Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Economist: Iran's nuclear deal: Israel heads for a terrifying split

Such an insistence on total capitulation is characteristic of hard-liners in conflicts like this, and I confess I rarely understand the mentality behind it. In some cases the motivation behind making demands so onerous that the opponent cannot possibly grant them is clear: the hard-liner wants to provoke an armed conflict which he thinks he can win, and a compromise solution might forestall the war. This was the case, for example, with the demands America made of Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the Iraq war. In other cases, the motivation is different: the hard-liner understands that his internal political power within his own country is reinforced by the conflict, even if (perhaps especially if) his side appears to be losing, so he makes demands that ensure conflict will continue. This is the case with Hamas's refusal to recognise Israel's right to exist. A final possibility is that the hard-liner is delusional, and actually believes that insistence on maximalist demands will lead to the surrender or collapse of the other side.

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