Meaningful Containment or Meaningful Engagement?

Like small jigsaw puzzle pieces spilt upon the kitchen table, problem-solving and dispute reconciliation within the Middle East Conflict Zone combine with multiple issues and uncertain starting points to create a maddening frustration.

Add in a group of adults whom can not agree on which corner piece to start with, or even what the puzzle picture, the end result, looks like, and you’re left with a sloppy mess.

Any good puzzler, or problem solver, will tell you when this happens, return to the big picture on the front of the box.

Once, and only once, everyone has agreed upon what that picture looks like can you begin to gather up the outer edge pieces in hope of creating a framework for a detailed picture.

Perhaps all parties currently focused on restarting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, would be best served if they took a moment to return to the big picture on the front of the box, and loosely agree uopn what that picture is, or maybe, before mucking about on the details?

Simply put, if all parties to the JCPOA talks can recognize that by working together, first by understanding what each individual party offers, then how each party may help both the others and themselves, I believe the foundation for finding a shared vision is possible.

(One possible shared vision for the Middle East Peace Process may include “The Maple Proposal.”)

“True Madness is the Game of Politics played by Man”

Though fraught with multiple pitfalls, the politics of peace offers far greater economic rewards than the politics of war.

Yes, it is much easier to work the levers of anger and hatred for a perceived populist benefit. But surely by now, it must be obvious to even the most simple-minded political leader that the value of such language and intent is extremely limited in return, producing only a small confined box in which to try and prosper within.

History has shown time and time again that political lies and deception have a short and destructive lifespan. Longterm, sustainable political wealth can only be created with the truth.

So, if the fundamental truth driving the conflict with the Middle East remains cloaked by the language of politics, Israel’s and Palestine’s equal right to exist, is it not time to speak the truth and publicly acknowledge this fact?

Further, would acknowledment of this fact, by the highest levels of political leadership not help remove the populist rhetoric from the problem solving matrix?

“Words spoken often reveal intent”

The Middle East Conflict Zone may be the most complex jigsaw puzzle ever created by human beings. Boundless cultures, generational social-economic problems and grievances, all layered and woven within the fabric of moral righteousness and religious intolerance.

Solving, or attempting to solve, this seemingly endless puzzle is as difficult as it comes. But, like any puzzle, problem-solving must begin with a first step.

In my opinion, the first step to restarting a truly functional JCPOA should be a loose agreement on a shared vision.

A shared vision that reveals intent. A shared vision that can withstand a populist challenge from either side. a shared vision that can begin the slow process of gaining acceptance within the general populace. A shared vision that could be signalled with two very simple words that would not be open to a conservative challenge; “Subject To.”

Perhaps this first may assist in moving the JCPOA talks forward, perhaps it may not, no one can certain. Perhaps the violence of conflict, and horrible vitriolic rhetoric, of the past decades may prove to be too difficult a hole to dig out of.

In a world where hyper communication has created a toxic fog of disinformation and intolerance, finding certainty has never been more difficult.

In the end however, there is only thing that all of us can be certain of; if the JCPOA is restarted, and all parties remain in conflict, the Globla Community most certainly will end up right back in the same place 20 years from now, or worse.