Persuasion in Afghanistan

A favorite topic of mine is the art and science of persuasion. One of the most effective ways to persuade another is to find common ground with that person BEFORE you try to persuade them. Another way to persuade is through social reciprocity. This means that if I am trying to win you over I will do something that benefits you in some way first. Then you should feel an obligation to reciprocate in some small way. This can provide the foundation for fruitful negotiations and long term relationships.

This article  is an excellent example of that philosophy in use in, of all places,  Afghanistan. This is counterinsurgency guidance that was issued in August by the Commander of forces in Afghanistan. Note that the title of the Guidance states that the conflict in Afghanistan will be won by persuading the population, not by destroying the enemy. This is a long way from “shock and awe.” This will be a slow process. But considering the failure of other armies in Afghanistan this may be our best shot.

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