Hamas in a Showdown

  • #1
russ_watters
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Countries are saying they won't deal with Hamas and now pulling financial aid, which they need to support their government (did anyone realize we gave them so much money?). Hamas and their constituents are quickly going to find themselves in a world of hurt. It won't survive to the spring without foreign aid - any predictions on how they will react?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-01-30-hamas-aid_x.htm
A Hamas leader has asked the global community not to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority. Even before the militant Islamic group embarks on its first effort at governing, it faces serious problems — international isolation because of its extremist policies and an inherited money crunch.

Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that after Hamas sets up a government, Israel will stop transferring tens of millions of dollars a month to the Palestinians in customs and taxes. Foreign donors, who have annually made up a huge budget shortfall, are also balking at funding a Hamas regime.

The most immediate crisis, even before Hamas has a chance to form a government, is payday. The Palestinian Authority coffers are empty and the average transfer of $54 million a month from Israel could make the difference between paying salaries of security forces and civil servants or failing to meet the payroll.

On a larger scale, Palestinian experts estimate that the budget shortfall for this year will again approach $1 billion. Up to now the deficit has been covered by Western aid, but that might stop.

The United States gave the Palestinian Authority $400 million in direct aid last year and several million more through various U.N. charities, said Jacob Walles, the U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem. President Bush has said the United States will not deal with Hamas as long as it seeks Israel's destruction.
I honestly didn't know we (the world) gave them so much money. From what this article is saying, it doesn't sound like the PA can exist even for a month without this aid. That doesn't leave Hamas with a lot of options.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Art
They have gone to other Arab countries to see if they will make up the shortfall resulting from the cut-off of western aid. If as is likely this is unsuccessful their options are to struggle on for a while and then either resign prompting new elections in which they will presumably ask people not to vote for them :rofl: or they will split as the more moderate opt for a less offensive stance whilst the die-hard militants refuse to compromise.
Possibly the resulting militant splinter group will undergo a name change so Hamas will be able to distance themselves from them and so become eligible for foreign aid.
Personally I suspect resignation is the slightly more likely option to avoid a damaging split (which is likely to be bloody) and to avoid having to make a major change to their charter, specifically renouncing the piece calling for the destruction of Israel.
 
  • #3
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Does anyone have any estimates on assets previously embezzled, lost, stolen by Fatah that might be recoverable? It would probably still require cooperation of other governments, but there might be international law on Hamas' side in such an effort.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Art said:
They have gone to other Arab countries to see if they will make up the shortfall resulting from the cut-off of western aid.
There is a real hypocritical irony there. The PA depends on for its survival the very people whom it says needs to be destroyed. Now it must go to the people who should be its friends for help. Perhaps it will find that it had its friends and enemies reversed...?
 
  • #5
Art
russ_watters said:
There is a real hypocritical irony there. The PA depends on for its survival the very people whom it says needs to be destroyed. Now it must go to the people who should be its friends for help. Perhaps it will find that it had its friends and enemies reversed...?
The outgoing PA leadership Fatah wasn't calling for the destruction of Israel.They recognised it's legitimacy long ago.

I doubt the Arab leaders will help Hamas. Not particularly for ideological reasons but because of the effect such help would have on their own relations with the west.

The Palestinians' friends in the ME are found amongst the ordinary Arab people. The dictatorships which govern these people are not representative of the general populace.
 
  • #6
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well, i think iran will give hamas money, they already pay hezbollah to fight israel, and controlling hamas might be a golden opertuninty for them.
by the way, why didnt you post the OP in the "hamas wins again" thread?
 
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  • #7
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russ_watters said:
Countries are saying they won't deal with Hamas and now pulling financial aid, which they need to support their government (did anyone realize we gave them so much money?). Hamas and their constituents are quickly going to find themselves in a world of hurt. It won't survive to the spring without foreign aid - any predictions on how they will react?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-01-30-hamas-aid_x.htm I honestly didn't know we (the world) gave them so much money. From what this article is saying, it doesn't sound like the PA can exist even for a month without this aid. That doesn't leave Hamas with a lot of options.

Hmm... marginalizing extremist groups who win mainstream support of a "nation" in a fair election.... Sounds like a bad idea to me.

What ever happened to the policy of diplomatic engagement? Heck... if we do even more than that, perhaps Hamas would come toward the center.
 
