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Considering All the Strategic Options

Reviews the constraints on effective detection and processing of emerging issues and feedback.


Considering All the Strategic Options
Considering "all the options"
"Listening to everyone" and considering "all the feedback"
Designing out options and feedback
Learnings from democratic voting and polling systems
Misleading feedback solicitation: implications for democracy and consensual strategies
Implications for e-democracy and crowdsourcing
Simulation of communication challenges in democracy and strategy formulation
Information processing insights from large telescope design
Forms of cognitive protectionism in the light of trade protectionism
Framework for exploring attentiveness to new information
Cognitive corruption: deficiencies in feedback processes and identification of strategic options
Options for global governance: the Holbrooke Option Selection Quotient
E-democracy, swarm behaviour and swarm intelligence
Possible extensions to representation of option selection
Cycle-proof regulation of confidence
Conclusion

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Produced on the occasion of the NATO Summit (Strasbourg, April 2009)
immediately following the G20 Summit (London, April 2009). Also PDF version (0.5 mb)


Introduction
Considering "all the options"
"Listening to everyone" and considering "all the feedback"
Designing out options and feedback
Learnings from democratic voting and polling systems
Misleading feedback solicitation: implications for democracy and consensual strategies
Implications for e-democracy and crowdsourcing
Simulation of communication challenges in democracy and strategy formulation
Information processing insights from large telescope design
Forms of cognitive protectionism in the light of trade protectionism
Framework for exploring attentiveness to new information
Cognitive corruption: deficiencies in feedback processes and identification of strategic options
Options for global governance: the Holbrooke Option Selection Quotient
E-democracy, swarm behaviour and swarm intelligence
Possible extensions to representation of option selection
Cycle-proof regulation of confidence
Conclusion


Introduction

This exploration is inspired by the decision in March 2009 -- immediately before the NATO Summit in April 2009 -- that further military resources should be allocated to the Afghanistan/Pakistan arena as the prime source of "terror" on the planet. This decision was announced despite a succession of flawed assessments over years by arrogantly, overconfident military experts. Richard Holbrooke, the US president's special representative for that area, asserted on CNN (Transcript: David Petraeus and Richard Holbrooke on CNN, 29 March 2009) that in concluding on this policy "all the options were considered" as a means of eliminating terror as the greatest national security threat for the USA:

And in these discussions... I can assure you, and through you everyone who's watching, that every single option was considered, its pros and cons.

The assertion that "all options have been considered" is made relatively frequently to justify questionably repetitive international actions, or the lack thereof. Bill Clinton, as president of the USA, had asserted that "no stone had been left unturned" in exploring options for resolution of the Middle East crisis (pun not intended). A similar unilateral strategic response may be expected in support of geoengineering -- despite disastrous initiatives justified by similar patterns in the past.

Such strategic decisions typically involve "more of the same". This implies that the situation had been inadequately evaluated on previous occasions -- despite recognition of fundamental "intelligence failures" and "lack of imagination". The pattern must therefore be set against the assessments of:

Albert Einstein: To repeat the same thing over and over again, and yet to expect a different result, this is a form of insanity.
George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,

This pattern is placed in a wider context here in relation to the emerging process of online solicitation of feedback from large numbers of people ("send in your comments", "join the dialogue", "make your views known", etc). These processes are typically highly misleading in that they seek to engender engagement but are obliged by simple logistics to restrict themselves to extremely selective consideration of what they receive and how they use it -- whatever their claims to the contrary.


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