Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Promises and Threats

I’ve listened to a TVO podcast “ Moisés Naím: Metaphors Against Social Ills “, part of which discusses why wars fail, especially “war on drugs”, “war on poverty”, “war on Afghanistan” and so on; also a brief discussion on why clones of The Marshall Plan fail.

To me the discussion raised the interesting point about wars, and I’m fascinated because I study the origins of the Third Balkan War.

The Goal

The goal of war is victory (I’m also strong on Goals!), and so entering into a war is done in the belief, not the hope, that victory will be gained.

If I declare War on Weight in an effort to trim a few pounds of flab from my waist, I do so believing that I can shed 10 pounds over the next 6 months, and keep them off.

If I win, well, good! We are all happy.

But if I lose, it is very easy to segue into War on Ill-Health, and publish how I have changed my diet to eat healthy foods, diverting attention away from the fact that I’m not losing weight at all.

The War on Terror whose aim was to capture Obama bin Laden has turned into a war to reconstruct Afghanistan Society.


Which leads me to believe that one should never gamble on war; one should not go to war on anything or against anyone unless one is 100% sure of winning; because failure to win means we get held up and ridiculed, making the next battle more difficult.

Which brings me back to my headline. In the early 1970s I learned “Never make a promise or a threat you’re not prepared to keep”, a sound basis for any business negotiation.

I should not threaten to walk away from a business deal unless I know that I can survive without that deal being consummated.

I should never promise to deliver goods or services unless I know I already have those goods or services in hand.

Talk to Me !

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