The Infinite Monkey Model Of Foreign Policy

This is what it has come to. Obama said today that:

“Folks here in Washington like to grade on style,” he said during an interview with ABC’s “This Week.” “Had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. … We know that because that’s exactly how they graded the Iraq War until it ended up blowing [up] in our face.”

This, following this statement from Jay Carney last week:

“I would simply say that, when it comes to being commander-in-chief, I think the American people, at least in my assessment, appreciate a commander-in-chief who takes in new information and doesn’t, you know, celebrate decisiveness for the sake of decisiveness.”

So what is it?

Did we decide to decide or not?

It is just another example of a bumbling, incompetent administration getting bailed out by the Infinite Monkey Theorem.

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surelytype a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.

In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces an endless random sequence of letters and symbols. The relevance of the theorem is questionable—the probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time even a hundred thousand orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low (but not zero).

Variants of the theorem include multiple and even infinitely many typists, and the target text varies between an entire library and a single sentence. The history of these statements can be traced back to Aristotle‘s On Generation and Corruption and Cicero‘s De natura deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), through Blaise Pascal and Jonathan Swift, and finally to modern statements with their iconic typewriters. In the early 20th century, Émile Borel andArthur Eddington used the theorem to illustrate the timescales implicit in the foundations of statistical mechanics.

Obama wants the American people that his ineffective handling of an issue that he created with his 2012 “red line” statement was a planned, skillful execution of sound strategies yielding the outcome he expected.

If you believe that, I have a bridge I would like to talk to you about.

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