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'Might makes right' has painful consequence in Iraq war

By Estrella Besinga Sybinsky

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jul 15, 2014

~~<p>Centuries ago, Thomas Hobbes described his Leviathan's approach to leadership: &quot;Might makes right.&quot; Nicolo Machiavelli's Prince similarly espoused: &quot;The end justifies the means.&quot; These political philosophers continue to be relevant today. Witness the continuing conflagration in Iraq, this time between Shiites and Sunnis and the ongoing asymmetrical bombings between Israelis and Hamas Palestinians in Gaza. The former opens the possibility of a permanent partition of Iraq (despite our vision of a unified democracy after Saddam), and the latter is projected by watchers to result in a third Palestinian Intifada expanding the violent conflict to the West Bank and beyond.</p>
<p>&quot;Might makes right&quot; and &quot;the end justifies the means&quot; characterize our contemporary destructive clashes in the Middle East. But do these two assumptions genuinely lead to victory and peace? War is costly and has a tendency to escalate. By continuing to roll that dice in a mutual assured destruction scenario, combatants reach a point of diminishing returns. Generally, war is not a win-win, variable sum game.</p>
~~

Centuries ago, Thomas Hobbes described his Leviathan's approach to leadership: "Might makes right." Nicolo Machiavelli's Prince similarly espoused: "The end justifies the means." These political philosophers continue to be relevant today. Witness the continuing conflagration in Iraq, this time between Shiites and Sunnis and the ongoing asymmetrical bombings between Israelis and Hamas Palestinians in Gaza. The former opens the possibility of a permanent partition of Iraq (despite our vision of a unified democracy after Saddam), and the latter is projected by watchers to result in a third Palestinian Intifada expanding the violent conflict to the West Bank and beyond.

"Might makes right" and "the end justifies the means" characterize our contemporary destructive clashes in the Middle East. But do these two assumptions genuinely lead to victory and peace? War is costly and has a tendency to escalate. By continuing to roll that dice in a mutual assured destruction scenario, combatants reach a point of diminishing returns. Generally, war is not a win-win, variable sum game. Login for more...



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