taken.

Why is this important, Big Red Car?

Because nothing is going to get better in the Middle East until somebody knocks the shit out of ISIS. Simple truth.

ISIS is not a significant military force and it will not be an hors douvre for an American division or two.

We talked about that here.

Grown Up War v ISIS?

ISIS is not a substantial military force

 But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Merry Everything to y’all!

6 thoughts on “Let’s Cut the Crap About — Solving Problems in the Middle East

  1. I agree with you that ISIS needs to be eradicated, but that problem is different than the Israeli-Syrian/Palestinian territories issue. Both need to be solved, one by force, the other one by fairness.

    • There is no fairness, this is something an individual feels and agrees with as YODA would say. Two parties can have an agreement, that is real. How “Fair” that agreement is, is only an opinion held at a point in time, open to change.

      • .
        I will take both sides here.

        There is fundamental fairness. Maybe not between the Israelis and the Arabs, granted.

        Many times in 33+ years of CEOing I found myself putting my mind back to when I had originally made a deal when a subsequent issue was not discussed in whatever we signed,

        I could do it easily. I constantly counsel the CEOs I work with that this is a characteristic of a successful CEO — the ability to conjure up the power balance at the instant of conception of the deal.

        OTOH, many deals are “not fair’ and are what you can negotiate at that instant in time.

        I am famous for saying: “In life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

        I am absolutely certain that Pres Obama and Sec Kerry got the only deal they could get with the Iranians. This is guardrailed by the reality that neither of them is trained to be a negotiator and they had very low “legacy” standards and the Iranians are a slippery breed of fish.

        What they didn’t consider is what a skillful negotiator would put on the table — a real possibility of walking away from a bad deal.

        Trying to be objective, I think — given the actions of the Iranians since that deal was cast — no deal would have been a superior outcome than what they struck. That is a much longer discussion.


        • You have clearly more CEOing thoughtfulness. Fairness is defined by an individual at a point in time as the status quo shifts so does those “Feelings”. Those of us having done what we can at the moment not trying to cement a legacy understand that. Those that think the “deal is the greatest thing ever” try to maintain that transient moment.
          I think of both in business as the value shows un anticipated additional or lack of value 6-12 months in, Fairness shifts. On the personal side how many divorced folks do you encounter that feel the same fairness after a few years when the individual realities shift.
          We have a culture based on winners and losers, Why Americans Hate Soccer!
          As to Kerry and Barry I am sure they had no BATNA and the low bar of success was a foot note in history that may be defendable today but not after the first mushroom cloud!

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