Policies are predominantly wrong because any given position in the complex adaptive system has myriad options, and any one option is likely not to be the best option. Complex adaptive systems resist policies, but develop through painfully long series of micro-moves. At every stage, the situation changes and requires adaptive response. Policies, on the other hand, tend to be fixed and self-perpetuating; otherwise, they are derogatorily called ad hoc solutions and don’t amount to policies.

It follows that whatever a government does, it likely does wrong. Bismarck weaved the most excellent policies, but they laid the foundation for two world wars. The League of Nations was a great idea, but it legalized the inaction which allowed Germany to re-arm. Partitioning states to satisfy both political camps seemed a viable strategy, but partitioned Vietnam fought a bloody war, and other cases proved equally unsustainable. Bleeding the communists in Afghanistan was a nice thing to do, but the aid to the mujahedeen created the Islamic terrorist threat. It is not an overgeneralization to say that all policies are wrong. There are no examples of fruitful policies under heaven.

Policies differ from methods. Working is good, though no work plausibly makes an average person a billionaire; work is a method, enrichment is a policy. Methods are useful in themselves while policies serve external goals. Methods can be described as derivative of policies, or as very short-term policies. Occupying Iraq with the aim of making it democratic is a policy, which is wrong; a punishing raid with the immediate aim of removing Saddam is a method, which is right. Method is a historically standard modus operandi: countries attack when threatened, punish offenders when they can, and secure their own habitat. Almost everyone agree on methods: both Jews and Arabs believe that offenders must be punished; punishment is a method. Methods have only immediate goals.

Methods rely on very short actions and are unlikely to create Bradbury’s Butterfly Effect of unforeseeable remote consequences. Most often, methods reinstate or secure status quo ante. Less frequently, methods prevent unforeseeable developments: European settlers massacred Red Indians so that no significant minority would be left to claim their ancestral lands.

How absurd it is to imagine a lion that enters a camp of gazelles to teach them manners, self-defense, or agriculture. No, lions are satisfied with the immediate goal of satiation—if at the gazelle’s expense. The peace process is similar. Israel has tried rejecting the Palestinians’ demands, acceding to them, and every option in between. Nothing has worked—because policies never work. The Middle East’s ecosystem is a textbook example of a complex adaptive system. Any policy would be wrong here. Who could honestly have predicted that Arafat would refuse the statehood Barak gave him on silver plate? Who knew Nasser’s mind in 1967, when he wanted to attack Israel? We don’t know whether Iran develops nuclear weapons or merely defends its right to conduct nuclear enrichment. There are myriad inherently unknown variables in the peace process equation. If Israeli Arabs are loyal, that calls for one solution; if they are not, the solution must be entirely different. If Palestinian Arabs want to live in peace with Israel, that’s one situation; if Gaza’s refugees would never accept a Jewish state, that’s a totally different situation. Would Egypt pursue a hostile peace with Israel, or would its Muslim radicals come to power and opt for war?

Mid-term economic planning proved a communist failure, but democratic states plan something incredibly more complex than economy—human societies. The peace process will invariably fail. The only solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is to stop seeking a solution. Jews settled in the Middle East’s equivalent of inner-city slums. Former residents can be sent to jails (or refugee camps) but they will keep coming back. If Jews lack the resolve for the biblically mandated solution, the only alternative is enduring a smoldering conflict for centuries. That’s completely acceptable.

Many more Israelis are killed in car accidents than in terrorist attacks.