My new friend George Hishmeh has written a very interesting opinion piece for the Gulf News on the Pope’s upcoming visit to the holy land (attached beneath this introduction).
Assuming George’s reporting is accurate, it is clear Pope Francis is raising the stakes by using something like a Motherhood and Mismatch (M&M) Strategy  to place Israel on the horns of moral dilemma: by refusing protection of an armored car and making it easy for Israeli extremists in the settler movement to kill him, he is forcing Netanyahu to clamp down on security by sealing Francis off from the people via the expedient of turning the Old City of Jerusalem into a ghost town, setting up cordons and a strict permit regime to keep the people, including Christian Arabs, far from the Pope. At the same time the Palestinian Authority is opening up the streets of Bethlehem and providing the Pope with an open car. The fact that the Pope will be accompanied by a group of Muslim and Jewish leaders ices the cake.
If some Israeli fanatic kills or tries to kill the Pope, Israel loses. But if not, the conflicting pictures of the Pope’s visit to an Old City and Bethlehem will flood the world, and Israel loses. One set of photos will show the Old City, the holiest part of Jerusalem for all three religions, under a military lockdown; and that set of pictures will be compared to a second set showing Palestinians joyously celebrating the openness of Pope’s visit to Bethlehem. If Israel tries to dodge the bullet launching another of its false flag operations like the infamous Lavon Affair — in this case, trying to attack or discredit the Pope by making the offensive action appear to have come from the Palestinians, the truth will come out, and Israel loses big time.
So, If the Pope can pull this off, Israel hoists itself on top of a petard by creating a welter of mismatches bringing Israel’s own moral legitimacy into question — i.e., by exhibiting behaviour that drives wedge after wedge into the legs of its own moral triangle (depicted in abstract terms from the Pope’s point of view, with Israel as the competitive adversary by this figure):
Note: the criteria of a sensible grand strategy are explained here.
We live in interesting, if Jesuitical, times.
———————— The M&M Strategy is a strategy for moral conflict conceived by the American strategist Col. John Boyd (an introduction to his theories of conflict can be found at this link). I explain the M&M strategy in general terms in the opening paragraphs of this essay which analyzes how Obama beat McCain in 2008.
With 14 attacks against the church by suspected far-right Israelis reported in the past year, an air of gloom marks this momentous occasion