Win Win for Someone Not Me

— A story about two dogs

“He looked at him like [shrugs], ‘you think that’s a dog?’ A year later, Putin says ‘would you like to meet my dog?’ Laura and I were with Putin right outside of Moscow and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like to meet him.’ And out comes a giant hound loping across the birch lined yard. Putin looks at me and says ‘Better, stronger and faster than Barney.’ And it speaks volumes when you listen to what somebody says.” - George W. Bush on Ellen

My first reaction was: ‘Wow, Putin’s got low self esteem. Does he not realize how tacky that is?’ I’ve felt a similar disgust for people who drive Hummers.

Listening to Bush’s story, I felt proud. ‘America has confidence. It doesn’t need big dogs.’

But those who favor Putin could have easily justified his superiority. ‘Wow, Bush can’t handle a bigger dog? Is that why he’s got such a small animal?’

Who are the leaders addressing in this scenario? Because there’s no way they can convince each other that the other is better.

Although it seems like an altercation, this interaction is a win-win for both Bush and Putin.

The same instance is used to justify the superiority of both sides. Both leaders are awarded by their people. Bush’s reaction makes him more attractive in the US. Putin’s reaction shows how strong he is among his fans.

The effect is on the people they lead. They can never change each other’s minds–it’s like convincing a minimalist that owning a Hummer is a good idea. The only people who’s minds are changed, more amped up, more proud, are the people who believe there was conflict in the first place.



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