Transforming Foreign Policy

A recent book called, Give and Take by Adam Grant outlined how people interact and treat each other. Basically you follow one of three styles as your primary strategy. You are either a giver, a taker or a matcher. A giver is focused on adding more value to and for the other person. ( Selfless/ Win-Win ) A taker wants to extract more value than they get. (Zero Sum games). A matcher gives only as much as they expect to receive. (Quid Pro Quo). I believe it to be the same for countries. A country after all is just a sum of its individual inhabitants. (Some are a mathematical sum and some exceed that sum with emergent properties. This will be discussed in another blog.) Why then would not this same model apply to countries and how they interact and treat each other? Trust follows from a belief that you are sincerely interested in the ‘other’ and their success. It is not what is in it for me or us or our ‘interests’, it is rather what can we do to add as much value as possible to the rest of the world. It is leading by example. It is a way to make a ‘connection’ and open doors. Making the connection is important. You must make the connection before you can get anyone to listen to you and pay attention to your ideas. If we want to influence others in the world we first need to get them to trust us and our intentions.

There was an Ingrid Bergman movie (name escapes me) about a nun operating in a country run by a tyrant. In the movie she was a giver. It is that stance, as a giver, that provided the plot line for the movie. In the end the tyrant converted to Christianity because he was overcome with her consistency as a giver. He could do nothing to get her to give up her ‘giver’ stance. I know it is just a movie but the message is powerful.

As the leader of the free world it is time that we stand up and take a new transformational giver approach. To do it( Foreign Policy and Affairs) the same way everyone else does it (taker or matcher) is to lower our potential and that of the world to do good and thrive. To bounce around among the three stances, which we do, is to confuse and limit our credibility. The question is do we have the courage to transform?



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