A Blessed Lack of Cooperation

Okay, where were we before being so rudely interrupted by travel…

Oh yes. Cooperation. Winslow.

My ‘old’ professor is a bit daft. He’s a little out of touch. But, he’s positively brilliant. And, I think that it takes all of that to have traveled to Beirut in the 70s/80s. (Winslow was one of the last Americans evacuated from Beirut. Almost didn’t make it. Twice.)

He was involved in a research project to determine how Palestinians cooperate as individuals in society. Oh, and basketball. He taught that at the American school in Beirut.

I won’t go into the details on how cooperation is determined, except that he used political game theory and an interesting exercise called Prisoner’s Dilemma.

The result was that he found Palestinians (and Arabs) be 400% LESS cooperative than the average westerner. Palestinians are FOUR TIMES less likely to cooperate with each other in a society than those of us from the West. Those of  you who know something of the history behind the Arab Israeli conflict won’t be surprised by this.

It is precisely because of their inability to cooperate with each other that Israel survives today. In 1948, NONE of the Arab powers cooperated with ANYONE in their attacks, and Israel won. In 1967, NONE of the Arab powers cooperated in their attacks, and Israel won. The only time the Israel came close to losing was in 1973 when Syria and Egypt DID cooperate.

This lack of cooperation will always be the Achilles heel of the Arab world. It holds back progress. It keeps them from developing as a society. It keeps them from making peace with their enemies. It invites terrible conflict.

The upside is that they are less of a threat. Terrorist groups often fight each other, instead of Israel. Competing factions will turn to betrayal for personal advantage. Groups like Al Kaida cannot depend on a friendly reception in countries that hate the West.

It’s a mixed blessing.

1 thought on “A Blessed Lack of Cooperation

  1. shhhhhhhhhh…don’t tell ’em…glad to see you back…was scary here for awhile without you…have a sweet shabbat…xox

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