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Inside, confidential and off the record






ME Equilibrium?


Journal of Futures Studies

A New Nash Equilibrium for the Middle East?



The AI based strike that removed Iranian General Soleimani from the Middle East war theater could herald a return to the Nash equilibrium in geopolitics.

According to this paradigm named after the mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. in a non-cooperative game, players know other players equilibrium strategy and thus have no incentive to change strategy as long as the rest of the players continue to uphold their strategies.

In other words, no player has anything to gain by only changing his or her strategy.

Under such circumstances any strategic change would not spell gain for the house shaker unless the rest of the players change their strategy.

And these perhaps were the thoughts sliding through the minds of U.S. policymakers when deciding to wipe General Soleimani out while in Iraq.

So far, the U.S. had clearly lost the initiative in the Middle East. Russia and Iran had gained ground either directly or through proxies. And the U.S. was regarded as the retrenching power in the region. But after January 2nd, 2020 the United States actions will either move the region into a new Nash equilibrium or unleash a wave of violence that could severely affect allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Israel. Over the long run this later outcome could weaken the U.S. global standing.

So far however and without having any signs as to what Iran's response will be to the U.S. led strike, it would seem that over the short run, the U.S. leverage in the region is stronger.

Indeed, General Soleimani was a very able military leader who embraced the art of war as described by Sun Tzu, the great Chinese warrior. He thus had a deep knowledge of Iran's enemies notably the U.S. and its allies as well as the strengths and weaknesses of his country.

He thus played his cards always aiming at weakening the U.S. while empowering Iran.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq provided Soleimani with ample opportunities to achieve numerous goals.

Notably among them: to strengthen the Shia leadership in Iraq, to bolster ISIS, and to support the Assad regime in Syria.

He also became a reference for the galaxy of terrorist organizations that operate in the Middle East and that include Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and ISIS.

All these features are not easily replicable and thus the Iranian command is truly debilitated by the operation.

This opens the path to two likely outcomes.

After some weeks or even months of domestic mobilizations and protests in Iran vowing revenge to initiate a new round of internationally brokered negotiations aimed at redefining the boundaries of the Middle East, or to unleash a worldwide war of attrition resorting to all assets deployed on planet earth and backed by all terrorist organizations that would coalesce.

This would see terrorist activity multiply everywhere in the world with the ancillary impact upon sensitive economic activities such as tourism, trade and sports exchanges. Eventually the player with stronger defense systems will overcome and a new equilibrium will be reached.

Let's pray that the new equilibrium is established through negotiations and not through terror.


Beatrice Rangel: / Latin American Herald Tribune / Jan. 08, 2020


Original article

ISSUES.... 01 / 09 /2020

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