Professor of Statistics and Operations Research, Universität der Bundeswehr München
Interviewed by Jennifer Goldman — 2003
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Q: Ok, so you started telling me just now a little bit about your background and your work. Can you tell me more about your background, what you think is relevant to this project in terms of making links with the conflict work. Feel free to tell me anything you think would be particularly helpful for me to know.
A: Maybe yes, maybe yes. I studied your papers and from what I know in general conflict research, conflict resolution and so on; game theory -- and let me say at the moment I'm talking about non-cooperative game theory, yah? Cooperative game theory is a different field. Non-cooperative game theory deals with conflicts like this, and it deals with problems which have no real solution and in order to be precise, which have no single equilibrium. And my feeling, and this is very general, and that's my first statement so to speak, yah. If there are problems - conflict situations which are modeled game theoretically and it turns out that they have not a single equilibrium, but several ones, then for me this is an indication that there is in fact a kind of what you call intractable conflict. Let me give you the most simple example which you may know, this is a battle of sexes. Do you know this?
Q: No. May I just stop you for one second, cause I'm not...I wanna get the words...We're gonna have to have this transcribed...
A: Battle of sexes - a couple - men and women.
Q: And you said equilibrium? Several equilibria?
A: Exactly. Several equilibria.
Q: And equilibria means different ways of solving the problem?
A: Exactly, exactly.
A: and I think if you don't know this, as anything, it's important to spend a few words. The model is, a man and a woman want to go out in the evening, and the man wants to go to the boxing fight, and the woman to the ballet. Both have preferences. He wants this, she wants that, but what they do not want is to go separately, yah? And if you analyze it as what we call two by two games, each has two strategies; either to go to the ballet or the boxing fight. Then it turns out, in fact, that there is no single solution, but two: go together to the boxing fight is one solution, and to go together to the ballet is the other solution. But there is no -- how to say -- no advice the analyst can give to them what they should do because they equally have to be considered as equal solutions, you see? And this is for me the idea of a conflict for which there is no short-term solution, yah? If it is analyzed as a cooperative game there is a solution, and this has to do with if they speak to each other. The assumption so far was that they do not talk to each other. Then if they speak to each other, Nash; the famous game theorist John Nash has developed what he calls the bargaining solution that they should throw a coin together, and if heads up or whatever, then they go to the ballet; otherwise, they go to the boxing fight. But if they do not cooperate in this sense, then there is no solution. That's one major aspect of what I consider the inherent problem of this conflict. Did you get this?
Q: Yes, I understand.
A: I mean, there are extensions of it, yah? I come to escalation later, but that's what I consider a key issue of the formal model of such a conflict, yah?
Q: Yes. So you're saying that if they speak with one another, there's a chance that they'll be able to come to a solution that is agreeable to both. But if they don't speak, that chance does not exist.
A: Exactly this, yah. Exactly, yah?
Q: Yes, that makes sense.
A: There is another aspect. This is a little bit...I mean, let me just mention this battle of sexes, this simple model is presented in every text book of game theory, and if you wish to, I could give you references about this and so on, but this is the most basic thing. There's another thing which is not so well-known. It is a rather new development, and I came to this when I read this paper you sent me, Intractable conflict by Peter Coleman. On page 9, let me read these three lines to you.
A: He wrote, "The extensive literature on conflict escalation has identified a variety of social psychological processes that can fuel a conflict intensity, particularly at these high levels of escalation. They include elements such as misperception" and so on. And this is my key word. There is a relative new kind of theory which is called a theory with incomplete information, where the two players -- let me assume there are two players. I mean two people, or two groups, or two nations, whatever.
A: Two players -- let me say nations -- which do not know each other well. So maybe one nation assumes that the other nation might be tough, even entering a war, or might be not tough. And so if you formulate the model in such a way that the nation is dealing with a tough player, then there is no escalation, because both stop immediately. If the nation knows that the other side is not a tough nation, there is also no escalation. But if the first nation does not know so well of which type, as it is called, the other nation is, then there may be escalation. So, due to the pure fact that the nation doesn't know if the other side is tough or not, there may result in escalation. And that is for me a very, very interesting matter; and I worked a little bit myself on this, yah? But there are others who do this as well now.
Q: I see. Can you continue to tell me more about this idea of the theory of incomplete information and misperception?
