Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Israel

The Yom Kippur War Butterfly Effect: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Inadvertently Led to the Global Economic Crisis of 2008

We often hear the argument that the American alliance with Israel is damaging to the American interest due to the Islamic terrorism it yields. Many Muslims resent the United States for aiding Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, and this resentment is often fertile grounds for radicalization when combined with the economic hopelessness many young Muslims face in their home countries. Today, however, I’d like to discuss something different–the extent to which the US alliance with Israel contributed to the global economic crisis in 2008.

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Great Power Graphapalooza

In the course of doing my MA at the University of Chicago, I’ve had the opportunity to take a class from John Mearsheimer. Mearsheimer is one of the most widely renowned structural realists in the international relations game today. He disagrees with much of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, lamenting the US’s decision to expend its energies maintaining large military presences in regions of the world that contain no threats to the United States. Mearsheimer calls for a strategy of offshore balancing, in which the United States only intervenes in critical regions in order to prevent those regions from being dominated completely by another state. Otherwise, he recommends the US save its strength. I found myself curious today about what many of the world’s region’s power relationships might look like if the United States were to withdraw militarily and allow the powers in those regions to engage in security competition with one another, and I have taken some time to run the figures and make a vast plethora of charts to share with you.

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Dear Benjamin: Could Electoral Reform be a Catalyst for Peace in the Middle East?

Readers, I’d like to try something a little out of the ordinary today. A friend of mine from when I was doing undergrad at the University of Warwick, Calum Murray, came to me with an idea he wanted both to share and to get my input on. I have decided to help him do both. In this piece, Calum outlines for you his thoughts on how Israel might get more moderate government out of a recent electoral reform spear-headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. After he’s finished stating the position, I’ll come back in to offer my thoughts and dissection. Today’s piece comes out a bit longer than usual, but I’m curious to see if my readers will welcome the added depth that comes with having multiple perspectives on the same thing. If this goes over well, I may do additional “Dear Benjamin” pieces—if you or someone you know has a proposal that might be worth sharing and examining, leave a comment. Read the rest of this entry »

The Legacy of Ariel Sharon

For all intents and purposes, Ariel Sharon died on January 4, 2006. That was when he suffered a stroke and entered into a persistent vegetative state. However, his body was kept running by machines until just yesterday, so even though Sharon has been politically inactive since the mid-aughts, it is an appropriate time to discuss what legacy he left behind, with the benefit of most of a decade to see what followed.  With the benefit of that perspective, Sharon represents a missed opportunity, a path not taken.

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Why the Palestinians Need a Mandela

Mahatma Gandhi died in 1948. Martin Luther King Jr. died in 1968. Now Nelson Mandela has died in 2013, and the last of the big three satyagrahi has turned out the lights, and for the first time peacefully, in his own time, rather than in response to the inescapable mandate of the bullet. This has me wondering what future role nonviolent civil resistance has to play in world affairs. Above all others, it is the Arab Israeli cause that seems to me most in need of a leader of this kind. Here’s why.

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