May 2008

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« Work Pleasure | Main | I’m Determined »




new to the forums. just thought i would introduce myself! 

My name is Leyro 


Love dilber in Polish version


Yeah, good luck!

Joe Otten

Are not the new world colonies all natural allies with one another? Or is Texas grumbling about secession again?


i wouldn't so agree with the natural borders part. it makes sense for border sharing powerful nations to be natural allies if they have a history to back and nothing to gain by fighting.
also the iran-US ally based on trade (oil) would crumble simply because at some party either party would try to squeeze the other for a better deal and would cheat or think the other cheated, brimming political enmity and vengeance!
moreover, what would the soldiers do then after iraq!

Minister for crawling around under desks plugging things back in

So the US fails on points 3,4 and 5 then?

Volker Hetzer

There's one point missing, acceptance of reciprocity. The US clearly doesn't fulfill this criteria because it attempts to deny capabilities to other countries, regardless of intentions, while trying to convince the same countries to accept superior US capabilities and trust US intentions. Nuclear arms, space weapons and just about any attempt to pull the US into a binding treaty of any sort whatsoever are three examples of this.
This missing point explains why the US has no "natural" allies, just bought followers, typically dictatorships (where you just have to buy or manipulate the top guy), poor countries (where you can afford to buy the whole country) and great britain.


Holland and Germany.
Holland and Belgium.

Actually, nearly every Western European country with another Western European country. And they've become allies. It's called the EU.


>> Neither has a political philosophy that promotes conquest

Hah! Things were going fine till I came across this line. You say the US and Russia are natural allies and claim that one of the criteria for being so is that "neither has a political philosophy that promotes conquest"? What a joke when you consider the history of both countries, and especially the US in recent times.

Krzysztof Wiszniewski

Not bad. The only problem I see with the list is point 4. You do not become a superpower if you don't have a (explicit or tacit) policy of conquest.

Interstingly enough, there is a philosophy of natural enemies and allies going pretty far back. The author's name escapes me, but I think it was one of the Oriental philosophers - Sun-Tzu maybe - your natural enemies are your immediate neighbours and your natural allies are countries on the far side of your neighbours (ones that can attack from the rear) and THEIR natural enemies are YOUR natural enemies' natural allies. It makes pretty good sense, which probably isn't a very happy thought.

Happy New Year!



Two problems with your plan.

1) It only works if both parties cooperate in good faith.

2) It only works if both parties have a rational motivation.

If you look at the current leadership in Iran, or someone like Chavez, both of those are off the table. Game over.

Otherwise, I completely agree that State department spin language can be used for good, and not just for veiled threats or obfuscation.


I don't quite agree with you

>> Do not share a border.
How about USA and Canada?

>> Are not trying to control the same limited natural resources.
What about OPEC?

>> Have significant trade potential.
Yes, but this is increased by sharing borders, right?

>> Neither has a political philosophy that promotes conquest.
You could insert "religion" here. Though medieval Europe was christian, but still had its fair amount of wars.

>> Both have an interest in a stable world order.
Yes, would being a democracy qualify? No democracy, i.e. a country where the people are in charge, will ever declare war upon another country, since the majority does not want to go and fight somewhere.

I think natural allies can be defined as:
"groups of people who share common culture and values about the way society should work"
What helps are common language and religion.
The criteria you defined are further away and could be defined as "showstoppers"

Amir Samandi

This topic requires separating the real underlying interests of states from the rhetoric, usually designed for domestic political consumption. The majority of comments on so far have neglected that distinction and often parroted the political discourse (i.e. Axis of Evil, Islam, Communists, "Wipe Israel off the map," etc.) There are many historical examples of natural allies, though the current system Nation-States as we know it did not exist until 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia.

Your point about Iran being a natural U.S. ally is on the money. In fact, Iran is considered by many Israeli's to be a long-term, natural ally to Israel. As was pointed out by other comments, Iran was an ally of the US as well as Israel during the Shah. Iran's anger toward the US is largely based on the perception that the US meddles too much in Iran's internal affairs. Most of that anger comes from the government, not the Iranian people, who polls show hold the most favorable views of the US in the region (more so than our so-called allies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan).

