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December 12, 2007



on several occasions I have been to some of those countries to analyze technical solutions for their particular problems. Water, recycling, energy, etc., usually. (Sometimes you have to see for yourself.)

I never like it for though I am typically treated well, I see how most women are treated. It was sometimes easier to go as if I am an assistant to a male that is actually my subordinate.

I don't participate in the bargaining myself, but I have seen that they are masters of the ploy, wheedling by means of hinted possiblity, and the deft riposte through veils of hidden purpose. They show the same when they are giving you a personal "come on."

One of the key elements of the "Prisoner's Dilemma" tit-for-tat strategy is that you weigh your partner's most recent actions MUCH more heavily than what they've done in the past. I suspect there is a strong element of this thinking in the American electorate as well -- and that may help Gail Collins understand why Republican voters heart Huckabee:

The party base, we know, tends to be pro-life. Does that really mean they want a president who tried to stop an abortion for a 15-year-old mentally retarded girl who was raped by her stepfather? The primary voters are obviously not keen on gay marriage, but do they really want to be governed by somebody who suggested quarantining all the people with AIDS?

Huckabee's statement on quarantining AIDS patients was made over 15 years ago; the abortion case was 11 years ago (to be clear, he tried to stop Medicare payment for the abortion, not the procedure itself which, I believe, had already been performed). He's not talking like that anymore, and perhaps (like Sarkozy and like a successful Prisoner's Dilemma player), American voters look almost exclusively at recent events when deciding whom to support.

Of course, there's a funny exception to the Prisoner's Dilemma -- on the last turn, there's little benefit to trying to cooperate (since you won't interact again). Once you've voted your partner into office, he has much less reason to support you back.

The balance of power between Libya and the EU is so wildly out of balance that I can't see any basis for a Prisoner's Dilemma situation. My guess is that it was just a simple hostages-for-ransom scheme.


The prisoner's dilemma works best as a framework for considering situations with two mostly rational competitors who have opposing interests in a particular arena which is relatively independent of their other interests. That maps reasonably well to the France/Libya conflict you describe. It doesn't map at all to Saddam Hussein's situation. Hussein was extremely paranoid (on a personal pyschological level). Add to that the fact that he was surrounded and harassed by a variety of internal and external enemies who had wildly differing reasons for being his enemy and you have a situation ripe blundering and miscalculation.

Hussein's biggest mistakes were misreading the changes in the strategies of his primary enemies (Iran and the U.S.). He fought Iran in a long, bloody war. Iran pursued a fairly disastrous "human wave" approach that Hussein fended off reasonably well. After the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranians switched strategies quite effectively, but Hussein's understanding of that threat never changed.

Then, he misread U.S. intentions pretty badly. He assumed that our chumming up to him during the Iran-Iraq war meant that we wouldn't do anything in response to an invasion of Kuwait (he didn't pay attention to Iran-Contra I suppose). After we bloodied his nose in the First Gulf War, but didn't finish him off, he came to believe that we didn't pose an existential threat to him.

What he never realized was that Iran would be able to use us to remove him. If you look at the last 25 years of Middle East conflict in game theory terms, you see the steady rise of the Iranians and their proxies from a position of isolation and weakness to position approaching dominance in the region. Iraq has essentially been eliminated from the game for the time being. The U.S. was slowly declining until the Bushies took over and our position essentially collapsed. All of our proxies are weaker than they were 25 years ago and we are mired in an untenable situation. The Iranians have pretty much negative control over the region (they can prevent almost any positive move by another player) and have some level of positive influence (the ability to achieve control over another player).


this is something I have heard. Some time ago, maybe in the late 80s, Cubans came home from fighting in Angola, and they had contracted AIDS. The Cuban Government treated these men like heroes but they put them into quarantine into places like the US used to have for TB, only very large and nice. People could visit, and the "patients" could leave on passes, but only if they had passed certain psychological screenings that checked to see if they would have safe sex, or no sex.

Personally, I think that if you are HIV positive, then you shouldn't play contact sports, or be engaged in the Sex Trade, and everyone entering the hospital as a patient should be checked automatically, or for that matter those going to the Doctors Office.

ie. Precautions should be in place where it is possible that blood or fluids can be spread.