A: Yes. There's a book, perhaps I can mention this, there is a textbook by Morrow...
Q: How is that spelled?
A: Morrow, Game Theory for Political scientists, I have it hear in my library, James Mole. He, himself is a political scientist. And he calls the two nations aggressor and defender. The aggressor makes the first step. For example, there is a border issue between two states, yah? And the aggressor makes a move, just shifts the border or whatever. And then there is a defender. And now the aggressor does not know if the defender is resolute -- that's a technical term -- if the defender is resolute or irresolute. And he knows with probability? Gamma?... he's resolute, and with one minus gamma he is irresolute. So the defender gives in, or will act strongly -- pushes the border back or so, yah? And then exactly happens what I said before. In case the aggressor knows that the defender is resolute, there will be no escalation. If he's irresolute, there will also be no escalation. But if he doesn't know, and this lack of knowledge is described by this probability, then there is a chance for escalation, and that's exactly what I found in this paper by Coleman.
Q: Right, ok.
A: If it would be interesting for you, I could -- later on I could send you some references by email.
Q: Yes, that would be very helpful. We are collecting references, and so whatever you can send us would be wonderful.
A: Ok, very good, yah. So, these are my two important aspects I wanted to tell you about what I found in the modeling of conflicts in general and especially in intractable conflicts. One is the multiple equilibria -- is the key word, yah -- multiple equilibria, so I can give no advise which solution should be used; and the other is incomplete information. The first is an old problem known already for 50 years. This battle of sexes has been developed in the 50's already, but this what I told you now about the escalation models is the work of the last ten years, let me say.
Q: Ok, that's very helpful. So, it would seem actually interesting to focus our attention on the newer model, on the incomplete information idea. And I'm kind of struggling for what kinds of questions to ask you about it. Part of me wants to go to the place of -- ok well, if we know that misperception is the force that leads people to escalate, or that leads the conflict to escalate...
A: Is one force, let me say, yah?
Q: Ok, thank you for that clarification. Then one question would be -- if we know that that is true, what do we do from there? How do we get parties to communicate and not misperceive the other, or fill in the correct information. I don't know if that's the part of the work that you're involved in.
A: No, but I will say something about it in a minute. But, I have a question at this point. When I read the papers, especially the paper by Peter Coleman, is it correct that you are dealing primarily with let me say -- in medical terms -- diagnosis and not so much with therapy? I found relatively little about therapy; how to solve or how to proceed in order to solve intractable conflicts.
Q: That's a good question. And in fact, there is a second part of that article which we did not send you, and we could have. We were, in deciding what to send people, wanted to not overwhelm anybody. So the first half of that article is what looks like to you the whole article, but it's just an excerpt. So there is more. And I can actually try to send you the entire article if it would be interesting to you, because the second half talks about approaches to resolving or dealing with...
A: I see, I see. This would be very helpful indeed, yah.
Q: Ok. I apologize for leaving that part out.
A: Now, coming back to your question, because it has to do with this, yah? There is another area which is also not so old, or rather new in game theoretical models this is called signaling games.
Q: Signaling games?
A: Signaling, to signal, to show, to demonstrate something by some actions. And this means the following: You have to consider several moves. It's not a one shot game, but you have a process let me say, yah? And in the process you give your adversary some signal of what your are, or what your intentions are, yah? So coming back to my case with the aggressor who does not know if the defender is resolute or if he is irresolute. The defender somehow could signal to the aggressor of what type he is. He makes some move, and I mean the theory is not clear. It is a little complicated. If the game proceeds through it's regular steps, the aggressor improves his knowledge; and if the defender signals appropriately of what type he is, then the aggressor knows; and then, as I said before, if the aggressor knows very well of what type the other side is, then there will be no escalation. You see? So let me say it in different words. The defender may know that the aggressor does not know of what type he is. You see? So he can signal to him by some actions of what type he is. Then the aggressor knows, and then, as I said, there will be no escalation. This could be one way for solving the problem.
Q: Yes. And while you're speaking...
A: Uh, solving the problem, I mean avoiding escalation.
Q: Right. I'm thinking about the application of what you're talking about to the U.S. and Iraq a few months back, right? So if you think about Iraq, I guess as the...I'm not sure whether Iraq would be here the aggressor or the defender, probably the defender.
