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Posted By: Bean On the brink - 01/14/03 03:37 PM
Note that this is a word post and not a political post. I learned a new word today in a headline from CBC Newsworld:

North Korea denies withdrawal from nuclear pact is brinkmanship

Now, I did guess what it meant, but looked it up on Atomica:

The practice, especially in international politics, of seeking advantage by creating the impression that one is willing and able to push a highly dangerous situation to the limit rather than concede.

I just thought fellow AWADers might like to comment on whether they like the word, whether they could easily guess what it meant, whether they think anyone else would've guessed it, whether we'll likely hear it too much in the future, and whether I must've lived my life in a cardboard box not to have heard the word brinkmanship by now. And if you, like me, didn't know it, help yourself to one serving of New Word, it's on me.

Posted By: dxb Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 04:13 PM
The OED defines this as "the art of advancing to the very brink of war etc. but not engaging in it." Much the same as Atomica. I don't know who first coined the word (MW suggests in 1956), but have been aware of and used it for many years. I think it is very expressive.

Posted By: Faldage Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 04:23 PM
1956 sounds about right. It was quite common in the Cold War era, both as a phrase and a tactic. Perty scary as the latter; never had a problem with the former

Posted By: Bean Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 04:30 PM
Perhaps I didn't know it because my shorter lifetime hasn't included enough wars to be on the brink of. Oh well, it's a new word just for us younger folks then.

Posted By: wwh Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 04:44 PM
I remember when the word was coined, but not by whom. The the Secretary of State, John Foster
Dulles had used the phrase "on the brink" and it was seized by those who wished to belittle him
and he was accused fo trying in a dangerous way to be implying that the US would use nuclear
weapons.

Posted By: TEd Remington Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 04:53 PM
And it was Dean Rusk who said during the Cuban Missile Crisis, "We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other guy just brinked."

Posted By: boronia Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 06:21 PM
Thanks for the new word, young Bean!

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 06:24 PM
FWIW, you also hear "brinksmanship."

Posted By: Faldage Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 07:13 PM
brinksmanship

Rings truer to my ear.
Sure there shouldn't be an apostrophe in there?
Posted By: wwh Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 07:52 PM
Dear Faldage: "Brinksmanship" is the art of robbing armored cars.

Posted By: Faldage Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 08:06 PM
FWIW

Googlescores

Brinkmanship 19,300 - Brinksmanship 5,430

Posted By: sjm Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 09:41 PM
>Perhaps I didn't know it because my shorter lifetime hasn't included enough wars to be on the brink of. Oh well, it's a new word just for us younger folks then.

Weeell, I've never exactly thought of myself as The Ancient of Days, but brinkmanship was certainly not new to me.

Posted By: wwh Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 10:24 PM
"Thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took His seat. Daniel 7:9."
Dear sjm: Reassuring to know you do not have delusions of grandeur.

Posted By: sjm Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 10:34 PM
>Dear sjm: Reassuring to know you do not have delusions of grandeur.


Nope, but I sometimes allow myself delusions of mediocrity.

--
I'm a huge fan of the Judaeo-Christian ethic, I think the whole concept of monotheism was gift from the Gods.

Posted By: wwh Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 10:50 PM
Dear sjm: any delusions of mediocrity on your part would be delusions indeed.
And it is well that the plethora of ancient gods has given way to one God. Surprisi;ng
how long it has taken humanity to grasp that the universe needs only one God.

Posted By: Faldage Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 11:06 PM
the universe needs only one God.

At most.

Posted By: AnnaStrophic Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 11:09 PM
gift from the Gods.

*rimshot*

Posted By: sjm Re: On the brink - 01/14/03 11:12 PM
>gift from the Gods.

*rimshot*


Not mine, of course. Stolen from Emo Phillipps, who may well have purloined it hisownself.

Posted By: Jazzoctopus Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 02:30 AM
In my high school American history class the term was used most extensively in relation to the foreign policy of Eisenhower.

Posted By: wwh Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 02:49 AM
I remember no indication ir originated with Eisenhower.

