Barak's J Curve as G String

By Dr. Steven Plaut

Barak admits unilateral withdrawal may result in escalation in attacks. (IsraelWire-4/3) During a Sunday meeting with members of the Shinui opposition Party, Prime Minister/Defense Minister Ehud Barak admitted that a unilateral IDF troop withdrawal from the security zone of southern Lebanon may result in increased Hizbullah hostilities.

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SO now even Barak is admitting that all the Pollyanna Peresian posturing regarding peace and tranquility after Israel conducts its unilateral pullout of Lebanon is poppycock. In fact, Barak and his boys and girls know what is coming. They know the Syrians and their Hizbollah puppets will conduct ethnic cleansing and will massacre the Southern Lebanese population, which is why Barak is suddenly scrambling to find refuge sites in Israel to put them.

So what happened to the idea that the whole problem is Israeli military presence in Southern Lebanon? I thought the Osloids KNOW that the Hizbollah will behave itself after the withdrawal since - after all - they will have no further reason in the world to dislike Israel or shell it? Oh and since Barak KNOWS how the Hizbollah will behave, how come the sudden panic and drive with building bomb shelters and trenches in all the villages and kibbutzim along the border? I thought we had Barak's scout's honor the Hizbollah would not shell Israel. After all, why should they? Israel will have withdrawn unconditionally from Lebanon and THAT is all the Hizbollah is fighting for, right? Could it just possibly be that Barak KNOWS what the rest of us KNOW? That a bloodbath is coming?

Meanwhile, the above citation can be regarded as yet another proof that all of OSLO "thinking" rests upon belief in a mystical J-curve. Indeed the entire theory of Oslo may be summed up as an application of the theory of the "J Curve". Let me explain.

In economics there is a commonly-accepted theory about certain things called a "J Curve". The basic idea is that when something changes, it may first make the problem worse and then make it better later. That is why it is called a "J Curve", going down a while and then up. For example, if a country has a problem with a deficit in its balance of trade, a devaluation of its currency first makes the deficit worse and then better. You can find other examples.

J-curves are always counter-intuitive. Linear trend lines are the simpler and thus preferred explanation except where overwhelming evidence exists to the contrary. Occam's Razor usually favors linearity.

The entire "theory" of Oslo has by now been reduced to an assertion of a "J Curve" relationship in the Middle East. Every single gesture and concession by Israel has made the situation worse until now. Israeli concessions produced a bloodbath of terrorist atrocities, PLO calls for Jihad, the Engineer, PLO open threats to eliminate Israel, PLO calls to Saddam to annihilate the Jews with chemical weapons, PLO calls to the Arab countries to wipe out Israel, Arafat's beatifying suicide bombers, demands that Israel give up Jerusalem, Holocaust denial by PLO officials, escalation in Lebanon, nazifization of Israel's own Green Line Arabs, etc. etc.

But the Oslo advocates dismiss all that with the clarity of sight of Ray Charles. All this is part of the J Curve, they insist. It is expected, indeed wonderful, beautiful. A few more concessions and the curve will reverse itself. Just wait and see. True, until now Israeli concessions and goodwill gestures produced violence and xenophobia, down to and including PLO praise for Hitler, but a few more concessions and we will cross the Rubicon, invert the J Curve, and the PLO and Assad will pursue peace and coexistence.

In other words, Israel can buy peace, they insist, in exchange for 300 well-defined concessions, including of course withdrawal to the 1949 borders and creation of an armed belligerent PLO state with Jerusalem as its capital. And the problem is that Israel has only made 299. So according to the J Curve theory, the first 299 of these concessions only make the Palestinians and Syrians more bloodthirsty, but that last 300th is a doosy. That last one will bring peace and tranquillity and brotherhood of man. And the only reason we do not have peace and tranquillity now is because the obstinate opponents of Oslo and peace are resisting making that 300th concession.

So we need more Peace Now and Dor Shalom bumper stickers, we need to tell Israelis how wonderful peace would be. We need to nudge the doubting Thomases of Zion into making those remaining concessions, ride the J curve to peace. And Arafat and his storm troopers and the rest of the fascists of the Arab world will then allow us to live in peace ever after.

Which is why the first six years or so of Oslo have produced nothing but deterioration and increasingly clear Palestinian blood-lust and extremism. All part of the plan you see. Things have to get worse before they get better.

This is the alternative offered by the Oslo camp to "linear thinking".

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Dr. Steven Plaut teaches business at Haifa University. [4/3/2000]



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