Q: Right. So the U.S. doesn't know what Iraq's position is. Are they strong? Are they weak? We're not sure, and they're not giving us information. So it's hard to tell. And as a result of the lack of information, either the U.S. is asking for it but Iraq is not giving the information. There's a...
A: Yah. I did not think about this case because it's so new, you see? For me, from what I read in practical conflict, you are primarily considering conflicts which are lasting already for a very long time, yah? I was thinking about Israel/Palestine. And you know, both don't believe each other that they really want peace, yah? So they both think of each other, they want peace under their condition, yah? And the conditions for Israel are very different from the conditions of Palestine, yah? So, if they don't trust each other. If they really want peace at reasonable conditions for both sides, they could signal. I mean for example, the official Palestine government could signal to Israel by really doing something against the -- how do you say -- suiciding, yah? Or for example, the Israelis could withdraw a settlement; I think they did this already. So, I think there are some slight moves in this direction. Perhaps not yet enough so that the other side really believes that on one end Israel, on the other Palestine is serious in saying, we want to make peace with you. You see?
A: So I think this is a better example because it's lasting already so long, and they don't trust each other even though they are dealing already for so many decades with each other. In that sense I think Iraq is a difficult case.
A: But I think Israel/Palestine...When I read your paper, for me there are two very good examples for what you intend -- I mean there are many -- but what I know a little bit is; on one hand Israel/Palestine, and on the other, Northern Ireland, yah? That's also I think a very good case for what you have in mind.
Q: And using -- going back to the Israel/Palestine example -- if we...You're talking about signaling; and I'm thinking back last week, or two weeks ago, reading in the paper how Hamas finally said, ok, cease fire, yes, we'll do it. And how even still, the messages that they had been sending up until that point, or the signals they had been giving up until that point were so opposite from that, that I think it was probably hard for the Israelis to trust that signal.
A: Yah, yah.
Q: Have you anything more to say about that?
A: Yeah, I can only guess, or this is, how to say, common sense now. I think this was not strong enough, yah? I mean for example, the government, the new Primeminister, what is his name, Abas, or something like this. He always said that they will stop these terrorists, and so on, and so on; but he showed no real activity to do so. I don't know what he could do, yah, to stop the activities of Hamas also, yah? I mean, perhaps he should do more, yah? I mean in the sense of signaling, demonstrating that he has the power. I mean, that's the problem now, that Israel might believe him, but at the same time they think he wants peace but yet he has no power over his people; so he should perhaps demonstrate somehow that he has the power now, yah? That's what I mean by signaling. A strong indication so to speak. I mean, on the Israeli side the same with the settlements, yah?
Q: Yes. So a strong move on the Israeli side would be to dismantle settlements and dismantle as many as possible...
A: Yah, at least the new ones, the illegal ones, yah, because they increase them, yah? I mean, there are old settlements, and there are also, I have been many times in Israel but not recently -- there are settlers, Israeli settlers who say, we want to live in this land and maybe we don't care that it is the State of Palestine. If we can live peacefully, we will live in Palestine, yah? So, but I mean there are these, how to say, these aggressive settlers, yah, who say this is our country, and this has to be Israel, yah? And as I say, Sharon has to demonstrate that he is not tolerating this, in the same way like Abas has to demonstrate that he he has the power to stop terrorism. You see, that's what I mean. And in the case of Northern Ireland, it's always the situation with these illegal weapons both sides have, yah? So a demonstration of giving away their weapons say, would be something like this.
A: There's another thing, but let me say it this way; that's not my expertise in general; even though if you want to do so, we could continue with this. I prefer to discuss my PIN experience. Let me ask you first: Do you know a little bit about the Process of International Negotiations (PIN) program which is organized at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna?
Q: I'm familiar with it at a very basic level.
A: Ok, and this is going on now already for 15 years. And there is a scheme -- I've a reason to tell this to you. The PIN members developed a scheme which they call the Analytical Framework for Negotiation Research, and this has five elements. The elements are actors, strategies, process, structure, and outcomes. I repeat actors, strategies, process, structure, and outcomes. Now this is general for international negotiations. But when I prepared our conversation, I was reading the Journal International Negotiation. Do you know this? It's a rather new journal.
Q: Ok. I'm not familiar.
A: Yes. Then I will give you this reference as well.
Q: No, just saying that that would be great.