  • #8
russ_watters
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Bystander said:
Does anyone have any estimates on assets previously embezzled, lost, stolen by Fatah that might be recoverable? It would probably still require cooperation of other governments, but there might be international law on Hamas' side in such an effort.
Dunno - who inherited Arafat's assets?
Art said:
The outgoing PA leadership Fatah wasn't calling for the destruction of Israel.They recognised it's legitimacy long ago.
You are correct, it is just the new leadership - I should have been clearer about that.
I doubt the Arab leaders will help Hamas. Not particularly for ideological reasons but because of the effect such help would have on their own relations with the west.
I agree with the predicion, but I'm not sure I agree with the reasoning - ie, it isn't like Syria can do much to make our relationship worse.
fargoth said:
by the way, why didnt you post the OP in the "hamas wins again" thread?
New news - I want to focus specifically on this money issue.
Computergeek said:
Hmm... marginalizing extremist groups who win mainstream support of a "nation" in a fair election.... Sounds like a bad idea to me.
Why?
What ever happened to the policy of diplomatic engagement?
The policy of appeasing such regimes ended in 1938. And before someone invokes Goodwin's law, there is an obvious and direct correlation: both regimes had/have as a primary goal the extermination of the Jewish people.
Heck... if we do even more than that, perhaps Hamas would come toward the center.
Perhaps.... Perhaps they won't change at all - perhaps they will grow bolder if we appease them. Is appeasement worth a "perhaps"? I don't think it is.

No, wait - appeasement isn't the right word. All we did in 1938 is agree to not start a war. We're talking actual postive support of a terroristic regime here. It is quite simply immoral to give money to a person or group who has stated explicitly that they will use that money to kill people.
 
  • #9
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The policy of appeasing such regimes ended in 1938. And before someone invokes Goodwin's law, there is an obvious and direct correlation: both regimes had/have as a primary goal the extermination of the Jewish people.
Are you trying to same that the Nazi's and Hamas are the same?
 
  • #10
PerennialII
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.... in any event, since Hamas is forced to a 'showdown' of sorts, would hope that the other participants would use the opportunity to induce some change, since now there might be a driving force for it (and in the other direction as well (&naturally) if a "cornering" policy is 'sought-after'). I'd still like to believe this can be turned into an opportunity to resolve some of the issues, or give it a nudge in the appropriate direction.
 
  • #11
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russ_watters said:
Why? The policy of appeasing such regimes ended in 1938. And before someone invokes Goodwin's law, there is an obvious and direct correlation: both regimes had/have as a primary goal the extermination of the Jewish people. Perhaps.... Perhaps they won't change at all - perhaps they will grow bolder if we appease them. Is appeasement worth a "perhaps"? I don't think it is.
Russ... when you isolate a country from the rest of the world, you force them to engage in tactics that are worse than those of which you want to discourage.

Embargoes and isolation has NEVER WORKED. Libya came out because Kadafi knew the US would invade him and he wanted to stay in power, it had nothing to do with embargo. How is it working in Cuba? Iran? N. Korea?

Light of day and fresh air is what kills bacteria and disease, not boxing it off and leaving it in the dark. If Hamas can get power and influence though legitimate means, it will.
 
  • #12
SOS2008
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russ_watters said:
I honestly didn't know we (the world) gave them so much money. From what this article is saying, it doesn't sound like the PA can exist even for a month without this aid.
I would be interested to know a comparison between U.S. aid to the PA versus Israel, and which country receives the most per capita beginning when (i.e., for how long)?
fargoth said:
...by the way, why didnt you post the OP in the "hamas wins again" thread?
My first thought too.
russ_watters said:
New news - I want to focus specifically on this money issue.
:rofl: The money issue (aid) was being discussed in the other thread.
ComputerGeek said:
Hmm... marginalizing extremist groups who win mainstream support of a "nation" in a fair election.... Sounds like a bad idea to me.

What ever happened to the policy of diplomatic engagement? Heck... if we do even more than that, perhaps Hamas would come toward the center.
What happened to the policy of spreading democracy throughout the world? Oh, right, the neocon agenda is two-part. To democratize countries for purposes of controlling the country.
ComputerGeek said:
Embargoes and isolation has NEVER WORKED. Libya came out because Kadafi knew the US would invade him and he wanted to stay in power, it had nothing to do with embargo. How is it working in Cuba? Iran? N. Korea?

Light of day and fresh air is what kills bacteria and disease, not boxing it off and leaving it in the dark. If Hamas can get power and influence though legitimate means, it will.
Now there’s another topic that would be more worthy of discussion. How effective is the stick compared to the carrot?

It would be great if there was some data provided here.
 
