The players are not playing on the same game board
This is a graphic that I use for my lectures on international relations to illustrate the point that the players see the game board differently. How a player sees the board not only influences that player’s strategy but also influences his perception of others’ actions. The point is simple enough, but many are conditioned to believe that everyone sees the board just as they do. Of course, it does not mean that states act rigorously in accordance with these stylised models—it means that no student of international politics can be oblivious to their existence and influence.