A: Ok, ok. In the latest edition there is a very interesting paper, contribution by Daniel Curran, and James Sebenius, about Northern Ireland and the United States' George Mitchell who mediated negotiations for three or how many years in the 90s. This was a very, very interesting article for me for one reason. He concentrated his efforts so much on the process. Obviously, he said, this conflict in Northern Ireland is going on already for decades, and I'm not a magician, there is not a short-term solution. So for two years he just tried to maintain the process. He mediated simply that the two sides just talk to each other, and he finally had some success. I mean, the problem, the conflict is not yet solved, everybody knows, but he had some kind of success, and this article demonstrates how he succeeded by emphasizing process; maintaining the conversation between the two adversaries. And I thought it would be the same, and it should be the same in Israel/Palestine, that there would be somebody with a strong authority obviously, who would be continuously there over several years in order to bring the two parties together just to talk to each other; not talking about solutions already, but talking to each other. So I was very impressed by this on one hand. Let me say this once more because it's the key element of this analytical framework our group developed, I mean before I was with them already. This is process, and exactly what I found in this paper by Curran and Sebenius about the Northern Ireland conflict. So I think if one talks about therapy again, yah? Then just doing it this way, not trying to solve their problem right now, but to, how do you say, to have the two adversaries accustomed to each other, or how should I say yah, get familiar with each other over a long time, yah? So that's another point which came to me only when I read all this.
Q: And it sounds...Does that idea relate back to the theory of incomplete information?
A: Yah, but in a vague sense. I was thinking; yah, I understand your question. I was thinking if I can formalize this, but it has to do with this incomplete information and signaling over a long time; in that sense, yes. So simply, this key word, misperception again, yah, simply having people talk, people talk to each other so that they know each other better, yah, and signaling by some actions what my real intentions are because I think one of the basic problems is that people don't understand the objectives, or the intentions, or criteria, or whatever of the other side, yah? So in that sense to remove this incomplete information on the other side by talking to each other, yah, in that sense yes.
Q: Ok. And you spoke about real intentions and understanding the real intentions of the other side. Does game theory have something to say about understanding the real intentions?
A: Yah. I mean, understanding the real intention means -- and this is a basic problem of modeling, yah? -- if I write down a game theoretical model, yah? I have to formulate strategies and then the payoffs. If the one side does this, and the other this, then both sides get some payoff, yah? And the basic assumption is that both sides know this. For example, if there is an arms race.
Q: I'm sorry, what is that?
A: Arms races, arms escalation.
Q: Ok, arms race, yes.
A: So, what is the benefit of one side if it has a certain advantage in arms, in weapons, yah? And both sides have to know this, yah? So this is what I mean by real intentions, yah? You have to write down the game, and both sides have to agree. So if the two sides don't talk to each other, how can you know this, yah? That's the problem so to speak. That's what I mean by real intention.
Q: So both sides need to...I'm not sure that I followed you as well as I would have liked in what you just said, so I'll ask you a few questions now about it to see if I can understand it better.
A: Ok, good.
Q: So you're saying in order for the parties to understand the real intentions, one thing they need to do is communicate and talk to each other? And I think I missed the other point, which I think was the main point.
A: Yah, I think not another point, but a translation into the game theory model, yah? If you write down that your model, you have to write down what we call the payoff, yah?
A: Yah, and as one says it in technical terms, the pay-off has to be common knowledge. Both sides have to know this. So let me say again the Israelis have to know at what price the Palestine side wants to have peace and vice versa. So the problem is if they don't know the other. Then we have this situation of incomplete information, yah? But if you want to solve a single game, then you have to know it and you have to do things, talk to each other, or to signal, or whatever we talked so far, yah, so that this common knowledge is developed, yah, and then you have access to a situation.
Q: Ok, so both sides need to understand what the bottom line is, or how far the other party is willing to go, what price they're willing to pay.
A: Exactly, yes.
Q: Ok. And it's not always possible to know that unless each side is showing their cards, so to speak.
A: Yah, that's the problem, yah? Especially if they don't talk to each other, then it's a question of where do I get this information, yah? That's the problem. And as I said before, this kind of lack of information, incomplete information can indeed lead to escalation or no solution of their other problem.
Q: And you talked a lot about modeling, and that can mean very different things in different contexts. Can you tell me a definition of modeling, how you're using it?
