The Strategy of Conflict by Thomas Schelling

Written in 1960, Schelling provides a basic framework for analyzing conflict (assign values to outcomes and compare how the values change in response to changing conditions). He runs several games to expose several things that cause those values to change, and then wraps up with a discussion of gaming with regards to Nuclear War.

In fun, it seems Schelling did not like the marketing impact of "game theory" (big WOPR, anyone?), however "conflict studies" or some such seems to have lost out. Maybe we need the levity to distract ourselves....

The Retarded Science of International Strategy ... -- a main dividing line is between those that treat conflict as a pathological state and seek its causes and treatment, and those that take conflict for granted and study the behavior associated with it.
page 3
Finally, there is the important area of the underworld. Gang war ad international war have a lot in common. Nations and outlaws both lack enforceable legal systems to help them govern their affairs. Both engage in the ultimate in violence. Both have an interest in avoiding viloence, but the threat of violence is continually on call. It is interesting that racketeers, as well as gangs of delinquents, engage in limited war, disarmament and disengagement, surprise attack, retaliation and threat of retaliation; they worry about "appeasement" and loss of face; and they make alliances and agreeements with the same disability that nations are subject to -- the inability to appeal to higher authority in the interest of contract enforcement.
page 12
You are to meet somebody in New York City. You have not been instructed where to meet; you have no prior understanding with the person on where to meet; and you cannot communicate with each other. You are simply told that you will have to guess where to meet and that he is being told the same thing and that you will just have to try to make your guesses coincide...
A prime characteristic of most of these "solutions" to the problems, that is, of the clues or coordinators or focal points, is some kind of prominence or conspicuousness. But it is a prominence that depends on time and place and who the people are.
you saw it here first, page 56
An important characteristic of any game is how much each side knows about the other's value system...
"Most coppers are more or less fair in the dealings with thieves simply because it pays them to be so. They will extend favors even after a pinch whch they would not extend to nonprofessionals whom they lock up. The realize tht it is safe to do this and that high officials will not be informed, as might be the case if favors were extended to amateurs."
pages 139-41
As as aside, has anyone ever tried to measure the gains and losses from rotating cops through locales quickly, so that they rarely see the same people twice, versus the training? Now that Police Databases run supreme, the downsides to keeping an officer in one locale seem to outweigh the upsides.
He (Muzafer Sherif) finds that when no norms exist for a laboratory judgment, they are created by the subjects; and when norms are created for two parties in the same process, each player's developing norm influences the other's. There is a process of genuine learning with respect to values; each side adapts its own system of values to the other's, in forming its own.
page 168
If a hitchhiker pulls a gun on the driver of a car and the driver threatens to kill them both unless the hitchhiker throws his gun out the window, making his threat by pressing the accelerator to the floor and creating a manifest risk of fatal accident, there is some chance that the accident will occur before the hitchhiker has a chance to comprehend the threat and comply. In this case, the risk of accidental fulfillment is an integral part of the threat. The only way one can make the threat is to start fulfilling it.
page 183