May 2008

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I think it would be more useful to use degrees of compatibility and assign different weights to the categories. For example, economic criteria such as trade would have more weight than phylosophical criteria. Also, I would substitute the "border sharing" criterium for "differences in culture/spoken languages". By differences in culture, I don't mean things such as reincarnation vs heaven, but things like logic vs fundamentalism.

Some estimates...

US-Mexico Chosti Compatibility Index (CCI): 90%
US-China: 70%
US-Russia: 60%
US-India: 90%
US-Chile: 95%
US-France: 85% (lower because of currency wars not cultural differences)


To the first comment:

Look up the Napoleonic Wars.


I am not at all sure that U.S. citizens are persuaded by anything as grand as something that looks like a "grand philosophical reason" and I think that's the false premise of your argument. We seem to be rather easily manipulated by advertising and other media as well as what we believe our neighbors believe.

And I am reminded of Greek history (see Thucydides) where Athenian "allies" were defeated countries forced to pay tribute in exchange for not being attacked. In the case of the two Gulf Wars, the tribute was sending troops rather than a cash payment, but the fundamental mechanism seems to me to be the same.


Religion can't be ignored, it's the number one cause of violence in the world, as well as the single most significant factor in determining the probability of hostilities.

Religion relies on a suppression of rational thought in favor of emotion, and so does war.

Klaus Kaan

Atta boy.


I like the idea that you propose but where did you find that Putin is a trustworthy proponent to carry out the other side of this trust? His actions speak more of a Dictatorship than a Democracy.

Michal Malkowski

No2 - USA, Russia and Chine struggle for influence in central Asia, mainly for oil. So that's off the grid.

And why not keep the
- no disputes over third party allies
As in Iran, where it has more (nuclear power, free hand to attack Israel) to gain from alliance with Russia. And it can't do both, as it's too close to central Asia.

The idea is cool, but there has to be more to it, than those simple criteria. Look on the case of France and England. In spite of 100-years war, they quarreled rather over Influence, than territory. Or XX century France and Spain, where France supported IRA, by giving them sanctuary. They had no obvious reason beside Infuence.
In fact, it looks as if French are full of shit doesn't it? :P

All in all, I'd say - that the third parties are the reaon, why natural allies thing won't happen. You can always think of scenario, where all 5 criteria would be met, but it's global politics when guano hits the fan. Tons of it


Liberal-democratic countries never fight each other. See and his The End of History and the Last Man


Hi scott,

Some interesting thoughts but I'm not sure US-Iran works even going by your own list. #5 says that both countries have an interest in maintaining a stable world order. But the USA arguably has not perceived any interest in maintaining the status quo, since, well, long before I was born (towards the end of the cold war). You can have all sorts of arguments as to whether or not it's a good thing but it's an objective fact that your country is one that actively seeks to change the world around it. And Iran has demonstrated that it perceives no interest in stability either.. ie pursuing a partitioned Iraq, wiping Israel off the map, participating in internal politics in Lebanon and so on.


#1 is flawed. U.S.A and Canada are great natural allies, althrough they share the longest bordre in the world. Ditto for most countries in Western Europe who share borders and are great allies. Why 'not sharing a border' is a requirement? History proves different.

The entire list is off mark. You are missing some proven criteria and list some wrong criterias.

big black ass

Hi JayneMarie
I think all this not so badly, and it is necessary
to continue to move in this direction!!!


that made more sense then it should have. keep thinking along those lines and u might just solve the mid-east problem


Your blog assumes, that the political powers and the Governments of such countries would like to maintain friendly relations with one another, while the peoples of these nations are animus towards one another.

The ground reality, I believe, is the exact opposite. People are the same the world over. As long as their basic necessities are met, they are for the most part contented and happy. The powers that be, however, are typically composed of people with aspirations. They are the ones that seek out this animosity in order to further their limited political ideology, for personal gain!


whoa, there! you're supposed to save your world-changing until AFTER the new year. now what to you have to look forward to for your new-year resolution? ending world hunger? resolving the energy crisis? i don't know about having more 'natural allies', but you might get some world leaders to hold hands and sing 'kumbaya' around a camp fire...*laughs chocolate milk out his nose*...

Andy Coulter

I'd like to contribute my own steaming pile like everyone else but I'll pass.


i had nothing against your example of the US and Russia being natural allies
if you said The US and China, i would probably have found something to oppose, though obejctively nothing is changed regarding those criteria
it illustrates only how biased one's mind can be
historically or otherwise
i don't know whether this observation adds something to the discussion, just a thought
poor Benazir Bhutto, she was a beautiful human being
so sad

Dan Quixote

Read what WCE posted below - software-run governments. I love it. And the people voting set the parameters. It's enough to make me want to go back into programming. Let's just make sure we run it on Linux, with redundant servers, so that it doesn't crash.

Raymond Schippers

One major issue with your theory about the USA and Russia is that they do in fact share a border, have a look at Alaska.


There's something called the Dell theory of Conflict Prevention, slightly related to what you're talking about

Tim Martin

Oh and one more thing...
Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men.

Tim Martin

Throughout all history peasants rarely have a natural conflict with other peasants. We, for the most part, just want food, shelter, sex and drugs. All conflicts arise among the wealthy and powerful of the nations, who themselves are usually personal friends. In the past 300 years the hierarchy of Central Bank above All Governments above their peasants has provided a reliable method of enslavement of the many by the bloodline few.
The only war that that matters is where the poor kill the rich. It never happened in world history. But never say never about the internet. Information wants to be free.

Kevin Kunreuther

Gotta nominate you for both Nobel Peace Prize and The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It's on my resolution to-do list.


you are so right.. kudos and happy new years!


The relation 'A and B are natural allies' isn't transitive. For this reason, it will violate some of our deepest-seated narrative conventions.

D. Mented

You missed a category.
There has to be something about cultures being close enough to eachother to be able to get the gist of the other's intentions.
This is definitely the case with Russia. It is not the case with Iran. Iraq before the U.S. invasion had modernised and Westernised quite a lot, and Egypt did for a while (but I understand they're going back toward fundaMentalism) but Iran after the Shah has a truly middle-eastern culture.We can understand Israel because their culture has been influenced by the vast influx of Europeans during WW2 (yes, there are people there of Jewish families that never left, just as there are Muslims, Druz, and some Christian families that were there forever - or at least for centuries before the Europeans, but the majority came from Europe)
Iran, and all the traditional middle eastern cultures are just too alien to us, and we to them.
That's why the citizens would never stand for an alliance - they're just as interested in quality of life as we are, and they have just as much human decency, although expressed differently, and focused on different subjects (and no, I don't call terrorism human decency, any more than I call what we're doing in Iraq human decency...Chaos and unmitigated confusion, maybe.)
The difference is cultural, but it'a gap so vast they can't trust us any more than the average American can trust an Iranian. There's no basis for understanding, and huge basis for misunderstanding. Expect Rednecks to turn out on Gay Pride day to have latte's and clear up some of the steryotyping and confusion way before westerners and middle-easterners see eye to eye.(the gays already go to monster truck rallies - 'it's just so CAMP!')It's not just prejudice. It's a real cultural barrier.
D. Mented

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