  • #13
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What happened to the policy of spreading democracy throughout the world? Oh, right, the neocon agenda is two-part. To democratize countries for purposes of controlling the country.
You should have seen the clip of bush on the daily show when they asked him about the elections. He was like a deer caught in head lights. Abde-abde-abde thats all folks. He had nothing to say, he was winging it.
 
  • #14
Hurkyl
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Now there’s another topic that would be more worthy of discussion. How effective is the stick compared to the carrot?
But is this money issue related to the stick, or the carrot? (I'm bringing this up now, since I suspect it will arise later, or at least cause confusion for a while)

Judging from people's tones (correct me if I'm wrong), they think that this is the world community wielding the stick... but isn't this really just cutting off the carrot supply?
 
  • #15
SOS2008
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Hurkyl said:
But is this money issue related to the stick, or the carrot? (I'm bringing this up now, since I suspect it will arise later, or at least cause confusion for a while)

Judging from people's tones (correct me if I'm wrong), they think that this is the world community wielding the stick... but isn't this really just cutting off the carrot supply?
I agree that aid is a carrot. I am interested in knowing what are most effective, embargoes (stick) versus financial aid for example. This applies to a lot of countries right now, and policy based on real data regarding effectiveness would be a good thing to know before proceeding.
 
  • #16
Hurkyl
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What happened to the policy of spreading democracy throughout the world? Oh, right, the neocon agenda is two-part. To democratize countries for purposes of controlling the country.
Blah, this one kept irritating me so I had to respond. :tongue: Nowhere was it written that we're supposed to be good friends with every democracy out there!

And reference to the "neocon"s seems entirely off-base: I got the impression that threats of cutting support happened across the board, so it is entirely misleading to single out the neocons. (Let alone make wild accusations about their intentions. :rolleyes:)
 
  • #17
Gokul43201
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russ_watters said:
Countries are saying they won't deal with Hamas and now pulling financial aid, which they need to support their government (did anyone realize we gave them so much money?). Hamas and their constituents are quickly going to find themselves in a world of hurt. It won't survive to the spring without foreign aid - any predictions on how they will react?
I've heard two different reports (one on NPR) saying the US and the EU will be very wary about withdrawing financial support. The fear is that such an action will cause Hamas to (i) seek/get aid from Iran, and (ii) react emotionally towards the West, for refusing support to a legitimate democracy in the ME.
 
  • #18
Hurkyl
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SOS2008 said:
It would be great if there was some data provided here.
I agree. It would be nice to have some sort of comprehensive list of countries, the sorts of actions taken against them (sticks and carrots), and some sort of in-depth analysis of the effects.

While I suppose I could find a lot by spending an eternity looking through the text of U.N. resolutions, that still doesn't tell me, say, what effects were to be had from the tightening of sanctions against Southern Rhodesia in resolution #232 in 1966.

ComputerGeek said:
Embargoes and isolation has NEVER WORKED. Libya came out because Kadafi knew the US would invade him and he wanted to stay in power, it had nothing to do with embargo. How is it working in Cuba? Iran? N. Korea?
But since you seem to be rather strongly asserting some level of knowledge about this, would you care to start us off?
 
  • #19
alexandra
Hurkyl said:
While I suppose I could find a lot by spending an eternity looking through the text of U.N. resolutions, that still doesn't tell me, say, what effects were to be had from the tightening of sanctions against Southern Rhodesia in resolution #232 in 1966.

But since you seem to be rather strongly asserting some level of knowledge about this, would you care to start us off?
Hi Hurkyl and ComputerGeek - sorry for 'jumping in' here, but to state my own understanding on this issue: I think sanctions have sometimes 'worked' (ie. coerced governments to do as they are told by the powerful nations' representatives), though not always. They did not 'work' against Iraq, for example, but they did 'work' against both Rhodesia and South Africa. Here is a link to a brief article that describes the effects of the use of sanctions on five countries: http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/example/sanc7318.htm
 
  • #20
SOS2008
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Hurkyl said:
Blah, this one kept irritating me so I had to respond. :tongue: Nowhere was it written that we're supposed to be good friends with every democracy out there!

And reference to the "neocon"s seems entirely off-base: I got the impression that threats of cutting support happened across the board, so it is entirely misleading to single out the neocons. (Let alone make wild accusations about their intentions. :rolleyes:)
The premise that democracy = peace has been around for some time, at least to Levy who argued that Democratic states do not fight each other. (1988: 88). Bush has also made reference to this many times, for example, “It’s hard for some in our country to connect the rise of democracy with peace,” Bush said in Louisville. “History has proven that democracies yield the peace.”

