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My Enemy’s Enemy

September 24th, 2009

My Enemy’s Enemy

classification : non-sequiters

My enemy’s enemy is my friend is an old Arab saying. It explains some strange political, religious and epistemological alliances.

Foundations

Using a common enemy as the basis for an allegiance is problematic because there are probably very few other areas for common ground, and absent the common enemy, the friends might otherwise be enemies themselves. If the common enemy disappears, the allies might turn on each other.

Examples

Pilot fish clean parasites off larger predators like sharks. These smaller fish swim freely around the sharks and even inside the mouths of the sharks that could easily eat the small fish. Since the shark’s enemy is the parasite and the parasite’s enemy is the smaller fish, the shark considers the Pilot fish a “friend” and accommodates an otherwise potential food source.

Other Names

The enemy of my enemy is my friend is one of four rules in the rule of triadic interaction. The others are: “the friend of my friend is my friend”, “the friend of my enemy is my enemy” and “the enemy of my friend is my enemy”.

Note1: “non-sequiters”, Latin for “it does not follow” are fallacies that are based purely on rules of logic, prior to examining any evidence, in which the conclusion logically does not follow from the premise.

Note2: Using a common enemy as the basis for an allegiance is problematic because there are probably very few other areas for common ground, and absent the common enemy, the friends might otherwise be enemies themselves. If the common enemy disappears, the allies might turn on each other.

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