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Promoting adversaries refers to a self-organizing tactical relationship between opposing organizations (which can be countries, terrorist organizations, businesses, religious institutions, etc. and mixes of any of these, i.e. terrorist org. vs. country) in which both opposing sides benefit (gain/concentrate power or wealth) by attacking each other. The relationship usually relies on either side never fully defeating the other, because the whole time their 'conflict' helps both sides (while each side also simultaneously takes occasional 'acceptable' losses).
The tactic is mutually beneficial, even though it occurs between opposing organizations.
Promoting adversaries in military, politics, and economics
Promoting adversaries works within a tendency where those opposed are increasingly polarized. When the tactic is used, it has the effect of making those involved in the relationship even more extreme than they were to begin with. Fundamentalist groups become more fanatical ... and nations, agencies, militaries & political parties become more repressive and authoritarian -- as the time they oppose each other increases in quantity.
It is argued by some that the modern day guerrilla tactic of suicide bombing emerged from conditions in which one or more promoting adversaries relationships developed.
Promoting adversaries in pop culture and public relations
This tactic is dynamically similar to certain publicity techniques, and so can be used by individuals and products seeking to gain/concentrate power or wealth as well.
Some examples include:
- Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell
- Paris Hilton vs. Nicole Richie
- Paris Hilton vs. Lindsay Lohan
- Keith Olbermann of MSNBC vs. Bill O'Reilly of Fox News
As well as aspects of manufactured conflict for ratings purposes on many "reality" shows on TV...
"Promoting Adversaries" has also been parodied most recently by Stephen Colbert on his show, The Colbert Report, in which Stephen's brand of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (AmeriCone Dream) is pitted against Willie Nelson's brand of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (Country Peach Cobbler). Of course, this public 'conflict' generates advertising for both products, which are owned by the same company.
Promoting adversaries is a similar concept to the term frenemy.