Speaking with two Asian MD's who have been in this country quite a while, I mentioned in reference to Anglophilism, that the British have long disliked what Americans used to call "pep," then "drive," and such cliches as "win-win." I rather apologised for the cliched nature of win-win, and our trying to sell that idea to people, because it doesn't always work, and some people abuse it.
Both agreed that only Americans believe that win-win situations are even possible. One thought that was a positive, the other echoed the opinion of the rest of the world that win-win was just a disguise for the person getting 90% of the good throwing a bone for the one getting 10%. I tentatively (not knowing if it were an offensive stereotype) asked if he meant something similar to saving face. He agreed that this was exactly it. Victors in China either eliminate their opponents entirely or give them some 10% to save face. (Okay, you said it, not I.)
The other was quite adamant. No, in America it is sometimes, even often true. It is not a cliche because it is a delusion, but because it happens. Of course it doesn't always happen, but why should I be surprised at that?
I wonder now if the British especially dislike the cliche because they are one of the cultures that at least understands it, but it happens even less there.
Let me be on record as believing that win-win situations are indeed possible, and resenting the cliche much less than I did a few days ago. That the term is abused and isn't always true seems far less of a worry - since it seems to be the normal course of human interactions - than the idea that it is possible at all a rather stunning legacy for America to the world.