While it may be nice to think of democracies as inherently peaceful–-the historical reality is often quite different, which we have seen again:

Exporting democracy: A U.S. experiment gone awry
By James Glanz The New York Times SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2006

NEW YORK The overwhelming sense among politicians and intellectuals in the Middle East last week was that America's little chemistry experiment had blown up in its face. President George W. Bush promoted democracy and free elections as his primary solution to the region's ills - and when Hamas won in a landslide in the Palestinian elections, Bush got results that could not have been more inimical to the interests of the United States and its ally Israel...
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/29/news/mideast.php

The idea of spreading democracy most certainly is a neocon concept:

Wolfowitz to spread neo-con gospel
By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs correspondent, BBC News website

By nominating Paul Wolfowitz to be head of the World Bank, President George Bush appears to be sending a message to the world that he intends to spread into development policy the same neo-conservative philosophy that has led his foreign policy.

...Mr Wolfowitz was one of the brains behind the Iraq war. He called for the removal of Saddam Hussein immediately after the attacks of 11 September 2001, but was overruled in a meeting at Camp David the following weekend.

However, his view did prevail in due course.

He has also been one of the leading thinkers in the administration calling for the spread of democracy in the Middle East and he did not shrink from the need, as he saw it, of waging war if necessary. He saw Iraq as a test bed for this.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4358045.stm

Wolfowitz also criticised Bush for not backing Israel enough!

In the context of U.S. foreign policy, neoconservative has another, narrower definition: one who advocates the use of military force, unilaterally if necessary, to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neocon

The first problem is there has been no proof that democracy = peace. The second problem is can you lead a horse to water and make it drink? Look at the Middle East and examine what this thinking has produced, and not just Iraq or the PA. Look at so-called moderate states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Military force, particularly unilaterally against international law and conventions will yeild nothing good.

This is why I am interested in data to support policy, whether comparing the carrot to the stick, etc. In the meantime, since the U.S. has been tooting it’s horn about democracy, freedom and peace, Bush must be mindful in regard to Hamas.
 
  • #21
SOS2008
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Hurkyl said:
I agree. It would be nice to have some sort of comprehensive list of countries, the sorts of actions taken against them (sticks and carrots), and some sort of in-depth analysis of the effects.

While I suppose I could find a lot by spending an eternity looking through the text of U.N. resolutions, that still doesn't tell me, say, what effects were to be had from the tightening of sanctions against Southern Rhodesia in resolution #232 in 1966.
I was not suggesting that you do the research, as you did not start the thread. But here is what I found fairly qucikly:

During this century, the United States has imposed economic sanctions more than 110 times.

What have we learned from this grand experiment in the diplomatic laboratory? Quite a lot. First, as a substitute for military force—the Wilsonian notion—sanctions seldom achieve the desired change in the conduct of foreign countries. In plain language: Wilson was wrong.
----------
In fact, this is one of the ironies: Democratic countries, where the elite cares what the rest of the world thinks, are far more susceptible to sanctions than authoritarian countries isolated from world opinion.
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The second lesson…the result of treating sanctions as a disconnected policy measure is that the United States has acquired a well-deserved reputation for bluffing: If an authoritarian adversary can withstand sanctions, it need not fear a surprise attack.
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A third lesson is that economic sanctions can inflict pain on innocent people while at the same time increasing the grip of the leaders we despise.
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A fourth lesson is that sanctions applied hard and fast are more likely to succeed (all other circumstances being equal) than sanctions applied soft and slow. But this lesson poses a dilemma. Hard sanctions usually require multilateral cooperation, if not from the U.N. Security Council, at least from the industrial democracies. While the United States may be the sole military superpower, it is not the only economic player.
----------
Then consider the morality. U.S. economic sanctions. Finally, the liberal application of sanctions to every cause and country badly erodes U.S. leadership. When the United States applies sanctions to half the world's people, and when it imposes secondary sanctions on allies and friends, it prompts a reaction against American hegemony. Sanctions against China have neither shaken the leadership nor hindered the country's drive for growth. Sanctions against India will have approximately the same lack of effect. And few secondary sanctions do more than irritate U.S. allies.


“. . . economic sanctions in place today
cost the United States some
$20 billion in lost exports annually,
depriving American workers of some
200,000 well-paid jobs."​
http://www.iie.com/publications/pb/pb.cfm?ResearchID=83

In reading this publication it seems to say we should either set expectations in advance that sanctions are only a step in a process toward military action, or consider another tactic. That brings one to the argument of using military force against all these countries, either in progression or immediately, or using incentives. Even if we wanted to go to war against the world, we don’t have the capacity. So I vote for incentives--with strings attached of course, and for war to be the last resort in defense of our country against clear and present danger only.
 
