Dr. Avi Perry
Dr. Avi PerryINN:AP

In my search for updates on the recent Gaza conflict, I consistently came across reports highlighting the U.S. administration's efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading to neighboring areas in the Middle East, including Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Iran – collectively referred to as the Iranian octopus, encompassing Iran and its proxies. This observation prompted me to contemplate the contrasting approaches of democracies and dictatorships.

The American containment strategy underscores a fundamental distinction between democracy and dictatorship. Democracies, such as the United States, often exhibit a short-term perspective driven by the imminent concerns of upcoming elections. Similar to a chess player focused on the next move without considering long-term consequences, democratic leaders seek short-term accomplishments.

In contrast, a dictator enjoys the luxury of long-term thinking. Unburdened by the need to appease constituents for immediate gains, a dictator can strategize with a broader outlook. When facing an intractable conflict with no willingness to compromise on either side, the only viable resolution is a decisive victory by one party and an unconditional surrender by the other.

Attempting to contain such conflicts or opting for alternatives to absolute victory often results in a protracted low-level conflict, resembling a dormant volcano ready to erupt into a full-scale war at any moment. Conversely, achieving absolute victory comes at a considerable cost in terms of lives, political fortunes, and the economy. This cost is borne by the present generation and, consequently, by the present political leadership of the democratic administration in the U.S., while the benefits accrue to future generations and the next adversarial political leadership. Consequently, the reluctance to embrace a long-term and more comprehensive solution is understandable for those currently grappling with the issue.

In alignment with the aforementioned arguments, the Biden administration has been diligently working to contain the Gaza conflict and prevent its escalation into a broader regional conflict. However, recent developments in the Middle East, coupled with unique cultural and religious factors, could potentially lead to a situation that contradicts the U.S.'s efforts to avert such a scenario.

Iran interprets the U.S.'s intentions, including symbolic and restrained retaliations for its proxy attacks on U.S. troops, not as a genuine desire to prevent destruction, loss of life, and economic downturn resulting from a military response to its aggression, but rather as a sign of weakness. This perceived weakness, in turn, emboldens Iran to engage in more aggressive and destructive behavior.

The disruption of Red Sea shipping by the Houthis has reached a critical point, causing significant losses for numerous countries worldwide. Egypt has experienced a substantial decline in revenue due to reduced Suez Canal usage. European nations, at the same time, have witnessed a notable increase in shipping costs and transit times from East Asia, as cargo ships opt for longer routes around Africa instead of the shorter Suez Canal route when navigating to and from India, China, Japan, and the rest of East Asia to and from Europe.

The recent assassination of Hamas leader, Arouri, in Beirut may lead to a significant escalation of the war of attrition between Israel and Hezbollah. It might even trigger an all-out war between the two, potentially involving Iran and even the U.S. Navy.

The likelihood of a regional conflict is now greater than 50%. If it occurs, there is little chance that the Israeli hostages will return to their families and homes. One thing is clear: the new year, 2024, could witness a global economic slowdown and a significant increase in bloodshed resulting from the expansion of the Gaza conflict. It might no longer be referred to as the Gaza conflict but rather the Middle East war, reminiscent of how World War I was never called The Bosnia War or the Austria-Bosnia War.

Dr. Avi Perry, talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN), is the author of "Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks,"and "72 Virgins," a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories - distinguished staff member and manager, as well as a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University and Intelligence expert for the Israeli Government. He may be reached through his web site www.aviperry.org