gray-large.pngThis morning I did a Rotary make-up at the Magnolia club. The speaker was past president of the Washington Center on International Trade (WCIT) and Seattle #4 (perenially one of the – if not the – largest Rotary club’s in the world). This speaker was none other than Ret. Admiral Bill Center and his talk was titled: “Rethinking America’s Approach to Terrorism.”

Now, I believe that what Admiral Center had to say about the disparity of government spend as well as lost lives compared to positive results related to the preclusion of terrorism was exceptional. If you should ever have an opportunity to hear his presentation – which at some time he should give to Congress – jump at it.

Yet, there were a couple of gold nugget thoughts applicable to the turf of warring neighbor boundary disputes in which your neighbor is seeking to use the tactics of terror. They are these.

One, when you are in a no-win situation, you have to change the rules. To illustrate this point Admiral Center drew from popular culture’s Star Trek. Apparently, William Shatner’s character, Captain Kirk was the only cadet at Starfleet Academy to beat the Kobayashi Maru.

The Kobayashi Maru is a stimulated no-win test in which the testaker is charged with saving a disabled spaceship full of helpless victims that have mistakenly entered into enemy teritorry. My understanding is that their death is all but certain. What is more certain is that any attempt to save them, which we should recall is the cadet’s duty, will certainly cause the death of those on the assisting spaceship – which of course inclues the cadet as well.

The test’s purpose was to make sure that cadets are willing to die honorably. However, Captain Kirk beat the test by thinking outside the box. He reprogramed the stimulation – i.e. changed the rules of engagement. Is this cheating? Perhaps.

So our question: Does law allow “cheating”? The answer is: if it is done for the purpose of necessity – then yes! This then highlights a subsequent question. When does a boundary war warrant the “necessity” of “cheating”?

Gold nugget idea number two: Sun Tsu in the Art of War indicated that no great nation was able to sustain continuous warfare!

So, my question is: Does this maxim not also apply to warring neighbors? What do you think?gray-small.png