CORNELL UNIVERSITY MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
Jan. 28, 2020
In Mid-East peace plan, Trump treats people as puppets
President Trump outlined a long-awaited Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, which, he says, is a “win-win opportunity” for both Israel and advocates of a Palestinian state. The deal, preemptively rejected by the Palestinian leadership, is unlikely to move the needle in negotiations between the two sides as it is heavily slanted in favor of Israeli positions.
Uriel Abulof is a visiting professor at Cornell University’s Government Department and a senior lecturer of politics at Tel-Aviv University.
“Trump’s peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians shows where he truly belongs: mainstream social sciences. After all, if there’s one thing social scientists overwhelmingly, albeit tacitly, agree on, it’s that people are puppets. Social scientists disagree, however, on which strings operate these hapless marionettes most effectively. Is it sociology, biology, economy, or psychology? Enter Trump, a ‘very stable genius,’ ingeniously weaving these strings to produce peace where none could before.
“Bound to social identities and slaves to survival instincts, Israelis and Palestinians can be manipulated with cost-benefit calculations that leverage their ‘loss aversion.’ So, use it or lose it, Trump tells both peoples about his plan: later will be too late. If mainstream social science is correct, this should work. In the hands of a skillful puppeteer, puppets are predictable.
“Still, there’s a bug in the plan: people might turn out to be human.”
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