I got one minor point for William Ockham

Saddam didn't "misread" US intentions

In July of 1990, george herbert walker bush told Saddam that America "Had no strategic interest in Kuwait". The American ambassadorwho delivered this message was named Kilpatrick or kertpatric (or something like that)

When Saddam actually invaded Kuwait, george herbert walker bush changed his mind,and decided that America actually DID have a strategic interest in Kuwait

Saddam didn't "misinterpret" anything

george herbert walker bush set Saddam up

btw, I had a "spew" incident, and the space key is sticking on this dell laptop that a friend loaned me, so have a little patience reading my post

and does anybody have any ideas to unstick it ???

oh, sure, if somebody has problems reading emptywheel ,you guys can rewire the mother board of a mac using spare parts from a 1943 Plymouth coupe, but you can't do anything about the keyboard on a dell ??? what's up with that

can ya help a brother out ???

you know my funny posts are gonna be easier to read if we can fix this ...

and you know you wanna read em ...

who are you to resist them ...

come on people

my children need wine

I don't know -- does prisoner's dilemma strategy apply in a hostage negotiation? if so, despite the EU's predominance, isn't Libya perpetually capable of forcing such a situation?

Also, is it true that it requires both actors to be rational? The "tit-for-tat" strategy wins out in a competition against an entire mixed bag of possible partners, not only rational ones. My understanding was that the strategy succeeded better than any other even when paired with chaotic or otherwise demented partners.

As to the whether Hussein and Qaddafi are rational, I'm not equipped to offer a cogent comparison of the two (though I'd be interested in others' views) but I recall Qaddafi has called for complete dissolution of Israel, and claimed that the Bulgarian health care workers were agents of Israeli intelligence, carrying out a Mossad plot. So, Hussein did not have a monopoly on paranoid delusion. (Unless one argues that Qaddafi issued those statements out of political expedience, not paranoia.)

freepatriot, as a special thanks for withholding from vulgarly lambasting Jodi for her especially (even by her standards) homophobic bigotry, let me try to help out here -- I can't unstick your space key but google "remap keyboard windows" and try using a program like tradekeys (there may be better ones, but that comes up near the top of google's hits) to remap your "spacebar" to a key that you haven't, er, contaminated.


I wondered why the other Jodi was laying low.
First check to see if there are crumbs, etc. in the cracks, and sticky (food, beverage) spots. Clean it as best you can. A brush, a toothpick, a vacuum, or a blower of some kind will help.

Anyway, one thing to try if there is an alignment problem with your key or a simple mechanical obstruction, or if it is just the sticky(food or beverage) is to get a pair of needlenose pliers and push and pull the key up and down, moving it back and forth to the side and toward the front and back at the same time.

If you don't have a pair of needlenose, then two knives or 2 pins or something will allow you to grip the key and manipulate it "thus and so."

Finally if all that fails, a little WD40 might free it if that is the problem.

If it is a membrane problem you will have to take it apart, but that is another story.

You can sometimes get a keyboard on special or close out, for as little as $10 or so dollars at your local electronics seller.


so I am a bigot for saying that if a person has HIV, he (or she) shouldn't be boxing, or engaged in extreme fighting, or for that matter the sex trade?

And here I do what I don't usually don't do.

That is just "plain P.C. Bullsh*it!"

I feel kinda sorry for the shit stain

I heard the shit stain got adopted by the crowd by the crowd over at ew's new digs

it's really embarrassing for a troll to be accepted by the blog the troll is trying to disrupt. Being adopted and used as a mascot is the worst thing that can happen in the troll community

so you just know that all the other trolls are laughing at the shit stain

the trolls are laughing at the shit stain. We're laughing at the shit stain. To know jodi is to laugh at her

so let's all drink a toast to jodi, the lamest troll to ever live under a bridge

btw,since the shit stain is now the mascot for ew's new site, all your trolls are not belong to me no more

EP -- thanks for the thought provoking post. I think we have run into real trouble when we isolate leaders we don't like. All of our efforts at sanctions and isolation rarely adversely affect the leader in question while the public in the country in question suffers substantially. The presumption seems to be that if the populace is sufficiently unhappy they will rise up and depose said leader, but this is much more easily said than done. Burma/Myanmar is a fine example of this. I am a big fan of constructive engagement, particularly when you are dealing with hostile and/or untrustworthy opponents. It is because they pose a greater threat than your friends that you need to keep them close enough to exert some influence.

