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The wants and actions of the United States


In 1990 the United States wanted Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait. Evidence for this proposition was provided by the statements of U.S. officials and sending troops to Saudi Arabia. It was correctly inferred from this proposition that the U.S. would do something to implement its desires. This inference was made with only an approximate notion of ``the US wants''.

Nevertheless, the facts can be expressed by formulas like the following.







From these we infer


We have not introduced all the necessary qualifications, and we have not used a proper theory of actions. There also should be some more theory of tex2html_wrap_inline234 , tex2html_wrap_inline236 , and tex2html_wrap_inline238 .

Someone with a sufficiently detailed knowledge of events in the Middle East and of the American decision making community might not need ``The US wants ...'', because he could work directly with the various decision makers and the motivations and effects of their actions. The rest of us must make do with more approximate concepts. This will apply even more to future students of 20th century history.

A fuzzy logic theory would take ``The US wants'' for granted and concentrate on ``The US moderately wants'' and ``The US strongly wants''.

John McCarthy
Wed Feb 2 15:59:04 PST 2000