Two Decisions Never Made

Essay Prompt

Experience teaches us the importance of being reflective when making major decisions. Share an example from a recent event when a leader or an average person faced a difficult choice. What were the consequences of the decision? Would you have done the same? (400 words)

Sample Essay

The 1967 Arab-Israeli "Six Day War" is characterized by Arabs as the Al-Naksa, meaning The Humiliation. Many historians subscribe to the "Accident Theory," which blames regional dynamics in the Arab world and Israeli brinkmanship for the war. I, however, believe it was Gamal Abdel Nasser's hatred of WesternImperialism, his brinkmanship, and his determination to fulfill his Pan-Arab leadership role, which led to the detrimental Six Day War. The rise of tension in the region provoked Nasser to make two decisions to strengthen his stature as the unquestioned Pan-Arab leader. Nasser declared a blockade on the Straits of Tiran and he requested that all UN forces be withdrawn from Sinai, leaving the area without a buffer zone. Israel reacted dramatically and swiftly and war broke out.

The consequences of these two decisions sounded belligerently throughout the 43 years that followed. Israel tripled in size and seized massive land areas from Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The war prompted a demographic dilemma, brought about domestic discontent for Arab regimes, fueled the rise of fundamentalist Palestinian and Islamic nationalism, heightened tensions, and resulted in guerrilla attacks in the region.

Because I live with the legacy of these decisions, given the opportunity, I would change history by pre-empting these decisions by Nasser. He would not close the Straits of Tiran or remove the UNEF peace troops, which acted as a buffer in Sinai. Perhaps, if I made this change, war would not break out. 15,000 people would not become martyrs, thousands of women would not become widows, and hundreds of children would not have become victims of violence. Two decisions never made would have steered the Middle East away from hostility among nations and crimes against humanity.

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