(originally termed by L. Carl Brown as 'The Eastern Question Game Rules')
The unique character of the region & special endemic problems. (Note: Providential History & Divine
Intervention transcend all of the following in accordance with I Samuel 17:47 "The battle belongs to the Lord.")
1.) Players combine & divide in shifting alliances. But Israel usually stands alone.
2.) Outsiders brought in until all involved (faith issues: Judaism, Christianity, & Islam).
a. "everything is related to everything else" (faith, politics, economics).
b. any initiative realigns other players ("kaleidoscope analogy").
3.) All boundaries are blurred (local, regional, national, & international).
4.) Political moves geared to reaction of outside world.
5.) Great power rivalries more important than rational regional interests.
6.) "Things never so good, nor so bad, as they seem" (rarely is one player all powerful).
7.) Special characteristics:
a. "fait accompli" / "quick grab" (unwillingness to change status quo).
b. everything interrelated (reluctance to establish priorities of sequence or substance).
c. preference for "reactive politics" (maneuver & exploit).
d. use of mediators & third parties.
e. tactics over strategy.
f. no compromise (not an Arab tradition, let alone an Arabic word).
Other Lessons (Recipe for Strategic Instability):
Limitations of "Checkbook Diplomacy" - massive amounts of oil money cannot buy security (Kuwait & Saudi Arabia vs. Iraq). Saudi Arabia, the 'Guardian of Islam' was in no position to guard anything. Where U.S. could not negotiate peace, tried to purchase it (Egypt-Israel, Iraq).
Arms acquisitions continue (defensive needs vs. offensive desires). Nukes on horizon.
Middle East states driven primarily by national self-interests, rather than regional.
Democracy is alien to Arab political culture (societies have yet to reach such a stage of development). Of 22 Arab states (radical or conservative), there is not one healthy democracy. Israel is the exception, not the rule in the region (West must realize: can't impose democracy as Sharia law incompatible with US Constitution & Western Civilization). Remember “Islam” literally means submission & surrender.
Please pass these on to our fellow Americans! We must learn from them!
Shalom through Superior Firepower!
Col Mike Howard US Marines (Ret)
“Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana