The term "rules of engagement" dates back to the mid-1950s and the Cold War. It is an American phrase and is still widely used in military circles. Referring to the frameworks and guidelines that regular armies or combatant forces follow within areas of conflict or disputed borders, it dates back to the Korean War.
The rules are supposed to prevent inhumane or brutal actions around disputed frontiers. They are governed by international agreements and conventions aimed at restraining such conduct while upholding another concept: military honour. Israel has disregarded these rules throughout its history, not least in Gaza.
Another set of international conventions and accepted norms govern interactions between nation states.
These rules of engagement exist in the economic sphere. They are visible through data rather than the actions of armies. They cover equally strategic and important matters within and among nations.
They touch the highest strategic interests of countries and their people, from national budgets to individual living standards, including financial health and the ability to meet society’s needs.
In most of the world, economic considerations hold sway. The calculations of profit and loss are widely accepted. Winners of democratic elections are usually those who portray themselves as the true champions of the economy via policies that create economic and social well-being for their people. Sound economic plans usually have more electoral appeal than war heroes.
Prosperity creates political stability. Standards of human welfare, health and education, stock market stability, stable inflation, a clear path for interest rates, the security of banks, and the availability of safe land, sea, and air transportation routes can judge it.
In the Middle East, these criteria have scarcely received the recognition they deserve in half a century.