Posted By: milum Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 07:42 AM
The the Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles had used the phrase "on the brink" and it was seized by those who wished to belittle him and he was accused of trying in a dangerous way to be implying that the US would use nuclear weapons.- wwh

I too remember "brinkmanship" being first used in the scenario you have outlined above Bill, and John Foster Dulles was right. Brinkmanship worked. Europe was saved and the evil of aggressive communism has been thwarted without recourse to nuclear weapons. I'm glad aren't you?


Posted By: wsieber Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 09:31 AM
Interestingly enough, Brinkmann is not very rare as a family name in Europe.

Posted By: Bean Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 12:28 PM
Atomica assured me that both brinkmanship and brinksmanship are OK. I tried the word out on my husband yesterday, in the same context, and he correctly figured out the meaning. It was new to him, too. So we both got a free new word yesterday!

Posted By: modestgoddess Re: On the brink - 01/15/03 05:31 PM
Hey Bean, lemme be the first to weigh in with newbieness to this word (or, um, can't think how else to phrase this!): I'd never heard it before. Don't think I would've figured it out from the context but now I now what it means, it does make sense.

I like it as a word, but it somehow sounds more jolly and friendly than it "should" (ie, for what it connotes). It sounds so close to marksmanship or some other more sporting notion....But I guess if we have "war games," then "brinkmanship" (or "brinksmanship") is sadly appropriate....

Tanks fer the new werd, anyway!

Posted By: Capfka Re: On the brink - 01/19/03 05:45 AM
>>Interestingly enough, Brinkmann is not very rare as a family name in Europe.

Perhaps not. But how many of them are in the ship-building industry, Wsieber?

- Pfranz
Posted By: stales Re: On the brink - 01/19/03 02:26 PM
Would it be fair to say that because two Canadians (Bean & Mod..god..) haven't heard of brinkmanship that the rest of 'em are unaware of it?

I was surprised to find that neither of you had heard of it. Just showing my age I guess.

stales



Posted By: modestgoddess Re: On the brink - 01/20/03 02:52 AM
Would it be fair to say

Aww, come on, stales - are you saying Bean and I are TYPICAL or (shudder) AVERAGE?!

If I fremember to do it, I'll ask s'more Canajuns and post the results here....Mebbe Bean could do the same and we could compare notes.

Posted By: boronia Re: On the brink - 01/20/03 05:50 PM
Make that 3 Canadians.

Thanks for the new word, young Bean! (originally posted January 14).

(What am I? Frozen and chopped maple syrup?)


Posted By: modestgoddess Re: On the brink - 01/20/03 07:59 PM
boronia, honey, I know! and I'm so sorry....think I was the first to post that I was the first newbie to this word. My bad - mea culpa mucho.

Well, I only remembered to ask two people - but both of them had heard of brinkmanship (without the additional "s"). One is Canuck-born and in his mid-forties, t'other is Canuck-naturalised (born in UK) and in her mid-seventies. FWIW.

Posted By: Wordwind Post deleted by Wordwind - 01/21/03 02:35 AM
Posted By: Faldage Re: Drinksmanship - 01/21/03 10:55 AM
till they pass out one by one

Sounds like fun.

Posted By: consuelo Re: Drinksmanship - 01/21/03 11:12 AM
I have a feeling we might just re-enact that scene in Lettermore if WW has anything to say about it [giggle-e]. I'm looking forward to the good craic .

Posted By: wow Re: On the brink - 01/22/03 04:24 PM
On the brink? or At the brink?
Just askin'
It's a word I've known so long I consider it dated! But then I am very old.


Posted By: RhubarbCommando Re: On the brink - 01/22/03 04:33 PM
At the brink of the river, but on the brink of disaster?

Posted By: wow Re: On (at) the brink - 01/22/03 04:42 PM
OED says Brink : edge, margin, border. So would you be on it or at it? That is the question.
Posted By: RhubarbCommando Re: On (at) the brink - 01/23/03 11:00 AM
The answer is, "Yes."

Posted By: dxb Re: On (at) the brink - 01/23/03 11:21 AM
OED says Brink : edge, margin, border. So would you be on it or at it? That is the question.

Instinctively, I would use 'at the brink' when there was a sense of nearly going over the metaphorical cliff edge and 'on the brink' when on the point of moving from one state to another, but on the level. But there could well be some overlap.


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