Intentions. Counterfactuals.

The thoughts and intents of the heart?

The author of this piece, Ted Gover, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor at Claremont Graduate University, seems to know what Xi Jinping’s intentions are vis-a-vis third term prospects and armed conflict over Taiwan. I would tread carefully, since it is manifestly difficult to know what any world leader is thinking at any particular time. It might perhaps be more useful to incorporate George Friedman’s approach, which is to ask what is it that China MUST do in light of national aspirations. Propaganda must of course play up what the target population has already bought into or it would not be useful.

Counterfactual long-term question. What if it had been the Nationalists which had won in 1949? What kind of relationship would have developed between the US and China? Again, I would tread carefully before assuming that everything would be peace and light. There is no single factor which determines relations between nations. Close economic ties between nations do not preclude the possibility of armed conflict. In fact, the probability is actually increased. When the Wehrmacht advanced towards Stalin’s Soviet Union, a Soviet train bearing goods for Germany actually crossed the advancing German front on its way to deliver what Stalin had promised Hitler. Genghis Khan’s descendants fought wars with each other but stopped armed conflict when either party’s share of goods was due to be delivered. Commercial interests won over political squabbles. So, what we should be watching is what constitutes national iterest, of which the personal interests of political leaders play a large part but which could not be indulged in if the populace did not have the same sets of values. The Leadership Challenge (Kouzes and Posner) Model has five leadership behaviours in its model, the second of which is ISV, Inspire a Shared Vision. The key word in that is “shared”. If there is no “shared”, then there is no “us”. If there is no “us”, then there is no nation.

When we read articles like the one I am commenting on, we need to keep our minds open and remember that apparent simplicity might very well arise from complicatedness, while true ergonomic design is often the result of highly intricate compexity, meaning incredibly well designed systems and things. Don’t just read. Think and ask questions.

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