A: Oh, that's a good question, yah. Let me say something before. That's a topic in our group. We had a workshop on formal models in international negotiations; and here it is exactly the problem. So what I can do in addition to what I'm going to say. I can send you the introduction by Bill Zartman and myself, and here we try to define what formal models are and what they can do, yah? So, formal models, I mean is the following: Again, you're describing conflict by a non- cooperative game, yah? And so you have to define several things. First the actors, that's simple; two states, or several states, or people, or whatever, yah? And then there are possible strategies, what they can do, what possibilities they have -- I mean, let me say what can Israel and Palestine do. Israel can continue settlements or withdraw these settlements, or withdraw to some degree. The Palestinians can continue suiciding, terrorism and so on. They can stop it or both can fight each other. There could be another war. You have to define all possible strategies, yah? Then one has to define the most difficult thing, the information structure, what we were talking about so far, yah? Who knows what about who. And finally, you have to define the pay-off in case of all possible outcomes. It is not necessary to define the outcome in financial terms, but sometimes it is sufficient if you can order the outcome; for example, saying war is the worst outcome for both sides. It is worse than status quo, but status quo is worse than having any kind of peace, yah? And then there are different kinds of peace, independent state or so. All possible outcomes have at least to be ordered; for both sides the ordering could be different, yah? If you write down all this, then I would say you have a formal model of this conflict. Very roughly speaking.
Q: Ok, that's very helpful. All right, I think I have a better understanding of what you mean. And from that modeling -- let's say we did that for...in the case of the Israeli/Palestinian problem. Would you then be able to make hypotheses about the way that the conflict would play out, or escalate, or not escalate based on what you write down for the model?
A: Yah, this is a good question. I can tell you the following, yah? If you write it down this way as I described it to you very roughly, yah, and then...in fact, it's a problem of my very initial statement. If you have one solution or several equilibria, so another single solution saying this could be a solution, or this and this. And if you have several equilibria, then I can tell only very little. I perhaps I can tell making war is not an equilibrium, so it's definitely not a solution. But having an independent state or having the status quo, or so on could be an equilibria, which then means I can make no prediction or cannot give any advice. That's exactly what I said at the very beginning of this discussion. By the way, we made a small analysis of the United States/Iraq conflict of this kind. So if you are interested, I'll send this to you.
Q: Yes, that would be great.
A: Yah, and there it happened, by the way. This model showed several equilibria which means we were not able to make a prediction of what would becoming. We did this last fall. So we didn't predict it in the way that it happened until now.
Q: Because there were multiple equilibria that came out of the model. Was one of the possible equilibria what happened, or not even...
A: Let me think. No, no, we didn't predict this. And I can tell you why. We had a criterion for the United States which expressed somehow their reputation in the Arabic world, in the Islamic world. And this played a major role, and obviously this was ignored by the United States, yah, so this was not really a criterion for the government, and therefore, we did not predict what happened. No, let me say it was not an equilibrium what happened. So our assumptions about the criteria of the United States in a sense were not realistic. So I will send you this.
Q: That would be very helpful. I'd be very interested to see that.
A: So then you also get an idea of what I consider a formal model, yah?
Q: Yes, yes, that will be very, very helpful. Now, we've been talking very much about real world current situations; and now I'd like to bring us into the ideal future world. If you were thinking about an ideal future state, what do you believe needs to happen to deal with these kinds of enduring conflict situations?
A: Mmhm, yah, this is very general.. Now I have to use my common sense, yah?
A: What I see at the moment is a kind of lack of tolerance,
End of side A
A: attitude, or whatever. So things are very different. Let me give you an example. I was with this PIN group in January, in Iran for ten days; and we talked to several people -- men and women, and obviously they were not unhappy. I mean, there were very different opinions. So if you look from outside to the Iran, you have the feeling it is a fundamentalist regime, and women have nothing to say, they are unhappy, and if you are there they are different. Obviously they accept their life. And my feeling is, one basic reason of conflict is not the fact that there are different, how to say, ethical views of the world, yah? But the problem is to tolerate each other. If you talk about capital punishment or thing like this, yah? Some say we want to have it, and others say we don't want to have it, and you may have one state who has it and another who doesn't have it, but one has to accept that the states who want to have it have good reasons for it as well as the other side, you see? That's what I mean. I mean, the conflict, I think, doesn't arise because of different views or different principles...but because of the lack of accepting that there are differences. So for example, in Europe...if I don't talk about the whole world but just about Europe, yah, I mean, Europe will never be so uniform like the United States , even though they are also very different -- the single states. I have been traveling a lot in the United States and I mean, from outside it looks more uniform, I think than it is in fact, yah? So, but Europe will never be uniform and there will, how to say, only the United States of Europe if they tolerate their differences. That's one of the basic things, I think.
