1) Donald Trump knows his game theory. His algorithm of choice is called Tit For Tat.

Tit For Tat is an algorithm for playing iterative Prisoner's Dilemma type games. In such games, in each "move" each player must decide whether to cooperate or defect. If both players cooperate, they both gain. If both players defect, neither gains. But if one player cooperates and the other defects, the one who defects picks up points over the one who cooperates.

2) When playing Tit For Tat you start out by cooperating, then on each subsequent move you "respond in kind" to your opponent's previous move. If your opponent cooperated in the last move, you cooperate. If your opponent defected, you defect.

3) Playing Tit For Tat ensures that you never fall behind by more than one move, and once your opponent realizes that you are playing Tit For Tat, If they are smart they will realize that their optimal strategy is to cooperate for the rest of the game to get as many points as they can.


4) If you are important enough to be a player in the political game --

If you publicly complement Donald Trump, he will publicly complement you back.

If you publicly insult him, he will publicly insult you back. You might even get a nickname.

If you make a peace offering to him, he will return the gesture. As if you were friends all along.

And last but not least, if you launch a scorched-earth campaign of personal destruction against him or threaten his family, he will ruin your life.

5) And he does all those things better and more effectively than you do. What he's doing is teaching his competitors that it is much better in both the short and long run to cooperate with Donald Trump than to oppose and fight him.

6) And now on to the Taliban. Apparently they were cooperating, and they were cooperating so well that they were on the verge of peace talks. Then at the last moment, they defected. Launched an attack in Kabul. Stabbed him in the back.

7) Barack Obama would have probably ignored the provocation. He wouldn't have wanted to lose the chance for a summit. And then he would have made more concessions at the summit. Just like with Iran. Donald Trump cancelled the summit, which was completely consistant with how he plays the game, and he *proved* to the Taliban that he does not play by Obama's rules. If the Taliban wants to benefit from Donald Trump, they have to cooperate with him, not stab him in the back.

8) He's not cozying up to dictators. He's *training* them. He's making *them* change their behavior and play by his rules, which are very simple.

9) Once the rest of the world comes to actually believe that Donald Trump is a straight shooter, and that you don't have to fear being stabbed in the back by him, or becoming a victim of some sort of hidden agenda of his, the rest of the world will feel that they can now trust the American president, and that will be the foundation of trust that will allow President Trump to make breathtaking strides in world politics in his second term.


10) Addendum: I had forgotten that I had learned about Tit For Tat from the late, great Steven Den Beste. Here he applies the lesson brilliantly to the topic of war and deterrence:


I am sitting here with my mouth wide open. What an unbelievably awesome post. I am not a *gamer* (we had Pong when I was a kid-yes, I'm old), but this made perfect sense.

This is a keeper to study for later when discussing the whys to Trump's success.


Fantastic thread John. I remember Den Beste well from the early 2000s, a genuine blogging legend.


Wow that's incredible, and it makes perfect sense. Thanks John.

@Johnschulien Oh. Wow. And Steven Den Beste. I so miss him. He would have been so thrilled to be watching POTUS do all this.


Excellent thread. +1 follower!
For those curious about game theory, here is first a broad overview followed by a more in depth philosophical article on what game theory is exactly.

According to excerpts from Gen Mattis’s New book, Obama did just what you say. He ignored a bombing attempt in DC ordered by Iranians. He kept it quiet to keep negotiating the bad nuclear deal.


"If you publicly complement Donald Trump, he will publicly complement you back.

If you publicly insult him, he will publicly insult you back. You might even get a nickname."

And if you do get a nickname, a "Trumpian epithet" as I call them, you're doomed.

@Johnschulien I have never ever seen Trump back down from a fight and I can 100% Guarantee you he never will either! It's just not who he is.

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