Monday, May 14, 2018

"Precipitating the Apocalypse"

The phrase was coined (to my knowledge) by Barnett Rubin in a conversation with David Rothkopf

This conversation was in the context of Bibi's actions in Israel and vis-a-vis the Iran deal but I feel it may be appropriate for discussing the situation in various other places.

It is possible that a provocative strategy that deliberately precipitates the Apocalypse (perhaps in the fond hope that the ensuing carnage will be more acceptable than an Apocalypse that just  waltzed in on us) - is an attractive proposition to some groups. 

For example in India - a group of RW zealots are taking apart the framework of constitution and laws that protect the nation from tyranny. This is being done in the belief that it will be possible to kill all "others" (Muslims, Christians, Dalits etc...) and keep the India's dwindling resources for exclusive exploitation by their own community. 

We see a similar pattern in the US where aging White voters are convinced that they face an extinction threat and unless they subscribe to Nazi ideas of wiping out POC and minorities - these people will drink all the social security & medicare benefits and leave them to die of illness and old age.  

And I am sure you readers can construct similar such cases in other contexts. 

Generally a group might choose such an option in the hope that it retains a sense of self-control while everything it values falls apart (like the average Trumper in the US who wants Trump to burn everything down - because it makes him feel powerful and he feels its okay because he has no further use of it). 

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, which may or may not be clued into whatever this group of people is doing - the experience will be like that of those orphaned kids walking around the markets scrounging for food when the suicide bomber strikes a nearby ANA check point. It will be very unpleasant - and unwelcome.

A likely consequence of this may be a growing sense of distaste for this group of people and a complete reversal of public attitudes towards the small special interest group. This in turn will most likely lead to a sharp decline in the strategic outcomes for that group. Rather than surviving the Apocalypse - this group may find its chances of surviving its self made Apocalypse declining rapidly as those of every other peer competitor group rise equally rapidly. 

It's possible for this "precipitating the Apocalypse" strategy to blow up in the face of the people pushing for it. 


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