Dec. 7, 2017
For perhaps a quarter of the world’s population, President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem on December 6 was humiliating. Just for that reason it makes Middle East peace more probable. More than President Jimmy Carter, who brokered the Israeli-Egyptian peace deal of 1979, President Trump is likely to be remembered as the American president who contributed most to peace.
Wars end not when the loser is defeated, but rather when the loser is humiliated. Throughout history, as I argued in a 2016 survey of ancient and modern wars, losers have fought on until they lack the manpower to fill their depleted ranks. Typically that occurs after 30% of military-age men are dead, as in France during the Napoleonic Wars, the South in the American Civil War, or Germany in the Second World War.
The losing side will not abandon hostilities until all those who want to fight to the death have had the opportunity to do so — unless it is humiliated before the physical exhaustion of its resources has run its course.