Q: So you would say, once people can accept the differences between themselves and the other, that's the place where we'll be able to deal most effectively with the conflict.
A: Yes, yes, because you see, like in Europe or in particular in Central Europe, the protestant church and the catholic church, yah? The differences are so strong -- I mean today we are not really religious people anymore. But let me say 400 years ago, yah, there was no way of bringing protestants and Catholics together again. The protestants would never have accepted the pope anymore, and the Catholics never would give up their hierarchical order of the church; so there was no way. There was this bloody 30 Years War, I don't know if you know about it, yah? And the only solution was that they accepted each other. From then on, more or less . fifty percent of the German population was protestant and 50 percent catholic, and they had developed a kind of peaceful coexistence. But there was no chance to solve, to eliminate the difference, to make the church one single Christian church anymore. That's for me such an example.
Q: thank you, that's helpful.
Q: Yes. And would you say coexist in the acceptance of the differences, kind of staying side by side, accepting the other...
A: Yah, that's exactly what I mean, yah. But I see no chance to eliminate the differences, yah, in many, many respects. Whether poor, or rich, or whatever. That's my conviction that this difference and also others will exist everywhere, and one has to develop a way of living with them. That's exactly my point.
Q: And if you could use, if there's a metaphor or an image that you can use to describe the kinds of enduring conflict situations that we're talking about. Are there metaphors or images that come to mind that you would use to describe them?
A: What would you mean by this? I understand your question, but what would be your metaphor, then I could respond to it.
Q: Sure. Well in this case, actually in this conversation game theory itself is a wonderful metaphor. So to look at a conflict situation as a game. Or another example is a swamp or a dynamic complex system.
A: Yah, yah. I mean, professionally I would exactly say this is a game, by the way, a very serious game. And all these games which describe conflict on a personal level, coming back to my battle of sexes game, yah, I think it describes very well also what happens between nations, between groups and between nations. I mean, I am married now for nearly 40 years and I think I am married very happily. But there are continuously differences of views, of opinions, or whatever, so we have lived very well with these differences, you see? And in that sense it's a game which has not a very simple solution in the sense that everything is perfect all the day long, yah? But one has to find out how one lives with this fact. Yah, it's a game in that sense, a very serious game, I agree.
Q: Ok, I agree. Before we wrap up and finish the conversation, I wanna ask you if there are other things that we missed that you'd like to bring to my attention to talk about that I didn't ask you about yet?
A: No, I don't think so. I took a few notes before and you know, we talked about this. My basic question to the whole project about...you talked already about this, was that what I read was more or less always diagnosis, but you said this; there are parts of it, and I would be interested to read a little bit about this. But I think from what I had in mind, we covered everything.
Q: Wonderful. I definitely think the written materials that you'll be able to send me will be very helpful, because I have the sense that I'm just skimming really the basic surface of the theory of incomplete information and some of the other theories that you talked about. So, I'm hoping that those will fill in the gaps. And if, as I look at the transcripts from this conversation and I read some of the information you send me, if I have further questions, would it be ok for me to give you another call back?
A: Oh yes, sure, sure.
Q: Wonderful, that's really helpful. I can't thank you enough for your willingness and...
A: No, I enjoyed it, and as I said, vice versa. I would be interested to get some additional material from you and also something about the progress of the project. It is very interesting to us, the PIN group, and I will try to use it there as well, you see?
Q: Yes, we appreciate that, and I will send you the rest of that article, and I can also send you another article that was recently published by Peter Coleman as well that's even more extensive and goes deeper into the issues that are interesting...
A: Very interesting because perhaps I find some points there. Like I told you misperception, escalation, this was very...yah, I was very...I was stimulated by that. You see?
Q: Yes. Well, we'll continue to have the back and forth and the dialog, if not by phone, then at least by email.
A: Very good.
Q: Wonderful. So thank you very much Professor Avenhaus.
A: Thank you too.
Q: I look forward to being in touch.