I agree that there ought to be a framework, much like the one you outlined, to determine the criteria for "natural allies". (Though I don't agree with all five you have listed.) Sharing borders and competition for resources are not necessarily causes for conflict, and can actually promote relations based on common interests. Additionally, ideology and conquest are also not automatic deal-breakers when it comes to natural allies because smaller states sometimes acquiesce to a larger state for protection. Overall, the idea is a good one, and similar ideas have been explored in the International Relations and Conflict Resolutions fields, drawing heavily upon game-theory, and Realism.

Joshua Jacobsen

Language... I would say that two countries are more likely to be natural allies if they speak the same language -- in addition to the criteria that you mention.


I think Canada and Australia fit all 5 of your criteria.


I have to disagree with you on the US and Iran. Using your own criteria:

2. Both want to control oil.

4. The US political stance of spreading Democracy can be considered a political philosophy that promotes conquest that directly conflicts with the structure of the Iranian government. Also, Iran promotes the destruction of Israel and the US, which I would say is a form of promoting conquest.

5. I'm not so sure that either the US or Iran have an interest in a stable world order. I don't really know what the interest is in destabilizing the world, but the actions of each country doesn't support the thesis that they are interested in stability.


I think a common belief that the countries have a shared culture is more important than all 5. Note that culture can be defined many ways and it is more important that the countries believe they share a culture than that they actually share a culture.

rita mae

Back to work as it's Monday morning. New Year's Eve day. Last post here was 12/28. You have posted nothing since last Friday. All I can say is:


Hope you had a nice weekend. Tell Shelly and the kids I said "Hey."

Rita Mae


You need to read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins. It will clear all this up for you.


When we get to be ruled by computer programs that may actualy be done!
but... humans acting logicaly? no way!


Nice post..

I wonder how you manage to write on every topic under the sun.

~ Shailesh


1. Do not share a border.
2. Are not trying to control the same limited natural resources.
Yeah right.. The war in Iraq and its spill over to Iran is not about Oil.. Its about FREEDOM.
3. Have significant trade potential.
4. Neither has a political philosophy that promotes conquest.
BS again.. US has a political philosophy of conquest disguised as democracy and Freedom
5. Both have an interest in a stable world order.
yeah right.


Hmmm, I am Australian and it would seem by this criteria that Australia is a natural ally to just about everyone.

We have an entire continent to ourselves and share borders with no one.

We have abundant natural resources (including the majority of the world's uranium) that gives us great trade potential (the Australian Dollar is the 6th most traded currency in the world).

Our only real resource conflicts relate to some oil in the Timor Sea and our Fisheries (being an island continent surrounded by Ocean this is an issue for us, including whale sanctuaries).

Australia has no interest in conquest and is interested in (and actively participates in preservation of) a stable world order.

Would you ally with Australia?

Parthasarathi Chakrabarti


Your attempt at World Peace is as well thought out as all other attempts in the past and will most certainly have a similar outcome.
My own attempt to negate your attempt:-

1. Do not share a border.
#### The whole History of colonisation and the many wars it spawned had nothing to do with shared borders.

2. Are not trying to control the same limited natural resources.
####Any body would want to control a limited and valuable resource, so on paper it may seem useful, but in practise, all will fail the test in the long term.

3. Have significant trade potential.
#### this is the best point and actually makes a lot of sense. The only hole in this argument, if trade/commerce were such a compelling reason with the masses then economic sanctions would have toppled the various dictatorships it had been aimed at.

4. Neither has a political philosophy that promotes conquest.
#### Well, i do not know about conquest, but domination, as in economic domination, domination borne out of ownership of a scarce resource, these are philosophies which all countries would be guilty of and may lead to the same outcome as a philosophy of conquest.

5. Both have an interest in a stable world order.
#### A stable world order, only if it furthers that countries gain. All the proxy wars in Cold war era and even now, the perpetrators were and are aware of the instability it brings, so what!

As you can make out, I have all the time and presumptuousness to actually write all this!!

Ron Davison

The variable sum game of economics suggests that all countries are natural allies - that is, unless they base their wealth on natural resources (just one more reason to sponsor the migration to a virtual world).

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