A QUESTION OF " FRICTION"
Yesterday, Dan of tdaxp
in a beautifully illustrated post, took issue with my use of the metaphoric analogy of " friction"
to describe the potentially higher resistance that certain political movements ( in this case Neocons and Theocons
) face in attempting to move toward their objectives. John Bolton
, for example, could be described as a figure with higher " friction" than Colin Powell
or even Donald Rumsfeld
Dan put forth an interesting argument that the real variable descriptor that I should have used was not friction but "temperature".
There is, I believe, a great deal of utility in Dan's discussion of Nodes and relationships within networks deforming under the pressure and " heat" of political conflict. I may put his analysis to work in the near future, it's that good.BUT
... one part of his post troubled me. Dan stated categorically:"Friction is not an attribute of a single enemy. It is a quality of a relationship between two entities"
This however is not really the case, not even in physics and still less in the domain of politics. While we may have to major, diametrically opposed adversaries - say the NRA and Handgun Control, inc. - they do not conflict with each other in isolation but within the context of all parties able to participate in the political sphere, most of whom have only partial or no real intrinsic interest in the conflict, yet can and will bring their influence to bear to affect the outcome.
I yield to Dan's superior open source graphics capability in describing his model but the model itself is oversimplified to the point of error. Two variables in the political or geopolitical world is not enough. My crude powerpoint doesn't even encompass all of the significant variables in Dan's Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice example.
Frequently, the Darwinian effect of single-issue contests is the adversaries evolve over time into evenly matched ( at least enough of an equillibrium state to deny victory to one another) entities and third parties must be enlisted or opportunistically intervene to tip the scales, for reasons of their own.
Where you are trying to move the status quo toward, for what reason and at what speed will cause all the players who are cognizant of your efforts to recalculate their interests and react accordingly. It's a clash within an interdependent environment - a battle of bewteen subsystems of a larger system, it's just that the latter is ubiquitous so it is sometimes less recognizable.