  • #22
SOS2008
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Originally Posted by russ_watters:

I honestly didn't know we (the world) gave them so much money. From what this article is saying, it doesn't sound like the PA can exist even for a month without this aid.
SOS2008 said:
I would be interested to know a comparison between U.S. aid to the PA versus Israel, and which country receives the most per capita beginning when (i.e., for how long)? It would be great if there was some data provided here.
It is also said that Israel could not exist without financial aid, though the large amount of funds over the many years has allowed them to invest in their economy. It is hard to obtain unbiased data, but I really don’t need specific statistics to know we give far more to Israel and because we have, we had to start giving aid to the PA as well.

US Financial Aid
1992-2004 (estimated [x $100 million])

Israel @ $40 billion
PA @ $20 million

Not including other factors such as military budget statistics, most notably Nuclear Weapons (Israel estimated @400, and the PA @ none), and not taking into account the cost per capita.

We are not attaching enough strings to the carrots to obtain peace (assuming that's what the U.S. really wants).
 
  • #23
Hurkyl
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I was not suggesting that you do the research, as you did not start the thread. But here is what I found fairly qucikly:
Well, the thing is that I'm interested in the data too! I'm just hoping that other people have a better idea how to begin than me! Maybe I just need better faith in google to figure out what I want when I don't know how to ask!


Conversely, it would also be nice to know the track record of carrots as well. E.G. I'm sure I've read that the carrot strategy has done a rather poor job overall in Africa, and it would be nice to find good sources that say one way or another!


In reading this publication it seems to say we should either set expectations in advance that sanctions are only a step in a process toward military action, or consider another tactic.
I agree.


So I vote for incentives--with strings attached of course, and for war to be the last resort in defense of our country against clear and present danger only.
This reminds me of a Simpsons quote, when they were trying to think of ways of saving up some money:

Bart: I'll take up smoking and give that up
Homer: Good for you son. Giving up smoking is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Have a dollar.

The first thing that springs to mind about an exclusively carrot strategy is that it would lead to entirely the wrong behavior. When you have nothing to fear by doing bad things, and you can get a reward when you stop doing the bad things, it would only encourage you to do bad things in order to get the subsequent reward.
 
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  • #24
Moonbear
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Hurkyl said:
This reminds me of a Simpsons quote, when they were trying to think of ways of saving up some money:

Bart: I'll take up smoking and give that up
Homer: Good for you son. Giving up smoking is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Have a dollar.

The first thing that springs to mind about an exclusively carrot strategy is that it would lead to entirely the wrong behavior. When you have nothing to fear by doing bad things, and you can get a reward when you stop doing the bad things, it would only encourage you to do bad things in order to get the subsequent reward.
This is something that always bugs me about foreign relations...it seems so much like trying to train cats.

In order for a reward-only approach to work, from a behavioral standpoint, you still need to implement consequences for bad behavior, which includes taking away rewards and priviledges. I don't see an embargo as punishment, it's taking away a priviledge, that being the priviledge of freely trading with a country allowing you to make a profit. Likewise, as soon as the bad behavior ceases, you reinstate the priviledge, but that does not mean you add to it a further reward. Ceasing bad behavior equates to cessation of being deprived of something. Good behavior is what earns a reward. To be good behavior, it has to be something special, something you want to positively encourage, such as helping a neighbor, voluntarily relinquishing weapons, something like that. Rewards don't last a long time, they are like a piece of candy to a child who has just volunteered to wash the dishes. The immediate behavior receives an immediate reward, but it loses efficacy if the reward lingers for a long time and is not directly associated with the good behavior. If you can do very little and get a lot, the reward loses its power. However, as anyone who has attempted to train cats can tell you, the idea of rewards is also to extinguish them over time. You want to make it so rewards are not always predictable. If they are predictable, then the good behavior only happens when a reward is desired, and stops as soon as the reward is received. If they are less predictable, then good behavior is maintained longer in the hope of a reward, and eventually is done without expectation of a reward, except for knowing every once in a while you'll get a surprise treat if you're always good.

The problem is, every time an administration changes, these actions are not followed through uniformly, so it falls apart quickly. It's just like the cat you've trained to stay off the kitchen counter, or so you think, until it's home alone with the kids who give it treats every time it climbs on the counter to beg.

So, I'm not making any claims with regard to hard facts with actual countries, but just in terms of how rewards work in theory, if you can accomplish change in just 4 years, it might work, but if it's something that needs to be followed through on by the next administration, it probably won't work.
 

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