Bahrain Crisis Solved Optimally

Dr. Saqer Al-Khalifa

Do you take a Panadol for whenever there’s something wrong with you? Of course not! Depending on the nature of sickness, your doctor will prescribe the medicine that fits.
It is the same case when facing a political crisis, you can’t use the same solution over and over again for different set of problems.
Below, I will briefly show how JFK was able to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis, and compare it to Bahrain’s decision on initiating the Dialogue.
Both Bahrain today, and America in 1962 faced a crisis that could have tipped countries over and cost un-reparable damages. Cuba had Soviet nuclear missiles directed at America. Any touch of a button would have ended instantly the lives of millions of Americans. You can go on Youtube and watch safety drills taught to children at schools incase those missiles landed on American soil. Today we know that none of those drills would have mattered anyways because a nuclear bomb is basically, well, a Nuclear Bomb!
How did JFK go about solving such a deadlock situation? What would you do? You see, JFK had gathered a group of smart individuals as advisors. He basically chose them by himself to always come up with a set of choices, and prepare him to make the optimal solution. In rational decision making, the person first sets out all the possible solutions to such a problem. For JFK, these were the choices he had: To do nothing; to invade Cuba; to negotiate with USSR to remove the missiles; to bomb the missiles site; or to blockade Cuba. The next step was to weigh each of those choices together and decide on the best. Of course, we all know that JFK decided on a naval blockade on Cuba, which proved to be very successful. His aim was to avoid any kind of military conflict that may eventually lead to a nuclear war.
Let’s pause briefly and speak in all honesty here. Why didn’t JFK refer to the American voters to choose how they want to solves the Cuban Missile Crisis? The key to his success was the pool of advisors he had and how he was able to moderate between the great ideas presented to him. Ask yourself this question, what is the average I.Q. for those advisors? Now add the voters to the pool and notice that the high I.Q. average is cancelled out. Think about this a bit more and you’ll open a new door of understanding the engine of democracy.
Now let’s come back to Bahrain. Where are we in terms of solving the crisis for once and for all. We haven’t yet flipped the page, we’re still in the midst of it. When looking into JFK’s group of advisors, look also into Bahrain’s leading social figures chosen by the government to come up with sets of the most optimal choices. It does not matter at all what your background is, as long as you are a leading social figure, you should be in the dialogue. As I said above, the crisis we faced is not one similar to JFK’s, but a basket of issues that is reflected in the different discussion sessions set forth in the dialogue. JFK required a foreign policy, Bahrain requires a set of domestic social policies, thus the invitees were indeed socially concerned figures.
The similarity, however, is something very significant for us to acknowledge. Our main concern is to have informed personnel deciding our fate, not everyone around. The US, for example, does not trust an 18 year old kid to drink responsibly, however, they trust him to choose the strongest President in the world! It is therefore important not to let every eligible voter to pitch in because we will then sacrifice the level of optimality we are trying to achieve. Sometime making biased decisions does play out to your benefit, and in this case, it is a must. You can’t randomly choose a minister or any employee, the subject has to fit the case.
The decision to have the Dialogue was nothing short of genius. Now it’s time for those participating in the dialogue to act uniformly, responsibly, and nationalistically. At last, I hope they remember JFK’s famous statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Dr. Saqer Al-Khalifa, a husband, a father (boy and 2 girls), a professor (International Relations), and a triathlete (swim, bike, run). His Ph.D. is in Political Science