Russia is an organism capable of learning that emits behavior. Our goal then becomes to control the emission of that behavior so that it is favorable to us.
We do this through conditioning. When Russia does something good, we reward that behavior by either giving it something it wants, or taking away something Russia does not want. When Russia does something bad, we don’t reward it. When Russia does something radically different — such as the Olympic War against Georgia — we change the conditions under which Russia can earn rewards.
There is good news that we are not rewarding Russian behavior.
There is good news that are are changing the condition.
There is no new Cold War against Russia. Russia is to weak for that to happen. There is merely the training of a Gap state to act in a war that does not disrupt global economic growth. And that is a good thing.
Major props to D.M. Hallowell, for this amazing presentation:
D.M.’s presentation is meant for a professional educational setting, and ably combines educational best practices, the latest in cognitive educational psychological research, and work by certain bloggers. Check it out!
The Economist has the best analysis of the Sichuan earthquake, focusing on how embarrassment leads globalizing governments to learn the right lessons.
So was the contrast with the China of 1976, when an even deadlier earthquake struck the city of Tangshan. The full awfulness of that eventâ€”at least 250,000 people diedâ€”was not revealed for months, and offers of foreign help were spurned.
China’s rulers are still proud and sometimes prickly, but for reasons good and bad they have changed. They got a nasty shock, for instance, in 2003 when an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, SARS, showed how a virulent new plague, if uncontained, might impose huge costs on a modernising economy. This taught them that burying bad news is not always sensible. A fierce freeze-up this January showed how the weather could also bring paralysis, less economically damaging perhaps but awkward all the same over a great national holiday. This showed them the merits of occasionally admitting imperfection, and even of offering a prime-ministerial apology. Since then they have learnt that beating up their Tibetan citizens may not be wise just as they are trying to impress the world with an Olympic extravaganza.
Tom’s take is pretty good, too.