Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009 - 4 comments

“Win-Win” Part 1

I’ve been kind of MIA. My apologies if I haven’t visited your blog in a while. I’ve been out of town for the last ten days to attend a wedding in Duluth, MN. (See how much I love my family? lol) I had intended to set up a series of messages to post while I was gone. I had all but the last message ready, but time slipped away. However, I still like the premise, so here we go …

In the prevailing culture of “Win-Lose,” in the world today, I am fascinated by the concept of “Win-Win.” It was an idea that I was exposed to almost 15 years ago in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This idea says that I will be most successful if you are also successful. You will be more likely to fulfill your end of any bargain, and you will be eager to work with me again. We will encourage the best in each other, and we will be able to achieve more. This is good for everybody.

This will be a 3 part series discussing the uses of “Win-Win”
1. Foreign relations with Iran
2. Encouraging multi-culturalism
3. Sharing the ideas of Christianity

Part I – Engaging with Iran

In an attempt to be as “effective” as I can, I have tried to live by the philosophy of “Win-Win,” but it hasn’t been a part of my conscious thought for some time. I was reminded of this several weeks ago while listening to Great Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. He was talking about using diplomatic means and a “Win-Win” paradigm to persuade Iran that producing a nuclear bomb was not in their best interests.

The phrase, “It’s not in your best interests,” could be code for, “If you continue to work toward producing a nuclear bomb, we’ll wage war on you.” However, for practical purposes it is an empty threat with western governments’ resources stretched as thin as they are, and it is only likely to antagonize Iran. We will not be able to bully them into submission. We have to show them why they don’t need a nuclear bomb to secure their place in the world. They want to be a regional (if not world) power player. They know that possession of a nuclear bomb will force world governments to respect them and take them seriously.

Miliband used phrases like “fair dealing” and “make it a ‘Win-Win’ for Iran and the rest of the world.” Of course, he is a politician and a diplomat. That makes any words he said suspect. Quite frankly, over the history of the British Empire, fair dealing and “win-win” has never been a priority. Gunboat Diplomacy and bullying disguised as civilized discussion have been more the rule of the day. The United States has been no better, but there was something about this interview and the tone and tenor of Miliband’s voice. He actually sounded sincere. (My naivety is showing; I know.)

There has been a paradigm of “Win-Lose,” where the strong take from the weak causing resentment until “the weak” have had enough and take it back by force. This gets us nowhere. In today’s world, we can only be successful if we work as partners.

But it can’t work if it’s really “Win-Lose” disguised as “Win-Win.” The negotiations have to be sincere. However, after millennia of double-dealing, it will take time for trust to be developed … on both sides. And we have to be aware that there will always be greedy bastards like the Somali pirates, to keep things interesting. Violence aside, the Somali pirate situation is a wonderful opportunity for Iran to demonstrate its sincerity on being a responsible regional leader.

Can it be done? Can we convince Iran to trust the west enough to believe us when we say we want a “Win-Win?” Will we be able to trust them? We have to try. What’s the alternative? For the first time in a long time, I believe we have some diplomats that are willing to make the effort.

Next time: Encouraging Multi-Culturalism


This is well thought. I'm looking forward to the next installments, particularly the last one. My experience with Christianity has not been encouraging over the years.

I've met some who allow that I can be a "good" person without religion, simply through my innate sense of respect and tolerance for difference. But those people have been in the minority.

The vast majority were too busy trying to espouse the "right" way to actually get to know me and understand that the depth of my non-religiousness is as profound and valid as is the depth of their religiousness.

Travis, first of all, let me apologize for all of those ignorant fools. I have always found that approach very offensive both when I was in the firmly agnostic to almost leaning atheist column to now, a person applying to seminaries. I never found it terribly persuasive. In fact, it drove me in the opposite direction for a long time. How can quotes from the Bible convince you of anything if you don't accept the validity of the book other than from a historical or philosophical perspective (if that)?

Actually, it was a broad study of the book with an agnostic almost leaning atheist perspective (but with an open mind) that even made me consider altering my course. Ah, that curiosity thing gets me every time. lol But that doesn't mean that those other folks don't make me mad. I would say that they can talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. ;)

(And now the pressure's on for that 3rd installment! lol)

One of the many reasons my support for Obama was/is so strong is that I believe he, unlike any leader we've had in a long time, fosters an air of discussion and respect - and from that comes diplomacy

Word. Do the kids still say that? lol

Post a Comment