The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

The Occasional Myth of “Tipping Points” in International Relations

In the context of violence AND just underlying grievances, the concept of Tipping Points is particularly dangerous.

Let us say: The core idea now dominant in western media reports and among western policy elites seems to be where that sweet spot on syria lies exactly. Where is the mythical Tipping Point? How can we approach it? make it inevitable like the SANDS OF TIME…. THE CURRENT OF HISTORY.

The main problem inherent in the application of this concept is that it implies – it rests on in fact – an ALMOST effortless, almost bloodless (or if bloody then still manageable) shift (whereas the reality is almost always different ESPECIALLY in cases where there is violence AND outstanding, just grievances – i.e. NOT Egypt for example where the regime and its supporters had NO RECOURSE TO anything approaching a just arguement/stand – occupied territory etc.

Libya, as an even weaker, less justified actor demonstrates that this tipping point may not come easily, certainly not quickly and that – surprise surprise – it might NEVER COME…. At least as a strategist, you need to contemplate all three.

So will Syria reach this nice tipping point?

If we keep thinking like this, then we are fooling ourselves.


Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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