Sealing the Peace: Economic Trade between Egypt and Israel
Bleed, Jacob D.
When considering the road of peace, a nation faces many obstacles. It must reckon with forces both internationally and internally. Ours is a world of conflict. Ingrained in every nation is a latent recognition of war as an option. The willingness that each nation shows to exercise this option is relative to their perceptions of national interest and the defense of that interest. This distinction, actual threat versus perceived threat, is a tough one to make is based largely on how much of an option war is to a particular nation. War or the violent oppression of one's will over another is never justified. The violent defense of one's will in the face of such oppression although unjustifiable, is at least, more easily understood and supportable. Although proven means of non-violent resistance exist and are justified in the face of violence, our perceptions of states and sovereignty deny them as options and see violence as the only answer to violence. But this distinction between offense and defense, between actual and perceived threat is blurred by differing opinions as to national interest. Every nation has a differing view of where their national interests lie and to what extent those interests should be defended. A wide disparity exists among nations as to this extent. The Vietnam War for example was contained to south east Asia, literally across the world from United States sovereign territory, yet military and political leaders in the US perceived that communist power in the area constituted a threat to national interest and therefore, war was justified. On the other side of coin, North Vietnamese leaders saw violence justified in the face of years of colonial oppression of the Vietnamese people of which US intervention was simply the latest edition. In this case, neither side is justified in their use of violence but have widely differing views as to where and how national interest should be defended. The ability to recognize actual versus real threat is of great importance to the discussion of peacemaking. Before peace can be effectively established, nations must first recognize clearly where conflict exists and between whom and under what circumstances the conflict can be resolved. They must recognize where national interests are in conflict. If peace between two nations can be considered a state of relations where outright hostilities do not exist, then it can be obtained in one of two forms. Specifically, these forms are the balance of terror relationship and the balance of prosperity relationship. A balance of terror can be said to exist between two nations when peace is attained through mutually applied threat of war. Both sides of the peace have prepared for and are willing to go to war to such an extant that great devastation is mutually implied, indeed, inevitable. Under this condition, the involved nations must also be willing to go to war regardless of the implied costs for it is on the idea of threat that the balance exists. A balance of prosperity is a distinct opposite of this relationship. Under this state of relations, two states are engaged in profitable interactions to such an extent that their profits from this trade are great enough to encourage continued peaceful interaction. These profits are conditional to their continued peaceful interaction and, ideally, are great enough to deter war. This, the balance of prosperity, is obviously the preferable of the two. A third state of relations exists as well, that one being a state of mutually recognized friendship and fraternity such that a particularly close and relatively unique relationship exists. But since our focus is on trade between two past belligerents, this state of relations is hardly applicable and will therefore be ignored here.
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