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War Equation

The Dilbert blog has a wonderful piece today about the economics of war. Basically it ends up wit an equation that indicates whether two countries will end up in a war.

Once you determine the major factors in predicting war, you can weight them appropriately and come up with a prediction of risk. Here’s an example of weights, but I’m just making these up for example: One country is harboring or aiding terrorists (+2) The countries have a border in common (+5) Both countries have a nuclear weapon (-10) There’s a dictatorship in at least one of the countries (+10) The countries have different majority religions (+5) Both countries have capitalist economies (-10) The stronger side believes it can’t start a war without losing an unacceptable ratio of its own people to the enemy’s (-5) Both countries have leaders who speak English (-5) * One side has a clear economic, security, or religious incentive for war with the other (+5)

Using my hypothetical weighting system, the USA and the UK have a score of -30, and no chance of going to war with each other. The USA and North Korea have a score of 0 – right on the fence – assuming you count the DMZ as a common border, given that lots of armed Americans live near it, and assuming the North Koreans do have working nukes. To avoid war, Kim Jong-il and President Bush both need to learn fluent English

Using this I can understand why Iran would want to make nuclear weapons as fast as possible

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