After reading this interview with Madeleine Albright on the subject of religion and foreign policy, I thought about the subject of Jerusalem, possession of which has been a major issue dividing the Middle East for centuries.
So here’s a brutally simplistic scenario: What would happen to the region’s religio-political balance if Jerusalem were suddenly vaporized, and that its destruction was clearly and indisputably an impersonal act, such as a small asteroid impact? Furthermore, suppose that the entire area is rendered uninhabitable by radiation that does not extend beyond the original boundaries of the city?
Now, there’s nothing left to fight over but an unapproachable smoking hole. After the shock and mourning pass, what do you think the fallout would be?
I’d like to think that it would eventually have a positive effect; that, on that subject at least, the parties involved would have the fight taken out of them and some kind of real peace would begin to emerge.
Realistically, I think somebody would just find another excuse to keep the hostilities alive, such as arguing about who still controls the site where Jerusalem once stood, despite the fact that no one could enter it for many years.
I’m certainly no expert on the area and its history, although I like to think I’m somewhat more well-informed than the general American public. Like I said, the idea is very simplistic (and a bit juvenile), but it’s a satisfyingly direct resolution to the problem: If a place or thing is the cause of such unresolvable conflict between multiple parties, remove it entirely so no one can have it.