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October 14, 2004

Comments

bbartlog

Yes, and I imagine that Nixon adopted his so-called 'madman' strategy at least partly as a result of Schelling's book. It also makes sense from a game-theoretical perspective that an optimal strategy would involve a significant amount of randomness or unpredictability in response to an opponent. The difficulty here I think is that while these strategies are good for dealing with an enemy and even maintaining a peaceful standoff, they may make it much more difficult to actually make lasting peace (in the sense of 'converting an enemy to a friend'), due to the difficulties involved in establishing trust. Of course, if you believe that nations have only interests, not allies, then this might seem to be of no consequence...

Abiola Lapite

"Yes, and I imagine that Nixon adopted his so-called 'madman' strategy at least partly as a result of Schelling's book."

You're right about Nixon - he very consciously drew upon Schelling's ideas in dealing with the North Vietnmese, and it explains his tactic of escalating the intensity of US bombings into Cambodia even as he was conducting negotiations. He's even supposed to have put US forces on nuclear high alert before the Paris talks of 1969, with the intention of scaring the Soviets into thinking he was off the handle; unfortunately, it seems the Soviet monitoring system was so poor that they totally missed the signal (or perhaps they too had read Schelling's book and saw through Nixon's bluff).

Nixon was a brilliant guy, and he deserved far more of the credit for the foreign policy successes of his administration than the egomanical, self-promoting Kissinger will ever own up to. It's too bad he also happened to be crooked, vindictive sonofabitch ...

"Of course, if you believe that nations have only interests, not allies, then this might seem to be of no consequence..."

But wasn't it ever thus? How else to explain the actions of "allies" like France and Germany?

Peder Jakobsen

"You're right about Nixon - he very consciously drew upon Schelling's ideas in dealing with the North Vietnmese, and it explains his tactic of escalating the intensity of US bombings into Cambodia even as he was conducting negotiations. He's even supposed to have put US forces on nuclear high alert before the Paris talks of 1969, with the intention of scaring the Soviets into thinking he was off the handle"

Hi, I'm writing a paper on the history of applied game theory, but I'm having a hard time finding any good reference material. I would LOVE to find out where you (Abiola Lapite) obtained the information quoted above!

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