Tantalizer 466: Diplomacy
6 December 2017
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From New Scientist #1017, 9th September 1976 [link]
In the early years of this century, when the lamps were going out all over Europe, Lord Grey asked his advisers whether Bosnia would ally with Austria. They gave thought to the question but could only answer in hypotheticals.
If, they said, Bosnia allies with Austria, Montenegro will ally with Hungary. If Slovakia allies with Denmark, Finland will ally with Serbia. If Albania allies with Slovakia, Poland will ally with Transylvania. If Montenegro allies with Hungary, Latvia will ally with Poland. If Bosnia allies with Austria, then, unless Slovakia allies with Denmark, Finland will ally with Serbia. If Poland allies with Transylvania, Finland will not ally with Serbia. If Latvia allies with Poland then, if Rumania allies with Austria, Poland will ally with Transylvania. If Montenegro allies with Hungary and Albania does not ally with Slovakia, then Rumania will ally with Austria.
They added, of course, that “if x then y” implies neither “if y then x” nor “if not x then not y”. But they could not answer the original question. Assuming all the hypotheticals to be true, can you?