July 16, 2006Foreign AffairsSecurity

Simple rules to get you by

Nice, but firm

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

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.

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

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