Alexander Mercouris talked about this piece in his latest video.
Found it interesting for sure! Lots of information concerning the present situation occurring in Ukraine.
Then a reflection on the Battle of Verdun.. and the rather gruesome coin issued to commemorate that battle-
The Battle of Verdun was conceived by the German high command as a way to cripple the French army by drawing them into a preconfigured meatgrinder. The notion was to attack and seize crucial defensive high ground – ground so important that France would be forced to counterattack and attempt to recapture it. The Germans hoped that France would commit their strategic reserves to this counterattack so that they could be destroyed. While Verdun failed to completely sap French combat power, it did become one of the most bloody battles in world history. A German coin commemorating the battle depicted a skeleton pumping blood out of the earth – a chilling but apt visual metaphor.
But the bit about the Schelling points (Game Theory) was really enlightening.
In a state of political turmoil, or even anarchy, the system works itself towards Schelling points – obvious figures and institutions that radiate authority, and are therefore the conspicuous choice to assume power and issue commands.
The Bolsheviks, for example, understood this very well. Immediately after declaring their new government in 1917, they dispatched commissars to the various office buildings in Saint Petersburg where the Tsarist bureaucracies were headquartered. Trotsky famously turned up at the foreign affairs ministry building one morning and simply announced that he was the new Foreign Minister. The employees laughed at him – who was he? how did he presume to be in charge? – but for Trotsky the point was to insinuate himself on a Schelling point. In the state of anarchy that began to spread in Russia, people naturally look for some obvious focal point of authority, and the Bolsheviks had cleverly positioned themselves as such by claiming control over the bureaucratic offices and titles. On the other side of the civil conflict, political opposition to the Bolsheviks clustered around Tsarist army officers, because they too were Schelling points, in that they already had titles and position within an existing hierarchy.
All of this is to say that in the event of a coup or state collapse, new governments are virtually never formed sui generis – they always arise from preexisting institutions and hierarchies. Why, when the Soviet Union fell, did political authority devolve to the Republics? Because these Republics were Schelling points – branches that one can grab for safety in a chaotic river.
Hope you read the piece, check the outbound links and share some thoughts!