The dynamics of promptness

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou

Although it seems absurd promptness is a formal stage in strategy. Of course, it should not constitute a simple consequence of inertia, but rather the outcome of a choice. Waiting moves are very important, when there is a need of temporal change on the action field. However, it should always be linked with promptness.

The initiative of waiting in a hazardous context is one of the most abnormal moves. Not only by nature but also as a result, because we can easily make the tragic mistake of confusing each other. A waiting move, even though it looks like mere inertia, differs from it both ontologically and teleologically. It combines the power of maneuver with the sacrifice of time. We could somehow characterize it as a combination in the temporal scope of maneuvers.

As a waiting move does not contain dynamic and constitutes a position, it should only be a factor of promptness. The pair works as the invisible and visible part of an iceberg do. Waiting lives in the area of tactics, and promptness in the area of strategy. The dual game of the pair allows attaining an objective at the time when the opponent considers that there is no choice.

One more general way of applying this mental scheme is the leader's spectrum change. When he already controls a large proportion of the action field, he can no longer move without forming his own positions. Therefore, instead of trying to improve what he already has, he must differentiate his framework and indirectly enforce his positions even if they were obvious. He creates allied systems and ensures a dynamic stability, even though superficially he seems not moving. For this reason, the waiting phase is dangerous for the opponent, since he has no direct evidence as regards the choice of strategy.

Whereas even at the pioneering phase, if a waiting move is not the result of promptness, losing time means losing space. Because strategic entities are spatio-temporal. So, the negative consequence is not only expected, but inevitable as well. And this phase is particularly dangerous, when following the achievement of an objective. For, the whole effort had a unique objective. However, there are many targets because they are created in the course of time; the same course that creates problems also. However, promptness has to be concretized, because it might also fall into the trap of artificial waiting which becomes a real waiting. And this constitutes one of the most significant problems of the strategy of deterrence, because it lives in the potential area. More generally, however, its non-periodic implementation ensures its dynamics. Even when the data does not constitute a stable basis for the deployment of a strategy, the strategy itself (and not the basis) may shape the framework with the allied systems.

Finally, we may say that it is not important to show that you do nothing, if you actually do something. As it is dangerous to show that you do something, whereas in reality you do not. Waiting is the visible image of promptness, but it is only an image and lacks dynamics. Every serious opponent looks at our moves at all levels, political, economic and strategic ones. In this case, if what it shown is the reality, the problem is serious. If not, then the chances of achieving an objective are greater, because those able to invent it are rare.

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