| in my opinion is overhyped
– why is your selfish national interest more important than, for example, those of the Uighur Turks (Eastern Turkestan) or the Tibetans whose autonomous territories were occupied by the Chinese, the first in 47 or 49, the second in 59?
what is the optimal local search strategy?
The criteria for judging optimality would be that no other strategy would have given a better solution given the same knowledge. Again, very difficult to evaluate! (shades of Gödel?!)
A subsequent question is: is there just one fixed rule or set of rules? or do you need to figure in a lot of flexibility (in the human domain, things like creativity, patience, tolerance, humour, pragmatism) that cannot be captured/unified at a sufficiently abstract level?
ok, I seem to have enlarged the scope way too much and gone on to what is beginning to sound like jurisprudence!! not at all my original intentention, but it shows you my analytical weakness. I wanted simply to point out that actions do have consequences, what goes around, comes around and all that, and that
Finally, what I’ve been laying the ground for and shying away from stating explicitly:
Yet again, there are other facets: what are the components of the national interest? Does your nation have a coherent raison d’être, all actions being subservient to it? If yes, is it, when considered in depth, really so different from the grandiose goals of a hundred other nations, so different that a compromise based on basic principles cannot be arrived at? A just, honourable, mutually fruitful compromise with longer term benefits. Maybe I’m unconsciously echoing many different people (and plead guilty in advance to piracy if that’s what it is), but isn’t each quarrel also a meeting? An opportunity to get to know the other better? Is its best utilisation:
I suppose that to many this would seem like starry-eyed optimism, but after two centuries of intermittent war culminating in two glorious world wars, the French and the Germans realised, to use the old cliché, that 1 and 1 make 11, not 2, to the extent even that Schroeder a few years back actually let Chirac represent Germany at an EU meeting. This is without precedent among great powers as far as I know, but is also a measure, though anecdotal, of the amazing mutual confidence of the two countries.
Sorry – maybe I’m flogging a dead horse here, but on a personal level, I think this should make sense to anyone who has found that the best way to end a heated dispute is to talk it over calmly after a little while preferably in a neutral place like a club or bar or restaurant or a friend’s place.
I wonder sometimes if I make any sense at all. And I still can’t construct logically flowing arguments on the run.
(May 29, 2004)