Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

Peace in the Middle East

Yes, I think Peace in the Middle East is possible…in fact, it is inevitable.  The question is “When?”

Theoretically after the human race is extinct and the Solar Star has gone cold the Middle East will be peaceful (there won’t be anything left alive, but there shouldn’t be any war either).

I’m thinking of a shorter term plan though.  Granted, I think we would still be looking at a couple of generations before we would see real improvement.
What is my plan?

Religion is a poor excuse for war.  It is a common excuse, but a poor one nonetheless. In the absence of other factors, religion is not enough to sustain a war.  I am not privy to the economics during the Crusades, but I am sure more than one soldier signed up because they needed a paycheck.

Ultimately prosperity is the best piece keeper.  I am not sure where I heard the following, but it sounds reasonable:

“There has never been a war between two countries that had a McDonalds”.
The idea being that in order to support a fast food industry a certain level of economic stability would need to be reached.  Rather than risk that prosperity the populace will be more willing to leave a war alone.

I am not familiar with the economics of the Middle East, but I seem to remember that the rich are filthy rich while the poor are just plain filthy.  So, how can we raise the quality of life in the area?

Well, despite our high-tech endeavors, the United States economy is still dominated by agriculture.  The fact that Americans have plenty to eat (domestically) is a big part of our own prosperity.  The problem with the Middle Eastern area is that it is primarily an arid environment.

There are people a lot smarter than me trying to figure out how to reclaim farm land from the desert.  The science seems easy enough.  With enough Sun and water at least some kind of vegetation can grow…even if it is algae.  The desert has plenty of sun…the water is where it gets tricky.

The Mediterranean sea…as well as the Persian gulf…are full of water.  It shouldn’t take a genius to pump water from these sources inland to a centralized area (to start).  The energy for these pumps can be run off fossil fuels to begin with (plenty of that around) then can be switched over to wind and/or solar sources (the principal component in solar cells is silicone.  Most of the sand in the desert is also silicone).

So, now we have water and sun…time to start growing crops, right?  Not exactly.  Agriculture has become a science in and of itself.  It is also a science that I only slightly understand.  But one thing I do know, you need some nitrogen to grow meaningful crops.  Where is that going to come from?  Well, it is best to pull it from the air.  There are crops that are not consumed that do this pretty well. (that is called rotating crops…I think).

So even if the area starts as an algae farm that produces no usable food, it will help to enrich the soil to make meaningful crops later.  But wait…one more thing.  The water that is pumped in from the Med and the Gulf are salted.  Crops don’t grow well with salt water.  That means a desalination plant…which requires yet more energy…which requires more solar panels/wind mills.

But people are stupid.  You see, where would you build this new community?  I would suggest a new city so that sanitation plants and plumbing can be built in.  That is the one thing I can say.  I would personally like to see it on the border of Jordan, Iraq and Syria.  But the Saudi’s wouldn’t like that and may actually attack the city while it was under construction.

Putting it at the border between Jordan, Saudi Arabia Israel and Egypt would also make sense (that has the benefit of being pretty close to the Med), but if the Americans took point on this project (which we are likely to do), we would be showing favoritism toward our allies in the area.

I don’t have an answer…but let’s move on.

Above all else, I think that what the middle east needs is to be less important to the world.  The best way to do that is to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels.  Once this new city was finished, the technology for creating a renewable energy economy would be developed.  America could take the lessons from “Capital City” to eliminate our own dependence on the fossil fuels.

I call it “Capital City” because I think it should be the new home of the United Nations.
The big problems with this plan?

1) Make war, not gifts – America is more likely to attack an area that is unstable than try to help it.  Remember Vietnam?  For that matter, Iraq really need aid, but we brought guns.

2) Protecting the project – Although the project would be intended to help the area, it would inevitably be a source of attack by short sited people and royalty that would see it as a way of subjugating their wealth and power.

3) Price – This would cost a lot.  To protect and to build the city would be a huge project.  I wouldn’t mind helping to foot the bill if it would bring stability to my future grandchildren.  But I don’t know how many other people would feel as I do.  And I can’t afford it on my own (any Billionaires out there want to give it a try?)

All in all these are fewer problems than other wild theories I have had (remember the terraforming of Venus?).  But it is a long term plan that isn’t even guaranteed to work…but I think it is better than what we are doing today.

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July 27, 2007 - Posted by | Random Thoughts, Thoughts on Politics, Wild Theory

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