Simple rules to get you by

Nice, but firm

Patrick Chisholm offers two simple rules to guide foreign policy.

Being open and friendly, but tough when one needs to be, is a strategy for success. In other words, nice guys but resolute guys finish first.

That holds true not just for individuals, but also for nations…

Whether it is a nation or a person, a key to success is to be friendly and kind to anyone who reciprocates, yet tough toward those who try to inflict harm.

A computer model even illustrated this lesson. Developed by The Santa Fe Institute, it was a digital fish tank. Users could introduce new life forms to observe whether their species thrived or died out among the other life forms. According to tech guru Winn Schwartau, each life form had a complex set of rules governing its behavior. Over time, wrote Schwartau, the life form that consistently dominated abided by the following rules:

“1. My species will always play nice with you. I will never be aggressive to you. We will make every attempt to cooperate and work with you and everyone in our (global) fish tank.

2. If you [mess] with me, I will annihilate you without any warning. Period.” [CSM]

4 thoughts on “Simple rules to get you by”

  1. If you [mess] with me, I will annihilate you without any warning. Period.”

    When a fly pesters you at first u shoo it away but if it still pesters, u swat it. This should have been our policy. Dr. Singh should make this very clear to the G8. But this lameduck govt will only whine.

  2. Adding further to my above comment I would like to say that Dr. Singh should make it clear to G8 that India’s patience is running out and if they cant get the Paki terror tap shut we will do it on our own and the consequence will be terrible for America’s war on terror.
    But what I am hearing is that India is only considering to get a resolution to be passed condemning the 7/11 terror attacks.

  3. Nitin,
    I don’t believe it! I can get through to your blog now! From Office! In India!
    Anyway, I think he means Tit-for-tat('s_dilemma).
    I think you know that this strategy cannot be beaten- but thats only on average, and as long as it gets to play with a large number of opponents (Against a cooperator, it shares the gains from cooperation, but against a defector, it always loses by exactly one point).
    But it can easily be locked into an endless cyle of retaliation, if the opponent makes even one mistake. A “forgiving” tit-for-tat will always beat Tit-for-tat (retailiate, but always make periodic attempts to make up) if there is a chance of error.
    Good to be back. Cheers!

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