WO -- I think Saddam, when all is said and done, was entirely beside the point. Invading Iraq was a neocon preconceived notion. Saddam could have dropped dead of a heart attack and Cheney still would have found a way to manipulate the situation to his ends.

freepatriot -- push down very hard on the space bar until you hear a little click sort of a sound, then it should unstick. Let me know if that works... And by the way, that ol' beater of a '43 Plymouth I had up on blocks out back is much more useful as this shiny little Mac ;)

freepatriot -- another thing you can try is to remove the space bar key, clean underneath it, then put it back in place. Here is a link with pictures that shows you how to put things back together. I hope it helps. http://www.laptoprepair101.com/laptop/2007/03/20/key-fell-off-keyboard/all-comments/

As a last resort, you should be able to replace the keyboard entirely, but I really don't think that should be necessary. I had to do that once after an unfortunate coffee incident that shorted the cable connecting the keyboard to the motherboard in the laptop. In your case removing the key and putting it back oughta do it... Ok, let me know how it goes...

oh, for goodness sake. As of the mid-1990s, there were no instances of HIV transmission during sports, and only two reports of transmission during bloody fistfights. Risk of infection was estimated from one research study at less than 1 in 85 million, and even that is prevented by basic hygienic precautions. Efforts to keep HIV-positive athletes out of competition, therefore, are absolutely driven by fear and bigotry not by evidence. And, before you suggest it, I'll tell you that you can't get HIV from doorknobs either, so HIV+ folks don't need separate entrances -- or separate water fountains, for that matter.

thanks heavens ignorance and bigotry are not readily transmissible.


well at least you didn't try to whitewash the "sex trade."

But a question closer to your expertise, why all the emphasis on gloves these days by cops, by health workers, by the Emergency people. Don't they think that your odds are good enough?

Also I wonder if they don't actually test boxers. I have heard that screen stars require a test before they will kiss another actor on screen.

And finally, what do you think about giving CPR to a stranger if you don't have a filter mouthpiece?

sigh. When there is a lot of blood around, there is risk of transmission. That is the case at an auto accident or other major trauma; it should not be the case in a boxing ring, where cuts and spilled blood should be quickly cleaned up. Essentially, risk scales with the amount of virus in the person's blood and the amount of blood being thrown around. Other than competitive chainsaw juggling, there should not be that much blood spewed about at a sporting event.

The most recent reference I see notes that there is no evidence of HIV transmission through sweat or saliva (PDF).

For more information, try simply using google, browse the CDC's HIV info page or fact sheets, or attend a high school health ed class anytime after 1988.


I am not trying to jerk your chain or rattle your cage, but these are honest concerns.

I played HS and College Basketball in the 90s, and it was a concern to all and we were actually taught the old CPR "Life Saving" in Health and GYM in case we didn't want to do the mouth to mouth, and the teacher always used a mouthpiece when demonstating mouth to mouth. (We had a couple of deaths over 5 years in High School and this was before the defibrillators in schools, and so they were very keen on being prepared.) As for fights, I would differ. I have seen too many including my two big brothers, expecially the younger, cause no one would mess with my older and bigger one, where the blood splattered on the onlookers, and certainly on each of the fighters, and there is scratches and such on each. Emptypockets they are grappling each other just like in the Ultimate Extreme type contests. And sometimes these fights were on a playing field during a game. Granted you wouldn't expect the guys doing that to have the virus, but still remember everyone is having sex with everyone their partners had sex with and their partners' partners and so on.

OK, so Qaddafi is a bad guy. He is probably not as bad as some others in the region, like Tunisian dictator Ben Ali who is loved by France, the U.S., and almost everyone else. What can you say about the feudalistic dictatorship in "ally" Saudi Arabia? Bush holds hands with these guys. If you had your druthers, would you rather be a woman in Libya or in Saudi Arabia?

Then there are the dictators of Pakistan and China and Russia who the Western governments don't criticize much.

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