Thursday, May 15, 2008

Talk To Your Enemies

The current news reports about the US Presidential Election has got me thinking about an important concept…what motivates people.

One side, the Obama group, thinks it is better to talk to your enemies. The other side, Bush supporters, believe it is better never to talk to your enemies except to try and scare them with threats. They believe that enemies can be scared into going away, or just eliminated with bombs and bullets. Perhaps there is some truth in both positions. The correct answer may be "it depends".

If you are dealing with someone who can be scared and bombed into submission, or… at least scared into leaving you alone - then the "make them afraid or dead" approach works fine. On the other hand, if you are dealing with someone who would rather die than give up…the "make them afraid or dead" approach will not work.

Suicide bombers (SB) are an extreme example. Japan tried this during the Second World War but made the mistake of organizing their SBs into a formal military. The US defeated Japan with more resources and more killing power and a strong resolve.

The more recent SBs, the ones who blend into the general population, and surprise you many times - over and over again - are quite a different problem. It requires I think…a different approach. The WW II Japan solution may not work here.

One should take this same approach in everyday one-on-one life.