Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Win-Win Scenarios And Greater Strength

Great business psychologist Steven Covey has written in favour of what he calls synergy, or win-win scenarios. In a win-win scenario, the parties to the deal negotiate a solution that works to the benefit of both sides. Instead of seeking only their own interest – or their interest at the expense of the other side – he advocates the parties putting their brains together to achieve an outcome that works for the benefit of both.

Win-win scenarios are definitely a desirable outcome. And whenever possible, they should in fact be sought. There are however situations in which win-win scenarios are impossible – such as when dealing with one’s implacable enemies.

Clinton sought win-win scenarios in both domestic and foreign policy, and his policies worked very well. America got its greatest ever period of peace and prosperity. Bush on the other hand pursued an aggressive, bullying policy that alienated even the president of Mexico – a former CEO who was partial to the United States. There was however one situation in which Bush’s approach was correct. That was in dealing with Muslim militants. There is no such thing as a win-win scenario with people who want to kill you. A compromise with someone who wants you dead leaves you half-dead; and a win-win scenario with someone who wants you dead means both people dying.

Win-win scenarios should be sought whenever possible. Where it is impossible, is the place for the use of greater strength.

The approach to take in dealing with any party is therefore to work with whatever is its actual character. There are no panaceas, and there are no universal solutions. You treat France on the basis of what is France, and you treat ISIS on the basis of what is ISIS. France is a quarrelsome ally that dislikes some things about America but does not want to destroy America. ISIS is a real enemy that does seek to destroy America.

It is possible to seek win-win scenarios with France. For that matter it is also possible to seek win-win scenarios with most places in the world. The only situation in which it cannot be done is with people who want to kill us; and with those people the solution is to use greater strength.


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