Strategy by Any Other Name Would Sound as Unacceptable

Someone asked me for some strategic thoughts on the current US political situation: 

I don’t think the Dems/progressives can do strategy. Not seen any sign of it these recent decades. My strategic views are not very popular, don’t get many likes on FB. 🙂 I read Lawrence Freedman’s huge book Strategy: A History last year to get insights from every aspect of strategy, military, psychology, business, game theory, philosophy and political history etc.

Wikipedia: Strategy (from Greek στρατηγία stratēgia, “art of troop leader; office of general, command, generalship”[1]) is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. In the sense of the “art of the general”, which included several subsets of skills including “tactics”, siegecraft, logistics etc., the term came into use in the 6th century C.E. in East Roman terminology, and was translated into Western vernacular languages only in the 18th century. From then until the 20th century, the word “strategy” came to denote “a comprehensive way to try to pursue political ends, including the threat or actual use of force, in a dialectic of wills” in a military conflict, in which both adversaries interact.

Strategy currently would involve:
1) having a general plan to address the key issues systemically: aka joined up thinking

2) for me that has to include the fundamentals of how the economy is run as context for everything else: politics is economics and economics politics

3) the Dems don’t have that, haven’t had an original idea in that area for decades

4) without that politics hangs loose in the air

5) strategy also means that each time you act you already have figured out the likely reaction of the enemy to your action and included that in the plan and your reaction to their reaction…and so on

6) aka you reaction proof the plan

7) or as Mike Tyson put it strategy rarely survives a punch in the mouth

8) Trump will in due course cut taxes and make the deficit soar, cause the economy to race short term and no one will care about much else. Strategy would be to expect that and already have framed a response.

9) Down the road automation will hit and increase inequality still further and the Dems have no strategy for that either. So ditto.

10) Mao was probably right and you have to make the intellectuals go work in the fields or in factories, then they might get strategic.

11) And strategically I would have gone for Poor Lives Matter, as a way to reaction proof the action. Not because I think Black Lives Matter is not morally totally on target and in my heart I fully support it; but because Trump used it in the election against itself, ju jitsued it into White Lives Don’t Matter. Just as you describe him doing to the kneeling protests. But this line will get me brickbats. 🙂

12) I would have from the start frame the kneeling protests as respecting the flag but mourning the dead and the rank injustice. Strategically.

OK that’s my blog. Not exactly encouraging is it? 🙂 And I didn’t reaction proof it either…and no one much reads what I actually say, but react to what I don’t say, so I am already doing a bit of reaction proofing just to illustrate my point. Tricksy aren’t I.

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About creativeconflictwisdom

I spent 32 years in a Fortune Five company working on conflict: organizational, labor relations and senior management. I have consulted in a dozen different business sectors and the US Military. I work with a local environmental non profit. I have written a book on the neuroscience of conflict, and its implications for conflict handling called Creative Conflict Wisdom (forthcoming).
This entry was posted in Conflict Book Reviews, Conflict Humor, Conflict Processes, Economic Conflict, Religious Conflict, US Political Conflict, Ways to handle conflict and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Strategy by Any Other Name Would Sound as Unacceptable

  1. kakatoa says:

    Loved number 10 and 11!

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