Why Cold War 2 already exists and is here to stay

International politics is more art than science. I’m therefore always “perpetual beta” (Tetlock) in this domain, even when occasionally using harsh language. The following tale is just one of many possible narratives. It shows my temporary basic view of international relations.

Once upon a time there was an extremely high mountain on a very large island with a tribe of 150 people that had four fearless great hunters who one day noticed that all dangerous beasts had been killed.

The tribe changed to farming. The four great hunters became jobless. They became bored, grumpy, and a bit depressed. So they started to fight over who should lead the tribe. The fight was exciting, a real drama, but potentially self-destructive.

Consequently, the tribe split into four factions, each led by a fearless great hunter. Each faction settled down in one of the four corners of the island where they lived in peace, after their single fearless hunter had been partly subdued and tamed, by other leaders of his own faction (and a stern wife). The factions started to trade with each other and things looked good.

But one night a very powerful weapon suddenly appeared on top of the mountain. The weapon, a dual-use technology, would make it possible for the owner to rule the entire island.

A tricky dark entity informed each faction that they all could live happily in peace if they continued to farm and trade without trying to climb the mountain, without trying to be the first faction to posses the weapon.

Each faction feared that one of the other tribes would secretly ascend the mountain and grab the weapon. So all four great hunters started a race to reach the summit first. But not everyone agreed with this strategy. Some relatively powerful men left their own factions because they rejected the idea that the whole island should be governed by the hunter who reached the weapon first. These men were not great fighters but they had the strength to stop a single great hunter if they banded together. They tried to find the four hunters in the mountain and kill them.

In the meanwhile infighting broke out in some or all of the factions. After many of the most powerful men had left the lowlands some of the weakest leader figures in each faction started to harass and threaten other tribal members, in an attempt to govern them. But this led to futile chaos. It had no effect, because one of the great fearless hunters avoided getting killed by his pursuers. He grabbed the weapon, climbed down and established total order on the island. The end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s